Once you hit about 100 subscribers, your Open rates should have reached a steady level, and shouldn’t fall too much from that point. But what counts as a ‘good’ Open rate, and how can you influence that?

Now, for a bit of context: Email marketers are lucky to hit 20% as a steady Open rate. But writers and creators should aim for a higher number. As a rule of thumb, anything below 25% definitely has room for improvement. Between 25-50% is good, but can also be improved. Above 50% is great — that’s a sign that most of your audience has been engaged with what you’ve created, and some might even be building a habit around your newsletter.

So, what if you’re thinking ‘Hmm, my 24% isn’t looking too hot right now’? Don’t worry, there are things you can do that should help — and we’re going to walk you through them right here.

There are three things a reader will see before they decide to open your newsletter. And you can influence all of them. Below, we’ll cover:

  • From name: This needs to be the most recognizable part of your newsletter brand.

  • Subject line: This needs to stand out among the others in the inbox.

  • Preview/Pre-header: This can give the reader more context, and it’s something newsletter writers often overlook.

From name

Use the ‘From’ name to your advantage: it’s a great way to build brand recognition. Every email inbox will show a ‘From’ field as well as a subject line.

Ask yourself what your readers are most familiar with. Is it the name of your newsletter (“Revue weekly”)? Or do you run a personal newsletter, and people are most familiar with your name (“Anna Elliott”)? Or is it a combination of the two (“Anna from Revue”)? While the subject line is all about that specific issue, the ‘From’ name is all about your newsletter’s brand.

Sure, you could call each new issue ‘Revue Weekly issue #1’, ‘Revue Weekly issue #2’ and so on, but why waste the opportunity to make your subject line stand out? Set a great ‘From’ name, and use your subject line to say something new and interesting with each issue. More on that below.

Tip: By default, your Newsletter Title will appear as the ‘From’ name (you can change it in the ‘Profile’ tab in Account Settings), but if you also set a Newsletter Author (also in Account Settings), that will override the Newsletter Title and appear in the ‘From’ field instead. The key here is to keep it consistent and recognizable.

Subject line

This is the line of text that appears next to the ‘From’ name in your readers’ inbox when they receive your newsletter issue via email, and it’s really important (find out how to change it here). Lots of research has been conducted into what makes a good subject line that readers are more likely to click on, and we can share some of that with you here.

  • Decide on your audience and tone of voice. If your writing style is cheeky, let that shine through in your subject line. If your subject matter is serious, make sure that comes across instead.

  • Keep it short. 6-10 words is the sweet spot. It will be easier to grasp as a concept for the reader, and it’s less likely to be cut off by the recipient’s email program if they’re reading on a laptop or a big screen.

  • Put the most important part at the beginning. Many people regularly access their email on a mobile device, and many email apps will only show the first few words of a subject line before cutting off.

  • Be interesting. What’s the most important issue or question you address in this newsletter issue? Pose it to your readers in the subject line. Or use a thought-provoking or funny snippet from the body of the email.

  • Be clear. Avoid complicated sentence structures or jargon. You don’t want to put people off by making it hard to understand.

  • Watch out for spam filters. There’s no clear list of what not to do here (if there were, spammers would find it and develop loopholes!), but it’s generally best practice to avoid lots of symbols and punctuation marks ($$$, !!!) and words related to finance or pharmaceuticals (cash, discount, income, etc).

Preview (“Pre-header”)

The pre-header is the short line of text that follows the subject line when viewing an email preview in an inbox. It can go alongside or underneath the subject line, depending on the device and screen size. Most email clients show this text to let the recipient know what the message contains before they open it.

These are so often a missed opportunity in the newsletter world. Essentially, they’re an extra chance to engage your reader before they open the newsletter.

By default, this line of text is taken from the first text found in the email, but you can complement your subject line by setting a pre-header that offers more intrigue. Check out this article for an explainer on how to set a pre-header in Revue.

Look at the data

The last piece of advice we have for you here is to check which of your emails performed particularly well, and see if there are patterns. You can find your past Open rate data in the Performance tab in your Insights — and here’s an explainer on how to read that data.

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