How to Tweak Your Newsletter

Happy Friday to all the Story Empire readers! Today I’m veering a bit off course from a regular post format at the end of the work week into the topic of managing a newsletter to gain better results (hopefully). I’m relying on some recent information, some of which is from my mass mailing provider, Mailerlite, so I include some links at the end of the post as resources.

Tweaking and improving my newsletter effectiveness has been a long-term goal that’s often frustrating because it’s just difficult to gain the engagement with subscribers of fiction, especially in the fantasy genre. With that in mind, I’ll share a few pieces of information and some tips to try and why based on what I’ve gleaned lately. I’ll also share some of what I’ve been doing to improve over time as well.

The main reason newsletter email is not opened aside from people just being busy is the spam filter. You may think there’s no reason your newsletter is being intercepted but there are quiet a list of reasons why it is. There are a lot of ways the major email providers scan and push email into filters:

  1.  Shortened links – spammers use these a lot so using them in a newsletter can get the latest edition or your carefully crafted newsletter flagged as questionable. Shorteners were good for social media but you have more space in a newsletter so avoid using them.
  2. Salesy words used frequently will also trigger filters. Relax and try to share with your subscribers rather than sell them something even if it’s a fellow author’s book. Share what’s new and relevant but avoid simply sending to sell.
  3. All caps, red font and misspelled words will also route you into the spam filter. Remember all those message from overseas with all the misspelled words that were scams and spam? Yeah, that’s a giveaway so take time to give your subscribers your best and prove you’re legit as a sender and a writer.
  4. I don’t know why anyone would do this but don’t create your newsletter as one big graphic.  The reason why is that spam filters regard pictures as empty spaces. It’s even good to put some captions in for what you do use.
  5. Personalizing content with just the name in the salutation is a good way to get past the filters too. Whatever sending service you use, it’s got a way to include a first name at the beginning. You may be shy but personalizing will always get a subscriber’s attention.
  6. Brand your newsletter. It’s as simple as that. Filters are very sophisticated these days so there are lots of triggers. In fact, your subject line is not near as important as your brand. This means using a registered domain rather than gmail.com or something else as your default sending address.
  7. Authenticating your domain is a good way to avoid spam filters. Again, clearly identified email address domains don’t trigger spam filters. You can find resources for this with your sending company and use it for authenticating with Gmail, WordPress and others.

Following these tips can get you not only more opens but more positive rating with the email powers on the internet. These are fairly basic but go a long way to proving yourself and getting through to subscribers more consistently. Then it’s up to you to write content to benefit your subscribers. If you’re like me and have a fiction list that can be harder, except the very active readers of romance. There are more men reading fantasy and science fiction and they interact less. Regardless, give them something to keep opening.

I’ll share more about some tips I’ve gotten recently from an email guru and how they’ve affected me but these should help you clean up your newsletter and improve the effectiveness of your newsletter. Here are some links to research further improvements for your email marketing efforts, all from Mailerlite:

Improving your email deliverability

Using email list segments with automation

Using email surveys for best results

Creating welcome message for new subscribers

Email marketing cheatsheet

Running a win-back campaign for inactive subscribers

Several of those links also contain links to additional information should you need it. Whatever you do, don’t think you can’t use a newsletter to effectively contact subscribers. If things have not worked previously, there are reasons why and you can do something about it. I know I have a few places to work on with my own newsletter and I look forward to contacting my subscribers better to engage them as fans who will talk about my writing to other people.

What problems have you encountered with your newsletter and subscriber list? What frustrates you about your newsletter? What holds you back from improving your newsletter.

P. H. Solomon

32 thoughts on “How to Tweak Your Newsletter

  1. Pingback: The business side of writing – Judi Lynn

  2. Pingback: How to Tweak Your Newsletter | Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

  3. This was a excellent post, P.H. It has been a long time since I’ve sent a newsletter. It often a matter of time, or else it just goes out of my head and I forget. Since I cleaned up my list after GDPR, I’ve had a much better ratio of opens an no unsubscribes. I have a smaller list but at least the subscribers opted in by choice and not the result of a giveaway. I just need to work at growing my list though engagement and that’s where I lack. Thanks so much for the tips. Spam is always a HUGE issue and these really help!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The most frustrating is getting few opens and then always, always getting at least one unsubscriber. I do have some good feedback too from loyal followers but it seems like a lot of hard work just to get unsubscribed, lol. I will keep pegging away at it. Time is my biggest challenge these days. I plan on putting one out soon, and your post is so helpful, especially the part about authenticating your email. I’ll have to check if I’ve done this or not. Thanks so much, P.H. Reblogged this on: https://harmonykent.co.uk/how-to-tweak-your-newsletter/ … Check out this great post from P H Solomon over on Story Empire today …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the reblog. I know unsubscribers are frustrating but it will happen regularly for a variety of reasons. Working to present yourself so that you avoid spam and communicate well can reduce those. Hopefully, you are doing some things to grow the newsletter too.

      Liked by 1 person

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