Increasing your email open rate might look easy on paper, but it requires plenty of effort on your end. Although the task may be daunting, using an email marketing strategy to improve this number is important since a high email open rate can bring huge benefits to your business.
And, if you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you’re on the hunt for strategies to encourage folks to open your emails.
And you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll be discussing how you can do that in 10 simple yet proven ways.
We know that email plays a very significant role in the success of many marketers. In fact, email can be the difference between zero and 100,000 website visitors a month. So if you’re ready to get more eyes on your emails, then let’s dive right in!
What Is Email Open Rate?
Before we head on and discuss how to improve your email open rate, let’s first define what it is. Email open rate is the number of unique opens your email receives in your email campaign – this figure is expressed as a percentage.
The calculation for this rate looks like this:
Email Open Rate = Number of emails opened / Number of delivered emails x 100
Let’s say you sent out 20 emails, and only 12 of them were opened. Your formula would look this: Email Open Rate = (12/10) x 100. This would give you an open rate of 60%.
Pretty simple, right?
For beginners, you might question why the email open rate is important? Why do businesses want to increase this particular number?
There are many reasons why marketers and business owners want to see this figure improve. The main reason is that they want their email campaigns to perform well. Email open rate is the main metric for tracking whether your email campaigns are successful.
If the figure you get is low, then it means many of your recipients are not interested in reading your email marketing material which is a negative sign since you want your audience to be engaged and excited about what you have to share.
A low email open rate is a common email marketing problem that can be solved. Receiving a low figure doesn’t mean that your products or services are unwanted or uninteresting. Oftentimes, the reason for this would be the approach to each marketing campaign.
We’ve listed ten proven ways that you can increase this figure. These strategies will make your email campaigns irresistible and make your audience want to read your whole email, every time you send.
10 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate
1. Email list hygiene
The very first thing you need to do is clean your email list. Email list hygiene makes you remove inactive email subscribers from your email campaign list. It’s like cleaning your email list and ensuring that it is healthy.
You might have a low email open rate because the majority of your email recipients are inactive. These types of emails will surely drag your open rate down because no matter how good your email content is, these accounts will never open it due to inactivity.
Inactive email addresses could be the ones not engaging with your email content for more than six months already. These accounts need to be removed or be under a win-back campaign wherein you try to re-establish your relationship with them.
A growing email list consists of accounts that are interested in what you have to send. These are customers who love your products and services and are always on the lookout for new promotions. Doing email hygiene will allow your business to only send emails to interested individuals, making your campaigns not land in spam folders.
2. Email segmentation
Email segmentation has tremendously helped many businesses. Most businesses have low email open rates because they’re trying to convert everybody by only using the same email content.
The strategy of using only the same email content or a one-size-fits-all strategy has only worked several years ago. However, consumer psychology has changed along with time. They want marketing materials, like email campaigns, to be tailored to them – this means that relevancy plays a significant role. Given this massive shift in the consumer’s mind, email segmentation and personalization are the only ways to address this.
Email segmentation is the process of dividing your email subscribers into different segments based on particular criteria. This is a personalization strategy used by businesses to increase the relevancy of their marketing campaigns.
A simple example of email segmentation at work would be dividing email recipients into male and female groups. Another way could be ages 30 and below; and 31 and above.
Segmentation in email lists is done so recipients can receive email campaigns that are tailored to their unique interests and needs. If you can send emails that are tailored to the recipients, you are increasing the relevancy of your marketing campaign. This is contrary to the approach of sending one message for all.
3. Time of the day or week
This is another element that businesses tend to overlook. Not everyone has the time in their day to check for your email promotions. Getting the timing element in an email campaign is difficult since most of your subscribers have different preferred times to read emails.
Since there’s no one right time to send your email, your best bet to getting this right is to experiment and analyze. Experiment means you send out email campaigns at different times of the week and within the day. This experiment might run a couple of weeks since it is better to have a lot of data to analyze.
Once you’re done experimenting, make sure to take note of the statistics of every email sent. Analyze what day of the week your email open rate is at the highest. If possible, drill down to the time of day as well.
Doing this particular initiative might require a lot of effort from you and your team, but once you’ve discovered the ideal time and day, you will see a significant improvement in your email open rate.
4. Mind your subject line
Once you’ve efficiently done everything above, the email subject line is your next priority. This is the first thing your email recipients see when they receive your email campaign. This short phrase plays a significant role in whether your audience will open your email or not.
Easy as it may sound, there’s a bit of science involved in curating these subject lines. If you aim to remind your customers of their forgotten items on your website, the abandoned cart email subject lines are great for that. However, those subject lines are different from emails that have an intention to sell or convert a recipient.
But whatever the reason is for your emails, your subject lines should have at least a few of these characteristics:
- Unique – If your email subject line is something they’ve read a thousand times already, chances are they won’t be intrigued by what’s inside the email.
- Attention-grabbing – People receive an average of 121 emails per day. If your subject line doesn’t grab their attention, your email campaign will never see the light of day.
- Conversational – This type of subject line still works for many. It’s like recipients are receiving emails from a friend or a coworker.
- Sense of urgency – When consumers feel a sense of urgency when reading your subject line, chances are they’ll open the email. Just make sure the content of the email matches the message of the subject line.
- Spark curiosity – When your email subject line breeds curiosity, most recipients can’t stop the urge to open the email.
5. Email content
Once you’ve perfected your email subject line, the next thing to focus on would be the content of your email campaign. This email element is vital in converting consumers – whatever that may mean to your business – to buy your products, sign up for a webinar, schedule a meeting, or purchase your services.
This is basically the part where you pitch them to do your call to action. There are a lot of ways to improve your email content; here are some of them:
5.a Provide value
You can never go wrong when you’re providing value to your audience. There isn’t one person who has received a valued-packed email and ended up frowning because the email gave so much useful information. When receiving such emails, most readers are delighted, happy, and often want to receive more from the sender.
However, make sure to provide value in a relevant way to the consumers. Give out information that piques their curiosity and attention. Provide content that can put them in a better position in their life.
If your email subscribers are new business owners, give out email content that they can use. Make your content actionable. If you tell them they need to create and maintain a website, include where they can find web developers. You can even go to the lengths to teach how to use a SERP simulator to see the important elements when they rank.
If they are entrepreneurs, suggest an LMS for frontline workers to make their staff more knowledgeable. You can also talk about how marketing automation can make their business processes a lot simpler and easier.
If you can provide value like this, your email subscribers will be more than excited for your next email. They’ll be excited to open your email and check what you have for them. Additionally, you are also increasing customer loyalty and engagement by providing value since these people are stoked to receive your marketing campaign.
5.b Make it visually appealing
What do you do when you receive an email that’s chock-full of text? There’s a good chance that you’ll close it immediately or merely skim through it. This is exactly what consumers do as well. When they see a wall of text, they are immediately dissatisfied and will probably close the email without reading a single line.
Given this fact, it’s important to make your email content visually appealing. To do this, you need to break up your text, add images, graphics, videos, or GIFs. Your email content can even contain a single infographic to differentiate it from the rest of the emails your consumers receive.
5.c Go for a conversational tone
Going for a conversational tone has benefitted digital marketing in a lot of ways. It has increased engagement and interaction with customers. When consumers read an email that feels like they’re talking to a friend, chances are they will finish the whole email content. When you’re able to structure your content as such, more people will find your campaigns interesting, which leads to higher open rates.
5.d Be concise and straight to the point
When consumers read your email, you don’t want to bore them. Plus, long emails are not suggested as well. Not everyone has the time to read a two-paragraph email and digest everything you’ve mentioned.
So when creating email content, make sure to make it short and direct to the point. Make it concise to avoid confusion. A short email helps in making the overall content engaging.
5.e Try something new
Marketing is a dynamic field that is ever-changing. We’ve seen this in infographics, gamified popups, personalization strategies, and many more. The same thing should be applied to your own content. Don’t be afraid to try something different from the norm.
6. Have a goal
Before creating emails, make sure to have a goal – understand why you’re doing this in the first place. Are you trying to inform your audience? Are you selling them on your new product? Are you letting them know of an upcoming event?
Answering these questions will help you in creating excellent email content. If you’re trying to inform them of an upcoming event of your business, resist the temptation of trying to sell your service – just focus on disseminating the information as engagingly as possible.
This is where some marketers go wrong. They try to mix two agendas, making the consumers confused about what they’re trying to achieve. So to avoid miscommunication and confusion, stick to a single goal and create your email around it.
If you can do this consistently, consumers will find value in your emails and open the next emails you send. This will positively affect your email open rate.
7. Avoid sending too many emails
We all want to promote our business to people because we provide valuable products and services to them. Although our intentions are good when sending email campaigns, sending too much of it can have a more negative impact than good.
Too many promotions can annoy some email subscribers. It can even push them to unsubscribe to the list if you send an email at a bad time. We can’t fully avoid these circumstances, but to lower the risk of this happening, it’s better not to overdo the sending of emails.
Sometimes, a high frequency of emails sent can also lower the quality of the email content. This happens since marketers are pressured to send out a campaign every day. This gives them less time to construct and build quality content that their audience will love. You will likely see more spelling mistakes, grammar errors, typos, and off-brand content.
Remember that in email marketing, it is best to adhere to the saying: quality over quantity.
8. Send a personal welcome email for new subscribers
It’s a privilege when someone subscribes to your email list. To acknowledge that effort, most businesses send out a genuine welcome email and thank the person for subscribing.
This adds a human touch to the overall process. It makes your business look more unique and genuine. Note that consumers love being reached out and treated like humans instead of a business statistic. And doing this initiative makes your customers feel like they are valued.
Some businesses reward the customer for signing up to the list by giving them a voucher, a code, or a percentage discount that can be used on their next purchase. This simple act makes customers happy and can start their liking towards your business.
This initiative can have a long-term effect that can improve the open rate of your future email campaigns. Consumers who feel that your business is genuine will more likely read more of your emails and be interested in what you have to say.
9. Know what your audience wants
Some businesses start their email campaign without really studying their email subscribers deeply. A deep study on them means understanding their needs, interests, pain points, and challenges.
Identifying these elements will guide you in creating valuable and engaging email content. You can create valuable marketing content that’s tailored around those things. You will surely grab your customers’ attention when addressing these issues.
You’re even increasing the chances of them buying or acting on your CTA since they see you as a business that knows their problems and what they’re going through. If you can establish such a relationship with your audience, you will be their go-to business to satisfy and answer their needs.
10. Aim to be consistent
Consistency might look easy on paper, but it requires dedication and a lot of effort on your end to achieve it. This is the only way to combat your email list fatigue and lose the interest of your customers.
Those who diligently read your emails expect that your content will have the same quality every single time. Some might even expect it to be better and to continuously improve. Try your very best to satisfy these email subscribers because they will be the ones who will do some free marketing for you.
Word of mouth is very powerful, and if recipients enjoy your email content, they’ll share it with their friends and network. The only way to be consistent with email content quality would be to spend enough time to construct your message. Put some thought into it and think of different ways to engage your audience.
Improving email open rates is a good initiative to start for almost any business. It means that you are concerned enough about your audience’s experience to make your marketing campaigns even better. However, improving this particular figure doesn’t just positively affect your marketing campaigns; it also helps build a good relationship with you and your customers. Cultivating authentic relationships is important for all businesses!
Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. You can follow him on his journey from 0 to 100,000 monthly visitors on novumhq.com. His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures.