As a digital media company, your chief goal is to get eyes on your content. You want readers who regularly visit your site, open your emails, and engage with your brand. You already publish content that people love. How can you ensure that your readers always see it?

Publishers have long relied on email marketing to help share their content. After all, email gives you a direct line to your subscribers. Unlike social media, you don’t have to rely on a third-party platform to gain insights into your readers. Your list is yours. Results are better too, as a message is 5x more likely to be seen in email than via Facebook, according to Radicati.

Newsletters, in particular, are the cornerstone of most media company’s email marketing strategy. But newsletters are useless unless subscribers are opening and reading your messages. That’s why we’re sharing how digital media companies can boost newsletter open rates.

Clean up your lists to boost engagement

For years, marketers and publishers obsessed over the number of people on their email lists, reasoning that a lot of subscribers meant sweeping success. However, the number of list subscribers is a vanity metric. While it may seem important to have a large list, it’s more important to have subscribers that open and engage with your emails.

Digital media companies that want to improve newsletter open rates should start by cleaning up their email lists. This means creating re-engagement campaigns, as well as removing dormant addresses and subscribers who are not engaged. You want your subscribers to be invested in your content, so removing those who are not interested is a surefire way to improve email engagement.

Use segmentation and personalization to deliver relevant content

Your subscribers want to receive email messages that are tailored to them. That’s why digital media companies segment their lists to personalize their newsletters. After all, transaction rates are six times higher with personalized emails compared to generic email blasts, according to Experian.

For example, Penguin Random House allows subscribers to choose which book genres they’re interested in hearing about. Based on this information, Penguin Random House can send out personalized messages based on preference. If a subscriber wants to hear about Mystery & Suspense, they’ll receive relevant messages that encourage them to open the emails.

Penguin Random House – Personalized and Segmented Email Marketing

In order to implement personalization, you can use dynamic content to swap out messaging based on subscriber data. For example, if you send a monthly newsletter to all of your subscribers, you can use dynamic content to populate one section of the newsletter with personalized recommendations.

If you’re sending emails with relevant content, subscribers will be much more likely to open your messages.

Email Newsletter – Personalized Relevant Content

Hand-curate to solidify your narrative

There are two main ways for publishers to manage their newsletters: they can use automation to automatically populate newsletters with content or hand-curate newsletters based on subscriber interest, performance, and marketing goals.

More and more publishers are investing resources in hand-curating newsletters, and that’s because they’re able to intentionally curate the voice of the brand to provide meaningful content and a thoughtful narrative to the audience.

For example, Apartment Therapy sends out a hand-curated newsletter, complete with a personal message from the editor. This makes the email newsletter feel deliberate and on brand.

Test subject lines and analyze results

When it comes to open rates, your email subject line matters. When an email lands in a subscribers inbox, it’s likely to be ignored unless it has a compelling subject line.

While it’s hard to give blanket advice around subject lines, there are a few things that usually make a difference. Personalized subject lines work, as our study of power words in subject lines found that using the recipient’s first name in the subject line increased the chance of the email being opened by 14.68%.

Additionally, you need to consider the pre-header text as well as the subject line. One of the biggest mistakes publishers make is not being deliberate about their pre-header text.

Converse Email Marketing – Subject Line and Pre-Header Text

Consider frequency and timing

How often are you sending newsletters, and what day of the week are you sending them? It turns out that frequency and timing can influence open rates. We conducted a study and found that 47% of emails are opened outside of work hours, which is good food for thought. It’s a good idea to experiment to find a cadence that works best for you.

But you can also put your subscribers in the driver’s seat by allowing them to select how often they want to receive emails from you. This ensures they’re receiving emails at a frequency that works well for them. By encouraging subscribers to visit a preference center, you can make sure they’re picking and choosing for themselves.

Wrap up

As a digital media company, you want to make sure that your subscribers are opening your newsletters. By following the tips we’ve outlined here, you’ll be well on your way to creating engaging newsletters that encourage more opens, clicks, and overall engagement with your brand.