Only 30% of my subscribers open the newsletters I send each month. What can I do to improve the odds?
-A musician, Dublin, Ireland
First and foremost, a 30% open rate is pretty decent. If you do a bit of internet researching, you’ll find that 20% to 30% is about average, regardless of the industry you work in. However, if you want to boost your open rate well into the above average range, you’ll need to think hard about what it is your newsletter actually offers your readers.
The biggest mistake I see artists making in their “newsletters” is that they’re filling them exclusively with news. Often I’ll get an update from an artist or musician that’s no more than a list of upcoming exhibitions or tour dates. Although I understand these artists want to give me important information about what they’re up to, they fail to answer the very basic question: “What’s in it for my readers?”
If you’re writing a monthly newsletter that’s all about “Me, Me, Me!”, your readers are likely to get bored simply because the information isn’t actually useful to them. When it comes to email newsletters, artists and creatives should always keep in mind the email newsletter holy trifecta:
Inspire. Educate. Entertain.
Every one of the newsletters you send out should serve at least one of these purposes.
If you’re a visual artist, your email blasts should be primarily visual. Why not include photos of your work in progress, shots of you working in your studio or an image that gives the reader a snapshot into your world and your creative process. If you’re a musician, why not include a few lyric from your latest song and a link to a Youtube clip of one of your acoustic performances? No video clip to show? No problem. Tell me the story behind the song. Let me into your inner songwriting world. To use an expression from the literary world, in your e-mail campaigns you should
“show, don’t tell.”
The point of an email newsletter isn’t just to talk about what you’re up to, it’s to involve the reader in your work, to share your excitement about your ideas and upcoming projects, not just to announce your show openings or gig dates.
Offering something that adds value for the reader shows that you not only want to share something with them, but that you respect their time. If you’re offering something useful, interesting, or entertaining, the person receiving your newsletter is more likely not only to open your future emails, but also to click and find out more about what you’re up to.
Send your questions to Kesha:
Subject Line: Fresh Rx