What You Need to Know About E-Newsletter Marketing

Mar 2012

It was a long time coming, but Katie Wagner Social Media finally launched our e-newsletter last month! (Shameless plug: subscribe here for a monthly digest of social media tips to help you and your business!)

To be frank, before starting our own mailing list, I felt a slight apprehension about e-newsletters. Why? My own personal inbox is filled with junk e-newsletters, most of which I never read, prompting me to wonder: If we were to create our own e-newsletter, would our subscribers just overlook all of our hard work and instead hit “delete”, just like how I do with the newsletters that come in through my email?

The average open rate of an e-newsletter is around 8%, which, surprisingly, most people consider high. If you ask me, 8% isn’t really a reason to be celebrating, so why are people excited when that statistic is so low? The answer: Most people know that e-newsletter marketing is difficult, and since they aren’t doing it right, they’re not garnering the right attention. Any click-through or open is considered good for them.

Our first e-newsletter received a 54% open rate. How did we do it?

The two most important factors of successful e-newsletter marketing is a. emailing only people who want to be subscribed and b.  providing valuable information and content for your readers.

When starting your email list, don’t automatically go through your phone book and rolodex and add everyone you know.  Unfortunately, not all of your business connections and networks will want to be subscribed to your e-newsletter. Also, who wants to be automatically subscribed to an e-newsletter list? I know I hate it when I get random emails I didn’t sign up or agree to! Be respectful of your contacts.

What we did was we personally sent out emails to our contacts telling them about our upcoming inaugural issue, and then asked them whether or not they wanted to be added to our mailing list.  If a person replied “yes”, we then added him/her. This ensured that every contact we added to our new e-newsletter mailing list wanted to be on there. This also ensures that no one would mark our emails as “spam”!

You can also post up subscribe links on your website and of course your social media channels. The point is, don’t go adding people to your mailing list without their consent. 

Okay, so you’ve built a quality list of subscribers. Now how do you get them to open your email? The first thing your subscribers will see in their inbox is your subject line, so you want to make sure that your e-newsletter is titled with something that can provide value  to people. Don’t try to sell your product or service, and don’t title it something boring like “News from [Your Company!]”. Think about what your subscribers want to read. Add in valuable resources and content in your newsletter that will benefit your readers, and then create a catchy subject line about this. For example, our first e-newsletter was titled “How to Improve Your Social Media”.  Is this something that would interest our readers? Yes. Is this something compelling enough that would catch their attention and get them to open up our e-newsletter? YES.

Remember, when starting your e-newsletter, numbers and quantity don’t matter; What you need to care about is the quality of your mailing list, and who will want to read it.  If you’ve built up a list of people genuinely interested in your e-newsletter, and write content that will be valuable to them, your open-rate will guaranteed be higher.


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Core Values at KWSM a digital marketing agency