Newsletter Best Practices

A successful newsletter has the ability to drive readers to be more active with your metro. In addition, a winning newsletter can also expand your audience when fans share and forward your newsletter with others. Below are some examples and tips from other metros and online resources.

How to Post?

1. Valued subject lines are more popular than "fresh" or cool ones. You may wish to utilize your witty humor, but fans need to see value in the email subject lines or else they lose interest. Highlight the most appealing or important information that is sure to attract attention.
  • Perceived value subject lines including: “VIP ticket giveaways” (or similar) get opened more often than “best shows this weekend”.

2. Shorten subject lines in order to keep your reader's attention. According to Mailer Mailer, the ideal length of an email subject line is 28-39 characters. However, Mailer Mailer concluded that longer subject lines are fine as long as they do not surpass 50 characters. After 50 characters, opens and clicks decrease by over 50%. Find more information in this article by Buffer.
  • DoNYC found that “Lollapalooza VIP Flyaway” is much more successful in readership than “Lollapalooza VIP Flyaway + Win Tickets to Muse, METZ, Iceage & Yeah Yeah Yeahs”
    • There will always be great content that you want to highlight, but leave it for the body of the email. Keep it short and sweet.
      • Subject Line A: Lollapalooza VIP Flyaway + Win Tickets to Muse, METZ, Iceage & Yeah Yeah Yeahs
        • Open Rate: 21.6%
        • Click Rate: 8.1%
      • Subject Line B: Lollapalooza VIP Flyaway
        • Open Rate: 23.5%
        • Click Rate: 9.4%
          • As seen by DoNYC's data, a shorter subject line received an increased open rate of 1.9% and click rate of 1.3%.
3. Readers are using their phones more than ever. Catering to mobile users keeps fans coming back for your newsletter's utility.
  • Litmus’s study of Gmail accounts pointed out that 66% of all email opens are now on a mobile device. 
  • HubSpot found that 80.8% of all email users report reading email on mobile devices. 
    • In short, winning newsletters have concise content and are mobile-friendly.

4. Switch things up-you’ll never know what works and what works best, unless you try.
  • HubSpot found that 65% prefer emails that contain mostly images vs. 35% who prefer mostly text.
    • Adapting to the preference of images over text, DoNYC replaced their text-heavy editorial section with a banner-only layout, but the image to text ratio registered the email as spam.
      • Realizing what had happened, they changed the ratio by only having two banners and five points of text. This balance avoided the spam folder and looked great.

When to Post?

1. It can be tricky to figure out when to send out your newsletter, but KISSmetrics went ahead and broke it down for you.
  • 6am-10am is the perfect window for consumer-based marketing emails. 
    • Saturday has the highest CTR at over 9% (Sunday is second just under 9%), according to HubSpot.
  • Avoid sending your newsletter before 6am and between 2-4pm, as these are both dead zones for opening emails. 
    • Keep this information in mind, but use what works best for your audience. 
2. Most of our sites send their newsletter our Thursday to get their fans pumped for the weekend! Others send it out Wednesday and one is testing Monday - it depends on what makes the most sense for your market.

What to keep track of?

1. How many fans are actually opening your emails? The open rate of your newsletter is important to check to see if your emails are actually being opened and read.

2. The Click-Through Rate (CTR) tells you if readers are clicking links within your newsletter. To find the CTR, divide the number of email recipients by the number of clicks that your newsletter receives.

3. Know if your newsletter is retaining fans by finding out if users are opting out and/or unsubscribing
  • HubSpot recorded that most unsubscriptions happen on Tuesdays (0.52% unsub rate).
    • Something to keep in mind: some users prefer social media over emailing, so it is important to provide links for fans to connect with your metro via social media.

4. Email Engagement- look out for delayed sending when expecting your newsletter in your inbox.
  • If your newsletter is received much later than it is sent, Gmail isn’t prioritizing it- it’s time to see what can changes you can make, such as switching up subject line text, general email content and/or design (as stated above).


1. Make sure that your newsletter is concise and mobile friendly.

2. Don't be afraid to switch things around and try new things.

3. Keep track of important statistics that deal with your fans such as: open rates, click through rates and unsubscribers.
  • This information is vital to learn not only what your newsletter is doing right, but also how your newsletter can improve.