How to Increase the Open Rate on Your Next Email Marketing Campaign
7 Minute Read
Looking for ways to increase the open rate on your email marketing? You’ve come to the right place!
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies there is. According to Constant Contact, the average ROI on marketing emails is $36 for every $1 you spend. Furthermore, the investment needed for email marketing tends to be fairly minimal—measured in hundreds of dollars per month, rather than the thousands required to compete in other channels.
Of course, the success of an email marketing campaign depends on the setup. The first step consists of creating a database and actively managing it over time. You might also need to invest in brand messaging to ensure that your business identity is clearly represented in the body text and imagery. Finally, you need to make sure people will open the email when it shows up in their inboxes.
What Is the Open Rate?
The open rate measures the percentage of people on your mailing list who open your email compared to the overall size of the audience. Email open rate benchmarks vary by industry.
Other KPIs—such as clicks, engagement with your website from a marketing email, etc.—are driven directly by the number of people who open your email. If you aren’t tracking the open rate, you’re effectively ignoring the most basic engagement metric for email marketing.
When you first get started with email marketing, running a few campaigns will tell you the average open rate. This should serve as your baseline. You can then compare it to your industry average and your company’s marketing goals to define how you want to increase the open rate.
7 Tips to Increase Open Rate on Email Marketing
If real estate success is all about “location, location, location,” then open rate success is all about “subject line, subject line, subject line.” Of course, other factors play a role in real estate success, just as other factors can maximize the open rate, including:
- The time of day the email is sent
- The demographics and consumption habits of your audience
- The quality of your email list
When you’re ready to press “Send” on a marketing email, the two most important elements to pay attention to are the subject line and the sender.
Think about how you peruse your email inbox: You probably look at the sender and the subject line, and maybe nothing else. People on your email list will likely do the same, and they’ll decide whether to open the email based on what they see in these two fields.
Below are the steps the marketing experts at Twelve Three Media use to increase the open rate on our clients’ marketing emails:
1. Use Action-Packed Words in Your Subject Line
Not a lot of characters are displayed in email subject lines, so you need to make each word count. Some of the most effective strategies when it comes to word choice in email marketing include:
- Creating a sense of urgency with words like “Alert,” “Limited Time Offer,” “Action Required,” etc.
- Piquing curiosity; we commonly see this in clickbait titles that contain phrases such as “You won’t believe #4!”
- Being funny—few things in life are more subjective than humor, but you should have a good understanding of what tickles your core customer’s ribs
- Addressing your customers’ specific needs or pain points (e.g., “Having trouble with stubborn belly fat?,” “Reduce your home energy bills,” etc.)
- Getting numerical; numbers provide a nice break from words, whether it’s “Top 5 tips” or “15% off”
- Appealing to emotion; this could be vanity (e.g., “Look 10 years younger today!”), generosity (e.g., “Help us feed [X number] of hungry people”), and other traits
In addition, most email platforms let you program the recipient’s first name into the subject line. Recipients are sure to notice an email addressed directly to them amid an inbox filled with generic messages, increasing the likelihood that they will open the email.
2. Add Emojis to Your Subject Line
Emojis are the 💩 among certain audiences, especially those who are young and irreverent. If your audience is receptive, try using emojis in your email subject lines. These symbols catch the 👁 and help to break up the text, capture attention when users are scrolling through their inbox, and make your email subject lines shorter. All of these can increase the open rate on your marketing emails.
3. Choose Your Words Carefully
How long should the subject line for a marketing email be? We’ve found that emails with short, impactful subject lines tend to be opened more frequently than longer ones.
Social media marketing provides helpful insights when it comes to getting attention through email marketing.
The maximum number of characters (including spaces) that platforms like Facebook will display on a post is 40. Depending on the text you want to use, that’s about 5–7 words. Social media users respond to posts with titles of this length, so we generally use the same approach (35–40 characters) when composing email subject lines.
4. Optimize Spacing
Counterintuitive as it may seem, a pause is one of the most effective ways for speakers to draw the attention of the audience. The same often applies with marketing emails.
In the limited space provided by an email subject line, you can add spaces and even indent the text. This might make the subject line look a little wonky, but that’s the point.
Our brains are trained to read text in a certain way, with a space between each word. When you disrupt that with extra spaces, people will notice. If they read the subject line and like what they see, they may open the email.
5. Use Different Senders
The subject line has the most flexibility when it comes to customization and making your email pop. However, it is important not to overlook ways to plus up the name of the sender.
Captivating brands may be able to rely on name recognition alone to get people to read their marketing emails, but smaller businesses will likely need to be creative. Instead of using only your business name for each and every marketing email, try to mix it up by using the name of an employee (e.g., “Sean at Twelve Three Media”) to add some personalization.
Additional possibilities present themselves if you are partnering with industry notables or hosting an event with a recognizable guest. By revising the from/sender line to include the name of the noteworthy individual, people in the know will probably open the email.
6. Segment Your Audience
Audience segmentation is an absolutely critical step to increase the open rate on email marketing. Segmentation is the process of dividing your email list into smaller groups. This step enables you to better tailor the content of your marketing emails to a given audience.
It is important to segment your email list in ways that serve your business and marketing goals. This may involve:
- Creating separate segments for customers and non-customers (i.e., people who have signed up for your emails but haven’t bought anything yet)
- Segmenting based on physical location
- Dividing the list into different demographic segments (e.g., age, gender, etc.)
You should also consider segmenting audiences who have interacted with your other marketing channels (i.e., those who have visited your website, follow you on social media, etc.). If users have shown an interest in your business, a remarketing email campaign may be just what it takes to convert them into a customer.
Remarketing or retargeting emails aim to re-engage and remind recipients about the brand, its offerings, or incentives. Emails may encourage the user to take a desired action, such as making a purchase. By creating a remarketing segment, you can create tailored emails to give a final push to users who are about to buy or take another action beneficial to your business.
A/B testing is a must when it comes to email marketing. By trying out different subject lines, you can find out what approach works best and optimize your current and future campaigns accordingly.
The simplest way to A/B test your marketing emails is to segment your list into two different groups and send a different version of the email to each group. If the open rate and other metrics are higher for one group, you can send the top-performing email to the other group. This should result in a higher open rate for the campaign as a whole.
Use the email platform’s native analytics and reporting tools to understand why one email performed better than the other. This will enable you to consistently increase the open rate on email marketing campaigns going forward.
Need to Increase the Open Rate on Email Marketing? Talk to Our Experts!
At Twelve Three Media, we regularly double and even triple the open rate on our clients’ email marketing campaigns. Our secret consists of getting to know the ins and outs of the client’s business, carefully curating a high-quality email list, and creating eye-catching emails that just scream “OPEN ME!!!”
We also track the results to ensure the open rate and other key metrics are meeting or exceeding your goals. Our experts pride themselves on helping clients Know What They Don’t Know. This encompasses not just planning, targeting, and execution, but validating the results so you can see how your marketing investment is paying off.