When I bought back my rights to my Mayhem Series, one of the first things I did was to revamp my newsletters.
So, let’s discuss five tips that improved my newsletters. Hopefully, they’ll work for you, too.
Readers like to know when they’ll hear from you. Whether you send newsletters weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly, sticking to a schedule improves opens and click rates.
- Choose a Theme
The biggest complaint from writers is they don’t know what to put in their newsletters. As a result, so many end up being “Buy my book!” emails. Once I chose a theme, my newsletters became a breeze—even fun—to write.
Base your theme around your genre. If you write in multiple genres, it’s a good idea to segregate your list into genre groups. For example, a newsletter about fictional characters might not go over well for your nonfiction fans.
Because I write Native American metaphysical thrillers exclusively now, I share fascinating animal facts and tidbits about the Natural World. Once I based my newsletters around a theme, my opens and click-through rates improved tenfold. And it can work for you, too!
An email open rate is the percentage of subscribers who open a specific newsletter. Tracking open rates will give you a better understanding of how often your audience look forward to your emails, how successful your subject lines are, and what type of content is the most effective. Most email providers supply open rates for you.
A good email open rate falls between 17-28%. The average is 21.5% across all industries, according to the Email Marketing Benchmarks Report of 2022. For Media, Entertainment, Publishing, the average is 23.9%.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
A CTR is the measurement of how many subscribers clicked on a hyperlink, call-to-action prompt (CTA), or image within your newsletter. The main goal for you is to measure engagement. By tracking click-through rates, you can gauge how your audience responds to your content. If you’re getting low engagement, it might be time to rethink what you’re sharing. Believe it or not, a good CTR is 2.9% for Media, Entertainment, Publishing.
Click-to-Open Rate (CTOR)
Most authors don’t pay enough attention to CTORs. It’s a mistake to ignore this valuable information. A click-to-open rate measures the effectiveness of your content. Because it’s based on the number of unique opens, CTOR is a good indicator of how interesting your content is to your subscribers. If your links, layout, copy, and overall content are interesting, your readers will want to click through to learn more.
Some email providers will show you the CTOR, some will not. To measure your CTOR, divide the number of unique clicks by the number of unique opens. For example, 100 clicks divided by 180 opens = 55%. As with all the metrics listed above, the CTOR fluctuates per campaign. A good CTOR for our industry is 12.4%.
- Write to One Reader, Not Thousands
Adopting the right mindset makes all the difference. If you try to please everyone, your newsletter will come across as cold and impersonal. It’s also stressful. My #1 tip is to write to your ideal reader only. If some subscribers don’t enjoy your newsletter, they don’t belong on your list. Chances are, they won’t buy your books, either. That is, if you’ve themed your newsletters to match your genre.
- How to Choose an Ideal Reader
Search your beta reader list or ARC team or readers who reply to every newsletter. One name should rise to the top. Or, better yet, use the same ideal reader you write for—you do have someone in mind while writing, right?—and craft each newsletter as a conversation between you and them. Not only will your newsletter sound sincere, but everyone who reads it will feel like you’re writing to them. It’ll read like a warm hug to a friend.
- Give More Than You Take
By sharing interesting tidbits, recipes, oddities from a certain era (whatever theme you choose), you are training your subscribers to click. Most of the time, you aren’t asking for them to buy anything. For example, in one of my newsletters I shared fascinating facts about eagles. If they clicked the prompt, it led to a live feed of an eagle’s nest. See what I’m saying? I rewarded those who clicked with the chance to watch mother and father eagles care for their young.
By training your subscribers to click links in your newsletters, when you release a new book, they’ll be more likely to click again.
In my next post (Part II), we’ll dig into the ins and outs of designing the layout of your newsletter, and why it’s important. If there’s still room, I’ll include how to set up an onboarding sequence. If not, there will be a Part III. 🙂 Sound good?
Do you write newsletters? What’s your theme? What’s your #1 tip? If you’re a reader, what type of newsletters are your favorite?