Crap. It's that time again. You have to send out another newsletter. (Didn't you just do one of those? Oh yeah. That was a month ago. *face-palm*)
You sit down at your computer, staring at the blank screen. Suddenly, you find yourself going down a Google rabbit hole, frantically researching what happened to all the characters from Saved by the Bell.
With little time left in your day, you whip together a fast, frenzied newsletter and hit SEND. And then... nothing. Your open rate is dismal. No one is responding/sharing/clicking. And, for sure, no one is BUYING.
So why is this happening?
Well, there could be several things going on. Often, it’s not just “one thing”, but rather a combination of several issues. Let’s dig into those issues and some quick fixes, shall we?
First — why am I qualified to teach you anything about newsletters?
Every single week, I send a newsletter called O.M.G. (Original Melissa Goodness) to my 35k+ subscribers. I take pride in making each newsletter as inspiring and entertaining as possible. And every single week — right after sending out my latest newsletter — I receive an amazing pile of “fan mail”.
Also — while I definitely try to avoid fixating on stats and numbers — I’m proud to report that my “open rate” (the percentage of subscribers who actually open my emails) hovers around 40%. The industry average for marketing and publicity-related newsletters is 9%. That means my open rate is WAY above average. Finally, my newsletter is the #1 marketing strategy I use to sell out my online classes and enjoy a multiple six-figure business.
If you’re craving a higher open rate, more fan mail, and more sales with your newsletter, grab a frothy latte and dive into these strategies.
1. Stop bleaching out all of your personality.
If your newsletter sounds dry, corporate, and devoid of personality, it’s a surefire way to get people saying, “Ummm… no thanks. Delete.” If you continually find yourself thinking, “I can’t say that! I need to sound more professional!” as you’re writing your newsletter, be careful. You might be over-censoring yourself and stripping the personality out of your writing in the process.
QUICK FIX: Riff out loud on your newsletter topic (preferably while talking to a friend or biz bestie). Record what you say, transcribe it, then give it a quick polish. It’s the easiest way to get your personality into that email newsletter.
2. Serve more than you sell.
If all of your email communication sounds like some variation of “Buy me now — fast action bonus!!!”, well, can you blame people for sending it right to the trash or unsubscribing? Every audience is different, but, generally speaking, people don’t enjoy receiving a constant barrage of sales pitches. Try to give more than you request — and serve more than you sell — and you might notice a big change in how people respond to your newsletters.
QUICK FIX: Instead of including a call to action to buy something in your next newsletter, GIVE your audience something instead — like a free ebook, resource guide, audio love note, or an inspiring Spotify playlist.
3. Tell better stories.
So many business owners obsess over newsletter minutia that don’t really matter (“Should this text be italics or bold? Should I include a photo of a blossoming lotus flower or a photo of a smiling woman doing yoga?”). None of that stuff matters very much. What does matter… is telling a powerful story that’s coming from a place of genuine emotion (passion, anger, hope, joy…).
Want to sell tickets for your upcoming watercolor painting retreat? Use your newsletter as a platform to tell a true story about how you reconnected with your creativity after shutting it away for 30 years.
Want people to get excited about your stress-release class? Tell a true story about the unexpected mentor who came into your life and totally changed your attitude about meditation.
Want people to donate to your Kickstarter campaign? Tell a true story about how your fledgling project is already changing people’s lives in your community.
Storytelling is the key to getting people interested.
QUICK FIX: Keep a story journal of moments big and small that make an impact on you and your business. This will become your bible for fresh newsletter story ideas.
4. Include ONE request, not ten.
Nothing is worse than a newsletter that’s packed with 75 different requests (“Click here, share here, buy this, or this, and then this! Also, follow me on Instagram!”). It’s great to include a “call to action” as part of your newsletter, but limit yourself to one call to action per email. Give your readers one “next step” rather than a whole bunch, and they’ll be much more likely to get onboard.
QUICK FIX: Ask your audience to do just ONE thing in your next newsletter. You’ll do back flips when subscribers finally take action!
5. Delight your existing subscribers rather than constantly prioritizing list building.
If you’re spending hours and hours every single week trying to figure out how to get more, more, more people to sign up for your mailing list, it’s a misdirection of your energy.
Imagine what might happen if, instead of spending 5 hours of your life trying to figure out how to get 500 more subscribers to join your list, you spent 5 hours sending major love and appreciation to the subscribers that you’ve already GOT?
Instead of always obsessing over how to “build your list”, get obsessed with building real, genuine connections with the people who have already shown up for your party.
Those subscribers will brag about you to everyone, which means more people get introduced to your world through trusted recommendations. Word of mouth is the most powerful list building technique there is!
QUICK FIX: Spend some time sending personalized “thank you” emails to your most enthusiastic readers. Send a Starbucks Gift Card to the first person who signed up for list. Survey your community to see what’s going on in their lives. Show your audience you care, and people will be binge-reading your newsletter like a hot Netflix drama in no time.