If you have a newsletter, you started it with pretty much one thing in mind: sales or clicks. For example, if you just have a blog like this one that may have affiliate links or ads, but you aren’t really looking for sales, you just want click-throughs on your links to get your audience to land on certain pages. If you are in business, you want sales.
I have several newsletters that go out for different industries and to different audiences. My open rate is usually double the industry average and my click-through rate is generally 100% above the industry average. I know that sounds impressive (and I guess it is), but it is important to understand industry averages. You can get that information for any industry by searching “newsletter open rate for [industry]” and “newsletter click through rate [or CTR] for [industry].” From there, however, you’ll need to make sure that you’re looking at updated stats. Information from 2017 won’t necessarily be as accurate as something from 2018 or even 2019.
The easiest way to find the industry average is to look at the newsletter websites. Mailchimp, for example, allows you to choose your industry for your campaign. It will then give you the current industry average for both open rate and click through rate.
My most recent newsletter went out to a health and fitness crowd. According to Mailchimp, the average open rate is 17%. The average click through rate is 1.7%.
My open rate was 33% and my click through rate was 11.1%
So, the real question is…what am I doing to drive open and click through rates that are higher than the industry average?
2 Ingredients to a Successful Newsletter
It doesn’t matter if you have nine subscribers or nine million subscribers if no one is opening and no one is clicking links. The number of subscribers may be impressive (or not), but that in itself doesn’t make a newsletter successful. A successful newsletter gets opened. A successful newsletter gets clicks.
There are just 2 ingredients (yes, really) you need to have a successful newsletter.
Ingredient #1 – It needs to inform.
The truth about getting anyone to open a newsletter, click links, or buy something from you is that it boils down to trust and likability. (And, from the perspective of the potential buyer: price point and whether it solves a problem!)
So, how do you build that trust? By providing information your audience wants and needs…and you do this on a consistent basis. This doesn’t mean that you have to send out one million newsletters a week or month. Sometimes I don’t send out a newsletter for quite a while (it helps develop curiosity…the “Oh, I haven’t heard from her in a while…wonder what this is…”). Regardless of how often I send it, it has information that is geared to the interest of the target audience. In fact, the stats from the above newsletter is particularly interesting because the newsletter is really, really short. Like, really short. I did nothing fancy. There are no super fancy graphics. There are no bells and whistles. It informs.
It’s short because I know from personal experience that it doesn’t matter who the newsletter is from, I am not gonna spend a bunch of time trying to read it. And, in fact, when I am subscribed to a newsletter that I feel is too long, I unsubscribe or I delete it without opening it (especially if I feel like it doesn’t inform).
Ingredient #2 – Clear, easy to follow call to action
If you want your readers to do something, you need to make it clear. You can use the right language such as “click here to fill out this quick form to claim your free download!” or “learn more here.” You can also link directly to where you want them to go as you see in my example above. “…you may be eligible to receive two free weeks…” and it links exactly where they can go to find out. Then, at the very bottom, I say that I can help people make the right small changes to create a difference in their life and tell them to contact me with their goals to talk…and my social media links are directly below.
You’ll also see at the top of that page that people have the option of subscribing to the newsletter, seeing past newsletters, translating the page, or grabbing the RSS feeds. All clear and easy to follow.
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell…spend less time screaming at people to buy your stuff and spend more time giving them helpful information that makes them think about how what you offer could help them avoid or solve a problem.