How can I increase email newsletter subscriptions

Improve Email Open Rate: 13 Tips

Your newsletters often end up in spam?

Your email campaigns and newsletters should be opened. Do your emails sometimes not reach Gmail, GMX and Co.? Is your open rate too low? This article will help.

What is a good open rate?

Some email marketing websites say 15-25% be a normal open rate. Higher opening rates are possible! If you do it well, an open rate is 35-60% quite realistic. How do you increase it?

Try to improve your open rate step by step.

If you are satisfied with a little, you are wasting opportunities.

2 examples - both times to over 4000 recipients.

13 tips for higher open rates

Here are the 13 tips (plus a “PS”) on how to increase your open rate. Try it out - and write us what your experiences are!

You can also download the tips as a checklist (PDF):

1. Dispatch quality Emails

That means: helpful, relevant emails.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but unfortunately it cannot be taken for granted. Too often we receive promotional emails.

Think of your readers: You don't want to send them any newsletter, but rather a personal, direct email.

Write emails that people will actually read want!

The focus should be on the customers, should be the heroes of history. Not us as a company.

Write clearly and understandably. Pass on helpful tips and interesting information.

Read newsletters and e-mails that end up in your own inbox very consciously: This way you can see what speaks to you yourself, get inspiration, but also notice what annoys and bores you.

You might even set up a folder in your inbox to put examples of good email marketing in.

Be personal and take your time

Take the time to write the newsletters. Think about what your subscribers are interested in, what you could do to help them today.

Tell stories, not abstract phrases or general advertising.

Stories always draw - what you can consider and who should be the hero in your story, that's what this blog post is about.

Imagine that your reader is sitting across from you. How do you talk to her How do you infect them with your enthusiasm for your offer without talking too much about them?

Be generous

Give away something by email every now and then:

  • a free download
  • a free subscription renewal for one month
  • a 15-minute consultation
  • a useful checklist

Important: It really has to be a gift, something that your subscribers will benefit from!

Of course, you announce the freebie with an interesting subject line - and thus increase the opening rate.

Click rates as an indicator

In addition to the opening rate, the Click rate a metric that your email marketing tool shows you. It tells you how many of the people who opened your email clicked at least one link in it.

In this respect, it is a sign that people have not only opened your e-mail, but also (partially) read it.

The more people interact with your emails, the higher the chance that email providers like Yahoo or Gmail will deliver your emails instead of throwing them into the SPAM folder.

A link is required for every click:

Therefore, include a specific “call to action” in your e-mails, that is, a request for action.

It can be:

  • Subscribe to our YouTube channel
  • Check out our new collection now
  • Reply to this email and ask us your questions
  • We'd like to hear your opinion: take part in the survey
  • Etc.

2. Be remembered

Don't write just four times a year. Then your subscribers forget you.

People need to remember why they ended up with you. If you write too infrequently, they'll forget. You lose the authority to even contact them.

... also via social media

It is also advisable to link to your social profiles (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram) in the footer of the emails.

This is how people can connect with you via social media. You will encounter them regularly on various channels.

If you offer them interesting, relevant, attractive (!) Content and don't annoy them with irrelevant content, you are creating a relationship.

And keep introducing yourself

Also, keep reminding people who you are and what you do: You can't expect someone to sign up for your newsletter and always know exactly what your offer is.

The best thing to do is to have a "two-liner" in which you get to the heart of your offer in a clear and precise manner. You build this into your emails.

You don't waste a lot of space and time, but remind readers who you are and what you want to help them with.

3. Configure your sending domain (SPF, DKIM, DMARC)

The most important measure? Maybe yes.

One of our customers implemented this: this technical step has reduced her opening rate 40% increased - So it makes a lot of difference. Did you set that up right?

The point is that your emails really arrive as if they were written by you. Technically, too.

You deposit a kind of digital signature, which is checked by the email providers. So they don't classify you as dubious / spam.

These protective measures are called SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail). There is also DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance).

You have to do some DNS entries and SPF and DKIM must stand before you DMARC can set up.

Here I explained SPF, DKIM and DMARC in another article including a video in more detail.

Checklist for download

Now click on the image below to download the “Strong Tips for Better E-Mail Open Rate” checklist for this article.

4. Avoid SPAM trigger words

Keep your brains on when you're creating your content: Think about the words that are most likely to be used in connection with advertising. Delete this.

  • Discount, discount
  • cheap
  • buy now
  • Danger
  • Newsletter
  • Etc.

These words try to intercept the SPAM filters. And the SPAM filter integrated in the head of the reader classifies such terms as intrusive advertising.

In part, however, it depends on the industry:

As the email marketing provider MailChimp found out in a study, the word “free” has a positive effect on the opening rate in some industries (restaurants, events, beauty) and negatively in others (health, real estate, travel) ).

Bonus tip: Spam filters like SpamAssassin evaluate your emails. If you use text in a color with a deep contrast to the background, for example gray on white, this gives negative points. Or if your emails contain too little text, too much HTML.

Test your emails with Mail-Tester and try to get 10 points.

5. Do not hide the "Unsubscribe" link

Instead, keep it clearly visible and legible in your emails where you are looking for it, at the end of the emails.

This step may not seem logical at first.

But: You don't want to keep people on your list who are not interested in your offer.

You don't want to lots Subscribers, but as many as possible interested Subscribers.

People who want to unsubscribe from your emails should catch this link as soon as possible.

And get them off your list as easily as possible - without having to re-enter their email address or something. Otherwise, you will upset people and leave a bad impression.

And, far more important:

You risk being blacklisted.

If people can't find the "Unsubscribe" link right away, they may mark your email as SPAM. With the intention of not being shown any more such emails.

This will put you with email providers as a potential spammer written down. You will be blacklisted on the central server. As a result, your deliverability suffers massively - not just for this one person, but for everyone on your list.

Double opt-in

Incidentally, a prerequisite today for being able to send a newsletter at all: double opt-in.

This means that you explicitly get permission to use someone's e-mail address: After registration, the person receives an e-mail in which they must actively click on a link to verify their address and you to allow you to contact them.

With this step you already reduce the rate of unsubscriptions.

E-mail open rates improve to DOUBLE

6. Purge inactive subscribers

This is an optional step, but it can be quite effective under certain circumstances:

If you notice that someone has not opened your last 20 e-mails, or have never clicked a link again, you can consider "clearing out" these people, ie removing them from the list.

First, this can lead to you paying less - most email tools charge based on the number of subscribers.

And second, this step results in you having a lot achieve a higher opening rate.

Of course, the number of people reading your emails is still the same - you just sorted out the inactive ones. But the statistics look better for e-mail providers such as Gmail or GMX: They notice that people are more likely to interact with your e-mails and therefore rate them less as SPAM.

Lead score as a guide

Good email marketing tools offer you an evaluation of your email list by assigning a "lead score" to people. That's a number that the more people interact with your offer, the higher it is.

Every link click, every opened email, every Lead Magnet download increases the lead score. If someone has not opened any mails for a long time, the score drops.

So you can active and inactive leads distinguish.

Our experience: If we exclude people with lead score “0” when sending an email, we have massively higher open rates.

Because why do you want to write to people who no longer open your emails anyway? Keep in mind, however, that your email marketing tool will not be 100% accurate when it comes to measuring openings. This means. also make sure that someone has really never clicked again (every tool should be able to measure the clicks).

7. Build Confidence: Create a good onboarding sequence

What is an "onboarding" sequence?

When someone signs up for our newsletter or gets added to our email list through a lead magnet, we send an Welcome sequence.

This is a small series of mails (at least 3) that are automatically delivered. This is where people get to know us and what we offer a little.

The aim is to gain people's trust with helpful first e-mails and thus lay the foundation for a good relationship.

  1. Make sure you have an onboarding sequence.
  2. Check them out regularly and revise them, update the emails.

People are super interested now because they just interacted with you. This is a very important phase, therefore:

Be strategic

Know what your goal is.

  • Do you want to turn people into customers?
  • Do you want to get initial contacts?
  • Or is it about your existing customers recommending you?

Build your onboarding series in a targeted manner and use storytelling to do so.

Also evaluate them continuously: With a welcome sequence, you should have an opening rate of over 60%.

Otherwise something is completely wrong and you should urgently improve the relevant emails.

Explain the next steps

Describe in your welcome series clearly and understandably what the next steps are now:

“You downloaded our checklist XY. How are you going now? 1. Fill out the checklist. 2. Check out our webinar. 3. Write us your questions about it. "

Three steps work best - the so-called "1-2-3 method". It is important that there are few, clear, easy to implement steps.

Also, give people a chance to connect with you.

Motivate them to reply to your emails, ask specific questions. This is how you become approachable and engage your subscribers.

Use testimonials

Testimonials are reports from satisfied customers.

True stories speak to us humans.

And so it is also effective in e-mails to read why your offer helped someone I can identify with.

This makes particular sense in your onboarding sequence.

Testimonials shouldn't sound like PR or exaggerated either, but authentic, with details about the person and their situation.

In no case invent freely!

Obtain such reports on an ongoing basis, along with the consent that you may use them for your advertising.

8. Personalize the emails

Say - if it fits culturally - your subscribers with “you” and don't stick to the impersonal “Hello” or “Dear Sir or Madam”.

Use wildcards for the person's first name so that the recipients are really addressed directly.

It looks like this, for example: "[First name], we have something for you".

MailChimp found in the aforementioned study that it is the most effective, in fact In front- and Surname to be used: In this case, the opening rates were twice as high as if only or Surname were used.

(The best thing to do is to just test it out. Then you will know whether this is also true for you and your audience.)

Write your emails as if you were addressing a friend, not a group of strangers. We have already mentioned this above: Write as if the reader were sitting across from you.

Personalize subject line: 30% higher open rate

Wildcards are also possible for the subject line - and are highly recommended.

A recent study by Backlinko shows that a personalized subject line can increase the opening rate by 30%!

How would you email friends? This also applies to the display of your mails:

We decided to do it in the convertable mails almost no graphics, pictures and buttons to use, because you don't do that with e-mails between friends either. Instead, we want our emails to look like we would send them to friends.

Buttons, colors and graphics show from a distance of three kilometers that this is not a personal email.

Diana Smith from even recommends that Subject line completely in lower case to keep. This has led to an opening rate of over 65%. Would be an interesting experiment. (However, it is conceivable that this has more influence in English than in German.)

Speaking of subject:

9. Invest time in an interesting subject line

The subject line is what people will see first of your email.

Nobody wants to read “Newsletter Company XY May 2022”.

We don't want newsletters and self-adulation from companies. We want helpful content, checklists, tips, things that really help us. So come up with an exciting subject line. It is worth investing brainpower here.

The subject line should ...

  • be informative
  • make curious
  • Attract attention

In the subject line you want make curious - so don't reveal everything already. At the same time, the people should already get an impression what it is about. So be specific in the subject line.

Whether or not people open your first e-mails are based on the subject line! Later, when they already know you, the content matters a lot more.

Short, not too short

The subject line should be short and crisp: keep it between 35-45 characters so that email providers can fully display it.

But still, reveal enough to spark interest, and not be general or confusing.

Personalize the subject line - we have already mentioned this in the previous point.

Avoid special characters: They are a warning signal for many SPAM filters.

Create urgency

If used sparingly, subject lines can be very effective as they create a sense of urgency.

"Only today", "Few free places" etc.

However, you shouldn't overuse this stylistic device.

Many email marketing professionals swear by it Say thank you. The opening rates increase when "Thank you" is in the subject (source).

People feel good when someone thanks them. You feel part of something bigger, you feel valued and important.

The same applies here: Don't overdo it, write authentically, no PR.

10. Put value on the 1st line

Many email providers not only show the subject in the preview, but also the first line of the emails.

So it shouldn't be there: "Click here if this email is not displayed correctly." This is boring.

Use the first line to make the whole thing more exciting for the reader. Formulate them very consciously.

For this reason, the start line can be configured separately in most tools. Put what is important at the beginning so it doesn't get cut off.

In our favorite tool, Drip, this area is called “Email Preheader”.

11. Schedule the time of shipment

You will probably need to test this for your industry. Does it make sense to set a regular delivery time?

When testing, you might find that Saturday and Sunday are the best times for you. Or maybe these are the days of the week when your e-mails are opened the least.

Generally speaking, this cannot be said.

But if you send e-mails to corporate customers at 4:50 pm shortly before the end of the day, people are no longer very receptive or do not even open new e-mails. And the next morning there are so many other emails in the mailbox that your message is more likely to get lost.

Rules of thumb at the time

  • Day vs. night: send your emails during the day
  • Avoid assembly: People come to the office with full mailboxes
  • Early enough for events: many do not open until days later
  • Remember in a timely manner: many sign up at the last minute
  • Friday free: this is already the weekend for many
  • Time? From 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. or around 2:00 p.m.

Note: these are generalized rules of thumb for the timely dispatch. Your desired customers, your industry, your recipients may think differently!

12. Individually suitable content

With today's email automation tools, you have the option to assign tags. That means you can assign keywords to your subscribers. It can be:

  • Areas of your offer that they are interested in
  • Events where they met you and which gave you their contact details
  • Webinars, blog articles they watched
  • Etc.

With preset rules you can have these tags assigned automatically and do not have to do this "by hand".

So you can Segments for your email delivery and target people with the exact content they are interested in.

So not always a newsletter for everyone, but a little more targeted.

Our customers can do that Open rates from 60 to 80% achieve by sending good, relevant content to targeted segments. And the de-registrations are almost zero.

It takes a little more effort, but the result is also much better.

Communicate the exclusivity

You can also make this segmentation transparent from time to time. With this you express that you do not send a certain email to all of your subscribers, but rather carefully choose who might be interested.

For example:

“I'm sending this invitation to selected contacts: Last year you requested information about my online course. That's why you should be interested in my new webinar. "

13. Try different things out

Your email automation tool should offer A / B split tests:

This allows you to send two different versions and compare the opening and click rates.

Try something out every now and then and send for example:

  • the same mail twice, but at a different time
  • one email with and one without pictures
  • the same content but different subject lines
  • Etc.

You can also do this in advance of a larger mailing: do an A / B test with 10% of your subscribers and then send the more successful mail to the remaining 90%.

Your subscribers won't notice anything.

PS: Bonus tip

Say the most important things again - in a "PS:" at the end of the email.

It has been proven that PS: people read most of the time, even if they just skim the rest of the text. “PS:” - ​​that suggests a bonus, something special, exclusive.

Therefore place the call to action there again.

2. Bonus: Newsletter tips & tricks!

We have created a new collection with lots of tips and tricks for newsletters, which you can find here. It contains words that you should absolutely avoid in subject lines - but also lots of ideas and examples of good subject lines. The collection is constantly being updated - so save this link.

Test our tips now!

Now you've got some easy-to-use tips from us. What do you start with

Three steps that you can easily implement for your next newsletter:

  1. Invest a little time in one exciting subject line
  2. Add to your email a “PS:” is added
  3. Bookmark this article so that you can look at it again and again and download the Download tips as PDF:

We hope these email marketing tips help you!

And by the way:

Sam regularly publishes videos on topics from email marketing, online marketing, etc. on our YouTube channel.

We wish you good luck with it!

Talk to us, when you need mentors for your online marketing. If you have a good, honest offer, we'll be happy to help you attract new customers online!

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Posted: Topics: Marketing AutomationTags: Content, Conversion, Email, Email Automation, Email Marketing, Open Rate, Online Marketing