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This second of a four-part series provides tips for email newsletter opportunities, simple and fast adjustments you can make today.

Designed to better engage and retain readers and advertisers, these tips were compiled by RJI’s Advertising Editor Brad Best, advertising editor of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, and a team of students from the Missouri School of Journalism after weeks of analysis of a major Midwest metro daily newspaper.

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EmailGood email newsletters act as a convenient, curated guide to the daily news

  • Convenience: Emails should be accessible for readers. They don’t float down a page quickly, readers can return to them in their inbox whenever they’d like, and they can be read anywhere and whenever a reader has free time.
  • Curation: Email newsletters aggregate the most important news of the day in one place, and can be customized to specific interests of subscribers.
  • Connection: Email allows a newspaper to connect with users on a one-to-one level, which also improves the ability to attract ad revenue.

Things to keep in mind…

  1. Scheduling: Schedule your e-newsletters to go out on a consistent and strategic basis. This is important for open and click rates.
    • MarketingProfs and Get Response looked at the best times to engage email users.
      1. For the morning, the best time to engage is between 8 and 9 a.m. The best time to engage in the afternoon is between 3 and 4 p.m.
      2. The best chance for an email user to open an email is within one hour of the email being sent. After two hours, the rate drops by more than half.
  2. Images: Properly format images. More than 60 percent of email users are blocking images from visibility. When a newsletter image is blocked, the format can be skewed. Combat this by creating alternative text ads to keep the formatting together even when an image is blocked.
  3. Format for mobile: According to a Marketing Sherpa study, 36 percent of people are now reading their email on a mobile device (smart phone, tablet).
    • To optimize the newsletter for mobile, create a more vertical format and cut down on unrelated articles.
  4. Short and sweet: A MailerMailer 2012 email report states that the best character limit to get email open rates is about 4 to 15 characters in the subject line.
    • In addition, open rates increase about four percent when a newsletter has a personalized body copy.
    • However, subject lines should not be personalized as this can negatively affect open rates. People view a personalized subject line as spam and open rates drop.

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