Most of us probably receive more emails than we can keep track of. In 2014 alone, companies received and sent over 108.7 billion emails every day of the year (woah). That number is projected to grow so that by 2018, professionals will receive and send an estimated 139.4 billion messages daily. That’s a lot to sift through.
That being said, it is not surprising that most messages end up in our trash cans or spam folders, never to be seen again before they are even opened.
Whether you’re sending out newsletters, promotional messages, sales and discount offers, or other valuable content to your target audience to increase engagement and conversions, the bottom line is that if nobody’s reading your messages, these emails are all in vain.
On that note, here are a few ways to increase your email open rates, along with helpful examples:
1. Hook Them with the Subject Line
The subject line is often times your only chance to snag the intended reader. An email with a boring or spammy headline will more often than not, go straight to the trash or spam folder. This doesn’t mean however that you should sound exaggerated or throw in loaded words with lots of exclamation points and capital letters. In fact, certain words such as deal, rich, free and sale could easily land your message in the spam filter where it will most likely sit forever unread.
For headlines that sing, craft an engaging question, create a sense of urgency, and use other effective words that will entice the customer. The better you know your buyer personas, the more effective subject lines you can craft.
Example: MailChimp reviewed its own email marketing campaign and found that the emails that were opened most tended to be “pretty straightforward” without being “very salesy or pushy or slimy.”
2. Create a Rapport
Customers never want to feel like they’re just another number. Develop a sense of a one-on-one bond with your readers by personalizing their messages. Include their first names or other personalized language, information, or action in newsletters and other correspondence. This will go a long way towards increasing positive feelings about your company, creating a sense of brand loyalty, and increasing email open rates. Customer relationship management (CRM) softwares could come in handy here.
Example: Munchery, a food service brand, used CRM software to let customers make adjustments to their orders after these were placed, leading to personalized correspondences that their email readers appreciated and responded well to.
3. Offer Something of Value or Exclusives
Why should a customer spend time opening and reading your email when they can just click on your website to see the same content? Incentivize your mailing list to open the emails. Let them know that with every email comes something to look forward to—some valuable information they would like to keep receiving or some exclusive offer they can expect.
Example: Shaving company Harry’s asked customers through email to post about their website launch. In return, these customers got free products. All said, before the site was even live, 100,000 people had participated.
4. Timing and Frequency are Key
It’s not just about the frequency in which you send your emails, but also the timing and the content itself. If you email your customers in the middle of the night, few of them are going to be very receptive. If you send them emails too frequently, they may find your emails interruptive or annoying. If you send emails that have nothing important to say or no value to its recipients, they will most likely unsubscribe.
For optimal email marketing campaign success, send your emails at peak times when you know your intended audience will most likely be going through your inbox. This can depend on your industry of nature of your buyer personas. Be sure to only send emails when you actually have something valuable to say or offer. Other than that, refrain from blasting your mailing lists with unwanted, unexpected, and useless emails. If you’re planning to send regular emails, stick to a schedule. Emailing daily is too much and will most likely lead to unsubscribes and angry recipients.
Example: Zapier CEO Wade Foster explained how before the company’s site was live that he had 10,000 email subscriptions. However, he sat on them until the site was up, failing to get people engaged before the launch.
5. Filter Your Email List Regularly
On that note, if you have a good number of email subscribers, you have to be diligent about combing through them. It’s also recommended that you create list segments, dividing your audience by their activity levels so you can send them the type of content suited and most relevant to them. Don’t be afraid to cut loose dead email addresses or give your audience the option to opt out. This is a two-way avenue, make sure you respect your audiences’ wishes. If you’ve found that some individuals on your list have been filtered out incorrectly, send out a re-engagement email to that portion.
Example: This re-engagement message from Pinkberry offered a free froyo.
6. Be Mobile-Friendly
The days of customers reading their emails exclusively on their computer desktops are over. Tablets, smartphones, and many other mobile devices are quickly rising as preferred gadgets to open emails because they are now ubiquitous and easily accessible. In fact, research from 2015 found that 53% of emails received will be accessed on a mobile device. If your email has misaligned images or wonky text, the recipient will likely think it’s a scam and send it to the spam filter. Make sure they focus on the message and not the formatting flaws or the cheap imagery. Optimize your emails for mobile users before you send them off.
Example: InVision, a mobile company created beautiful and clean emails that, albeit a little image-heavy, still looks fantastic on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
Long story short, think of the people receiving your emails and put them first. Respect their space, time, and inbox by not sending them too many emails that have nothing to say, or emails that they can’t even open right. Engagement is a two way street. If you put user-experience in the center of your email strategy, you’ll see your email open rates increase.