One effective way to market our books is via email marketing, often in the form of a regular email newsletter. This, of course, assumes we have an email list, which is a different discussion for another time.
When we do email marketing, the email software we use, such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, or AWeber, will track open rates. Open rate is the percentage of opened email messages, compared to the number sent.
However, open rate tracking is not an exact science. Some messages can be counted as “opened” even though they were never actually read, while others were read in the preview mode but never counted as “opened.” (Generally, when the images in the email are downloaded, it counts as being opened, so people who don’t routinely download images and only read the text of the message, do not trip the “opened” counter. Sometimes I do that.)
Given these limitations, what is a good open rate? The open rate varies by industry, relevant to their audience’s interest in the sender’s content. Some groups enjoy high open rates around 25 percent, while other categories can be half of that. I can’t find an overall average open rate for all email messages, but given such large variations between different types, it wouldn’t be helpful anyway. One thing is certain: everyone wants his or her open rates to be higher.
Here are some ways to increase the open rate of our email newsletters:
- Provide Valuable Content: When we provide good, useful content, people will anticipate our email messages and look forward to reading them. We need to give them value.
- Meet Recipient Needs: We need to survey readers to find out what they like and don’t like about our email newsletter. Also, ask what else the might like to read from us, how often they want to hear from us, and how long our messages should be. Then give them what they want.
- Connect With Readers: Our writing needs to be accessible; we need to let our personalities come through. We need to be honest and open; allow our vulnerabilities to show. If we are real, readers will connect with us.
If we provide value to meet the needs of readers in a way that connects with them, they will look forward to our newsletters and read them. Our open rate will increase and our audience engagement will soar.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.