With a large proportion of small businesses undertaking email marketing, it is easy for your emails to get lost in the crowd and never opened. So how do you stick out from the competition and make sure your emails are the ones that get opened consistently?
1. Avoid spam tactics
This may sound easy enough but some companies inadvertently find their emails getting caught in spam filters through use of excessive punctuation such as !!!! or using all CAPITAL LETTERS.
Many words will get you blacklisted in spam filters such as combinations of any of the following words: earn $$$, free, cheap, credit, fast cash, weight loss drug, once in a lifetime deal etc. You won’t automatically get blacklisted if you have only used one of these words so long as the title and text of email reads as proper sentences, is not overtly sales pitched, and avoids spammy hyperlinks, but it is best to avoid these words where possible.
2. Craft an appealing subject line
Being the first thing a customer sees, the subject line is the one thing to make sure you get right. Did you know you can use A/B testing for subject lines as well as websites and landing pages?
Other things to consider with your subject line are keeping the text to 50 characters or less, using the recipient’s first name in the subject line or mentioning geographic area. Also make sure to use correct spelling and grammar and create a sense of urgency e.g. “Last day to register!”
3. Content quality
For people to keep opening your emails your content needs to be useful to them in some way? Does it motivate or educate? Is it humorous or offering something they can’t get elsewhere. These are things to keep in mind.
4. List segmentation
As a business you may well have many landing pages on your website where you capture customers’ email addresses for different purposes. If so, use email marketing services like Aweber or Mailchimp to keep these lists separate.
Nothing is more annoying than signing up for emails under the guise of one thing, and being bombarded with emails for something different. Studies have found that as an email marketing list increases significantly open rates go down. This could well be because the larger businesses get the more products and services they have on offer and they forget to separate their lists.
5. Follow up with unsubscribers
The best way to find out why people unsubscribe is to ask the people who are unsubscribing at the moment they are making that decision. Most unsubscribe software has a feature which allows users to answer a few quick questions after they unsubscribe about why they made that decision.
Some users may simply be unsubscribing because you are emailing them too often, whereas others may be unsubscribing because they don’t find your content useful. Not everyone will choose to answer these questions, but take every response seriously if you do get it.
6. Don’t buy leads
This one should go without saying but I have included it here for emphasis. Do not buy leads! Having an email list of 100 hundred people who care about what you do, is worth more than 1 million subscribers who have no interest in what you do.
Buying leads ensures you will have subscribers who aren’t part of your target audience, age, or geographic location. It’s just bad for business all round. Offering a freebie or running a contest which collects users email addresses is a far better way to grow your list organically.
7. Send emails at optimal times
Experiment with sending your emails at different times to see what times generate the best open rate. For example, a study by Experian found that open rates on Saturday and Sunday were much higher than the rest of the week, and the lowest open rates were on Tuesday and Thursday. This of course will differ based on who your target audience is.
8. Personalised names
Studies have also found that people are more likely to open an email from an individual than a company. This increases the personalisation factor.
9. Format messages for mobile
Approximately 74 per cent of smartphone owners use their devices to check email, so if you want to increase your email open rates, make sure that your messages are formatted for mobile devices. Doing so will ensure that you will improve open rates, as well as engagement and click through rates.