Declining OPEN/CLICK rates in email newsletter

9 replies
I run an email newsletter using Mailchimp.
Over the past year, my number of subscribers has gone up while my open rates and click rates have steadily declined.

Can someone tell me what's going on?
Or what I'm doing wrong?


I haven't changed anything about my newsletter. It's still sent out only once or twice a month. With the same amount of content (which is 2 article teasers with image and intro text), and some extra links. Very passive and non-aggressive. I'm letting them know about new content on the site. It's not a sales letter.

Thank you.
#declining #email #newsletter #open or click #rates
  • Profile picture of the author konakid
    Do you know if it is old subscribers clicking less or new subscribers not opening them?

    If your old subscribers aren't opening/clicking then they are probably bored of the content.

    If it is new subscribers then you're probably not getting targeted signups.
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  • Profile picture of the author bhnath
    I'm not 100% sure on this but I have a few ideas:
    - Maybe people got bored of seeing the same old news letter format? Try creating a new format and design for you news letter.
    - Add in one valuable freebie every newsletter, promote it in your email subject.
    - Try to get feedback on your newsletter from the people that do read it and find out what they think!

    Just a few ideas to help you
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  • Profile picture of the author threezerozero
    aside from all the points above, maybe you might wanna try mailing a little more frequently... some new subscribers might forget who you are when they get a message from you. like once a week.

    im guilty of that....sometimes i forget who that person is when theyve sent me a message once or twice a month.
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    The #1 determining factor of your Open Rate is your Email Subject Line.

    If you can split your list, then test different subject lines with a small portion of your list. Take the subject line that performed the best, then mail that one to the remainder of your subscribers.

    It is the small incremental improvements you can make to your list that will have the greatest return on investment over the long-haul.
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    Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
    Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
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    • Profile picture of the author blackli0n
      Originally Posted by tpw View Post

      The #1 determining factor of your Open Rate is your Email Subject Line.

      If you can split your list, then test different subject lines with a small portion of your list. Take the subject line that performed the best, then mail that one to the remainder of your subscribers.

      It is the small incremental improvements you can make to your list that will have the greatest return on investment over the long-haul.
      This sounds like a smart idea except only my list has still been steadily declining. I can see the headline being ineffective every now and then but it doesn't makes sense to me that I have been writing progressively worse headlines over the past year.

      Do you have any other ideas, TPW? I appreciate the help. Thank you.
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      wpjohnny.com - Make Money with Wordpress
      Passive income since 2007. Trying to consistently crack 5-figures/month. find what you love - dream big - work hard
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      • Profile picture of the author tpw
        Originally Posted by blackli0n View Post

        This sounds like a smart idea except only my list has still been steadily declining. I can see the headline being ineffective every now and then but it doesn't makes sense to me that I have been writing progressively worse headlines over the past year.

        Do you have any other ideas, TPW? I appreciate the help. Thank you.

        There are several factors at work here.

        1. People have decided that they don't want to read your emails. This is often referred to as "attrition", and it is a normal part of any list.

        2. Likely, many of your new signups may have joined for whatever reason, and then not got involved in actually reading your emails. The every other week mailing cycle can have a serious impact here, since by the time they receive your first newsletter, they have already forgotten why they subscribed in the first place.

        3. Many of your new signups have recently joined a lot of lists, and you are getting lost in the mix.

        4. I have to come back to the subject line of your emails. If you can stand out from the hundreds of emails in your subscriber's email box, then you will see more people opening your emails -- even if those people have abandoned reading your list over the last few months.

        I do a lot of testing with subject lines. I am very aggressive with my mailing lists, and I send offers to my lists, sometimes 1-2 times per day.

        If someone does not open my message the first time I send it, I will add the people who did not open the first email to a sub-list, then I will mail them again with the same message but a new subject line. Generally, I get 20% to 30% open rates on the first email. Through the process of remailing to unopens, I can get my open rate to 70% to 80% overall.

        I am not going to give you a full tutorial on subject lines, but I will give you some hints...

        The top 3 kinds of subject lines that we can use are:
        • A Numbered List in the subject line (Top 3 reasons, Top 7 factors, etc);
        • A Question posed to the reader;
        • A Statement that Makes the Reader Curious.

        Yes, the subject line is not the only factor, but I reiterate that it is the most important factor.
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        Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
        Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
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  • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
    Originally Posted by blackli0n View Post

    Can someone tell me what's going on?
    Or what I'm doing wrong?
    What you're seeing is a natural effect that tends to occur
    when a list ages.

    When people first subscribe to a list they are highly
    interested in the subject area. Over time, their interest
    levels tend to decrease (in general, but not always).

    An older list will contain a larger number of older subscribers
    who have tuned out or even changed e-mail address.

    So, the net effect is that bigger and older lists tend to have
    lower open rates.

    The key is to make a great first impression off the bat so
    that more people want to continue to tune into your future
    e-mails.

    Dedicated to mutual success,

    Shaun
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    .

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  • Profile picture of the author kencalhn
    great tips from Bill, he's right. I send out near-daily emails to my lists and make very good sales; the key is always making sure the content of the email is mostly good content and not pitch. I like to shoot for 80%+ content mix and 20% pitch, so that I'm always adding genuine value. I frequently give them downloads to high resolution (bluray 1920x1080 .wmv) on amazon s3 content I've produced, free webinars and more. I move the free line further than most in my industry; I want to earn their trust the old fashioned way. Frequency of email is not nearly as important as quality of content in the email.

    -k

    p.s. also I routinely delete email addresses (in aweber I can run reports, then click on country -- anyone know how to do that in icontact? can't figure it out), of people in countries like Malaysia/Indonesia/India/China/Nigeria I don't sell to. That keeps the list "cleaner" and a more valid set of report stats. Check your email list country of origin for leads, and I like to delete optins from places that don't buy from me, as a rule of thumb. Don't fool yourself if say your list is 56,000 people but on closer look there's 4,000 from india, 1500 from china, 880 from russia, etc... (unless you sell there)... 95% of my sales are to the (USA + UK + Australia + Canada), with a handful of other countries' customers... I segment my lists by country/stale/fresh leads/ all that classic direct marketing savvy/recency and dollar figure of purchases; for targeted autoresponder chains
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  • Profile picture of the author blackli0n
    Thank you guys for all the help. Here are the 2 takeaways I got from your answers:

    1. Consider the attrition factor since everyone loses interest in the subject after a while.
    2. The headline is super-important if not the most important. Altering the headline would be more important than altering the email design. Especially if the open rates are declining rather than just the click rates.

    When I consider the attrition factor, I feel so much better because what I do is very hard for many people. And then end up quitting within months.
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    wpjohnny.com - Make Money with Wordpress
    Passive income since 2007. Trying to consistently crack 5-figures/month. find what you love - dream big - work hard
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