When you’re busy and burning the midnight oil just trying to keep all the balls in the air it might feel like a major accomplishment to just have sent out a newsletter. And it is (round of applause for you!). But then you check your stats and there’s nobody clicking your links, you’ve got too many ending up in spam folders and you have more unsubscribes than sign ups every month. Let’s talk about the big mistakes you’re making with your newsletter and get them fixed ASAP.
THE 5 BIG MISTAKES YOU’RE MAKING WITH YOUR NEWSLETTER (and what to do instead)
MISTAKE NUMBER 1 – NOT PROMOTING YOUR NEWSLETTER
This is the biggest of all because if nobody knows about it they can’t subscribe to it or read it. You have to be an advocate for your newsletter.
“But I don’t want to be too salesy”. I hear you but if you’re writing content that you think is valuable, shout it from the rooftops. There are people out there who want what you have.
LET’S FIX THIS – add sign up forms to your homepage, your blog posts and all your social media channels. If they don’t want it, they won’t sign up but give them a fair chance to decide for themselves.
MISTAKE NUMBER 2 – BEING INCONSISTENT WITH YOUR DELIVERY
This is entirely debatable in terms of how much is too much. I write a lot of newsletters for clients and in looking through those account stats I can say that there is no difference in the unsubscribe rate of someone sending once a month and someone sending weekly.
I do have clients tell me they think once a week is too much and if that’s you then just do once or twice a month. But stats don’t lie so if you want to send it weekly, go for it.
What I do know is that your newsletter is completely ineffective if it lands in someone’s inbox and they have no idea who you are or how they ended up on your list. Unsubscribe rates are going to be high but worse than that, your credibility is on the line here. You don’t look like a pro if you’re sending them an email once every six months.
LET’S FIX THIS – pick a timeframe that’s manageable for you but no more than once a month between them. There’s some discussion around sending it on the same day at the same time but I experiment with my days and times and I haven’t seen a negative consequence.
MISTAKE NUMBER 3 – NOT LOOKING AT YOUR ANALYTICS
If you want to get better at sending out newsletters that your clients love, look at your analytics. It’s not complicated but if you don’t do it you’re missing out on a goldmine of information. Here are the most important metrics to be reviewing:
- OPEN RATE – what percentage of readers opened the email. An average open rate fluctuates between 15% and 25%. For the interior design industry it’s 18%-20%.
- CLICKTHROUGH RATE – This number represents the percentage of readers that clicked on your links. The average is 2%-5%. The average click rate for the interior design industry is 2.1%
- BOUNCE RATES – how many emails didn’t make it into the inbox of your subscriber because the email server rejected it. There are hard and soft bounces.
- Hard bounces are permanent and could be that someone has incorrectly input their email address, their email expired or their domain is not in use anymore. These are permanently deleted from your list eventually by your email provider.
- Soft bounces can usually be fixed. Some reasons for soft bounces are your email was too large, their inbox is full or there’s an issue with permission (see below for more on this). Your bounce rate should be under 1%.
- UNSUBSCRIBE RATES – what percent of subscribers do you lose every-time you send a newsletter? It’s completely ok for this to happen and in fact, you want to weed out the people who aren’t there to convert to customers. If the rate per email is above .5% then you have to start looking at your content. Realistically the rate should be more like .1%.
LET’S FIX THIS – create a spreadsheet that you can use to track your metrics once a month, even if you send out 4 newsletters every month. You can start to make tweaks to anything that’s hovering too close to the high end of the scale.
MISTAKE NUMBER 4 – YOU’RE NOT GETTING OPT-IN PERMISSION
If you’re in Canada, you’re governed by CANSPAM, Canada’s anti-spam legislation. There are two types of opt-in permission for email marketing.
There is Implied Consent and Express Consent.
Express is easy because that means someone has agreed to receive your newsletters and typically will involve your opt in form.
Implied is definitely more tricky. CANSPAM allows for two variations on implied consent.
The first is that you have an existing business relationship with the person you’re sending the newsletter to. The second is that you have a non-business relationship like a charity or non-profit organization.
Now here’s the frustrating part – some email providers won’t accept implied consent and could suspend or terminate your account if they find you’re in violation. In other words, even if you have a conversation with a client and they agree to be added to your list, it could land you in trouble.
From your perspective, the reason you want consent is that without it, you have a much higher likelihood of ending up in a spam filter and bouncing back.
LET’S FIX THIS – Have your opt in form on your website pages as well as your social media pages but in addition, create a full-page opt in form. Those will have a URL that you can send to your clients in an email. All they have to do is click and sign up.
MISTAKE NUMBER 5 – YOU’RE NOT USING PERSONALIZATION IN YOUR EMAILS
Sounds too simple to be significant but according to Data Axle, adding personalization to the subject line of your email will boost your open rates by up to 50%. Not everyone is down with that but you can also benefit from adding readers names to the greeting. Neil Patel says that adding personalization can drop unsubscribe rates so that alone makes it worthwhile.
LET’S FIX THIS – all email service providers have a customization option for adding in a first name so make sure your opt in form is asking for that. Skip the last name because that looks like a robot wrote the email.
Hopefully I’ve shown you how easy it is to fix those mistakes you’re making with your newsletter and you feel inspired to keep going.
If you’re reading this and feeling like you don’t have time to keep up, book a discovery call with me and we can talk about how easy it is to hire someone to write your newsletters for you.