New Challenges for the Delivery of e-Newsletters

Clients are sometimes shocked when they review their first delivery report for their new e-newsletter. Their 1,000 subscriber list ends up showing that only 10% to 30% of their subscribers actually opened their campaign. From what I have seen with a variety of accounts, the open rate may never top 50% for e-newsletter campaigns.

So What Can a Business Do to Improve E-Newsletter Opens?

1. Make sure you are dealing with a reputable subscriber/e-newsletter service. I like iContact, Topica, and Constant Contact. If you are dealing with a small no-name service you may have delivery issues. The larger services will all police their own clients to be Can Spam compliant and typically work directly with ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to try to assure delivery of newsletters. That being said, it is not uncommon for double opted in subscribers to be sent via a specific IP block that has ISP service provider approval and those that are not double opted in to be sent through a different server block that may be filtered out at the ISP level and so never delivered.

2. Try to double opt in your readers. This is a hard one, and most lists we work with although typically “clean” will not be double opted in. Double opted in means that the reader has verified their email address and their desire to receive your message. This is a two step process – sign up for your e-newsletter and then respond to an automated email that asks them to click to verify their email address and desire.

3. Craft an e-newsletter title that is transparent and identifies who you are. Putting your name and a reminder of who you are in the title can help to increase open rates. So can sending at least once a month versus quarterly. For those clients that send infrequently to their e-newsletter list, their open rates will typically be lower, as readers in many cases have simply forgotten that they have signed up or who you are.

4. Make your newsletter sharable and memorable. ISP are watching reader behavior. If more subscribers never read, open, or click things in your newsletter, over time the ISP may lower your newsletter rating pushing it into filtered out status. Here’s a great article that speaks to this topic and shares with you some of the new technology and filters that Internet Service Providers are using to filter out spam.