I hope your week has started off beautifully.
It’s been an exciting couple of days here at Revue as we’ve just launched the Revue Email Academy — a five-day course to help people who join Revue be successful with their newsletter. I’ll go deeper on this and more in the ‘Updates’ section below.
But first, I want to talk about something else. While building the Email Academy, we realized we were missing something important: Resources on what to do when your Open Rate is low.
So let’s get into that question; it’s one of the most fascinating things about the world of newsletters. Let’s jump in.
Open Rates aren’t everything
I’ll start with a caveat: Open Rates are not the be-all-and-end-all of newsletter metrics (we’ve spoken about that before in an earlier issue
). But they can
help you understand whether you’re engaging your readers effectively, and they can give you hints about the nature of your subscriber list and what makes them tick.
There are three things a reader will see before they decide to open your newsletter. And you can influence all of them. Below, we’ll cover:
- From name: This needs to be the most recognizable part of your newsletter brand.
- Subject line: This needs to stand out among the others in the inbox.
- Preview/Pre-header: This can give the reader more context, and it’s something newsletter writers often overlook.
First things first: what counts as a ‘good’ Open Rate?
Once you hit about 100 subscribers, your Open Rates should have reached a steady level, and shouldn’t fall too much from that point.
Email marketers are lucky to hit 20% as a steady Open Rate. But writers and creators should aim for a higher number. As a rule of thumb, anything below 25% definitely has room for improvement. Between 25-50% is good, but can also be improved. Above 50% is great — that’s a sign that most of your audience has been engaged with what you’ve created, and some might even be building a habit around your newsletter.
So, what if you’re thinking ‘Hmm, my 24% isn’t looking too hot right now’? Don’t worry, there are things you can do that should help — and I’m going to walk you through them right here.
Every email inbox will show a ‘From’ field as well as a subject line. Use the ‘From’ name to your advantage: it’s a great way to build brand recognition.
Ask yourself what your readers are most familiar with. Is it the name of your newsletter (eg. “Revue Weekly”)? Or do you run a personal newsletter, and people are most familiar with your name (eg. “Anna Elliott”)? Or is it a combination of the two (eg. “Anna from Revue”)? While the subject line is all about that specific issue, the ‘From’ name is all about your newsletter’s brand. One cool thing we’ve seen is people just using their Twitter handle (@revue).
Sure, you could call each new issue ‘Revue Weekly issue #1’, ‘Revue Weekly issue #2’ and so on, but why waste the opportunity to make your subject line stand out? Set a great ‘From’ name, and use your subject line to say something new and interesting with each issue. More on that below.
Tip: By default, your Newsletter Title will appear as the ‘From’ name in Revue (you can change it in the ‘Profile’ tab in Account Settings), but if you also set a Newsletter Author (also in Account Settings), that will override the Newsletter Title and appear in the ‘From’ field instead. The key here is to keep it consistent and recognizable.
Lots of research has been conducted into what makes a subject line that readers are more likely to click on, and we can share some of that with you here:
Decide on your audience and tone of voice. If your writing style is cheeky, let that shine through in your subject line. If your topic is serious, make sure that comes across instead.
Keep it short. 6-10 words is the sweet spot. It will be easier to grasp as a concept for the reader, and it’s less likely to be cut off by the recipient’s email program if they’re reading on a laptop or a big screen.
Put the most important part at the beginning. Most people will read your email on a phone (see this research from Litmus), and many email apps will only show the first few words of a subject line before cutting off.
Be interesting. What’s the most important issue or question you address in this newsletter issue? Pose it to your readers in the subject line. Or use a thought-provoking or funny snippet from the body of the email.
Be clear. Avoid complicated sentence structures or jargon. You don’t want to put people off by making it hard to understand.
Watch out for spam filters. There’s no clear list of what not to do here (if there were, spammers would find it and develop loopholes!), but it’s generally best practice to avoid lots of symbols and punctuation marks ($$$, ?!) and words related to finance or pharmaceuticals (cash, discount, income, etc).
The pre-header is the short line of text that follows the subject line when viewing an email preview in an inbox. It can go alongside or underneath the subject line, depending on the device and screen size. Most email clients show this text to let the recipient know what the message contains before they open it.
They are so often a missed opportunity in the newsletter world. Essentially, they’re an extra chance to engage your reader before they open the newsletter.
Look at the data
I hope that helped! Now, onto an equally exciting topic: What’s new on Revue since we last spoke…