Improve Email Open Rate

Open rate simply means how many people in your list actually open or view that particular email marketing campaign. It is one of the most telling email marketing metrics for providing insight in to the effectiveness of a campaign.

Most businesses or marketers believe that the right content is all that is needed for a campaign to be successful, but even getting people to open your email is a huge obstacle. Knowledge of your target audience, proper segmentation or even the day/time you send your email can be key in creating an effective strategy that produces high open rates. Here are ten tips to try next time you send that email:

Make your subject line stand out: In many ways, your email subject line is more important that your email body. You can use any approach; no nonsense, funny, controversial, single words or personalized as long as it stands out. Before you send ask yourself: If I received this email from another company, would I open it? However, try and keep it under 50 characters to suit mobile phone users.

Timing is crucial: As with everything, timing is very important in the email marketing business. It requires some experimentation and it is very important to keep your target audience in mind when you send it. There are definitely good days and time slots to send email. In a B2C campaign your audience may have time to check their emails either during lunch or in the evening. However, if you have a B2B focus, then early morning would be a good time when they catch up with their emails.                                

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Avoid Spam traps and use email authentication: The dreaded word is not something your email wants to be classified as. An email caught by a spam filter has virtually no chance of being read, so choose your words wisely and lean towards plain language. Avoid using all capital letters; too many exclamations or phrases with are termed as spam by filters. Make sure you comply with CAN SPAM laws – It’ll make you look more trustworthy plus its good business practice. To further increase your inbox placement rate, use email authentication with DKIM, SPF, and other relevant protocols. Authentication is a way to prove that you are who you say you are and that you are a legitimate sender. Here are ways to avoid the spam filter.

First Impressions: Your email recipients will first notice the subject line and then who the email is from. Whatever you fill the “from” line with, be sure to keep it the same as far as possible across multiple campaigns. This trains your readers and spam filters to expect the email from the same sender.

Remove the dead weight: It simply means clear your email list regularly. Your list most likely has email addresses that are no longer valid, have typos, and are bouncing and so on. Most email marketing products have the ability to help you clean up your list, particularly if you’re receiving spam complaints from users who don’t want your email and failed to click on the unsubscribe option. Your open rate can be dramatically increased by pulling people from your list who never open your emails.

Test, Test, Test: With emails now being opened on multiple platforms including phones and tablets, it is important to check emails are rendering properly on all platforms or email clients. Also, use A/B testing – this is based on having two ideas, and letting your audience tell you which one they like. Every company and audience is different, so you need to test to find what works best for your specific situation. The latest Litmus compilation of email client market share from February 2014 shows why it’s so important to consider how well your emails render on mobile.

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Segmentation: This is one of the key ways to improve open rates and deliverability. The more the written content is suited to your audience’s needs, the better your open rates. For example, if you send an email regarding a sale to someone who is subscribed to your blog but lives on the wrong continent to order your product they are not going to bother opening it as compared to someone interested in discounts and lives in an area where you deliver.

Be specific in Calls to Action: Be clear in your email about what action you want your audience to take. Choose a single action and understand that people like to scan and will rarely read an entire email.

Use structured branded templates: Having a branded email template can create a good impression and also lend to the trust factor of your email. Do not design your templates in such a way that your message doesn’t make sense at all without images — infact try to design your template such that there will be empty squares, or text captions, where images should reside.

Personalization: If you have the correct data available, personalization can seriously boost your success rate. Various studies showed higher open rates with personalized subject lines.Common personalization includes using somebody’s first name, company name, position, location, or industry within the context of your email. People like to hear their name. Use personalization appropriately in subject lines and your email body.

US email campaign data published March 2013 shows that despite some social media marketing specialists occasionally saying that “email marketing is dead”, open and clicks remain stable. However, marketers have to work a lot harder through delivering more personalized relevant creative to achieve this.

Once implemented, the above best-practices should help you to achieve higher open rates and improve your email marketing.

Don’t forget to check out our ultimate Email Marketing Pre-Launch Checklist.


Data and Image Source:

  • Litmus
  • Jack

    Awesome post! You summed up pretty much all the important things to keep an eye on in email marketing. I was wondering what email software do you recommend? Is GetResponse good?