Hands up if you are either currently sending out newsletters on a monthly schedule, when business is slow, when you have a sale, or you want to announce something. Ok, that should pretty much be everybody.

Now, I need you to forget everything you know about newsletters. I don’t want you studying charts about newsletters or trying to figure out the best time to hit the send button either. I need you to forget because you have been doing it wrong, and we need to make it right.

I know, I know. You’ve been watching your open rates and you’re getting 15% on a pretty steady basis. Sometimes, you hit 25% opens! I’m not bragging, but I can confirm that we send out to thousands on our list, and we have an average open rate of 40%. Last year we had a few that were closer to 65%!

While those numbers sound impressive, it wasn’t that long ago that we were ALL excited to hit 25%. Hey, 20% meant someone was buying drinks. We know where you are because we’ve been there.

You see, the biggest problem with most newsletters is that they are newsletters. No one wakes up and says, “I hope a business sends me a newsletter today.” Nobody.

Your friends don’t send you emails with logos, images and a pretty header that may or may not display automatically, do they? No one is excited to open a newsletter from a business. Sending a business newsletter is like saying hello from the year 2002. It’s just old fashioned.

Think about your habits. How are you reading your emails and where are you reading them? Are you reading them on a mobile device? If I am walking into the gym and an email pops up, and it’s a newsletter, I am not opening it. Business newsletters can wait until later and that’s if I even go back to them.

– So, the first thing you need to do is stop sending out business newsletters.

Next, I need you to stop questioning how often to send emails to send to your list. The answer is simple: Send emails often, assuming there is value.

We are so scared to hit the send button that we tend to under-do it. Chances are you are sending out too little. No one complains because they are getting “too much value.”

If you send email once a month, then ask yourself, “Have I invested enough in my client to make that withdrawal?” If your whole email list is meant to make money, then you have to ask yourself, “Have I invested enough in them?”

Think about it. You are asking your readers to invest in you by reading your newsletter, then taking action like coming to an open house or buying something from you. Are you investing enough in your readers? Is your email going to make their life easier, less stressful and help them? Are you helping them solve their problems? If yes, then hit send.

Side note: If your newsletter is about you, don’t send it. No one likes reading, “Hey, look how awesome we are.”

– So, the second thing you need to do is stop selling on every email. Instead, start helping. It is not considered spam, or a newsletter, if you solve a problem.

Lastly, you need to make sure you know how to write good subject lines.

Think of your subject line like a newspaper headline. It is THE most important part of the email. It is what makes the reader choose to open and read more. You should stress about this! Spend more time thinking about your subject line rather than the content.

Ask yourself, “Are my subject lines really great? Are they worth opening right away? Do they invoke curiosity?” Without it, there is no reason to open the email.

Don’t make it sound too business-like either. A great headline for a blog post does not mean it will be a great email subject line. “How to get ABC in 3 easy steps.” Make sure you take a sample size of your email list and send a test email to them. It will make you a better copywriter. It will make you a better headline writer.

If you send an email to 150 people on your list and no one opens or clicks on anything, then chances are the copy sucks. And you’ll be glad you didn’t send it to your entire list.

With anything, especially when it comes to marketing, you want to be able to test it! With email, it makes it very easy to test.

– So, the last thing you need to do is start writing better headlines and test everything.

Now, take a look at your recent emails. Can you identify why your subscribers are reading your emails? Better yet, why not?

Try writing your next email using the tips above as a guideline. Measure and compare your results to your previous emails. What has changed?

Now, rinse and repeat.

PS – I know you hate ps’, but they are still the most read part of an email. If you use a PS, use it to summarize the overall call to action because it might be the only part of your content they read.