Read on how to create an email newsletter with high open and click-through rates, in short, those that people actually read.
Email newsletters contain updates and news to make the target audience aware of your brand, product, and other relevant information. Keep in mind that they are not necessarily used to convey a “hard sell” message.
Remember that the most successful email newsletters feel like they are written by a helpful friend rather than a pushy, intrusive seller.
Email Marketing Benchmark You Need to Know
Between 2018 and 2019, CRM company HubSpot conducted a survey involving more than 19,000 customers to determine the ideal email marketing benchmarks depending on the business and industry.
They mainly focused on the open, click-through, unsubscribe, and hard bounce rates.
These are the highlights of their findings:
- A good or acceptable open rate for email is 20.94%. However, it might have some variations based on the business; for example, the electronic industry’s average is 19%, whereas in real estate it is 26%.
- Across all industries, the average or ideal click-through rate is 7.82%. But if you can achieve a rate higher than this, the better.
- The average bounce rate across all industries is 0.63%. It pertains to the total number of emails sent that could not be delivered to the recipients’ inbox.
Now that you know the benchmarks to follow, or better yet, to beat, you can read the guidelines below to help you create email newsletters with high open and click-through rates.
Be educational and entertaining
Contrary to popular belief, an email newsletter is not a full-blown promotional platform. In fact, most marketing experts recommend that it should be 90% educational (and entertaining) and just 10% promotional.
Blatant self-promotion rarely works in today’s consumers. Instead, the best way to stoke their interest is to give them valuable and informative content such as how-tos, video tutorials, infographics, etc.
For example, imagine you’re a company that sells garden tools and plants. An excellent newsletter would be about “the ideal landscape design for small yards” with a few links to related products.
Have a concrete idea on what your newsletter will be about
Every email newsletter should have one purpose and core message. For example, a new product promotion should only include a copy that mentions it–do not add PR stories, company updates, and upcoming events.
Write your email subject lines according to best practices
A good rule of thumb is to write the subject line in a way that it reflects your content. On the other hand, stay away from misleading and vague messages to avoid confusion, mistrust, and high unsubscription rates.
These are the other best practices when writing your email subject lines:
- Keep it short and direct.
- The subject line should reflect the recipients’ values, lifestyle, etc. For instance, if your target audiences are baking aficionados, make sure that you include terms related to their hobbies–e.g., baking tools, stand mixers, icing tips, pastry brushes, etc.
- Don’t use caps and too many exclamation points. Doing so will make your subject line feel like it’s screaming.
- Personalize it by including the recipients’ name, their company, or other personal details about them.
- Emphasize the timeliness of your email newsletter–e.g., “Shop now, our sales day ends today,” “Breaking News…” and “Enjoy 50% this week.”
Make sure that your email newsletters are mobile-friendly
Around 68% of email campaigns are opened using a mobile device, which means your newsletter should have a mobile-friendly design. Failure to do so, according to a 2018 Campaign Monitor report, will result in immediate deletion (within three seconds).
Follow these best practices to make your email campaigns mobile-friendly:
- Keep your subject lines under 25-30 characters.
- Ensure that your copy is scannable, understandable, and “easy to digest.” A good rule of thumb is to use bullet points, headers, and short paragraphs.
- Create a catchy pre-header text, which is the first line of copy in the email that summarizes the content. (It is similar to the meta description you see when you make queries on search engines.)
- Include a call-to-action message and place it in the front and center of the copy. Also, make sure that your CTA has an easy-to-click button–i.e., at least 44 x 44 pixels.
- Use mobile-friendly images and avoid source-hogging photos and graphics that can lead to slow-loading email.
- Leave enough white space. By leaving a breathing room, your recipients can easily click the CTA button and not be bombarded by too much visual information.
Limit your CTA
Your copy should only have one primary call to action button. While you can add 2-3 CTAs, they should only serve as a “less important” option–for example, a link to a blog or a share button.
Ensure that your "from" name reflects your company
The “from” name is the name recipients see when they receive your email. A good rule of thumb is to use your business or personal name that the subscribers are already familiar with.
By making your “from” name recognizable, your email newsletter will have high open rates.
Don't overdo your email campaign
As with anything in life, overdoing your email campaign–i.e., sending out newsletters more than once a week–will have a detrimental effect. If you resort to aggressive marketing, your subscribers may report you as spam, unsubscribe to your email list, or block you.
In a survey released by Marketing Sherpa, around 86% of consumers wanted to receive a monthly promotional email, while 60% said they wanted it every week.