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An email newsletter is a low-cost marketing channel that keeps customers updated on your latest products and promotions. The inexpensive service has the potential for large margins due to its unlimited reach, which depends on the size of your mailing list.

Regularly engaging with your mailing list is easy. The hard part is finding ways to get people to first subscribe to your list, and then to open the links attached in the email. You are providing a free service, so it needs to worth your time and effort. In this article, we’ll outline some newsletter tips and take an in-depth look at how to improve the effectiveness and return of your mailing list.

Pay Attention to These Metrics

Open Rate: First remove the number of emails that bounced from the total count. Then divide the number of opened emails by the total number of subscribers to find out what percentage of subscribers opened them.

Click-through Rate: Similar to the open rate calculation, first remove the number of bounced emails from the count and then divide the number of clicked emails by the total number of subscribers. This will identify the rate at which people clicked on your email links (CTR).

Click-to-open Rate: CTOR examines the success of the email’s content by only taking into account the number of people who opened the email. In other words, rather than working out the number clicks from the total number of emails sent (CTR), you are working out the number of clicks by the total number of people who opened the email (CTOR).

CTR and CTOR are important metrics as they can give you an accurate indication of whether or not your emails are bringing customers back to your site – potentially leading to conversions.

Unsubscribe Rate & Spam Rate: It’s important to keep track of how customers are responding to your newsletter. It goes without saying that these negative metrics should be kept as low as possible, and an increase should act as a trigger to improve or refine your content.

Low Mailing List Sign-Ups?

Increasing the number of subscribers to your mailing list is a multi-stage, time-consuming process; as you are dealing with real people who are often reluctant to part ways with their personal information. Fortunately, the process is inexpensive and can be completed without help from a specialist. Here are a few tips from our past article, ‘10 Simple Ways to Increase Your E-Mail Subscriber List’:

  • Minimize the number of clicks to subscribe
  • Get creative with your opt-in boxes
  • Improve the appearance and copy of your CTA button
  • Immediately engage with new subscribers
  • Make use of your social bio & feed
  • Provide an email preview
  • Showcase your testimonials to display an increased level of trust

Problem #1: Your bounce rate is low, but so is your open rate…

A low bounce rate means your mailing list subscribers are receiving your newsletter, great! The problem in this scenario is your open rate is also low, which is obviously not great. In the simplest terms, your subscribers are seeing your email and proceeding to ignore it. Take a closer look at the email itself to understand why.

Does your email address look professional and match your brand name? If you’re a website owner, the email address you use should match the domain name – this also applies to the name that appears in the ‘From:’ field.

Your subject line should also appeal to your subscribers. Typically, members of a mailing list share a common interest; after all, they’ve voluntarily given you their email address at some point. Keep your subject line short, interesting and attention-grabbing WITHOUT resorting to clickbait.

Problem #2: Customers are opening your newsletter email, but CTR remains low.

If your emails are getting a consistently high open rate, but the CTR always on the low side then you’ve got yourself a problem.

The main culprits in this situation are:

  • an unattractive design with an unaesthetic colour palette
  • poorly optimized images that don’t load properly
  • typography that’s difficult to read
  • no design at all

These are all things that people tend to avoid. Gain inspiration from your competitors or established companies by reviewing their newsletter introduction examples.

The design aspect aside, you should re-evaluate the internal content of the email. Time is valuable and people are increasingly selective with what they’re going to spend their time reading. Poor copy that offers nothing of interest to the reader will be swiftly ignored. The same can be said if it’s too long or too short. Your content should be concise, but not too concise. Still following? Good.

Problem #3: Your CTR is high, but so is your landing page bounce rate.

You’ve done the hard part by successfully getting your subscribers to open the newsletter and click through to your landing page. Your newsletter structure is sound and things are looking good. Beyond that? Nothing.

Your landing page is the root of this problem, which is causing disproportionately high bounce rate from the majority of your customers. This means contradictory information is being relayed between your newsletter and the landing page and expectations aren’t being fulfilled or matched.

Counteracting this issue is simple. Ensure the content of your landing page corresponds to what is being said in your newsletter. Being deliberately disingenuous to attract clicks is essentially clickbait, which will have a damaging impact on your brand’s reputation.

Trial & Error

The best way to make sense of your mailing list metrics is to leverage A/B testing with a mock-up of different designs and content styles. These tests should give you a reliable view of what is and isn’t working with your customers. Refining your newsletter content strategy is a much simpler task when you’re aware of the changes that need to be made!


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