Q: I have an open rate in the single digits, and I hear that is pretty horrible. How can I get more people to open my newsletters? I am not sending junk – it’s original content with some related affiliate ads.
A: There are a whole bunch of factors that contribute to your e-mail being opened by people on your list. Many of the issues are related to whether your e-mail is even being delivered to the subscribers in the first place.
You want to be sure that the people joining your list are indeed interested in receiving your newsletters or other communications. So it’s 100% taboo to just add e-mail addresses to your list. At a minimum, the recipients of your e-mail should have taken it upon themselves to opt-in to receive your e-mail.
Even better, you should have it set up so that they have to double opt-in. This is a process where any new subscribers receive an e-mail that requires that they confirm their request to join your list. Otherwise, they will never get your mailings.
When you send your confirmation e-mail to the subscribers, ask them to “white list” your e-mail address, so it will reach their inbox. Otherwise, some systems such as AOL and Hotmail may never deliver your e-mail to subscribers, even though they really want to receive it.
With that part out of the way, now you’ve got to concern yourself with getting each e-mail delivered to your subscribers.
There are some ESPs (e-mail service providers) who get higher delivery rates than others, because they have a reputation for following the rules. My favorite ESP is AWeber. Not only do they have a great suite of tools for e-mailing, but they’ve got a reputation as being a clean company that doesn’t tolerate spamming.
You should check right now to find out whether the IP address for your e-mails is on a blacklist. You can do this at rbls.org.
Also, each of your outgoing e-mails should be checked against the SpamAssassin spam filtering tool. This is a good gauge as to whether your e-mails are going to be flagged as spam by e-mail filters.
AWeber has one of these tools built in to check (see image at right) your messages and display any key areas that are being caught by the filter. Simply having a few points does not mean that your message will automatically be filtered out of your subscriber’s inboxes.
Most folks using the popular SpamAssassin software will flag anything with a score of 5 or higher to be spam. The tool will indicate the criteria and comments for certain sections of your message that SpamAssassin calls spam.
If your ESP does not provide a SpamAssassin spam filtering tool, you can use one for free from Lyris.
Also, if you are getting e-mails that bounceback as undeliverable, be sure to remove those e-mail addresses from your database. ISPs are inclined to flag people as spammers if they repeatedly mail to dead e-mail addresses.
Try these tips out and you should definitely see a big rise in your open rates.