I was chatting with a frustrated school communications chief who compared sending her district’s email newsletter to posting a billboard in the middle of a vast desert.
“We put in all that work, and no one reads it,” she said.
Yeah, we hear that a lot.
Your newsletter doesn’t have to be a lonely, unnoticed billboard in the desert.
Here are five things you can do to increase open and response rates:
- Write better subject lines. Be concise, but also reveal some of the good stuff inside the newsletter. Test different options. Email services like MarketVolt allow you to split-test two or more subject lines for a single audience. Test two options. See which one performs best against a smaller, test list and then use the better-performing subject line for the rest of your list.
- Deliver more concise, relevant content and less irrelevant content. This may seem obvious. But many districts struggle with this. Newsletters are overloaded with ALL information for everyone. Readers must slog through acres of irrelevant content before finding information relevant to them. Personalize newsletters so different audiences get different messages, depending on their interests. Put the most important stuff at the top. Some email services can automate this for you.
- Use pre-headers. A preheader is the first set of text in your email — the part that your recipients’ email application will display as a one- or two-line preview in the inbox, following the subject line. Preheaders frequently say something like “View this email in a browser.” That doesn’t inspire someone to open your email. Try adding compelling text before the “view in browser” message – something that expands on your subject line and inspires readers to open the email.
- Choose the right time to send your emails. You can learn through trial and error. Split test different delivery times. Deliver the same email at two different times to two random segments of your list. Does one time out-perform the other? Send the newsletter at that hour next time. Note: Don’t test delivery times at the same time you test subject lines.
- Personalize the “from” name (when applicable). If you’re sending out an email that is “from” someone in the District – Principal, Superintendent, Lead for a Program – use that in your “from” name. People are more likely to open an email if it comes from a person they know, rather than an institution (i.e. “Jefferson School District”). This works if the name is someone your readers will recognize. But it can backfire if you send it from a person who is not as familiar to readers. We recommend including both the name and the School/District if you’re making the “from “ an individual (i.e. “Mark Jones – Jefferson School District”).
What do you think? Are there any tips that you’d like to share that help you get more opens and/or clicks on your newsletters? Feel free to share your thoughts on my Twitter or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To learn more about MarketVolt’s email newsletter solutions for K12, check out our website. Want to take a quick peek at some of our unique features? Register for one of our 15-minute webinars where we do a quick dive on why districts across the country are partnering with MarketVolt to help REIMAGINE their email newsletters.