July 25, 2014
Last week, I received a panic email from a client. Following our advice, she increased her newsletter frequency from monthly to weekly, 3 weeks ago.
The more often you touch your audience, the more chances they have to consume what you’re offering (or buy what you’re selling).
If you send your newsletter once a month, you’re only touching your audience 12 times a year. And two of those months (July and December), most people won’t open it so it’s really 10 times a year! That’s not enough!
Back to the panic… She looked at her stats (something I don’t recommend doing more than a few times a year if you’re the obsessive type) and noticed her unsubscribes were up and her open rate was down. Not good!
However, upon further investigation, she’s been receiving 1 unsubscribe per newsletter for the past 5 months. No increase there, except she’s now sending out more newsletters.
Plus, unsubscribes are actually a good thing! No, I’m not crazy. Hear me out. If someone unsubscribes from your list, that person isn’t your ideal customer anyway or they wouldn’t unsubscribe. Good riddance, I say!
I call it list cleansing. They’re helping you clean out the people who don’t open your email anyway, which will increase your open rate and decrease your spam score. That’s all good!
With that said, it’s vitally important to put out a good newsletter. If your writing sucks or you’re writing about things people don’t care about, you’re going to get unsubscribes, and that’s bad. That’s not list cleansing, that’s losing your audience!
Write “to” your audience and not “at” them. Pretend like you’re writing your newsletter to your best friend instead of your “list.” And choose topics that appeal to your audience.
Next panic… Her open rate for the last newsletter she sent was down from an average of 30% (which is 10% above the average open rate for newsletters) to 25% (which is still above the average).
The last newsletter was sent in the middle of July, which is notorious for having low open rates (people are on vacation or coming back from it and delete everything they don’t have to read). With a sample size of one newsletter, we can’t really draw any conclusions about open rates being down.
The largest determining factor for open rate is the subject line. If your subject line doesn’t cause your readers to be curious, they won’t open it.
The subject line for the last newsletter started with “6 Benefits You Get from…” Usually, your audience knows all about the benefits they get from something they love.
A better subject line might have been, “6 Benefits You Didn’t Know You Get from…” A subtle change with a potentially a big impact. I’d be curious to see if the open rate was different for this subject line.
So you see…there’s really no need to panic. But there is a need to be diligent about your subject line and your newsletter content. Write good stuff and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Oh, and stop checking your stats every day or week! Spend that time you save on marketing your newsletter to get more subscribers!