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My 5 newsletter non-negotiables to consistently get 50% open rates and avoid the spam filter

Waiting for the email notification on your phone

Them: There's nothing worse than an email that doesn't get opened.

Me: There's nothing worse than an email that gets opened and disappoints


It's 2022 and I'm anxiously holding my breath  - I've somehow managed to convince 26 people to subscribe to my newsletter and now I'm a nervous wreck.

What if no one reads it?

What if they don't like it?

What if they all unsubscribe?

How it started with email open rates

When the analytics finally came back I had a 50% Open Rate (I had to Google what was a good open rate).


And while Open Rates shouldn't be your deciding metric, (since what qualifies as a “great” open rate will vary from list to list and industry to industry), I've found this metric to be a good tell-tale diagnosis of where I'm going right and where I'm going wrong.


People don't want less in their inbox - They want a reason to read.

So here are my 5 non-negotiables


  1.  Build Trust


In a recent study by CMB (a marketing research agency), they found the number 1 reason people opened emails came down to the sender.

Email Marketing Open Rate Statistics

Email marketing is based on Trust.


Stick to your Core Message:

Your subscriber handed you their email most likely because they were interested in what you stand for.


Let's say your subscribers joined because they read your post on education, the idea is to not deviate from your core message, don't start sending a newsletter about beauty. (While this may seem extreme - it does happen).


2/ Don't Push for a High Ticket Sale in Email 1.

I've had several welcome emails that acted like they wanted to build a community, but it soon became a daily barrage of "Why you will fail if you don't buy my coaching course" FOMO-based - emails.

 Your emails aren’t ads, they’re permission-based relationships - treat your recipient's inbox with respect. If you are sending "salesy" emails give them the opportunity to opt-out



3/  Make a clear desirable promise in the subject line and Keep that promise in your content


Bait and switch headings are the quickest way to lose trust. Stay clear of making bold claims that you can't deliver on.  For example: How I got 1000 LinkedIn followers in 30 minutes and how you can too.


When your subject lines make a direct or implied promise (even if it's centred on a mundane topic) your content must deliver on that promise.


There’s nothing fancy or clever about these headlines. They are clean, strong, reliable, and honest but these emails got over 55% open rates.


Once your audience opens your email, it's essential to live up to the expectations you've set in the subject line.


Give a reason why your content is helpful to your reader - how will it improve their lives, or solve a problem and then live up to the expectations you've set in the subject line.


4/ Use your subject line to create a curiosity hook.


Pique your reader's curiosity by asking a compelling, open-ended question to create an instant dialogue. Think of it like a cliffhanger.



(Close-ended questions don't have the same effect when it comes to curiosity.)


Ask for your reader's opinion or entice them to consider their own needs and desires. Questions that tap into an emotion - think inspiration, relief, set a challenge and even amusement, work extremely well.


Just make sure your question is relevant to your audience. For example: "How will AI change your B2B Tech industry in 4 months?" might work well for those in the B2B Tech Industry but won't be so relatable to those in Beauty.

5/ Write Amazing Content, Every Time


The goal is to make them eagerly anticipate your emails. When subscribers are happy with the content inside your emails, they are more likely to open your future emails.


If your subscribers are dissatisfied with what they get, they probably aren’t going to open your next email. Heck - They may even unsubscribe.

You don't need to reinvent the wheel

  • Craft a compelling narrative: Use storytelling techniques to create engaging content that draws readers in and encourages them to keep reading. The trick is to re-engage your reader by breaking their pattern. You can ask a question or add a visual.

Pro Tip: Don't ask "Would I read this?" - ask "Why should my audience read this?"

Finally: Here's how to Avoid the spam folder

Spam filters have gotten more sophisticated. To reach as many of your subscribers you’ll want to do everything possible to avoid being flagged as spam.

  • Make sure your recipients have opted-in to your emails.

  • Ask subscribers to add you to their address book in your welcome email.

  • Don’t “bait-and-switch” by using deceptive subject lines. Doing so can cause subscribers to mark your messages as spam.

  • Include an easy way for subscribers to opt out of your emails.

  • Don't use spam trigger words (see below)

Spam filters will often block an email when the words or phrases in a subject line appear malicious, fraudulent, or overpromise an outcome.

Choose your words wisely

Here's a list of common words and phrases to avoid.


1. Words that create unnecessary pressure: ‘do it today’, ‘buy direct’, ‘limited time’, ‘apply now’, ‘act now’


2. Keywords associated with overselling and exaggeration: ‘risk-free’, ‘instant access’, ‘1000x better than’


3. Financial keywords that get flagged: 'cheap' ‘bargain’, ‘money back’, ‘save up to’ ‘earn extra cash’, make $’, ‘double your’


Extra Tip: Add a real name - this can be your name or in the case of OptinMonster’s they insert Angie, their General Manager's name to add a personal and friendly tone to their email marketing.


While this strategy might not be right for everyone the idea of ditching the generic company or email@blahcom not only makes your email personal but will also help you Write to your One Person and Write Like a Friend.

While a strong open rate not only signifies the effectiveness of your subject lines and sender reputation you'll want to continue to test and refine your strategies, taking into account the preferences and behaviors of your target audience.

If you enjoyed this issue - Can I ask you take a few seconds to share it with a friend and help them become a smarter business communicator?


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