We have an eastward facing living room. It’s my zen space. Usually, I go there to read in the early morning before settling in with a coffee, reviewing email, and preparing for the day. This morning, as my inbox loaded, I could feel my energy leave me. Clearly, I have subscribed to too many email newsletters.
I embarked on a purge.
I started with those emails promoting free webinars. Since April 28th, I’ve received 70 invites to Free Webinars. 22 invites came from the same person. Sorry Dan, I’ve unsubscribed. Further, I’ve forgotten why I subscribed in the first place.
This experience prompted me to take a critical look at our own newsletter practices. That lead to some online research and, well, here we are. While we’ve learned a thing or two, there’s always more knowledge to acquire so I thought I’d share some of my discoveries.
Always be learning.
We believe in the power of newsletter marketing, and we often suggest to our clients that they do the same. It requires commitment though and it can feel like work if you don’t have a
process. For us, it’s straightforward. We commit to the writing and then Alina does the rest. She posts the articles to our website, to our Facebook page, and bundles up our latest offerings into a monthly newsletter along with other items that we think you might see value in. Afterwards we measure and examine the open rates and click throughs, and we look for things to try the next time out.
If you’re just starting your newsletter and you’re feeling challenged, keep the faith. It is a long-term relationship, and, like any relationship, it takes a while. However, unlike most other
relationships, newsletter marketing comes with hard data and you will be able to objectively
measure what’s working and what’s not. As you continue your journey remember - a good open rate is considered to be 17-28% (Source: campaignmonitor.com).
If you’ve been at it for several months already, and your open rate isn’t in the 17-28% window
give some thought as to how you might improve this number.
Is your subject line working? Size Matters: A boring subject line will kill any interest in your
writing so try brushing up on your one line selling skills. Keep in mind, most email softwares cut-off subject lines at around 60 characters. So, yes, size does matter – shorter is better. You may even want to try cutting back to 30 or 40 characters so that smartphone users can see the entire subject line.
Are you pushing out your newsletters too often? Don’t be a Dan. Dan’s the guy who invited
me 22 times to watch his free webinar over the last five weeks. He’s the polar opposite of Chris Myden at yvrdeals.com. Chris’s pledge is that he only sends out an email when he spots “a truly amazing deal”. Because of this, I was hooked immediately. I ALWAYS open his newsletter and I’m never disappointed because the travel deals he shares are usually great! We can learn a lot from Chris about signal to noise ratios.
What time are you sending? I am surprised at how many newsletters I receive at 3:00 am. By
8:00 am they’re buried, never to be seen again. Then there are the newsletters that arrive on
Sunday. Really, neither of these are great strategies. The takeaway here is to experiment with
both the day and the time of day. Over time, you’ll find what works for you. Research shows that the best days to send out emails (based on open rates) are Tuesday and Thursday while
Monday is the worst. Friday, apparently, is the best day of all for both open rates and click
through rates. As for time, we learned that mornings, around 9:45 am, works well.
Are you sending your newsletters from your gmail account? George, one of our colleagues, refuses to deal with prospects who reach out from a personal account. It relates to branding and readiness and George argues that if a prospect is truly serious about their business, they will invest the effort in getting their own domain and their own branded email. Seriously, send your emails and newsletters from your domain and pair that domain with a basic website. It won’t cost much, and you’ll see a noticeable bump in your open rate. (Good read - Why Bulk Email? Click Here)
Do you know your subscribers? If you are only known for providing a single service, the answer is straightforward. However, if you offer multiple services but your newsletter doesn’t
have something for everyone you may want to segment your list. By segmenting your list, you can send relevant and valuable information to each group independently. Over time, your subscribers will see more value and your overall engagement will improve.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Expect to. We call that tuition. Unless you’ve really stepped in it, you’ll be forgiven. We’ve made our mistakes. Spelling mistakes mostly. My biggest blunder occurred when my reference to white collared workers was inadvertently changed to refer to white coloured workers. None of us caught it in time. My face was red for a few days but, thankfully, the fuss was short-lived. The damage was minimal.
Norm Adams, MBA, has more than 25-years in business in both Canada and the US working in white collared and blue collared settings. Have questions for Norm? Now that he’s purged his inbox, drop him a line or ask him about his recent trip to Tuktoyaktuk where he met President Steinmeier of Germany and Canada’s Governor General, Mary Simon. Norm can be reached directly at email@example.com