How To Improve Newsletter Open Rates and Maximise ROI 

Read Passendo’s guide to maximise your newsletter ROI. Learn how to improve newsletter open rates and increase deliverability.
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So, the number of subscribers to your newsletter is increasing by the day. As good as that may be, your return on investment (ROI) will remain low if the open rate is low. 

This article features insight on newsletter open rates and the strategies you can implement to increase them and maximise ROI.

Strategies to Maximise Newsletter ROI

In the pursuit to maximise your newsletter ROI, there are different strategies you can use. However, before you begin executing or even exploring them, there’s one critical step you must take. 

You need to shift your focus from lead generation to different aspects of the consumer journey from which you can draw more value. Instead of angling your strategy towards prospects, add more value for your existing pool of customers to boost retention and their lifetime value.

With this in mind, you can now turn your attention towards strategies to increase newsletter open rates such as:

  • Increasing deliverability
  • Optimising newsletters
  • A/B testing
  • Taking a proactive approach towards increasing subscriptions and lead generation

If you implement the above strategies, your newsletters will be in the best position to yield the results you desire. 

However, you’ll also want to increase your reach to increase newsletter ROI further. You can achieve this by nurturing leads, promoting content, increasing ad revenue, and with a native email ad plugin. 

What Are Newsletter Open Rates?

As you may know, there’s a strong link between newsletter open rates and email open rates. 

Whereas most people think email open rates refer to the number of people who open emails, that’s not entirely true. In essence, it accounts for individuals who go a step further and demonstrate intent to interact with the content. 

As such, open rates account for users who perform one of the following actions:

  • Enabling the email to display the images in full view or in the preview pane
  • Clicking a link in the email

As such, to bring your newsletter open rates up, you need to improve email open rates first. In the same vein, it’s also crucial to know how to calculate email open rates. 

How To Calculate Open Rate

When calculating email open rates, email service providers divide the number of people who open the email by the number of emails you send that actually reached recipients.

For instance, if you send 200 emails and 20 bounce, the total number of delivered emails will be 180. If only 20 recipients open their emails, you’ll have an open rate of 11% (20 emails from 180). 

Newsletter Open Rate Benchmarks

As you begin learning about how to improve newsletter open rates, it’s important to know what you can realistically expect. So here are some newsletter open rate benchmarks you should take note of:

Average Newsletter Open Rates

On average, the open rate for emails is 18%. However, this figure varies for different industries. Some of the sectors that enjoy the highest open rates of 40-55% include computer and financial services, education, religion, nonprofits, and government institutions.

What is a Good Open Rate for Newsletters?

If your open rates are within the average range, a good target to achieve is 25-30%. With this, you are likely to witness a considerable rise in ROI.

How to Improve Newsletter Open Rates

In comparison with other marketing methods such as social media, email offers a better ROI. For every dollar you spend, you can expect $38 in revenue. If you can improve your open rates, it can translate to a higher ROI.

When it comes to increasing newsletter open rates, there are two primary methods you can use:

  • Optimising the newsletter and its content
  • Increasing the newsletter’s deliverability

Optimise Your Newsletter 

Newsletters can be a perplexing thing for marketers. On the one hand, they’ve become popular in organisations today. On the other hand, you’ve likely been delivering newsletters to your audience’s inbox consistently week after week, but the results remain undesirable. 

So, what are you missing? 

Although it takes a lot of work to craft and send newsletters, that alone does not suffice. You need to take additional measures to optimise them.

1. Make the Subject Line Compelling

When you send out newsletters, the first thing that your audience will see is the subject line. Beyond indicating the topic it covers, it must compel them to open it and read. Some of the best practices for crafting compelling subject lines include:

  • Begin with the most important words- With only a limited number of characters you can use, more so for mobile, to compel readers, it’s best to have the most important information in front.
  • Use eye-catching and attention-grabbing language- Along with your newsletter, your audience will also receive dozens more. Use unique wording to indicate urgency and possibly induce the fear of missing out to ensure your newsletters are not among those that end up in the trash bin.
  • Research the keywords that perform well- Beyond your linguistic knowledge, it’s best to turn to data to determine the keywords that grab readers’ attention. For example, you will get better results with keywords such as ‘weekend’ and ‘upgrade’ if the purpose of your newsletter is to promote a limited time offer.

In addition, you can try capitalising the most important word of the subject line, using a listicle format, or framing it as a question. Using varying combinations of these strategies will ensure your subject lines stand out among the crowd.

2. Personalise Your Emails

One of the biggest trends of modern marketing is customisation and personalisation. When consumers receive promotions and offers specifically designed for them, they become more receptive. With newsletters, you can add a personal touch by including details such as the reader’s name, industry, and city.

3. Be Conscious of Mobile Users

With many users accessing the internet using mobile phones, not optimising for mobile is the easiest way to guarantee a low open rate. This is because users will quickly exit web pages and emails that do not look good on their devices. 

4. Keep the Newsletter Short and Make Use of Links

Even if you have a lot to say, a newsletter is not the best platform to use. Be considerate of the users’ time and keep it short. 

However, this does not mean you can’t avail the information you wish to deliver. Instead of sending an overly detailed newsletter, use outbound links to direct readers to articles with more details on specific topics.

5. Focus on Value

Undoubtedly, your audience receives plenty of emails each day. Given that they only have a limited amount of time to read emails, they’ll only open the most important ones and those from senders that offer value. 

Therefore, the long-term success of your newsletter depends on your ability to offer value with each. One of the best ways to ensure this is to create a newsletter content strategy. 

6. Include Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

Your newsletter should be a means to an end, which should essentially be an action by the readers. Therefore, before you send out newsletters, you must determine what you want to achieve with them. Along with this, you should also include a CTA to urge users to take action.

Increase Newsletter Deliverability

Even if you craft the most well-written and optimised newsletters, they will not help you monetise emails if you can’t deliver them to your subscribers’ inboxes. 

In regards to email deliverability, there are several pitfalls that you should avoid, such as using single opt-in, sending without custom authentication, and making it difficult to unsubscribe. Furthermore, you can also adopt practices that can improve deliverability, such as:

1. Perform Deliverability Testing

At any given point in an email marketing campaign, it’s important to know your deliverability. To optimise newsletter ROI, take the initiative to test your emails. Fortunately, there are email deliverability testing tools that you can use for this. 

2. Avoid Spam Trigger Words

Spam is arguably the biggest email threat people and institutions face. Roughly 85% of all emails are spam, and they cost businesses $20.5 billion annually. 

This is why spammy emails end up in the spam folder, which users rarely check. And if your newsletters end up in the spam folder, they will not reach your audience.

For this not to happen, you need to avoid spam-like habits. This includes using spam words such as ‘rich,’ ‘sale,’ ‘deal,’ or ‘free.’ Moreover, ensure that you use a reasonable number of links in your newsletters as going overboard will raise flags. 

Another thing you can do to improve deliverability is to have a third-party reviewer certify your emails.

3. Keep Good List Hygiene

Email service providers place a lot of emphasis on proper email hygiene. This involves understanding your subscriber base at all times, keeping up with the level of engagement and challenges they may have with your newsletter.

For this, they use a reputation filter. Such filters assess your IP address to determine whether you are a spammer as a spammer or it’s trustworthy. One key spamming habit that they flag quickly is sending numerous unsolicited emails or to inactive users. 

As such, you need to keep track of your subscribers and ensure they are active. Should you send the newsletter to many inactive subscribers, the hard bounce rate will be high, thus causing the email service provider (ESP) to block you.

Good list hygiene involves removing inactive subscribers who have not opened an email in 12-18 months. 

4. Only Include People Who Opt-in 

Taking shortcuts with email marketing is not advisable. Instead of increasing subscriptions organically, some opt to purchase email lists. Whereas it offers you a large audience much faster, it has more downsides than positives.

Such downsides include:

  • Since people do not get the chance to subscribe at first, they are more likely to unsubscribe
  • Recipients are more likely to mark it as spam as they did not authorise you to send them anything
  • The bounce rate will be high as such lists often contain many invalid emails
  • Such lists often include emails designed to lure spammers (honey pots)

 5. Use Double Opt-in

If you choose to allow readers to opt-in to your newsletter, you have two primary methods you can use; single opt-in and double opt-in. 

Although using single opt-in allows you to grow your subscription base faster, the ROI does not increase proportionally. This is because the engagement levels will be lower as not many of your subscribers will make the conscious decision to subscribe. 

Instead, use a double opt-in method where users confirm that they want to receive your newsletter. This will leave you with a smaller list with higher engagement levels. Moreover, users who confirm their subscription are much less likely to report your emails as spam. 

6. Ask for Customer Preferences

When many people unsubscribe from your newsletter or flag it as spam, the reputation filter will take note. As a result, future emails are likely not to arrive in the recipient’s inbox.

Nowadays, spam is not just about scams and dangerous emails but also unwanted ones. Therefore, you should only send newsletters that the recipient may want to read.

Even among your target newsletter audience, individuals have different preferences. Acknowledging this and offering them content they prefer can greatly improve engagement and deliverability and reduce your unsubscribe rate.  

In addition, you should offer subscribers the option to decide the number of emails that they can receive from you. This allows you to retain them as subscribers longer as one in four people unsubscribe because of receiving too many emails. 

Offer a preference centre where subscribers can choose the type of content they prefer and the frequency of receiving emails. As a result, you’ll significantly boost deliverability.

Improve Open Rates & Maximise Newsletter ROI

As newsletters become more popular, you can draw a lot of value from them if you use the right approach. The first thing you should do is focus on keeping subscribers and drawing lifetime value from them.

As such, you should also drop any questionable methods of increasing open rates, such as buying lists or using spammy wording. In the same vein, you should also adopt the best newsletter practices, such as allowing subscribers to opt-in and giving them a chance to select preferences.

Although it may take some time for you to realise tangible results, adopting such practices will prime your newsletter for success in the long run. 

Do you want to improve your newsletter ROI? Passendo can help you increase the value you get from your email newsletters. Some features include real time ad serving, a native plugin and access to an ad exchange. Book a demo today to see how we can help you optimise your newsletter.  

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