Email Test Result: 9% Open Rate Increase

newsletter-headerA client recently asked why my “newsletters” don’t look like newsletters anymore. It’s a great question and I thought I’d share in case you’re also curious – granted, I don’t think you’re staying up half the night wondering about my newsletter formatting. 😉

For the past month or so, I’ve been testing sending a basic html (no pictures, no fancy formatting, no “pretty” template) newsletter for a few reasons:

  • Over a third of my readers receive email at their gmail accounts. Gmail tends to move newsletters to the “Promotions” tab rather than let them appear in the “Primary” tab of the inbox. This means readers need to remember to go to “Promotions” and find my newsletter which is likely competing with several others.
  • Smartphones. Not everyone’s smartphone displays “pretty” newsletter templates “prettily” and it’s more important to me that you be able to read the information and easily click through than “ooohhh” and “ahhhh” over the design elements.
  • Click throughs. I was curious to see how formatting (or the lack thereof) affected click through rates.

The results so far?

Depending on the week, a 5-9% increase in open rates (the majority are from gmail accounts) and a 3-5% increase in click throughs (when there were links, across all types of email accounts).

Which do you prefer? A simple email or one all gussied up? I’d love to know.