10 Ways to Improve Email Open Rates

Tue, Sep 3, 2013

Review Analyze and Optimize


One of the biggest question marketers continue to ask is ‘how do I improve email open rates for my mailing list campaigns?’. You can create a powerful email with great copy and an amazing offer, but it is all for naught if you can’t get your intended audience to open the email. There are actually ten very simple techniques you can use to significantly improve your email open rates in under ten minutes.

  1. Use a headline. You need to add a word that will engage their interest and trigger them to click it. Trigger words are primarily words that encourage or represent an action like ‘watch’, ‘save’, ‘listen’, ‘get’ and ‘give’ . They can also be words that trigger an emotional response, such as ‘love’, ‘discover’, ‘happy’ and ‘need’. Take Note: Avoid using spam trigger words, such as ‘cash’, ‘money’, ‘prize’, ‘win’ and ‘contest’ – unless you like spending time in the junk mail folder. Bonus: Watch this video on how to double your sales the way nobody talks about to get more great tips on how to write killer headlines and grab your prospect’s attention.
  2. Personalize the subject. Whether it’s through the use of a replacement variable such as ~~firstname~~ or {{firstname}} on an autoresponder, or by manually typing the person’s name in an individual email, starting your subject line with the person’s name increases the chance that the person will both notice the email and open the email. Take note: If your autoresponder program doesn’t support auto-personalization or replacement variables, it’s time to get a new autoresponder.
  3. Be personable. You are sending to a real person, using their real name in the subject, right? Well, that real person expects they are getting an email from a real person, too. Do your best to add a personal touch to the email, including your picture, contact information, social media connection links, and a personal signature. Keep your language casual and friendly. Avoid hype and gimmick. Be yourself and be approachable. Bonus: Use a personal looking email address, like yourname@gmail.com  instead of info@hypybizdomainname.com
  4. Be Mobile Aware. More and more people are using smart phones to check their email. A smart phone will limit the space you have to get your message across because they only show part of longer subject lines. However, they do also show snippets of the email content. So, in order to improve your email open rates for mobile, keep your subject line short and make the first two sentences of your email your power-statement.
  5. Test. And then test some more. Testing isn’t the most fun thing to do, we understand, but when you are representing yourself electronically it can make the difference between your message being successful or your message falling flat. You should test sending your email to yourself on several different browsers, including mobile devices so you can check out #4 above. Also, sign up for a Gmail, a Yahoo, and an MSN email address and send to them. They are free and will give you a good sampling of how your message will look on arrival and clue you in to any spam-filter trigger words you may need to remove. Bonus: Some autoresponders, including Response Magic, come with spam-detection software that will rate your email for you before you send it.
  6. Timing is everything. Knowing when to send is just as important as knowing what to send in order to improve your email open rates. You, the email sender, are just one of many who is vying for that golden position in John G. Smith’s inbox. John has emails coming from his job, his wife, his mom, other opportunities and that Hickory Farms website he used to buy his boss’s Christmas present last year. What’s the trick? Understanding when everyone else sends their emails. The majority of work-related emails happen in the morning, between 7am and noon EST. The majority of personal emails happen after lunch when John is trying to avoid the report on his desk by trying to talk his wife into the family dinner his mom just emailed him about. Personal emails tend to stop at around 6pm EST when John goes home and can continue the dinner argument in person. So, to beat the bulk, your best bet is to send your email after 7pm EST and before 6 am EST to have the best chance at being seen separately from all the other email clutter.
  7. Remind them of who you are and why you are emailing them. Did you get their contact information from a contact form on your website? Pick them up from a Facebook conversation or a Google Hangout? Were they passed on to you by a friend? Tell them. Remind them how they know you or how you got their information so they don’t automatically assume you are a crazy stalker or spammer and demote you to the “ban sender” list. Be honest: Even if you purchased the lead, chances are high they filled out a targeting survey. Let them know that is how you got their contact info – that it was because they expressed interest in something.
  8. Start with a good list. Keeping #7 in mind, it is important that you are emailing people who actually want you to email them in the first place. Don’t just start grabbing people’s info from off the internet and emailing them randomly. That will quickly put you into the spammer category and is counter-productive to improving email open rates. Also, tread carefully with purchasing lead lists. Avoid ‘bulk’ and cheap leads. Go for live ‘survey’ leads and a company that can give you details about how they capture lead information. Bonus: The best lead is the lead you capture yourself. Response Magic makes it easy to do this by helping you to generate awesome capture forms, including YouTube videos, that you can place on your website, in your email, on your blog – or just use one of the pages we give you.
  9. Divide your list. Once you have a good list, divide it. Then divide it again. You want to be as specific as possible with your message targeting. You can divide your list by gender, age, education, location and more when the information is available to you. The way you approach a university educated business woman will be different from how you would approach a retired salesman. If it isn’t, it should be and you should stop what you are doing and go get dividing!
  10. Pay Attention to the feedback. Once you have your list segregated, you have written a short, killer, personalized subject line and you have your message composed, test it again. Then, once you begin receiving feedback from your autoresponder or email sending software, go over the feedback and statistics. Try different subject lines to different targeted lists and see if that helps to improve email open rates. If your email program doesn’t provide you with email statistics, you’re doing it wrong and you are sending email in the dark. Sending email without feedback statistics is like sending those junk-mail flyers we all still get in the snail-mail, a whopping 95% of which gets tossed before ever being brought into the house. Without feedback, how can you possibly know if your message is reaching its audience effectively? You can’t. So, if your method of sending email doesn’t provide you with sending and receipt statistics, find one that does. Bonus: Watch this video on how to double your sales the way nobody talks about to get more great tips on how to track your statistics.

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