It doesn’t matter how excellent your email content is if nobody reads it. Did you know that the average open rate for email newsletters is just over 20%? However, it is possible to achieve an open rate of 50% or higher! You just have to know the best email newsletter strategies to engage your audience. Follow our newsletter tips to learn how to increase email open rates and get your audience to take action.
How to Increase Email Open Rates
At FrontGate Media, we know what it takes to achieve a 50% or higher open rate for email newsletters. We do it for our agency and multiple Christian ministries and organizations. Follow our seven best tips so you can learn how to increase open rates, which ultimately leads to more engagement and sales or donations!
1. Make Sure Your Subscriber List Is Current
Make sure you send your email newsletters to an up-to-date list of subscribers. If people haven’t signed up recently, they may not be interested in what you have to share. (In fact, they may mark your email as spam if they don’t remember who you are or when they opted into your email list.) Additionally, too many old, undeliverable email addresses can decrease your open rate. To receive a 50% open rate, sending your email newsletter to an interested audience is essential.
2. Segment Your Email List
Segmentation is the process of separating your email list into groups based on similar characteristics. For example, the FrontGate email newsletter goes to multiple groups, including “Non-Profits,” “Publishing,” “Education,” and more, as well as a “General” Christian marketing list, so we don’t miss anybody. Because our lists are segmented, we can write unique subject lines and customize content relevant to each group, increasing email open rates and click-throughs. You can segment your audience into relevant groups by using various tags such as age ranges, gender, location, engagement with your brand, content interests, new subscribers, loyal followers, etc.
3. Write a Compelling Subject Line
This is critical. It’s more important than the newsletter content, yet the subject line is often an afterthought in the creative process. If your subject line doesn’t grab your subscribers’ interest, it doesn’t matter how valuable or pretty your email newsletter is. If you want to learn how to increase email open rates, you need to know how to write compelling subject lines. The subject line is what people read to determine whether or not your email is worth opening. Here are some email subject line best practices:
- Keep your subject line short and sweet–under nine words is best
- Limit your punctuation marks to three or less to avoid looking spammy
- Use emojis to increase engagement and stand out from other subject lines in your audience’s inbox (1 per subject line is typically enough)
- Tell your audience what to expect and be clear about the benefits they’ll receive from opening your email
- Use the subscriber’s first name in the subject line (see below)
4. Personalize Your Subject Line
Personalization is one of the best ways to increase email open rates. There are two main ways to personalize your subject lines. First, you can use the subscriber’s first name. Most email platforms offer this as an automated feature. If their first name is in your contact list with their correct email address, you can automatically tag your subject line to insert the individual’s name.
Second, you can personalize your subject lines based on your list segmentation. Doing so enables you to get specific about the benefits of your email, rather than choosing a general subject line that is relevant to everyone but not as compelling.
Here are examples that show how personalizing your subject line can make a difference and help you achieve a 50% open rate:
- “Christian Authors – Get our Platform Growth Tips Now”
- “Jackson, Download a FREE Devotional to Find Peace”
- “We Need Your Help Now Kate!”
- “Beth, We Need YOU at Charity for Children”
Personalization allows you to be specific and make your audience feel like you truly know them and understand their needs.
5. Write an Interesting Preheader
Your subject line isn’t the only chance to engage your email list. You can also write an email preheader. The preheader is the snippet of text shown in email software after the subject line. If you don’t write a unique preheader, your email platform will typically use your email’s first line of text. However, you can customize and personalize your preheader text to engage your audience and increase your email open rates.
6. Don’t Overwhelm Your Audience
It’s essential to keep a consistent and manageable email frequency for you and your audience. Too many emails can be annoying and cause people to unsubscribe. Typically, sending an email newsletter once or twice a month is enough to keep your subscribers engaged.
7. MOST IMPORTANT: Resend to Your “Unopened”
We saved the best for last. This is the most important of all the e-newsletter tips, and it will dramatically increase your open rates: Resend your newsletter to the subscribers who didn’t open it. The very definition of “unopened” tells you the subscriber did not see the email. Therefore, they won’t complain about being sent another copy. These subscribers could have been on vacation, attending a conference, or just too busy to get through all their emails. Whatever the reason, they missed your email, so it’s time to give them another chance to see it.
If you send a weekly newsletter on Tuesday or Wednesday, resend it to “unopened” subscribers 2 to 4 days later. Test resends to see what days and times work best for your audience. Then, you can add together the open rates from each send for your actual open rate. The total audience is still the same as when you started; you just got through to more of them! Typically we see 5-10% additional opens on a second send, but you can grow your opens even further if your email newsletter is monthly.
Email Newsletter Resend Schedule Example
At FrontGate Media, we send a monthly email newsletter to our audience. We resend to “unopened” subscribers every week across all eight audience groups. We do it cumulatively, setting up a resend each week that builds on the previous week’s send. In week #2, we create a duplicate of week #1 and set Mailchimp to send this email to a new list subgroup which is built on the filter of “Campaign Activity – Did Not Open – the Week #1 email.”
In week #3, we create a duplicate of the week #2 email resends and add a second filtering rule to the existing one from the previous week to further define the group by filtering on “Campaign Activity – Did Not Open – the Week #2 email.” Now there are two filters used to create this week’s send group. Be sure to set the filtering rules to apply “All” (and don’t leave it on the default “Any”). Filter #1 leaves out the “opened” from week #1, and filter #2 leaves out the “opened” from week #2. So, when you combine these two rules, you are left only with the subscribers who did NOT open both of the previous emails. We do this every week throughout the month, adding an additional filtering rule each week which achieves a 50%+ email open rate.
Achieve up to a 50%+ Open Rate with the Help of FrontGate Media
We would be happy to serve you with our expertise and help you by writing and sending your email newsletters. Email open rates are an important metric to track for any Christian ministry or organization. You can use our seven tips for how to increase email open rates to achieve as much as a 50% or higher open rate. However, if all of this is overwhelming and you want more information about how FrontGate Media can serve you to improve your email marketing strategy, please contact us today.