One of the smartest things any company, organization, or business person can do is have a good email newsletter. It’s one of the most personal ways to reach someone and has the highest ROI, the average being $42 for every $1 spent. But every email marketer will tell you they’d like to boost their open rates and get better results. In this article, we’ll explore the best ways to get people to read your emails.
How to make sure your email newsletter reaches the inbox
Email is the preferred communication of most people with 90 percent of consumers checking their inboxes at least once a day. If you’re like most people, you’re on quite a few email lists. Some emails you’re probably excited to get, some you delete without even reading, and others you never even see. This is an issue many marketers are facing: for a variety of reasons, their emails never make it to the inbox.
You don’t want to be one of those marketers. In fact, you want to improve your deliverability and increase your chances to connect with your audience. How do you do that? First, let’s talk about a few essential aspects of email marketing.
Open rates: what are they?
So, I said there were some emails you delete without even opening. The industry has a technical term for this. An email open rate is the percentage of your total subscribers who open the email you send. The average open rate relies heavily on what industry you are in. An auto repair shop newsletter may not get opened when the subscriber feels their car is in tip-top shape. Many things influence your open rates, especially your sender reputation or your sender score.
Why your sender reputation is important
If the emails you send don’t end up in the inbox, your subscribers can’t open and read them because they never see them. This is why your sender reputation is important.
So, what is it? Everyone who sends emails, whether it’s a personal account or a newsletter, has an assigned sender score that determines your sender reputation. If your sender score gets low, the internet service providers (ISPs) categorize you as a spammer. Those newsletters or promotions that you put so much thought and work into are delegated to the spam folder.
Legitimate companies and senders have ended up with low sender reputation due to their actions and not being aware of the best email marketing practices. One of the most important ways to maintain or improve your sender reputation is by using email validation.
How email validation helps
Even the best of email lists will deteriorate in time. Some of the good, working email addresses go bad. Many email lists add emails that weren’t valid from the get-go. All of these undesirable types of emails will dramatically decrease your sender score and can get you labeled as spam.
There are even more email types that can infect your list:
- Invalid email addresses – this is a biggie. Invalid emails will always bounce. A good list shouldn’t have more than 2 percent of the addresses bouncing.
- Abuse emails – you don’t want these folks on your list. They are the malevolent boogie men of email subscribers. They “forget” that they subscribe to you or they’re just plain malicious. They mark you as spam even when they asked to get your emails.
- Spam traps – they’re not real email addresses checked by people. Rather they’re set up by ISPs to try to trap spammers. Any list can end up with a number of spam traps.
- Temporary emails – they’re only meant to exist for a day or two or even minutes. Someone doesn’t want to give you their real email address and maybe they want to take advantage of some promotion and so they give you a temporary or disposable email address. There is no marketing or communication value to these addresses.
- Role emails – sometimes called role-based, they aren’t likely to go to a single person. Rather, these are the addresses that are checked by a team of people. You’ve seen such email addresses that begin with “admin@” or “office@,” etc. You never know who could start marking you as spam or deleting you right away. There’s not much use in having these on your list so you should weed them out.
- Catch-all emails – Some organizations set up an inbox that will “catch” any email sent to that domain. That way if the sender has the wrong address or mistypes it, that email will still land. The problem with these catch-all inboxes is that some of them may be full and your emails to them will bounce.
As you can see, there are plenty of bad email addresses that can end up on your list. They will affect your sender score, which can mean legitimate subscribers won’t get a chance to read your newsletters.
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The solution here is pretty easy to implement: use an email validation tool. A reputable service will identify the poor-quality emails and remove them.
If you’ve already got a list – of, say, more than 100 – you can clean it in bulk by uploading it onto the platform.
If you have a website, you can also set up an email verification API that validates in real-time and nip the problem in the bud before it ever happens. It’s a big step to getting your emails in front of more people, but there are more things to consider.
Your subject lines matter
How many times have you gotten an email newsletter that the subject line bored you to death? You probably didn’t read those newsletters. An example of this would be when your bank or credit union sends you an email that says “A note from our President,” or “A word of appreciation to our shareholders.” It tells you nothing and makes you assume that opening and reading that email will be a waste of your time or is a bunch of fluff.
Now, imagine you’re on the receiving end of the email. Would you want to open it? Be honest with yourself. Of course, there are also those subject lines that make you immediately assume that it’s spam.
Don’t include spam words in the subject line
Speaking of which, some words trigger spam filters and will send your email directly to the spam folder. Words like “free,” “money,” or “save now,” can make an ISP assume that an email is a junk. And guess what happens next? Your email is going to land in spam, where chances are no one will ever see it. Since your goal is to get more people to read your newsletter, you want to take all precautions to avoid the junk folder.
Try to be conversational
While you’re avoiding spammy words and keeping your emails professional, that doesn’t mean you must write something so technical that it seems robotic. If it’s relatable, people will feel like a real person is communicating with them, which should be exactly what will happen if you land in their inbox. Your writing should be friendly and engaging.
Connect and involve your audience
As mentioned, it’s a good idea to be engaging. Connecting with people is the name of the game, but it never hurts to be bold when it comes to involving your audience. Ask them to write you back! Consider featuring them in your newsletters. Communication is a two-way street. While you’re connecting with your readers, why not ask them to recommend or share your emails with their family and friends?
Cross-promote and grow your list
Now that you’re doing all the right things to get your newsletter read, why not let everyone know about it?
It’s a good idea to promote your newsletter and have a way to sign up in all the ways people interact with you. Let your followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter know about your newsletter and encourage them to subscribe. If you have a website, don’t hide the sign-up form. Make sure it’s prominent and easy to find. Consider having the sign-in form in a few different places. If you have a store or public location, actively invite people to sign up!
Enjoy the process
The entire process of writing and sending an email newsletter can be enjoyable. If you follow these guidelines and have fun, you’re going to stick with it. As you keep doing it you will learn more and your list will grow. Whatever vibe you set with your newsletters will transfer to your readers. Don’t be afraid to experiment, use your imagination, and be true to your brand. You’ll find you have more readers in no time.
Author: Paul Leslie is a Content Writer for email validation company ZeroBounce. He has a rich background in content creation as a writer, researcher, and interviewer. Paul has conducted more than 800 interviews distributed via radio and podcasts.