23rd February 2018

7 Top Tips to Improve Your Email Marketing Open Rate

Cartoon man and woman on a laptop screen with a drawn map to a target

Email marketing can be an extremely effective digital marketing strategy when implemented correctly. As a first step, you should encourage your audience to open emails and engage with your content and brand.

Are you worried that your email strategy isn’t working as well as it could? If you’re seeing low percentage open rates, a drop in open rates, or an increase in the number of opt-outs, here are seven of our top tips to improve performance:

1. Enhance your subject line

The subject line is one of the most important elements of a successful email marketing campaign. It’s the first thing that your reader is going to see and will determine whether they open the email or not. This is why it is essential to make your subject line distinctive enough to attract attention in their busy inbox.

How can you make your subject line stand out?

  • Be fun, humourous, or use a conversational tone (if on brand)
  • Be short, descriptive, and provide them with a reason to click-through
  • Use numbers and stats (these draw the eye and gain attention)
  • Avoid words such as ‘free’, ‘percent off’, ‘don’t forget’, and ‘exclusive offers’ as these tend to trigger spam filters and negatively affect open rates

2. Consider which ‘from’ name to use

The ‘from’ name and email address lets your reader know who sent the email. If a reader doesn’t recognise your email they could be skeptical about the sender and will be less likely to open it. Did you know 43% of email recipients click the spam button based on the ‘from’ name? So, make sure you use a familiar name and email address that they can trust.

As a result, we recommend sending from a personal email address rather than a company email address such as “info@”. An email from a company can instantly get perceived as advertising. If you add a personal touch your email is much more likely to get opened.

3. Use analytics to send at the right time

Timing is everything and this certainly applies to email marketing. It is vital that you think carefully about what time of day, and which day you choose to send your emails as this can have a big impact on whether or not your subscribers open your email.

MailChimp, our preferred email tool, recently released data that showed the best time to send emails is on weekdays at 10am.

MailChimp also discovered that there were a variety of things that had a significant effect on the peak time. This included type of content, location, age, and occupation.

Essentially, the perfect time to send your email depends on your particular audience and market; get to know your audience and find out what works best for them to improve your campaign.

4. Manage your subscription list

Checking and managing your email list regularly will help improve your open rate. You don’t want to be sending emails to inactive subscribers or to email addresses that no longer exist.

Segmenting your list is also a good way to make sure you are sending relevant content to your recipient. There are many ways you can do this. You could choose to segment demographically or geographically, but you can also do this according to survey or quiz results and past purchases.

MailChimp’s latest user data showed that segmented campaigns get 14.64% more opens and 59.99% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns. With this in mind, it’s a worthwhile task you can’t afford to ignore.

5. Avoid spam filters and the Google promotions tab

Even the best of emails can still get caught by the spam filter, meaning they may never be seen by your audience before they are auto-deleted by their mail provider.

There are a few things that you can do to try and avoid this:

  • Don’t be deceptive in your subject line
  • Always provide an unsubscribe link
  • Always include your physical mailing address
  • Make sure your subscribers have opted-in to receive your emails
  • Be consistent with your design and branding by using a style that your audience already associates with you brand
  • Use A/B testing to observe how changes in your content affect delivery and engagement rates

These actions do require a lot of insight to set-up and monitor, but the potential improvements to your marketing are worth the time and effort.

6. Personalisation

Don’t think like you are writing to a huge group of people when creating your content. It is much more effective to write to one person; you’ll find you produce a clearer, more human message which is more likely to be well-received.

As you write directly to the recipient, use their first name in your opening sentence. This personalisation and familiarity is much more likely to engage your readers and get them to open your email and future messages.

In essence, it’s about making each subscriber and customer feel important and valued.

7. Don’t forget mobile users

About 74% of smartphone owners use their devices to check their emails (you can read more about this on Hubspot, who released a set of mobile stats for email). Therefore, rather than forget the mobile view, you should be tailoring your approach for these users first!

To make sure your email is mobile-friendly it is important to consider these things:

  • Responsive formatting to tailor your campaign to any screen size
  • Mobile screens are smaller so long subject lines may be cut off on mobile devices
  • Use larger fonts
  • Use smaller images to reduce load time
  • Always test the email first and view it on both PC and mobile

We hope that you’ve found this advice useful. Email marketing is a competitive landscape but one that can provide big returns. For more information on how we can help you with your email marketing, get in touch or come and join us on our MailChimp course on the 25th April 2018.

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