In my three and a half years at Girls’ Life Magazine, I wrote two to three newsletters weekly. Each newsletter brought in an average of 3000 subscribers to the website.

Then Gmail’s inbox layout changed. This new and more organized layout allowed subscribers to filter newsletters to Social and Promotional folders, with Girls’ Life newsletters falling in the latter.

Fewer subscribers saw the newsletters, so fewer opened them.  The open rates dwindled from a steady average of 23% to 19% in two months. To improve open rates, I spearheaded two strategies, explained below.

Strategy 1: Send an instructional newsletter.
This newsletter showed subscribers how to move the newsletter from the Promotional to Primary inbox folder. I designed the layout and wrote the copy for this newsletter:


Results: The open rate for this newsletter was positive (23%), but the open rates in general continued to decline to an average 17%.

Strategy 2: Delete inactive subscribers.
After compiling a list of subscribers who had not opened a newsletter for one month, we sent them a “We Miss You” newsletter to gauge their interest. Those who didn’t open within four weeks were deleted from the subscriber list. I designed the layout and wrote the copy for this newsletter:


Results: The open rate for this newsletter was only 2%. However, open rates over all improved to an average of 34% within the first month of deleting inactive users.

Conclusion: Delete inactive subscribers. It’s essential to focus your efforts — and financial resources — to an audience that actively wants to hear from your business.