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Optimizing your email newsletter

Optimizing your email newsletter: data hygiene, increasing subscriber count, and increasing open and click through rates.

Vikrant Duggal
Vikrant Duggal
• 4 min read

Over at RevPipes...

While we have seen a rise in social media communication and now the rise of apps like Discord and Telegram, email remains a valuable mode of communication and still at the top of the list of channels for marketing teams, especially when resources are limited.

I've managed an email newsletter that has grown 300% in the last twelve months (from 200 subscribers to over 800 subscribers). In that time I've learned a few lessons around data hygiene, increasing subscribers, creating a consistent rhythm and increasing open and click through rates.

For this essay I'm assuming you have an email list (note: I'll talk about what to do if you don't have a list yet). I use MailChimp for my email newsletter, but you may be using one of many applications available.

I've observed a few things that give me pause and I'm writing this essay to share some low hanging fruit you can take advantage of.

  • You have lots of email addresses, but it's unclear who you are communicating to and all the emails aren't in one place. You might have 20,000 - 30,000 email addresses in your database, but they're really you're only sending emails to 10% of that group. Tools like MailChimp charge for every email, so it's important to clean up the list!
  • Subscriber data. You might have first name, last name, address, email. Decide what you want. My recommendation is to just capture email and use your email marketing strategy to build a relationship and ask for more information down the road depending on your offering.
  • Where's the subscribe box? How do people actually subscribe to the newsletter? I recommend placing a subscribe box on your home page, or landing page.
  • Content for the newsletter. Companies are always doing research, talking to customer, learning, hosting webinars or other events. All of this is content that will feed into your newsletter. Remember, the newsletter acts as a catch all for all the content you've created in the past to catch your subscribers up on what's been happening. It's also acts as a way to remind them of what's coming up!

Recommendations

  1. Whatever tool you are using, I recommend you keep using it. Switching tools adds unnecessary overhead and we want to focus on outcomes right now. We can always switch tools down the road if we learn that's best.
  2. Make it easy for people to sign up. Add a sign up box on your home page, create a page dedicated to your newsletter. If you have a blog, add a subscribe box at the bottom of each post. When you send out your newsletter for the week, post on social media and include social proof of how many subscribers it went out to.
  3. Add a welcome email (automation) that goes to subscribers upon signing up. This is low hanging fruit that I find most do not to (and should). Think of your welcome email like orientation. Thank them for subscribing, make it easy to unsubscribe, give them some handy links to help them get oriented to you, show them how to add your email to their contacts so your emails don't go to SPAM, or other folders. If you want them to connect with you on other channels (e.g. Twitter) share those links too!
  4. Create a template email that leverages the content you're already creating. You are likely already talking to customers, taking notes, writing formal or informal material, creating offers, or opportunities for others, hosting events. All of this material that you create weekly can be dropped right into an email template and then to your subscribers. If you have the right subscribers that will love it and ask for more!

In summary, you want to focus your newsletter on the following:

  • Growing your subscriber base
  • The Welcome email (automation)
  • Weekly Email (template)

Tactics

Here's what this looks like.

Growing your subscriber base

There a few ways to get start increasing the email subscriber base:

  • Subscribe box on website (potential multiple pages) and at the end of blog posts
  • Promoting the newsletter and highlights on social channels
  • Ex: You post on your personal Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn: “The weekly [name of newsletter] went out to [#] subscribers this week. To get our latest [types of content], sign up here: [link].
  • Demand gen channels

The Welcome email (automation)

Format

  • Thank them for subscribing
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe
  • Set expectation of what to expect in the emails and when to expect them
  • Published content
  • Upcoming webinars or events
  • Any other regularly content you plan to share

Get Oriented

  • Who are you?
  • Reference top content [video]
  • Reference top content [report]
  • Admin Items

How to never miss a message from us

  • Add [email address] and to your Contacts
  • Desktop GMail:
  • Move this email from the "Promotions" or "Updates" tab to the "Primary" folder
  • If you can't find the newsletter, check your spam folder, and please mark as "not spam"
  • Mobile GMail:
  • Hit the 3 dots at the top right corner, click "Move to" then "Primary
  • Apple Mail app:
  • Tap on the email address at the top of this email (next to "From:" on mobile) and click "Add to VIPs"
  • Lastly, if you can't find the newsletter check your SPAM folder and mark this address as "not spam". If it's not in the Spam folder, check the Promotions tab.

Weekly Email

Template:

  • Short Welcome Note
  • Recent piece of content (link / summary for each report) - for as many pieces of content you have.
  • Save the Date (Upcoming event) - Include a summary of event
  • Last week’s event (Summary of event)
  • Connect with us outside of your email inbox (provide social links)

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