What is your newsletter open rate?

I have a little over 800 users and hover around a 30/35% open rate on my weekly newsletter (though I've only sent out 4 so far). I send it between 9/10am EST. The newsletter covers OSHA related news along with some popular workplace safety discussion topics.

What are your metrics, any tips you guys can give to get better open rates?

  1. 4

    Hi David, I have data from 67 newsletters that we track and help. 70% are "paid" newsletters, but all have some "free" updates they send. On average for "paid" only subscribers the average (skewed higher by top 7 paid newsletters) is 56% open rate with an average of 386 subscribers. For their "free subscribers" the open rate is much lower at 37%, with an average of 2039 subscribers.

    There are 3 things we found in our data:

    1. Tenure - newsletters started before 2019 have higher open rates. Generally cohorts of open rates subscribers trends higher with tenure of the newsletter. Surprising to me, but that's what we see.

    2. Free subscribers open rate bounces by 5-7%, MoM or QoQ, but paid only goes up or down by 1-2%

    3. Date and time matter: First some background: 25% of the newsletters we help are in general news / politics and 45% are in technology. Rest are in self-help, media and sports.

    For our technology newsletters, most of the paid ones publish on Saturday as well as other days. Open rates for Saturday's are much higher than weekdays.

    If you look at our free newsletters alone, we have anywhere from 1200 subscribers to over 20K in our database. They range from 35% open rate to 62%.

    Hope this helps. Glad to answer specific questions.

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing that, super valuable data. Makes sense that paid tier would have higher open rates.

  2. 2

    Mine is 50-60% on average with about 2,000 subscribers.

    I think it's a bit high as subscribers come through an email course, so people who self-select to be on the list are pretty actively engaged with the topic.

    Tbh I've found that no matter the subject line the open rates are all pretty consistent. I'm kinda guessing it's just whether people historically liked past emails.

    1. 1

      Sounds reasonable, yea writing newsletters is a pretty new thing for me so it’ll definitely take some practice.

  3. 2

    50%, but so far my subscriber base is fairly small and engaged. At scale I fully expect that to go down

    1. 1

      That’s pretty good though! Congrats, hope it stays consistent

  4. 2


    Everyone is different. Personally I don't push the wrong people to subscribe and I've been consistent for about a year now (for http://rosieland.substack.com/)

    1. 1

      Agreed. My site is a forum and when users register they are automatically subscribed to the newsletter so it’s more of a little bonus (rather than the reason they’re signing up).

  5. 1

    for my newsletter seems to fluctuate a lot, between 40-65% for a community of about 100 people.

  6. 1

    We have ~80% open rate for The Side Hustler because we use the double-opt-in strategy for onboarding new subscribers. We also trim our subscriber list frequently by removing those who don't open 5 newsletters in a row.

    A few weeks ago, we wrote an article about our early results

  7. 1

    thesnag is sitting on around 30% give or take.

    As you would expect a lot of the time it comes down to how epic your headline is. Its just got to grab a user and make them want to open the email.

  8. 1

    We were above 50% during beta phase and now that our user based grown above a 1'000 users, our opening rate is around 30%.

    I generally send news only when we have reached important milestones or developed something even more cool than usual. Concretely this year, so far, one newsletter every two months.

  9. 1

    I think yours is doing pretty well!

    I'm still a newbie in newsletter field, currently running this little one. Keen to hear your opinion @djaenike

  10. 1

    Mine is around 40-50% recently! It's weird cos a few months ago it was hovering around 20-30..I updated the DMARC and SPF things and send at a different time and it increased.

    So not sure if it's the content or a combination of many factors..

  11. 1

    Im sitting at a 61% average, and I have 670 subscribers.

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