Improve low open rates for your email newsletter and you'll often earn more revenue from your list.
While the latest iOS updates make open rates less accurate, they’re still relevant to determine the health of your list and the trend for how your email marketing is performing.
I 10x-ed my own open rates from below 5% to 46-50% on average. And I’ll explain what I did, so you can get the same results!
Before we dive into the meat of this email though, I want to introduce you to my friend Justin Moore.
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Why email open rates matter
If you don't improve low open rates, you’re leaving money on the table and are missing out on an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your audience.
Email marketing still generates a 42x ROI according to Oberlo but given the 330 billion emails hitting our inboxes every day, standing out in the inbox is harder than ever.
You surely have tried more than once to “make email work”. After all, neither you nor I want to be at the mercy of Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn algorithms to show our messages to our audience.
When I started taking email seriously, writing newsletters felt like pulling teeth.
I would have rather stuck my hand into a lawn mower than written an email newsletter I knew not even 1 in 20 subscribers would read.
Ok, that’s a bit drastic but you get the idea.
Putting effort into something you know won’t pay off sucks.
Yet, we don’t improve unless we repeat what we do and double down on what works.
What you can do to improve low open rates
Here’s what I did to increase my email rate from 5% to 46-50% within roughly 18 months.
Hit the inbox more often.
The first hurdle you need to take is to actually show up in the inbox instead of going to spam.
I started by moving from ActiveCampaign to ConvertKit. Immediately, my open rate jumped from 5% to 15%.
You can get an extended trial for ConvertKit because we’re friends.
You’ll also want to set up DKIM, SPF, and other technical records that your email service provider can help you with.
Write better subject lines
The subject line decides whether or not your subscribers open your email once you’ve made it to their inbox.
Here’s what @ecomchasedimond has to say about subject lines:
There is no magic formula for what type of subject line works for your list.
I’ve tried more copywriting formulas than I’d like to admit and most of them fell flat on their faces.
Here’s what actually works and drove measurable improvement in my open rate:
- I prefix every email with the ✍️ emoji. This makes my subject lines stand out visually.
- I write my subject lines using Jasper.ai and tweak the AI-generated output to what feels right.
- I write the email subject line last - AFTER the entire email is written.
This is what works for me. Use this as inspiration to find what works for you.
Send an email at least once a week
I learned from Adrian Savage during his session at List Building School that frequency is super important.
If you email less than once a week, you’re likelihood of going to the spam folder increases.
Don’t email subscribers who didn’t open an email in 60-90 days.
If you want to get more insights into hitting the inbox more often and automating your weekly emails, get your free 5-day access to the List Building School replays.
Check out the sessions from Adrian Savage, Bryan Mills, and John Shea.
Be careful about your words
How you write your emails matters.
If you write “click here” to make people click on links, you’re almost certainly decreasing your open rate.
Jakob Greenfield said his open rate tanked when he added sponsors and introduced them as “Sponsored By” in his newsletter.
Rephrasing to “Brought to you by” increased his open rate again to where it was before.
Email providers are clever. They recognize patterns that aren’t inherent to how we speak.
You wouldn’t say “click here” in an email to a friend either, would you? You’d have “check this out” or “here you go” be the link.
This is what my recent campaigns look like right now.
By leveraging all the strategies mentioned above, you can get similar open rates.
What keeps most people from achieving these numbers is the lack of consistency - and I’d hate that for you.
That’s why I want to give you an incentive to work on your email list growth and open rates: two additional revenue streams.
Stream 1: Sponsorships
The higher the engagement on your email list, the more attractive your list is for sponsors.
You don’t need hundreds of thousands of subscribers to get sponsors. The average creator has 645 subscribers according to ConvertKit - are you above that?
The size of your list is only one factor that determines what you can charge for a company to sponsor your newsletter.
Start your 7-day trial of my Paid To Create course for just $1 and discover the other factors that make up the price.
You’ll also learn everything else you need to know to get sponsored.
Stream 2: Sparkloop Referrals
If you’d like to keep your newsletter sponsor-free, you can sign up for the SparkLoop Partner Program.
It’s free to join and lets you recommend newsletters from other creators to your audience.
Every time they subscribe, you get paid.
Here’s a signup link for SparkLoop, it’s really easy.
Don't take your list for granted
Having an engaged email list is a big privilege and I don’t take you for granted.
Most businesses that struggle in these times do not have an audience that trusts them or even pays attention to what they say.
To build a predictable income, you have to build a following and serve your audience.
Email still is my favorite way to do that.
Getting newsletter sponsors and using referral networks like the SparkLoop Partner Program are revenue streams anybody can leverage.
All it takes is writing one email a week.
I promise putting effort into email marketing will have positive ripple effects across your entire business.