How to Stop Getting Your Newsletters Ignored

by Team Caffeine · 3 comments

Not Listening Not Listening

Being ignored really hurts.

Especially when you’re doing the right things.

You take on board that email marketing is the future.

You sign up a small tribe of 100 people to your list, a nice seedling that’s set to grow.

You spend days painstakingly crafting your email newsletter.

Then only a couple of people on your list open it.

It’s like a slap in the face. If this is how email marketing rolls, you’re not sure you want any part in it.

The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can compose emails that get attention and draw traffic to your website. You can make sales from email.

It’s all about how you use it. Here are our top tips to step getting your email newsletters ignored.

1. Learn to Write Subject Lines

If you do nothing else, do this. If your email headlines aren’t up to scratch, then of course no one’s going to click. Chances are, you’re competing with hundreds of other emails for attention. Your headline must stand out from the crowd and arouse curiosity.

You can use headline formulas to get you started. Also, take a look at our in-depth headline writing guide.

2. Email Frequently – From the Start

Want to know the main reason people ignore your emails? They don’t know you. They’ve no idea who you are. And if you only send out a message to your list every three months or so, they’re never going to get to know you.

When someone signs up for your email newsletter, they’re inviting you into their life. Make the most of this invitation by becoming someone they love to hang out with. Then they’ll open all your emails.

How do you do this? From the moment they sign up to your list, email them every day. I suggest doing this for a minimum of thirty days. Every email should provide value, and get your readers excited about future emails.

Be the person they look forward to hearing from. Be someone they feel like they know as a friend. Then they’ll open your emails.

3. Don’t Bait and Switch

When you’re composing your emails, it can be attempting to write an attention grabbing subject line that has nothing to do with the content of your email. The reasoning is that if they open the email, they’re more likely to read it.

This might work once, maybe twice. Then your audience will catch on that you’re someone who fails to deliver on your promises. Not only will they unsubscribe from your list, you’ve also lost their trust – period.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

4. Don’t Buy Lists

There are plenty of places online where you can buy lists of emails. Building a quality list takes time, so buying a list is a tempting solution to a common solution.

Why build up your own small list over a period of months, when you can buy a massive list right away?

Buying or renting email lists are always a bad idea. The fact that the list is for sale will mean others have bought it too, so you’ll be last in line of a long list of spammers for everyone on the list.

What’s more, if people haven’t opted in to your email list, they’ve got no reason to want to know you. They’ve got no good reason to open your emails. Open rates for paid lists will always be way lower than for lists you’ve grown organically.

Finally, you’ll only end up damaging your own reputation. Sure, it’s unlikely that your spamming exploits will make the news headlines. But the fact that you’re spamming will be picked up by online SPAM traps. Your IP address will end up red-listed, and it could take years to recover your reputation and get your emails back into the inboxes of your customers.

In short: only use an opt-in list. Anything else will damage your open rate.

5. Make Sure There’s Something In It For Your Readers

The mantra of all content marketers is to “provide value”. This is especially true of email marketing. If your emails provide value to your readers, they’ll be opened. If you fail to provide value, your emails will end up in the trash can without being read.

That sounds great, but what is value, really?

  • Information. Information involves showing your readers how to do something they’re stuck with. For example, if you’re a landscape gardener, you could use your email newsletter to provide gardening tips to your prospects and customers. This is relevant to your customers, shows your expertise, and keeps you top of mind when your customers need a gardener.

How can you find out about common reader problems? Ask them! Send out an email asking your readers to share what they’re struggling with.

  • Entertainment. If you can spin a good story, make your readers smile, or give them something to laugh about, that’s value. Informative emails can be entertaining, which is a way of doubling your value.
  • Inspiration. Everyone has days when they feel down in the dumps and need a motivation kick to get going. You can provide that in your email newsletter. Make your readers feel good, and they’ll keep coming back to your emails.

6. Segment Your List

If you’re just starting an email list, this is a tip for the future.

As your list grows, you can divide your lists into micro-lists, based on the interests of your readers. With micro-lists, you can send out highly targeted emails. The better you target your emails, the easier it is to make them relevant to your readers, and the more likely they are to be opened.

7. Write as a Real Person

People respond to people. The more your readers emotionally engage with your emails, the more likely they are to open them.

That’s why you should write as a real person. This means two things:

  • Put your name in the from field. Make your email from you, not from the name of your company, not from “info” or “helpdesk”. Just use your name. Let your readers get to know you, the person.
  • Use a human writing style. Gone are the days of formal communication when letters began “Dear Sirs” or “To Whom It May Concern”. Don’t be pretentious, be real. In other words, write like you’re talking to a friend.

8. Have One Call to Action

You send your readers emails because you want them to do something, right?

You want them to visit your website, buy your products, check out your services, whatever.\

What you want readers to do as a result of your email is the “call to action”.

Paradoxically, the more calls to action you include in an email, the less likely your readers will take action. That’s because they’ll be confused about what to do. So, only use one call to action.

As far as possible, make sure you have a call to action in every email you write, even if it’s just clicking an interesting link. That way, your readers get used to taking action every time they read your emails.

9. Know the Open-Rate of Your Industry, and Aim for The Stars

No matter how hard you try, your open rate will always be less than perfect. Instead of aiming for the impossible, start by trying to match the open-rate for your industry (Stats here). Then, keep striving to beat your best. In then end, you’ll hit your stride.

Your Call

What are your tips and tricks for boosting your email open rate?

Lori R Taylor is the founder and executive editor of Social Caffeine. In 2009 she started her own direct response focused social media agency, REV Media Marketing LLC, coining the phrase given by her young son, “You bring the rain, we’ll make it pour.” Follow Lori on Twitter.

David is our acting editor. He’s British, but we don’t hold that against him.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

John Chapman October 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Not sure about mailing every day. It’s too easy to be seen as spamming. If you are going to do that then you need to really make it worth the readers while and possibly forewarn them that they’ll get a special offer for the next X days.


Sherman Smith October 25, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Nice write up on getting your newsletter opened and read. One thing a lot of people miss is segmenting your email list. You definitely want to cater to specific people within your list depending on the topic. Always deliver value and make sure your titles attract those target people within your list. Thanks for sharing!


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