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INtelligent Direct: Four Simple Tactics to Get More People to Open Your Emails

Measuring the success of an email campaign by its open rate may seem like a dated metric, but the open rate is perhaps the most critical measurement smart marketers need to understand when determining good (or bad) email results.

According to the 2018 Data Marketing Association (DMA) Stat Book, 57% of marketers look at the click-through rate (CTR), the number of unique clicks divided by the number of delivered message, as the most useful email performance metric. But let’s not forget that CTR is strongly correlated to open rate. After all, if your audience is not opening your email, there is zero chance they are engaged in your message. For an email to be considered open the recipient must fulfill one of these two actions:

  1. The recipient enables images to be displayed in the preview or full view of the email.
  2. The recipient clicks a link in the email.

Here are four ways you can get more people to open your emails.

1. Get your message delivered
According to the 2017 Deliverability Benchmark Report by Return Path, more than 20% of U.S. targeted emails will never reach their intended inbox. You can increase your delivery rate by employing a few simple tactics.

  • Keep your list clean – If you see that there are subscribers who are not interacting with your messages, most likely they are not interested in your marketing messages. An inactive subscriber is not just a wasted effort, but email service providers like Gmail may start to direct your messages to the SPAM folder, which can impact your sender reputation.
  • Request trusted sender status – You can also avoid the junk folder by inviting your audience to add the “from” email address to their contacts or list of trusted senders.
  • Implement a double opt-in sign-up – A double opt-in is when a user submits their email to your list and then is required to confirm that email. Using a double opt-in will weed out any fake emails and likely increase engagement since the subscriber has shown a genuine interest in your business.

2. Optimize your design
According to the 2018 DMA Fact Book, in the last year the number of customers using mobile devices to view their email has outpaced both PC and tablet use. Customers using mobile phones now represent the largest proportion of opens at 47% (up an incremental 7% over the previous year), followed by PCs at 37% and tablets at 16%.

This mobile forward trend should be motivation to design your emails with a mobile phone experience in mind. If a subscriber can see that the message you’ve delivered is not optimized for their phone, most likely it will be marked as trash almost immediately. Read more on the evolution of mobile-optimized emails in this recent blog.

3. Schedule your send appropriately
Timing plays an important role in the open rates of your email sends. Unless you have already tested send day and time of day for your emails, you may be decreasing the chances of your emails being opened. Knowing your audience plays in important role. According to Mailchimp, business, government and nonprofit emails are best sent during the work week, while e-commerce, retail and hobby-related messages have shown stronger response on the weekends. In general, a mid-morning, mid-week email send should provide the best average open rate, but you should be consistently A/B testing within your email segments to determine the best time to schedule your emails.

4. Don’t forget the importance of the subject line
You’ve spent all the time and resources to design a beautiful, mobile-optimized email with rich content and a great offer. The subject line is the gate-keeper that will encourage or deter your subscribers from opening the email. Here are some tips for crafting a subject line:

  • Personalized – Knowing and acknowledging your audience can go a long way in increasing your open rate. Experian reports that personalized promotional emails have 29% higher unique open rates. Take a minute now to look at your inbox and see how many subject lines have your name in the field and how you are naturally more curious about the email. Including other personal information like known interests, previous purchases or location-based messages should boost your open rates.
  • Length – Short and to the point typically works best. With over half of emails being opened on a mobile device, know that screen size and reader attention is scarce. Constant Contact has found that the most successful subject lines for increasing open rates include 4-7 words and fewer than 40 characters.
  • Purpose – Readers are looking for information in their inbox. Whether it is to educate, entertain or warn, your subject line should have a purpose and entice your audience to need to know more. Use humor, expertise or a time-sensitive alert for your subject line and readers will be more interested in opening your message and reading more.

Opens are the key to the ROI and response of your email campaign. By implementing these four tactics in your email testing plan, you should be able to improve your results over time.

Trent Weber • May 25, 2018


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