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5 Tips to Increase Your Email Open Rate

Updated on November 16, 2015

Email open rate refers to the number of times an email has been attended, relative to the number of times it has been sent.

For an average email marketer, the importance of the email open rate is quite obvious. Unless a potential customer clicks on an email, it is not possible to garner his interest and generate business. Therefore, the email open rate is directly proportionate to the success of an email marketing campaign.

Email marketing has always proven to be more effective than direct mail, in addition to being cheaper. However, with newsletters and spam flooding email accounts, there is a high probability of a marketing email going unattended.

A more calculated approach is required in order to ensure that a marketing email reaches out to a potential customer. Below are 5 tips which can be used to increase the email open rate.

A Powerful Subject Line

What’s the first thing that a customer notices going through his email? It’s the contents of the subject line. It needs to stand out from the rest of the emails in order to attract the customer’s attention.

It can prove fruitful to state the offer as a “Did you know” fact that the most customers are unaware of. Powerful words such as “proven” “discover” or “new” should be used to get the message across.

Commonly used words such as “free” “sale” or “promotion” should be avoided so that the email doesn’t get lost among the plethora of emails that the customer usually gets.

Care should also be taken to use proper spelling and grammar to show a sense of professionalism. Even the slightest grammar mistake may detract the customer from attending the email as he may doubt the authenticity of the offer.

Most email marketing software A/B testing so it is in your best interest to test out the various subject lines to find our which works best. This is especially true if you're a product based business that sends out frequent time based emails.

Use a flowchart and figure out how your emails are planned and triggered. Note the conversion of each path and start changing one subject line at a time. Once you figure out which subject works best move on to the other emails for the process.

Here's an example subject line which has most of the qualities mentioned in this section.

Did you know you can avail a 15% tax refund this year?

Add a Personal Touch

Customers want to feel special. Referring to the customer by his first name in the email can help give that personal touch.

This is helpful as the customer will feel that the offer is being exclusively offered to him instead of a group of people and wouldn’t want to miss out on it. Most email marketing software provides the option to automatically enter names from the database into a default header.

It may also help to modify the subject line into a question which may speak to the customer directly. This technique can give a significant boost to the email open rates. Below is an example of such an emails subject line.

“Tim: Are you happy with your current Internet provider?”

Avoid Long Subject Lines

According to MailerMailer’s annual Email marketing metrics report, email open rates were the highest when the subject lines were kept between 4-15 characters, while emails with very long subject lines scored the lowest rate.

This can be explained by the fact that according to Google, 82% of smartphone owners use their smartphones to check for emails. Keeping that in mind, it would be a good idea to avoid long subject lines which may get truncated by the relatively smaller screen estate of smartphones.

If long subject lines are absolutely necessary, then the important information should at least be kept in the forefront so the potential customer realizes that the contents of the email might be of interest to him.

Time your emails

This is one mistake that even the most experienced email marketers tend to do; not timing their emails.It may seem hard to believe at first, but the higher the frequency of emails being sent from a particular address, the lower the email open rate.

Care should be taken not to bombard the customer’s email account with marketing offers. The customer may get annoyed and simply start ignoring the emails or mark them as spam. A period of time should be given in between emails in order to give the customer some space.

The information about the offer has already been conveyed to the customer. If he is interested, he will look through it. It is of no use to convey the information again and again, and can in fact prove harmful to the marketing campaign.

Segment your audience

It is very important for marketers to segment their audience so that a particular offer reaches out to a target audience that would most likely avail it.

The fact of the matter is, not all consumers are the same. While the subject line may speak to one group of people, it may not to another.

Think about it. If a vehicle sales company markets a wheelchair accessible RV to a broad number of people, it will most likely grab the attention of those consumers with disabilities. Creating a mailing list of those with disabilities and sending them the offer will definitely show an increase in the email open rate of the particular offer.

In fact, 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experienced better deliverability and greater revenue.

Using these 5 simple techniques in your email marketing campaign will guarantee an increase in the email open rate.


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