By Sandi MacPherson @Kissmetrics 2/19/13
When fellow newsletter creators hear that the open rates of Quibb’s daily digest email hover between 50% and 70%, I get a lot of questions. People are curious to hear what has worked to keep the open rate so high and what I’ve learned or experimented with over the past 6 months.
Quibb is a professional news site that allows people to share what they’re reading for work, with an attached “daily digest” style email. Here are some recent open rates:
There are several tactics that have helped to maintain these open rates over time, along with some tweaks and adjustments that have worked well to keep them high over the past few months. Let’s dive in to what has worked…
1. Find Out What Subject Line Format Your Readers Prefer
Originally, the daily digest email had a horribly long subject line. For example:
The intent here was to try to leverage the positive associations and social proof the subscriber had with these names mentioned in the subject line. But it resulted in a boring, often repetitive list of names and a meaningless date. Focusing on the social aspects of your product can be powerful, but only if that’s the full intent of that email.
Instead, a daily digest of links should focus on the links themselves to encourage the person to open. Members were much happier with an adjusted subject line that featured the most popular link within their network for the day. For example:
This format exposes the content but also adds a bit of social context by including some names that have meaning to the subscriber.
2. Preempt Spam with Double Opt-in
An easy and common way to increase deliverability and curtail any spam issues is to send a confirmation email when subscribers first sign up for your newsletter. Make sure to send this confirmation email from the same email address that your newsletter will be sent from.
When the person first signs up, you have their attention, and they’ll be more likely to dig through their spam folder to find the confirmation email (if you’re unlucky enough for it to be routed there). Double opt-in has become standard and leads to a cleaner, higher-quality list.
I had a problem with spam initially, as some words within the body of certain subscribers’ first daily digest emails (which was user generated and beyond my control!) were picked up by various spam filters. Those subscribers were lost forever. However, adding the confirmation step helped to maintain these new subscribers. In fact, the confirmation email had a 100% open rate, establishing follow-on delivery success.
3. Provide Clear Choices of Email Options and Unsubscribe
If you’re sending different types of emails, make it very clear to your subscribers how to select which emails they want or don’t want to receive. Don’t cause email exhaustion by over sending. (continue @KissMetrics)