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I’ve recently had several requests for suggestions about email newsletter best practices. How can I increase my open rate? How do I prevent my newsletter from being marked as Spam? How can I keep my subscribers engaged? Here are some tips that I have.
1) Have a compelling subject line.
Your subject line needs to be short (50 characters or less) and to the point, in order to capture your reader’s attention. Aside from avoiding the word Free in the subject, MailChimp also recommends not to use Help, Percent Off and Reminder. Here’s a sampling of subject lines and their corresponding open rates: Good and Bad Subject Lines. If your subject line isn’t interesting enough, your reader probably won’t even open the email.
2) Avoiding Spam folders.
Spam filters are highly sophisticated these days, so as a publisher, you need to think about how to outsmart them.
- Make sure that your From and Reply-To domains are the same and valid. Using a white listed ISP is also helpful.
- Be plain and honest in your emails. By being creative or cute and using speci@l characters or f-u-n-k-y spacing will make you look like you’re trying to hide things, a typical spam technique.
- Have an Unsubscribe link visible. You would rather have a reader unsubscribe than for them to mark your email as Spam.
- Image to Text Ratio is also really important. Spam tends to have more images than text, so even if you are advertising a product or sharing a picture, ensure that you have enough text around it. It’s suggested that based on Spam Assassin’s criteria, you should only have a max of 40% images and 60% text.
- Avoid common keywords/phrases that send emails to spam.
3) Keeping Your Readers Engaged.
- Set an expectation for your email frequency. A welcome email is common, before the first scheduled email is sent to the new subscriber. Then, you want to send your emails frequently enough that your readers expect it, but not too much that they no longer open it.
- Brand your campaign, so that your reader knows the email is from you. Daily Deal sites always have their name at the top of their email and use a template that is similar to the format of their websites. With maintaining the same theme throughout the website and email, subscribers will recognize your brand.
- How much is too much information? While you want to keep your email relevant and informative, make sure the content falls within the subject at hand. If the articles end up being lengthy, include only a summary or teaser with a link to the full text on your website. This will help keep your email easy to digest and drive traffic to your site.
Of course, depending on your industry, some of these tips may be more or less relevant. But generally speaking, these are the things that you need to keep in mind.