7 Common Email Newsletter Mistakes That Will Make Your Subscribers Very, Very, Very Sad
You know that content is the way to earn and maintain the attention of your audience so you put a lot of effort into creating a fantastic blog. And you’ve got an eNewsletter to remind people of that content. You’ve got plenty of subscribers but your open rate is painfully low. What gives?
You may be committing some of the most common email newsletter mistakes and not even know it. Fortunately, this list of mistakes are fairly easy to fix and could get that open rate pointing in the right direction pretty quickly.
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1) You’re Not Taking Full Advantage Of The Subject Line
The content of an email subject line is second factor only to a known sender in determining whether or not someone will open a given email. The only purpose of the subject line should be to get the recipient to open the email. Unfortunately, too often we see subject lines like these:
- July Newsletter
- Issue 133
- Newsletter Name: July 29, 2015
- Weekly Update
Using dates in the subject line is redundant and completely unnecessary because the recipient’s own inbox tells them when they received the email. Also, if you use the from field to brand your newsletter, there should be no reason to use the subject line for branding purposes.
Use the subject line to entice the subscriber to open the email by teasing the contents of the email itself. Put yourself in the head of your subscribers and think what they would find the most interesting thing in your newsletter and lead with that.
2) You Are Are Not Making Use Of The Preview Text
Most email marketing services like MailChimp or Constant Contact provide a space in their templates at the very top of the email for you to add teaser text. This space is usually followed by standard language such as “Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to view this message in a browser.”
The preview text follows the subject line in a subscriber’s inbox, so you have more opportunities to entice the subscriber to open your newsletter. If you do not use the preview text function, the subscriber’s inbox will display the first line of text it encounters, which is usually that message inviting people to view the email in a browser.
By not using the preview text, you’ve forgone another opportunity to boost your open rate.
If you have amazing content but are not telling your subscribers about it, they would surely be very, very, very sad had they known they missed it.
3) Like Us! Like Us! Like Us!
Back when social media was the new kid on the block, email went through a bit of an identity crisis and started proclaiming (a little too loudly and embarrassingly), “I’m social, too!”
The end result was that follow icons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et al got stuffed into email templates where they don’t really belong. These icons are simply a distraction because most subscribers will ignore them. The purpose of an email newsletter is not to build your social following, it’s to be an email newsletter.
If you want to use email to build your following on social channels, create a separate email campaign for that purpose. Or include a blurb within your newsletter that explains the benefits to them for following you.
Treat your subscribers with respect by not begging them to follow you at the top or on the sidebar of your newsletter. Tuck those social icons at the bottom of the newsletter where subscribers can decide for themselves whether or not they want to follow.
I mean, don’t you think that desperately pleading with your subscribers to follow you would surely make them very, very, very sad…for you.
4) The Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Introductory Paragraph
The introductory paragraph to newsletters are almost always ignored. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, although the introductory text of the newsletters they studied were on average only three line long, their eyetracking recordings revealed that 67% of users had zero fixations within newsletter introductions.
In other words: Newsletter intros are a waste of space. Get to the point!
Besides, if you’ve teased your content sufficiently in the subject line and preview text, there really shouldn’t be a need for an introductory paragraph.
5) Join Our Mailing List! Wait, What?
I thought I already had!
What exactly is the point of asking your existing subscribers to join your mailing list? They’ve already done so.
Asking your subscribers who have been receiving your newsletter for months, perhaps years, to join your mailing list when they clearly are already on it will no doubt make them very, very, very sad.
6) First Lets Talk About ME!
It is natural. The most interesting topic for most people most of the time is themselves. Companies and organizations are no different in their primal urge to tell people what they want you to know about them.
Resist. That. Primal. Urge.
Don’t stuff all your company or organizational news at the top of the newsletter. Think about your subscribers and what content they find valuable, compelling, or entertaining and lead with that.
If you must talk about company news that your subscribers probably don’t care about, do it concisely and further down in your newsletter after you’ve given your subscribers real value.
7) Forget About Forwarding This Email
Every email marketing service offers a “Forward To A Friend” module you can drop into your template that encourages subscribers to do just that with a call to action button.
They are worse than useless and here’s why: They take the subscriber to an online form where they can fill out the names and email addresses of their friends.
Think about it. You’re essentially asking your subscribers to spam their friends. Your subscribers have no guarantees that once they enter their friends’ email addresses in your database, you won’t start spamming them own your own.
The process requires many more steps and is far less effective than the way people normally forward emails to friends, using the Forward function of their own inbox.
Prompting your subscribers to share your newsletter is a legitimate list building tactic but the Forward To A Friend module is not an effective way to do it.
Instead, write a unique blurb that asks your subscribers to share. Frame your message in terms of helping to build the community. If your content is valuable enough, people will naturally want to share it anyway so pay attention to subscribers who have an inordinate number opens for a given newsletter and figure out some way to lavish them with special attention.
If you fix these seven simple email newsletter mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to both improving your open rate and making your subscribers much happier.
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