Emails that don’t get opened cost marketers time and money. Especially newsletters.
I will not rehash the painful stat from our last newsletter edition.
Nearly 8 outta 10 emails don’t even get opened. Couldn’t help myself.
Now, don’t forget, an opened email doesn’t mean it gets read.
Folks, we’re fighting a tough battle. Spam filters have no soul and subscribers have no time.
Today we look at the time costs of creating email newsletters and things to avoid that keep your emails from being read even after being opened. As a bonus, I’ve highlighted 4 dubious email marketing facts at the end of our feature story.
Costs of Unopened Email Newsletters
There’s a cost to creating an email newsletter.
Even solopreneurs who write their own are using precious time to write and research. Psst, not in that order.
If you ask companies how long it takes to create a newsletter, you’ll get too many ‘answers’:
- Minimum 2 hours
- 15 – 20 minutes 🙄😏
- We’ve never thought to track the time
- AI writes ours so it’s free
- 1 hour
- 2 days
I could rewrite War and Peace in 2 days. Maybe make it good.😅
One survey showed: 23% of respondents say it takes a few days or less for their brand to create an email, on average; 24% say it takes around a week; and 53% say it typically takes more than two weeks.
Regardless of creation time, don’t run off readers.
Grammarly knows a thing or
too two☺ about writing. So they broke down 6 things to avoid in email newsletters.
#1) Don’t be long-winded.
“Newsletters that are 250 words or fewer in the main content segment are more likely to be read all the way through. Sticking to three short paragraphs keeps this simple.”
I don’t advise sticking to a certain word count. Though 3 paragraphs is reasonable – a good starting point for new newsletters.
“If you want to include longer content, consider putting an intro to the content in the newsletter with a link to a blog post or download that the reader can navigate to if they want to read more. Grammarly’s writing tone detector can help you make sure your newsletter comes across as informal and confident.”
That’s what we do with our feature story in each edition of Inbox Hacking. Link to a blog post. And see – being informal and confident is not just my brilliant advice, Grammarly agrees.
*Newsletters get a CTR of 2.51% / autoresponder emails get a CTR of 3.77% / triggered emails get a CTR rate of 5.31% (GetResponse)
KIS→ Keep it Simple
#2) Simple means easy-to-navigate and understand. A newsletter shouldn’t feel like Jeopardy🤯.
Any concept can be simplified. So can sentences and paragraphs. Example from Grammarly’s above ‘dissertation’. Chop it down…
“Longer newsletter content can be intro’d in emails then linked to a ‘read-more’ blog post. Want an informal / confident tone? Use Grammarly’s tone detector.”
Bread and Circus
#3) Give your newsletter audience what they need and want. Newsletters are typically for your entire list so…
The Gram (the literate one) says: “When considering topics for your newsletter, make sure they’re broad enough to provide the majority of your audience with value.”
Solid point. I could have written today’s edition for only the folks selling courses. Then those with non-profits may not have learned much. And brands selling winter adventure gear would’ve been left out in the 🥶..
Wait, am I leaving out non-newsletter-having (Grammarly penalty) subscribers? Nope, because a newsletter is a good idea for almost any organization.
Plus, those nice readers could skip to our other sections and those 4 dubious email marketing facts I teased up front.
Are y’all taking notes? 😁
*Visitors are 2X more likely to become paid subscribers if they subscribe to a newsletter first (New York Times)
CTA in Newsletters
A thought hit me last weekend. Starting a newsletter that promised never to sell anything might be a hit for someone?
Like an independently wealthy Batman of newsletters. However, this is not Gotham and everyone needs conversions of some sort.
So what does Grammarly suggest?
#4) “If you want successful click-through rates, stick to only one call to action. That’s not to say you can’t include more than one link in your newsletter. But you should know which call to action you want to prioritize and make it enticing for your readers to complete it.”
Long-winded advice but on point. The number of links can be impacted by that crucial thing you should be considering before writing an email. Your goal for that email!
If you want to educate deeply, it may take 22 links.
If you wanna get clicks to your blog, landing page, or booking page, then that’s a goal where you’d cut back on other links.
It’s your newsletter, your goal, so match link count to situation.
Boo! or Lack Thereof
Had Grammarly been around in 1685, “lack thereof” never makes it into the lexicon.
Anyway, next tip…
#5) “Don’t ghost your newsletter audience.”
Tons of threats to your newsletter consistency:
- Technical issues
- Writer’s block
- Internet outage
- Writer abandons ship
- Editor forgets what day it is
Wise to have backup plans for all those reasons your newsletter may not get sent on time.
*Pro Tip→ Have a couple of emergency feature posts in your hip pocket.
Always have an alternate internet connection option besides cell service which may not handle graphic design and uploads.
Being recognized by a reader helps get your newsletter opened. Keeping a steady tone with each edition gives readers confidence that you’ll keep showing up with information they need.
#6) “Consider how you want your writing to come across when a subscriber reads it. Do you want to be perceived as a knowledgeable expert, an industry leader, or a comfortable community?”
I can’t imagine a newsletter with interchangeable writers going over well. How about an AI writer?
Will these critters have a tone, voice, or any form of consistency? Remains to be seen, they’re still working on not sucking broadly.
Wrap Up + 4 Dubious Email Marketing ‘Facts’
Avoiding spam filters is all about deliverability. Keeping a clean sender reputation and steady opens help with deliverability. So does having newsletter content that truly helps subscribers.
Hopefully, by avoiding certain newsletter no-nos, you get more opens and have more people reading your entire newsletter. Just be sure you don’t get hindered by anyone’s advice, including mine or other genius-types🤗.
No template exists for the perfect newsletter. All you can do is commit to the subscribers with extra-mile research and top-notch writing + production of the newsletter.
Now for those dubious marketing facts that are hard to prove or generally shaky.
- Monday emails have the highest revenue per email.🙄
- For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 (fill in blank) in ROI.
- U.S. white-collar workers say they spend about 6.3 hours per day checking their email.
- People won’t read long emails.
From 4 to 1: People will read good emails. No way. Email is tops in ROI, but $$ vary. Only trust timing facts that have been tested with boots on the ground and tracking pixels in inboxes.
Knowledge is power, but first, motivation.
Avoid the monster of busy work without running off to a commune.
Use the psychology of branding to be sure your subscribers recognize you in their inbox.
Examples to help improve your free / trial emails. My favorite? Can’t say. For fear of termination.
#1 Tool for email marketers is Inbox Mailers. Try it today.
No one has a clue how others see things…
Not when we’re running (and typing) 90 miles per hour, especially.
Example: Would it be better to hit pause than send?
How would ten more minutes of pondering affect your next marketing email?
Surely it can’t make it worse! Don’t let that thought into your subconscious – it gave me cold chills.
Point is, #1 Seth’s always right, and #2 we have a better chance of our subscribers seeing our message as we intend when we pause to feel our way to their perspective.
Facts and Stats
- Employees spend 28% of their time dealing with unwanted interruptions (HubSpot)
- 90% of employees who started using automation in last 18 months wanna stay in their current position (HubSpot)
- Hobbies-related emails get some of the highest open rates→ 27.35%
*Pre Inbox Mailers Quote Circa 1961… “Perfect time to find a new hobby is when you suck at your current hobby.” ~ Jack ‘Bad’ Mitten, alleged inventor of Twister
Negative thinking gets a bad rap.
Oh, I’m not talking about ruminating on your failures, mistakes, and ineptitudes.
You’re a great human (I guess).
Looking at your email campaigns with a critical eye is the negativity we’re discussing.
Don’t shake your head just yet. No one’s marketing emails are flawless.
Or readers ignoring the emails altogether? Gadzooks!
Don’t forget landing pages potentially full of holes where your emails send your subscribers.
Have you reviewed those links without rose-colored glasses lately?
I mentioned hobbies-related emails get opened a ton (27.35% open rates). Not far behind→, emails sent by government entities have an open rate of 26.52%.
Today’s hack is to use this knowledge to increase your open rates. Possibilities:
- Advertise your newsletter in a city’s newsletter
- Partner with a hobby organization in an email campaign
- Promote a non-profit in your editorial emails (volunteering is a hobby😉)
Why are you still sitting ther…. oh, I guess you can reach out to those folks from a sitting position. Carry on and get to hacking.
📝Please click on the survey below. It won’t bite.