How many times have you deleted an email from a business or brand without opening it? How many times have you done so today?
Email marketing is a ripe opportunity for brands to engage with customers, build trust, and generate business. It’s cost-effective, too—according to the Direct Marketing Association, the ROI for email marketing is over 4,300%! But it only works if you can get customers to actually open your emails.
That’s harder than it sounds.
Most consumers receive so many promotional emails a day that they delete them without so much as reading the entire subject line. The average open rate for email marketing hovers around 20%, and click-thru rates at 3%. How can you make your emails stand out long enough to escape the jaws of the ever-hungry trash folder?
1. Nail the subject line
Many marketers will labor over the body copy of an email only to slap on any old subject line. If anything, your priorities should be switched. It doesn’t much matter how well your copy reads if your emails aren’t being opened in the first place.2. Short and sweet
Short subject lines increase open rates. Don’t include too much detail. You don’t need to communicate the whole message (that’s what the body is for!), you just need to pique the recipient’s curiosity enough to open the email. Give away too much and you’ll put out that flicker of curiosity before it can flame.3. Personalize
Emails that use personalization in the subject line or salutation receive 26% more opens. Greeting prospects by name can help humanize your brand, making it feel more like an email from a friend than an email from a business. We like our friends more than we like people trying to sell things to us, but 70% of people say they will always open an email from their favorite companies. Be that favorite company!4. A/B test
When launching a new campaign, test two separate subject lines (A and B) by sending each out to half the email list. Seeing which receives a higher open rate is valuable feedback that can help you draft more effective subject lines for future campaigns.5. Don’t get lost in the forest
You know the saying, “Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees”? It can be easy to get so caught up in open and click-thru rates that you lose sight of the bigger picture. Every email you send is part of a larger integrated program of messaging that your prospects are receiving, whether that be a specific campaign or general brand marketing. Make sure your emails are coordinated with other marketing efforts so that outreach remains consistent across platforms and supports a cohesive overall brand message.6. Create segmented email lists
Emails sent to lists segmented by where recipients are in the sales cycle—new prospect, current customer, loyal brand advocate—receive a 5% greater open rate than broadcast emails sent to a general list.7. Track metrics
If you’re not tracking the performance metrics of your email marketing campaigns, you’re passing up on the opportunity to learn valuable information about your audience and how they respond to your messaging. It’s only by tracking and analyzing metrics that you can learn what works and what doesn’t so that you can create more effective campaigns in the future.8. Optimize for mobile
55% of emails are now opened on mobile devices and 71% of emails that don’t display correctly will be deleted immediately. An email not formatted for mobile compatibility is guaranteed to generate an abysmal click-thru rate. All emails should be designed responsively, and you should review them on multiple platforms before sending to ensure that they’re formatted correctly in both HTML and text, desktop and mobile, and even in different internet browsers.9. Proofread
Never send an email that hasn’t been reviewed by multiple members of your staff, ideally people who aren’t involved with the campaign so that they are “fresh eyes.” Few things look more unprofessional as a typo, and few things are so easily preventable.10. Don’t be shy about resending.
If an email doesn’t get opened, it may as well not have been delivered. Your recipients aren’t going to recognize an email they never saw, so you have nothing to lose by sending it out a second time to a segmented list of addresses that didn’t open it the first time around.
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