I’m pretty casual with my eNewsletter every month. I know it’s important to keep in touch with potential clients, but I don’t really make the time to do a fantastic job. Until this month, I called it the Avenue Z “FourWayStop,” including four little articles or tidbits in each issue.

Here are four things I have learned in the last few months that have improved my open rate considerably:

  1. Spend lots of time on design.
    The first newsletter was pretty plain, but I felt like I liked the newer format in January. This month I completely revamped it, and I love the new format.
  2. Always, always, always track statistics.
    Many of my clients have worked for years with regular old text email newsletters or attached PDFs. The problem is that they can’t see what people are interested in or even whether anyone opened the newsletter! I use Constant Contact to send my emails, and I track the statistics each month. I also get new ideas for articles when I see that a certain topic or link gets more attention. For example, in my last newsletter, I noticed lots of people clicked on the link for the free wiki. I feel an article coming on…
    I’ve been skeptical of testing subject lines out on small groups of readers before you send to the whole database — mainly because I’m impatient and want to simply push send. But I also doubted the validity of testing very small pools, especially when your database is small to begin with. But this time I created three different subject lines and send them to three groups of 100 people. One subject line received twice the opens as the other two! Thus when I finally sent the big one out, I got one of the highest open rates of any email I’ve sent. Nice!
  4. Make it easy for people to get in touch with you.
    I made a mistake on an earlier version that I just repeated in this revamp. Frequently people who enjoy your newsletters will pass them along to friends and coworkers. When the new person gets the newsletter, you need to make sure they have a very easy way to subscribe. I did it really well in February, but I forgot to put the section in for the new format.

Have lots of time to kill? View my newsletter archive.