5 strategies to improve email open rates

| by Alicia Blanda
5 strategies to improve email open rates

photo: istock

Though new advertising media such as SMS and mobile apps are gaining ground, email remains a key communication device — both at home and in business.

Because of its ongoing popularity, email has grown to be a marketing staple that allows businesses to communicate with their target audience. However, as more companies develop their own email marketing campaigns it can become difficult to ensure that your message stands out from the crowd.

Here are five strategies to help your business make the most of its email marketing:

1) Test it

Not all subject lines are created equal. And while you might have spent a great deal of time and energy thinking of something catchy and appealing, it never hurts to test your ideas.

For this very reason, the majority of popular email marketing systems provide the option for A/B testing. The A/B test lets you use two different options for a subject line, sending each to a small percentage of your total email contact list.

The system then determines which subject line garnered the most opens and selects the more popular version for the remainder of the send — helping to ensure the largest possible open rate for your email.

2) Identify it

The popularity of email doesn't just make it appealing to businesses. It also has enticed scam artists to refine their email phishing and hacking capabilities.

The growth of email scam campaigns has led to wariness among recipients of email from unknown names and email addresses. These often go directly into the trash.

To ensure that your emails don't experience this fate, use a familiar name and email address to represent your company. Whenever possible, use an email address that includes the company name, rather than that of the email provider (e.g., gmail, icloud, etc.)

If the company has a web domain, it is a good idea to create an address with that domain name that is used specifically for marketing and sales programs (e.g., contact@yourcompany.com).

3) Get permission

Not surprisingly, the emails that attract the best response are the ones to people who opted into your send list. Building your list from the addresses of people who have raised their hands to receive messages can also help you avoid spam complaints — an issue that could prompt your email service to shut down your account.

There are multiple ways to accumulate a healthy list of opt-in addresses:

  • Online signup at your website
  • A download request form (for your product brochures or white papers, for instance) that includes a check-box for email signup
  • Trade show sign-ups via mobile app, text or signup sheet
  • Email signup invitations on printed collateral

4) Be consistent

If it's been a long stretch since someone on your email contact list has heard from you, they might have forgotten why they signed up to receive your mailings in the first place.

Maintaining a consistent send schedule can keep your business relevant and top-of-mind with your target audience. Set up a schedule for your email program that provides for regular contact with prospects — even during slower times of the year.

5) Be judicious

While consistency is important, frequency is also key. Timing typically depends on the type of business your in and the relevance of your news and alerts to recipients. It's important to remember, though, that recipients might opt out of emails, send them to the junk folder or simply ignore them if you flood their inbox.

For this reason, you should make email frequency and content clear to recipients when they opt in. While it is occasionally acceptable to add an extra email to your normal send schedule from time to time, be sure that the communication is relevant to the your customer base.

Fine-tuning your email marketing program can be a challenge. But following these simple rules can help your marketing team can increase open rates — and interaction with — your target audience.


Topics: Branding, Distributors / ISO / IAD


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