Email marketing is not a new concept. But it is also far from being an outdated concept. It still produces one of the highest engagement rates and returns on investment of any marketing strategy. Measuring the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign can be extremely difficult. However, one way to determine success is to track your email open rates. But this can leave marketers asking themselves, “How do I improve my open rates?”
Below are 10 ways to help improve open rates and keep your customers reading:
1. Write an engaging subject line
Like a handshake at the start of a business meeting, the subject line is the very first thing that a customer notices about your email. So testing and optimizing your subject lines is a must. Conducting some A/B testing can go a long way to ensuring your full email message is hitting as many eyeballs as possible. And when it comes time to write subject lines: entice curiosity but don’t be too clever, insert numbers, be fun and conversational, and speak in the language of your recipient.
2. Write to one person
An email is far more likely to be opened and engaged with if it appears to be written directly to the recipient. Try to personalize the message, use the recipient’s first name in the opening and write the body copy as if you were writing to that person alone. In other words, know your buyer persona. Write like a friend, and be humorous when appropriate. Make your recipients feel familiar and comfortable with your messages.
3. Segment your list
Do not send emails to recipients who don’t care about the content. So carefully segment your list. By breaking your list down into groups of similar individuals, you will be able to send highly relevant, highly focused emails. No matter how good the quality of your content, your message can only be effective if the reader has a vested interest.
4. Send from one person, not a company
What’s one of the first things you do when receiving an email? Check to see if it came from someone you know. So send your emails from an actual individual instead of a company. Doing so is more personal and increases the likelihood of engagement. Remember, emails that come directly from a company are always flagged as one form of advertising or another. So this only increases the chances of your message being deleted.
5. Update your list often
Review your distribution list often and remove inactive subscribers or emails that have bounced. This ensures you are collecting high-quality leads and are not paying for contacts that can’t even receive your message.
6. Avoid spam filters
It’s obvious…if your email ends up in the spam folder open rates will deteriorate. Obvious again…but to avoid ending up in the spam folder don’t send emails that look like spam. Do not use subject lines in all caps, and avoid using the words “free” or “sale.” Also, limit the number of links you use; having too many links will trigger email filters. Large images can also trigger spam filters.
7. Write quality content
Humans are creatures of habit. So if your customers come to expect your company only sends informative and interesting emails, open rates will continue to increase. On the flip side, if you are constantly sending your customers uninformative and/or promotional-only emails, more than likely your communications are going to start hitting the trash folder. Unopened. Sending high-quality emails while also monitoring frequency rates is a must.
8. Use images
Email images sell, and are a critical part of marketing your product or service. The trick is to find a way to use images that will benefit your email’s overall performance rather than detract from it. Remember, not all email providers will display your images; so do not send an email that is one giant image. And too many or large images can send your email to the spam folder; so you should only use about 30 percent of your available space for images. The key to using images effectively is to select interesting and engaging images. Beauty shots of a product are not interesting.
9. Optimize your send times
Like in everyday life, timing can be everything when it comes to email marketing. Ensure you are sending your emails at the best times given their message, audience and intent. The best time to send your message can be determined through testing or by conducting industry research. As a rule of thumb, it’s always better to delay a message and send it during peak open rate times rather than sending a message just to mark it off your list.
10. Design your email for mobile devices
Roughly 80 percent of smartphone owners use their phone to check email, and mobile devices now represent over 51 percent of all email opens. So if you can’t open your company emails on your phone, you might be in trouble. If your emails look good on a mobile device, your open rates should remain on target.
Honorable mentions that didn’t make the top 10 include: resend unopened emails, insert a video, invite recipients to forward your email and include social media links.
Is there anything missing from this list? If so, let me know.