You craft the content and sent out a weekly newsletter like always, but your open rates and clickthroughs are falling week by week.
Can’t figure out what’s happening? We asked nine entrepreneurs why newsletters, which may have had high/steady numbers in the past, would have declining open rates.
9 Reasons Your Open Rates Are Plummeting
1) Lack of Customization
"It’s not surprising rates are dropping and there’s only one reason in my opinion -- people want customized content. Period. They don’t want to sift though a bunch of junk that isn’t intended for them. Know your buyer and give them what they want. Email newsletters are part of the reason email as a whole is diminishing."
2) Not Optimizing for Mobile
"Chances are, the way your audience is consuming your content is radically different than it was three years ago. In fact, in 2013, over 50% of all emails were opened on mobile. And this trend is only rising as we speak. If your newsletter (or your website) doesn’t respond to this change, it very well might be the “hidden reason” why your numbers are dropping. Check your audience device statistics."
3) New Signups Don’t Know What to Expect
"Sometimes, what happens is your older leads are still opening your email, while new signups have no idea your newsletter is coming. Remember to automatically email new sign-ups with information about what they should expect from you and when. That way, they will be prepared to receive your email every Thursday morning instead of quickly tossing it in the trash because they forgot you even existed."
4) Email Subject Lines
"Often weekly business newsletters have the same subject line format. As email providers try to clear the inbox, emails with repetitive titles often start to go under Promotion tabs or in the spam folder. So you have to spice up your subject lines. One trick that helps is reaching out to inactive subscribers and asking them to update their preferences and contact details."
5) Not Enough Value
"If your newsletter is always about you and what’s going on in your world, you’re missing the point. Any time you send out an email to your customers and potential customers, it should give them something of value. This could be a tip, a strategy, a tool you’ve used that they could benefit from, or other free resources. If your customer gets value from what you send, they will keep opening."
6) Messages Getting Flagged as Spam
Spam is a moving target, as are the efforts of service providers to cut down on spam. If you have a sudden drop off in open rates, you may want to check to see if your mail servers or providers are on a black list.
7) The Label Leads to Boring, Repetitive Material
"Creators often see a weekly business newsletter as another chore. This mindset is poisonous. The creator goes through the motions churning out uninspiring, repetitive material. People’s inboxes are flooded. Many people hate their inbox because mining a quality Golden Nugget is like finding a needle in a haystack. Instead, be contrarian; solicit conversations and write back when they reply to you."
8) Stale Email Lists
"Nothing will kill your deliverability like a stale email list. To define stale, think about email subscribers who haven’t had activity in six months (either they haven’t opened an email or haven’t been sent an email since subscribing). Other contributors to a stale list are subscribers who were manually added without their permission. Both of these groups kill open rates and drive up spam complaints."
9) Format Congestion
"Like all forms of messaging, the success of a newsletter depends a great deal on being scannable and easy to absorb. Complexity isn’t ideal for inboxes."
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