Email Marketing Tips for Increasing Your Email Newsletter Open Rate

Is your company name or brand enough?

In the heyday of postal direct mail marketing, we had four goals:

  1. Get the letter in the mail
  2. Get it delivered
  3. Get it opened
  4. Get it read

Of course, we hoped that after reading it, the recipient would act on the message as well, e.g., buy something.

Today, the challenges of email newsletter marketing are similar.

Unfortunately, many Internet marketers spend too much time building the number of names on their list. But they don’t devote enough effort to assuring that their existing subscribers actually receive and open their email newsletter.

The math is simple but bone-chilling: If you’re sending a regular email newsletter but the “open” rate is only 50 percent or less, you’re simply not getting through to half (or more) of your potential customers.

There can be numerous reasons.

Perhaps your email newsletter arrives on the wrong day. Mondays are generally the worst for B2B email—too much competition for the recipient’s time and attention. Wednesdays are generally the best.

Perhaps the title or subject line of your email newsletter is weak and unappealing. The challenge for copywriters to devise great headlines is greater than ever, especially when limited to only 55-80 characters that appear in some email clients such as Outlook Express and Netscape Messenger.

Now here is a real irony.

For decades, marketing copywriters (like me) have been preaching to their clients that the name of the company is never the headline of an advertisement.

However, there is increasing anecdotal evidence that when you simply use the name of your company in the subject line of your email newsletter—and little more—the open rate increases. This may turn out to be the exception that proves the rule.

If your company name or brand is known and trusted, the recipient may be more inclined to recognize your email newsletter from the subject line and open it.

Example: “Your weekly tip sheet from Ajax Publishing Corp.”

Example: “Ajax Publishing dog and pony show report”

The email newsletter marketing white list challenge

Of course, it could be that your email newsletter simply isn’t getting delivered, much less opened. Here, the best defense is a good offense.

You can help head off email newsletter delivery problems if you post confirmation instructions to your would-be subscribers on the “thank you” page of your order flow.

If your list is a double opt-in, here’s a sample you could post prominently:

  1. Please check your email, look for a message from [YourSenderHere(at)YourSender(dot)com] and click the link to confirm your email address.
  2. Please white list [YourSenderHere(at)YourSender(dot)com] to make sure you receive every issue of [Your Email Newsletter Name].That means if you have anything called white list, safe list, buddy list, friends, always allow, add contact, people I know, trusted senders, etc., please add the address [YourSenderHere(at)YourSender(dot)com] to that list.
  3. If you don’t receive the confirmation email from [YourSenderHere(at)YourSender(dot)com], please check your spam/bulk email folder.
  4. If [Your Email Newsletter Name] or the confirmation letter hasn’t arrived within four hours, please add [YourSenderHere(at)YourSender(dot)com] to your safe list and try subscribing to [Your Email Newsletter Name] again after 12 hours.

An example from Agora Publishing

Finally, it may not be enough to simply tell subscribers to white list your email newsletter. You may have to tell them precisely how to do it.

Here’s a great example of instructions from our friends at Agora:


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