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How to increase engagement with your email newsletter

Written by Rob Johnson | Jun 2, 2017 1:06:41 AM

(This article is a 6-minute read)

THREE THINGS YOU’LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE

1. How many clicks you should be getting on your email newsletter

2. What sort of content people click on

3. Why you should be trying to get more clicks



The results of your last email newsletter blast are in. And frankly, they’re a bit disappointing.

 

You thought you had a fantastic promotion. A voucher for tooth whitening, offering 20 per cent off if people clicked on that link to your contact page.

But 80 per cent of the people who were sent the email didn’t even open it. And of those left, only about 3.5 per cent clicked on the link.

 

Less than that, actually. When you drill down in the data, some people clicked on it twice.

 

What’s worse, you did the same promotion through your Facebook page and only got a single click.

 

That digital agency you pay to do all your emails and PPC campaigns tells you these numbers aren’t unusual. You should be happy, they say.

 

You shouldn’t be happy. I’ve recently analysed 2.7 million email newsletters from nearly 1,000 campaigns. And without even seeing your newsletter, I think I can tell you where you’re going wrong.


What’s a normal number of clicks on an email newsletter?

A lot of email providers publish stats on open rates and click rates. They also break them down by industry. But they don't tell you exactly what people are clicking on.

 

For example, a normal open rate for a dental newsletter might be around the 20 per cent mark. A normal click-to-open rate might be around 4 percent. Those statistics assume that any click is equal to any other.

 

But there are a lot of things people can click on in a newsletter. A percentage of those people clicking might actually be hitting the unsubscribe button. A newsletter with one or two items will give readers more chances to interact. Sending out a single offer for a voucher really limits your readers choices.

 


What sort of content engages people?

To understand how to increase click through rates, I started analyzing what type of content got the most clicks across those 2.7 million emails. I found you could categorize the sort of content in a newsletter in one of four ways:

 

* Informational content—articles, or reports that were primarily concerned with supplying information;

* Transactional content—vouchers or sales, or anything imploring a reader to buy something or sign up for something;

* Navigational content—which gave readers directions to a particular place or site; and

* Standardized content—unsubscribe buttons, links to web-based versions of the email, logos, and similar items.

 

The real world isn't always neatly divided into categories. Each individual bit of content in each newsletter existed on a spectrum. The way a reader understands the intention of a bit of content in the real world is through certain keywords and phrases that are associated with it. So for Transactional content, for example, you'd often see phrases like “buy now” or “great deal” or “free”.

 

When I compared how many clicks each type of content received, the Informational stories beat the others by a huge margin. Often it attracted ten times as many clicks as anything else.


Earning trust through your newsletter

Do you use your newsletter to build your relationship with your patients? Then you will be more successful by supplying them with Informational content. Certainly better than sending them vouchers.

 

Patients are curious and complex. You may think they book an appointment with you because they have a problem (like a toothache or a need for cosmetic treatment). But what seems logical to you may not be as obvious to someone who hasn't trained as a dentist.

 

The best way you can help people when they are considering their oral health is by giving them information. The more and better information you give them, the more they trust you. the more they trust you, the more logical it will seem to them to book an appointment when they finally decide to do something about their oral health.


In conclusion

The reason your newsletter only gets a 3 percent click rate is because you are sending out transactional information. You are offering deals to get people to spend money. But by doing that, you are alienating 97 percent of your audience.

 

You can increase that click through rate up to about 20 per cent just by giving your patients information about things that will help them. Not products that will help them. Rather than offering a tooth whitening voucher, why not write an article about how tooth whitening works? Instead of offering free X-rays (which are probably covered by insurance anyway), why not explain why people snore? Or what TMJ is?

 

Because you'll never build a relationship with people if they're ignoring you.