Improving Open Rates for Email Marketing Campaigns

improving open rates

I remember the day our weekly marketing report to the CEO of the company I first worked for included our email marketing statistics. Previously, we had reported on website visitors, calls to our 1-800 number, requests for more information via our landing pages and the number of new leads we had generated in the prior week. Email changed how we held ourselves accountable (and how the rest of the company valued our efforts) as soon as we began reporting the number of emails sent, delivered and opened. Ever since that first email marketing send and report, I’ve been focused on improving open rates.

Here are a few things I have learned through the years about improving open rates and, well, providing better content to subscribers…

Deliverability is key

If your prospects and clients aren’t getting your emails, how can they open them? Here are some tips to make sure your messages are reaching the inbox.

  • Ask your subscribers to add you to their address books. If you want to end up in their inbox and not in their junk folder, ask them to add you as a contact. It’s that easy.
  • Construct a well-structured message with quality content. Make sure you have a good amount of both text and images in your message. Right On Interactive recommends a 30:70 image to text ratio for all email messages. In addition, always proofread your copy and confirm it is readable, original, does not include “filler” text (such as the “lorem ipsum”) or common “spammy” keywords or phrases, and uses proper spelling, capitalization and grammar.

Segment your opt-in list

Just because someone opts-in to receive communications from your brand doesn’t mean they’re interested in everything you have to say. What appeals to your prospective clients is quite different than what your newly onboarded clients are interested in learning about. By segmenting your opt-in list with a 3D Scoring model, you can make sure the right message reaches the right contact based upon their profile, level of engagement and lifecycle stage.

Don’t forget about the subject line

The subject line of your email is arguably the most important element of your message. After all, 35% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone (Jay Baer). Here are a few ideas on how you can make your subject lines more enticing and inbox ready.

  • Use proper spelling and grammar. Avoid all caps, multiple exclamation marks and poor grammar.
  • Promote a sense of urgency. If your subscribers think they could be missing out on something if they don’t open the message, they’ll be more likely to check it out.
  • Personalize the message. Reference the recipient’s first name, title or company, depending on your message, to convey it is directed to them specifically.
  • Avoid “spammy” sounding phrases and keywords. It sounds like common sense, but avoid “free,” “you are a winner,” “guaranteed,” etc… These words and phrases can cause your messages to be sent to your subscribers’ spam folders.

There is no guaranteed method of improving open rates for all email marketing campaigns, but following these suggestions is a great way to get started or reinvigorate your email marketing efforts this year. Hopefully these tips can help improve your weekly marketing report to the CEO!

What other tips (or tactics to avoid) can you share on improving open rates based upon your experience?