How to Get Newsletter Readers Hitting “Open” Every Time

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12 steps to the Art of the Irresistible Monthly Newsletter

Let’s take a break from the “convert” talk for a second and focus on building genuine connections through monthly newsletters your readers look forward to every month. After all, happy readers are more receptive customers down the line. Email marketing might be the OG of online marketing, but its power for solopreneurs and small businesses remains unmatched. It’s where we can create real relationships, have heart-to-hearts, and build loyalty.

But only if we do it right.

As a confessed email marketing enthusiast (did I mention my monthly newsletter boasts a 60% open rate?), I can attest to its power. My inbox is filled with heartwarming replies like “Janelle, that made me cry!” and “Girl, please don’t ever stop sending these emails – you make me feel seen and less alone.

Building trust is key in online communities.

That’s why I put a lot more time and effort into my monthly newsletters than I do into promotional emails. When the time comes to offer a course or workshop, my readers already know my style and trust my expertise. Selling becomes a whole lot easier – for everyone involved.

My business philosophy? Give, give, give, give, ask (strategically), and keep giving. Your readers (just like you) are savvy. They sniff out inauthenticity a mile away. That’s why your monthly newsletter is the perfect chance to pause on the sales pitch, give something to your readers, and focus on building connections.

And hey, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to share your awesome services – that’s what keeps the lights on, right? But the newsletter is your chance to get to know each other better. Think of it as a virtual coffee date where you can swap stories, share tips, and build a friendship. The stronger that bond, the more likely they are to support your business.

Here are twelve tips for creating irresistible monthly newsletters that’ll have your readers hitting “open” with eager excitement:

1. Find Inspiration in Your Inbox: Conduct a little market research within your own inbox. Identify the newsletters you love – the ones that spark a smile, grab your attention, and leave you devouring every word. Why do they work? I personally enjoy a blend of storytelling, valuable resources, and a sense of genuine connection. Use what you enjoy as inspiration, not a blueprint, to create your own monthly newsletter outline.

2. Start with Social Media: Most of your subscriber base will likely come from social media, the heart of many small online businesses. This is where you start to build those relationships and your list organically. Remember, your most loyal followers often become your most engaged subscribers. Keep this in mind as you socialize on social media.

And don’t be shy – promote your monthly newsletter, often!

3. Freebies Done Right: Skip the “freebie-just-to-get-your-email” tactics. Nobody likes that. Not even you. Be upfront! Promote your awesome monthly newsletter and offer a gift/freebie for subscribing. It’s a win-win!

4. Make it Easy for Them: We get it, content and calls to action overload is real! The last thing you want is for your valuable readers to jump through digital hoops to subscribe to your monthly newsletter. Because they’re most likely not going to. That’s why making it super easy to subscribe is key. Pop a clear and inviting sign-up link right in your bio. This way, they’ll be whisked away to a special monthly newsletter landing page where they can join the fun in a flash!

5. Send an Automated Welcome Email: Once someone subscribes, send them a warm welcome email. It’s a chance to say “Hi!” and let them know what awesome things await them in your monthly newsletters. Think of it like a virtual hug and a peek behind the curtain. Share what kind of content they can expect, and what you think they’ll love.

6. Tell Your Stories: We already know storytelling is an ancient art form that is powerful beyond measure. Stories connect with your readers on a human level. They show your audience they’re not alone, their struggles are relatable, and you can be a trusted guide. Perhaps the story ties back to the overall mission of your business, but don’t be afraid to share stories that don’t always directly tie back to a service or product you’re selling.

7. Reliability over Rigidity: Consistency is great, but reliability is even better. Relax if your monthly newsletter doesn’t hit inboxes on the 15th at precisely 8am. Be a dependable communicator your audience expects to hear from, not a robot.

8. Encourage Two-Way Communication: You know what’s even more intimate than DMs? Inboxes! Encourage replies to your newsletter and spark conversations. Remember, these monthly newsletters are all about connection, not necessarily sales. When a real bond exists, sales will often follow organically.

9. Vulnerability is Your Strength: Don’t fear getting a little personal (if it feels right!). My most successful newsletters (think 80% open rates!) tackled romantic relationships and that time I relied on Instacart to pay the bills. Sure, I was nervous sharing these stories, but the response was overwhelmingly positive. Just like you, your readers (now more than ever) crave authenticity. They crave realness. They crave your true stories.

10. Share Your Resources: Who doesn’t love valuable resources that improve their lives right at their fingertips? Consider including links to articles, podcasts, or anything you think your readers would appreciate. Think of yourself as their go-to source for valuable information. For example, there’s a section in my monthly newsletter titled “Links & things I love that I think you’ll love too.” It’s where I share resources that I think would benefit them in their meditation and wellness journey.

11. A Gentle Reminder: We all want to promote our products and services but resist the urge to make it the central theme of your monthly newsletter. Instead, view it as a gentle reminder. You can spark excitement with a quick peek at upcoming workshops, courses, or special events you have planned. Or a new product you’re launching. But save the hard sell for promotional emails.

12. Brand Recognition is Key: Having a recognizable look and feel for your monthly newsletter goes a long way. Think of it as your signature style. Your logo and consistent template help your readers know it’s you right away, popping into their inbox like a familiar, friendly face. And who wouldn’t want to open an email from a friend they know and trust?

Bonus Tip!

Email Marketing Science is Cool, but Content is QUEEN: There are countless (great) articles dissecting the perfect subject line length and optimal send times. While valuable, my experience shows that a reader who loves your content is less fazed by these technicalities. Use your energy and time on creating consistently high-quality monthly newsletters.

And don’t forget!

  • Always proofread and check links – typos and broken links are a turn-off.
  • Embrace a fun and catchy subject line – keep it short and sweet and consider using an emoji (just one!). Here are a few examples from my own inbox to inspire you: “How to Be Happy in 8 Steps” (who wouldn’t click that?), “El Ex Tóxico” (intriguing, right?), and “Saturn Has Returned” (humor can go a long way!).

Focus on value, and the sales will follow.

When you prioritize building genuine connections and providing top-notch content, your readers will be eagerly awaiting your next email – and offer!

Related content: 

The Art of Marketing: Focus on Generation Z

Marketing to Xennials – What is that?

Dynamic Strategy and the Seven-Segment Marketing Wheel


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