Don’t Hate Your Newsletter, Fix Your Strategy

5 Tips for Better Open Rates and Click-Throughs

How does a 40 to 50 percent open rate sound to you?

Pretty good, I’m guessing. With the right strategy, you only have to invest about two to four hours a month for this type of satisfying return.

Liam Dempsey of LBDesign
Liam Dempsey of LBDesign

Liam Dempsey, owner of LBDesign (and a friend of mine), recently revealed his secrets to success in a Google+ Hangout and at a marketing meetup in Chester County. Let me share with you some of his results:

  • Open rate of 40 to 50% (average is 20.3% per MailChimp)
  • Click-through rate (CTR) of 3.5 to 11.5% (average is 2.9% per MailChimp)
  • Increased client interaction—compliments, referrals, etc.
  • Enabled connections between clients who otherwise wouldn’t have been introduced
  • Discovered and entered into a relationship with a valuable new business partner
  • Attained new clients and new business with current clients
  • Grew distribution list by 22% in 9 months
  • Received only three unsubscribe requests

See Liam explain his own methods and strategy behind his successful e-newsletter in this Google+ Hangout, and I will summarize some tips for you below:

Tips for an e-Newsletter Readers Can’t Resist

Know that not everyone will be able to take the same exact steps as Liam to replicate his success, but you should be able to walk away with ideas that will vastly improve your e-newsletters and other email campaigns.

Tip #1 – Craft a Strategy that is Reader Focused.

A snapshot of the August newsletter
A snapshot of the August newsletter

In this era of online sharing, Liam came up with a newsletter that is all about sharing and is interesting at the same time. Each month, his newsletter includes:

  • 2 client-focused articles that explain recent work accomplished and give background on each client
  • 1 “Introducing Our Friends” article
  • 3 links to articles of interest found online, with brief summaries for each.

Tip #2 – Be Thoughtful about Your List.

LBDesign is a small business, so Liam had a very manageable list of less than 1,000 contacts to begin with. He then culled that to a little more than 100 people who he thought would want to receive his newsletter.

So, at this point, you might be saying, “Well, I can’t do that, I have 5,000 (or more) people on my list.” Well, maybe you shouldn’t have that many people on one list.

The key to Liam’s success in business and in his newsletter is the relationships he builds. Are you building relationships with your customers or are you just looking for subscriber numbers? If the latter is true, that’s much like focusing only on getting “likes” for your Facebook page. Sure, you get short-term satisfaction and may look good on the surface, but is anyone really engaging? Are you—or your audience—getting any value from your effort?

Everyone can put more thought into their email lists and if you have thousands of contacts, that’s what segmentation is for.

Tip #3 – Be Brief.

Don’t use 500 words if 50 will do. Liam keeps his newsletter to three articles and none of them have more than 100 words. Most use between 50 and 75. Not only is this reader-focused but it saves you time as well.

Tip #4 – Keep It Predictable.

Not the stories, but the timing and the newsletter overall. Set yourself up for success from the beginning—do not overcommit. If you’re starting a newsletter, send it out once a month on the same day at the same time. This repeatable pattern gives you a deadline and gives your reader time to look forward to your next email.

Tip #5 – Use a Service that Does Much of the Work for You.

Google “email marketing services” and a bunch of companies come up—your web host may provide this service as well. LBDesign uses MailChimp, which is free if you have less than 2,000 contacts and send less than 12,000 emails per month. I recommend you start there and then compare others to their services, especially if you can use the free version.

For more tips and information, check out Liam’s SlideShare presentation from his night at the Chester County Marketing Group event.

The Bright Side of Marketing

Welcome to my new blog–The Bright Side of Marketing. Here, you’ll find tips and advice on marketing, copywriting, brand strategy and more.

We’ll take a look at what is working and what is not in current advertising, marketing and social media campaigns, like I did in my In the Crowds blog, but we’ll also focus more on helping business owners and marketers solve their day-to-day marketing challenges.

If you have topics you want to hear about or questions you’d like answered, let me know and I’ll try and cover them here.