How to increase your email open rate
In my previous blog post I mentioned that email marketing is an integral part of content marketing.
Rumor has it that for every $ 1 spent on email marketing, successful marketers earn $ 44.25.
But the success of your email marketing depends on increasing your email open rate.
When you send out emails, it has to cross many hurdles before it can make a positive impact on your bottom line. These hurdles include
- Not ending up in the spam folder due to certain email service settings.
- Arriving at the most appropriate time.
- Getting noticed by the recipient amidst the deluge of other email messages in the inbox.
- Grabbing the attention of the email recipient.
The opening of your email message is very important. Unless someone opens your email message, nothing much can happen.
How do you increase your email open rate?
How do you prompt people to click on your message in the inbox?
Here are a few things you can do to increase your email open rate…
Offer something compelling in the subject
Make a good offer in the subject line to increase your email open rate
Something compelling doesn’t mean offer something that would be unbelievable. Normally, you would know what sort of email messages your recipient is expecting from you if you have been building a mailing list of your own.
Make that offer in the subject line.
If someone has subscribed to your email updates to get notifications on some great discounts, then definitely use “10% discount on…” in the subject line.
If someone has subscribed to your updates to improve his or her SEO, have something like “Improve your SEO with this technique right now” or something like this in the subject line.
Make it compelling enough to open your email and check it out.
You can also use different emotions to compel people into opening your email.
This Constant Contact blog post gives many suggestions regarding what all you can include in the subject line:
- Ask a question: “What will you do with this extra saving of $50?”
- Give a command: “Open this message immediately or regret for ever!”
- Teaser: “So, this is what you’re going to miss if you don’t read this email.”
- Give a list: “20 sure short ways of making money with this simple tool.”
- Make an announcement: “We have finally released the upgrade you have been waiting for!”
Here is another blog post that gives you 10 best email subject line formulas.
Make your subject line easier to read on mobile devices
Use mobile friendly subject lines to increase email open rate
Around 83% people might be checking your emails on their mobile devices. If your subject is too long to fit on their screens, they may skip your message.
Your subject message must be compelling, but it should also be shorter.
Use a name for the “From” field
Use the actual name in the From field
People are more prone to opening emails when they get them from individuals rather than from organizations and businesses.
There is a greater chance of people opening the email if it comes from “Amrit Hallan” instead of simply “Credible Content”.
Pay more attention to your analytics data
Pay attention to email analytics
Almost every email marketing service, MailChimp, for example, gives you data on when people open your emails.
23% emails are opened during the first hour of delivery, and this I have noticed myself. The greatest number of my emails are opened within 30-40 minutes of me sending out the campaign.
If you have been sending your email campaigns for many months, you can import, or manually enter, the details in an Excel sheet. Once you can see all the timings and the number of people opening your emails on those particular times, you will be able to arrive at the best time and this way you can increase your email open rate to a great extent.
Use icons and emojis in the subject line to increase your email open rate
Use icons and emojis in the subject line
Although I don’t believe in gimmicks as I think that people should open your email on its merit rather than for what sort of icons you have used in the subject line, it is a good way of standing out.
Don’t overdo it. If you use icons with every email you send out, it may diminish their utility value. They need to be very relevant to the message that you’re sending.
Ask your recipients to put your email ID in the safe list
Request the recipients to add your email ID to the safe list
Many of your recipients may never receive your messages because their email client, whether it is Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo mail, might be directing them to the spam folder.
This is why, when people have just subscribed to your email updates, request them to add your email ID to their safe list so that your message don’t end up in the spam folder.
The data on this blog post (slightly old) says that more than 20% marketing emails never make to the inbox.
How much email is consigned to the spam folder differs from region to region, according to this SlideShare presentation. 66% emails reach your recipient’s inbox in Asia compared to 86% in Europe.
By asking your recipients to put your email ID (the one that is used for your email marketing campaigns) in the safe list or telling them how to tell their email clients that emails from you are not spam, can considerably increase your email open rate.
Personalize your email subject line to increase your email open rate
Personalize your email messages
Using first language, using the name of the recipient, also increases your email open rate.
When your recipient sees his or her name in the subject line, it conveys to him or her that it is not a machine-generated message (although, such messages can also be machine generated).
When people see their names, directly or indirectly it gets communicated to them that at some stage they must have interacted with you and that is why you know their name. Or at least, they themselves have subscribed to your updates. This increases your email open rate.
Use email segmentation
Use segmentation to send out email campaignsfor
Recently I wrote about the importance of email segmentation.
Again, if you see the analytics given by your email marketing service tool (like MailChimp) it will tell you various aspects of your email recipients, such as, how many of them opened your messages, how many clicked the links in your message, in which regions they opened your message, and such.
For example, if there are certain email recipients who regularly open your messages, you know that they are interested in hearing from you. You can send them custom campaigns.
Those who click the links within your email campaign are interested in knowing more about your product or service. You can send them a different email message to increase your email open rate.
Build your own mailing list
Build your own mailing list
The best way of increasing your email open rate is to build your own mailing list.
When people subscribe to your updates on their own they are more likely to open your messages. This is because they themselves want to receive your messages. They will also go to extra lengths to make sure that your messages don’t end up in the spam folder.
Keep refining your email list
Keep refining your mailing list
No emails are ever opened from certain email ids? Repeat bounces from certain email ids? Wrong spelling? Wrong email ID is just to download your e-book?
Remove these email ids.
You may feel reassured that you’re sending your email marketing campaigns to 10,000 recipients, but if only 2000 recipients are likely to open your messages, you should focus on those recipients. You will get a better email open rate like this.
Use a consistent schedule for sending out your emails
Maintain a consistent emailing schedule
This is something that I don’t do, but should. Actually, my email broadcasts are dependent upon the blog posts that I publish or the new content that I publish on my website and, I know this is contrary to what I often suggest in my writings, it is not a regular activity.
When you set a day and time for your emails people, unconsciously, begin to expect your emails on that particular day and at that particular time. This can have a big impact on your email open rate.
Interact with your mailing list subscribers
Regularly interact with your email subscribers
Don’t just send marketing messages. Ask your subscribers questions. Encourage them to respond. Try to know about their interests. Make an emotional connection.
When you make an emotional connection, you become familiar to them and when you become familiar to them, they readily open your email messages.
Occasionally you can conduct surveys asking 1-2 questions.
You can send them useful information you come across on other websites – for example, I can share with you an insightful blog post or article on SEO if I find it on another website, instead of constantly sending links from my own blog, and then ask you your opinion.
Never compromise on the quality of your content
If you constantly broadcast quality content your subscribers will be waiting for your messages.
When you subscribe to my email updates you expect to learn more about content writing, content marketing and in general, promoting your business online.
If I keep sending you good quality content on these topics, there is nothing to prompt you to ignore my messages if you happen to notice them in your inbox.
Concluding remarks on increasing your email open rate
Tricking your email subscribers into opening your messages may work once, may even work twice, but ultimately, it is the content that you provide that matters and contributes towards increasing your email open rate.
It isn’t just about increasing your email open rate, it is about delivering value to your email subscribers.
But, opening your emails is the first step. If they don’t notice your messages in their inbox, if your messages get buried under other, less important messages, if your messages are redirected to their spam folders, no matter how valuable content you send them, they’re not going to receive it, they’re not going to benefit from it.