How to Improve Your Email Open Rate

Email Marketing Basics

Despite all of the developments which alter the way that people execute their digital marketing, email marketing is still one of the most popular channels. It is low cost, most people understand how email works and its effectiveness is highly measurable.  Note that measurable doesn’t always mean successful though!

One of the first hurdles that an email campaign can fall at is whether the email is opened or not.  There are a number of factors which can affect this, and in this week’s blog, I will focus on five of the most important.

Did it get to the inbox?  Most email marketing software tries its hardest to get your email to the inbox, but some emails will get caught in the email provider’s spam filter. This is normally because there is a characteristic of the email which has raised a red flag – is the email just one big image (this is very poor practice), does it contain spam trigger words (e.g. earn $, cash, medical or drug terminology, 100% free, act now, etc.), is your HTML coded correctly, etc.

Who is the email from?  Assuming that your email has made it through the spam filter, the user has two key pieces of information at their disposal: the subject line and who has sent the email. You have a choice as to how the ‘name’ of the sender is displayed and this is crucial to the open rate: should you have the personal touch and include a name, should it be from the organisation, should it be from a particular department?  It depends on what is in the email and who your audience is, but emails from ‘Sales’ or ‘Info’ are very common and very off-putting!

What is the email about?  The subject line is the perfect mix of art and science. It needs to be enough to entice the user to click on the email to find out more, so it should be pretty short and give a reason to open the email. It may be appropriate for you to use humour or even emojis in your subject line: it depends on who your audience is and what your industry is. You should test different subject lines to build up some intelligence as to what works with your audience.

How often do I send emails?  Past performance can also impact on email open rate. If you receive frequent emails from a particular organisation, this is likely to lower the overall open rate (although the frequency may make overall actual opens higher), whereas less frequent emails are more likely to have a better open rate. Your industry and the volume of interesting content are key factors in getting the frequency right.

When should I send the email?  The day of the week and time of day are critical to your open rate. You may not know the best time yet, but you will certainly be able to have a think about when the best to time talk to your recipient is: would they be interested in your product during the week or at the weekend? Would they be interested to see your email in a lunch break or at work or in the evening? The best way to find out is to keep testing and monitoring open rates.

Do you have any email open rate tips? Have you tried changing one element of your email marketing and seen your open rate improve? Leave a comment and share your experience!

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