Looking to improve your email open rates? You're in the right place.
The first step in achieving success through email marketing is getting your subscribers to actually open your emails. You could have an immaculately designed email template, containing incredible offers the likes of which your subscribers have never seen, yet if your subscribers aren’t tempted into opening your email, they will never see what actually lies within.
The two primary metrics used when evaluating the success of an email campaign are open rate (the percentage of recipients who open the email), and click rate (the percentage of recipients who click a link). Improving the click rate of your email campaigns can be done in a variety of ways. You can test different design elements within your email, or even try pushing a different group of products or services within the email to see which attracts the most clicks. Tests such as these can be very arduous, requiring design time and a long period of time for testing.
On the other hand, improving the open rate of your emails can often be done with some simple changes, and the results can be seen instantly. Below, we’re going to cover 3 of the simplest techniques you can use to improve your email open rates:
In an ideal situation, you want your message to be at the top of your subscribers inbox at the moment in time when they check their email. It goes without saying that an email lower down in an inbox is less likely to be read, so getting your timings right should be the first priority.
Mailchimp, the email marketing service, suggests that Thursday is the best day to send an email, with 10:30am being the optimal time during the day. For a quick fix, you could take Mailchimp’s advice and send using their suggested optimal time, but what works for Mailchimp’s clients may not necessarily work for you – you need to test out what works best for your audience and apply these learnings to future campaigns.
If you wanted to take your optimisation a step further, you could split your database into 7 equal but random segments, and send an identical campaign to each segment on each day of a week. At the end of the test (wait a few days after your final send to allow the data to settle), take a look at your open rates and see if there is a clear winning day. You could then expand on this by taking the winning day and segmenting by hour to then pinpoint the optimum time.
Once a subscriber has reached your email within their inbox, your subject line is all you have to tempt them to open the email. Many email marketing services, such as Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor, allow you to split test two different subject lines, before sending the most effective to the rest of your email list.
Using the A/B test function on your email service, you can send one subject line to 10% of your subscriber list, and a different subject line to a different 10%. The service will then choose the winner based on the open rates of each subject line after a period of defined time (the longer the period, the fairer the test). After this, the winning subject line will get sent to the remaining 80% of your list.
Subject line A/B tests allow you to learn what sort of messages work best for your subscribers in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks. And since each subject line is sent out at the same time, the test is fair, and produces accurate and usable results.
Before you close this tab after reading that subheading, consider for a second the email inbox: a dull and very grey place, row after row of sender names and subject lines, it can be hard to stand out. However, because of recent updates to email apps on smartphones, where up to 53% of emails are opened, you can now make use of emoji in your subject lines (as long as your email service allows it).
With hundreds of emoji to choose from, there are plenty of options you can use to help you stand out in a subscriber’s inbox. Just like your subject line, try to keep them relevant to the email content: if you’re selling package holidays, try using the sun and the palm tree emoji, if you’re having a sale on clothes, use the shirt and the jeans emoji.
There are a number of methods and techniques that can be used to increase the performance of your email campaigns, but the above three represent a great starting point for any budding email marketer.
Still struggling with your email marketing? We can help. Get in touch with our online marketing team on 01772 655540 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more guides like this, you can follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
Senior Online Marketing Manager