Messages not being opened

Mailchimp reports that the average open rate for messages with them is only 21%. When limited to religious newsletters the rate is 28%. So it is very normal to have only a small portion of your readers opening your messages.

From our experience, if you are in Christian ministry and send a newsletter to friends and family you can expect a much higher rate around 40-60%. Better than that, if you send several messages over several months you should expect an even higher rate of contacts at least reading one of your messages during that time. You can analyse this with Stello's "Disengaged" section of the contacts list.

Stello open rates can be both higher and lower than traditional newsletter software:

  • Higher because Stello messages are much less likely to get put in spam or promotional inboxes
  • Lower because Stello only measures when people actually open the main message, not just glance at the email. If someone glances at a Mailchimp email and dismisses it it will count as an "open" in Mailchimp. If someone glances at a Stello email and dismisses it it will not count as an open in Stello.

Increasing the open rate

There is no silver bullet but you can try the following:

  1. Personalise the email
    • Include an invite image that has a picture of you
      • It will make the message look more interesting
      • It will verify to readers that the message is highly unlikely to be a scam
    • Personalise the invite text to sound like it's from you
      • Same reasons as above
    • Change the invite image and text for every message
    • Write an interesting subject line for the message
      • Rather than "March Newsletter" write something actually interesting that's in your message
  2. Follow up disengaged contacts
    • If someone hasn't read your messages for a long time you either need to confirm they are ok, confirm they haven't changed address, or remove them
    • It is common for people to be too polite or too distracted to unsubscribe to things they aren't reading, and keeping them on your list only serves to depress you by reducing your open rate for every message
  3. Consider other delivery methods
    • Email is full of spam or boring receipts and announcements so it is not always a great way of staying connected with people
    • Stello messages can be sent manually (with effort) via any messaging platform (such as social media) by giving contacts no email address
  4. Focus on long-term engagement rather than short-term
    • It is very normal for even the closest of contacts to:
      • Not notice your message amongst many others
      • Plan to read your message later and forget about it
      • Be too busy to read messages during a certain period
      • Be on holiday or a break from emails
      • Not be interested in that particular topic
    • Instead focus on having a high open rate across the last x messages or last x months

Confirming messages are received

Asking a contact if they saw your newsletter is not a reliable way of determining if your Stello messages are getting through. Many people will be too polite to say they saw it but didn't have the inclination to read it.

If you want to confirm if your messages are getting through to someone, tell them beforehand that you plan to send a message to them and that you want to confirm the system is working properly. If they don't receive the message (obviously check spam folder as well) then you should try send an ordinary email to them using the same email address. If that goes through but the Stello one didn't then do get in contact with us.