Increasing E-Newsletter CTR

My church does a weekly email newsletter and we currently have approximately 1530 subscribers. I oversee the content that goes out and have staff who prepare the content and handle proofing and sending. The email arrives in inboxes from me and admittedly I have not been as involved in the content creation as I should given that I am the sender.

The April 24th eNewsletter

We typically send our newsletter out on Thursdays at 12pm. That’s not intentional… we do it at that time because that’s the way it’s always been (ah, saying those words out loud leave a bitter taste in my mouth). Prior to sending out the April 24th newsletter I chose to rewrite some text, changing some of the overall tone. It isn’t an indictment of anyone who contributed to the current copy, but rather a challenge to myself to ask, “if I put my best foot forward on this week’s newsletter, what results will I see?”

The Copy Results

You can view the final product here.

I’ll let you be the judge if you believe my copy to be compelling and personable. I do want to point one thing out.

Student Summer Activities


I’m blue in the face talking about our Middle School Summer Camp… however, we haven’t seen much fruit from our promotions so far (particularly for Summer camp). In this particular newsletter I chose to take a different route. My son loves watching Phineas and Ferb and their opening title song is exactly what the summer activities are all about:

“There’s 104 days of summer vacation then school comes along just to end it. So the annual problem of our generation is finding a good way to spend it.”

– Phineas and Ferb Title Sequence Song

I included a the above picture and lyrics and linked to the actual song via YouTube.

After just over 24 hours since the email was sent, the links to our summer activities account for 20% of all clicks.

The Other Stats

Our list average for opens is 21% and we’re currently at 23.4% opens for this campaign (I anticipate it will reach 30% at its current rate). Our average click rate is 3% and we’re currently at 6.4% for this campaign.


I am one of the more experienced writers on our communication team. When I am paired with a responsibility that leans into my strengths, the results will be strong. Second conclusion, you can’t turn on auto-pilot and just copy and paste from your website to your newsletter. Respect the medium and your subscribers enough to put in maximum effort to tell your organization’s story.

2 replies
  1. Mary Stargel
    Mary Stargel says:

    Thanks Dave for sharing about being intentional with the e-newsletter. It is the last task of my week and sometimes can be the thing I focus on the least. I have tried to start working on it at the beginning of the week as I plan for communications asking myself “What do I want my community to know?” My hope is to now focus on engaging the community more with next steps.

    • Dave Shrein
      Dave Shrein says:

      Mary, very glad to hear that it helped to challenge your thought process. My friend, Tim Peters, says that if you communicate EVERYTHING then you communicate NOTHING. He is so right. Being very strategic about 1) what we choose to communicate and 2) writing our copy specifically for each medium we use helps us to get the most out of our channels.

      So, we DO NOT copy Twitter content right into Facebook. Likewise, we do not just copy website text and place it into the newsletter. Every medium is consumed differently and we must create content keeping that in mind. Let me know what you wind up doing.

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