This post was most recently updated on August 2nd, 2022
Email marketing is a cornerstone element of many digital marketing campaigns. With email marketing, you can reach out to past and current customers, announce special deals, and increase traffic to your website with some of the most cost-effective marketing materials.
However, you’ll only see the benefits of email marketing if you maintain a high open rate. That is, your target audience has to actually open your emails if you want them to see what’s inside! Today, let’s take a look at seven email marketing strategies that increase open rates across the board.
Why Increasing Email Open Rates Matters
Put simply, because your marketing emails are wasted otherwise. When you put together a quality email marketing campaign, your team:
- Develops interesting, engaging marketing materials like advertisements or messages
- Uses email marketing tools to set up an email schedule
- Sends a bunch of emails to your target audience
All of that time and effort saps away resources from other marketing campaigns or efforts you might otherwise perform. If your email open rate is low, all that effort is wasted.
It’s important to increase your company’s email open rates so you:
- Can reach your target audience as needed
- Can bring former customers back into the fold
- Can improve customer retention
- Can inform customers about upcoming deals or special offers
- And more
As HomeBreeze co-founder Christopher Ager states, success is “#1 customer retention, because it lets you know your products are working and overall customer experience with the brand is positive”. Plus, it’s usually cheaper to keep existing customers than it is to acquire new customers!
7 Ways to Increase Email Open Rate
Luckily, there are lots of ways you can increase your brand’s email open rate. Let’s take a look at seven key strategies you can start implementing today.
Set a Cadence for Your Emails
Firstly, send your emails on a scheduled cadence so you don’t overwhelm your target audience members. No one likes to be subject to spam, even if spam messages are from a brand they otherwise like. If you send emails too regularly, you could turn your target audience away from your brand and to a competitor.
Instead, use market research and data analytics to determine how often you should send emails. Generally, one or two emails per week are more than enough. However, you might want to kick this cadence up a notch in the lead-up to a big sale or sales push, such as during the week leading up to Black Friday.
By the same token, send your emails at the right time of day. Sending emails in the morning, when most people check their email inboxes, is usually ideal to make sure your emails don’t get buried in messages sent overnight.
Plus, planning allows you to allocate your resources more appropriately. Jared Hines, Head of Operations at Acre Gold, states that it’s important to “understand the workload, timelines, and what additional resources are needed” for all major company operations.
Use Personalization Tools and Techniques
Next, be sure to leverage personalization tools and techniques to make your emails speak to their recipients more effectively. For example, including your recipient’s first name in the subject line is a great way to get their attention, especially when they look through a pile of work-related emails in the morning.
However, you can also use advanced personalization techniques like:
- Offering special coupons to current customers
- Offering discounts or deals to customers based on the pages they viewed on your site (if your email marketing software includes such analytics tools)
Personalization is important because it shows customers you care about them specifically. Rachel Blank, Founder and CEO of Allara, states, “It’s important to us that the customers are provided with a wide range of options available to them”. If, for instance, you include a marketing email with lots of great offers, you’ll show that customer that you offer what they, specifically, need from your brand.
A/B testing is an important part of all digital marketing and website development. With A/B testing, you post two very similar pages or types of content close together, then analyze which version of the content performs better overall.
You can and should use A/B testing for your email marketing as well. Send out two very slightly different versions of the same marketing email to your batch of target audience members. Then see which of the two types of emails got more attention or a higher open rate.
Once you identify the higher-performing email, you can use that email’s template or details for all future marketing emails and yield great returns on your marketing investment. Plus, having a similar variation of your marketing emails ready to go can help you if there’s ever a marketing emergency. Nailboo chief marketing officer Amanda E. Johnson notes that, “If disaster strikes, you’ll still be okay in the end,” since you’ll have more marketing emails ready to replace broken ones.
Master the Subject Line
The email subject line is the first element of a marketing email your audience members will see. That means it needs to be compelling, engaging, and informative all at once. A good subject line:
- Will not be too long. Most of the subject line needs to fit on your customer’s screen without them having to open the email first
- Will include engaging words, such as “sale” or “offer”
- Will include their name
- May include a question or question mark to pique interest
Don’t be afraid to change your subject lines or adjust them as you gather new information and improve your email marketing expertise. As MitoQ’s Head of Customer Acquisition Shaun Price notes, businesses and entrepreneurs should “focus more on adaptability”. If at first your subject lines don’t draw a lot of attention, try a new variant. Manhattan Beachwear’s VP of eCommerce, Karim Hachem, adds that it’s important to “either find a way, or make one”.
Avoid “Spam” Words
However, you should also take care to avoid words that may be picked up by spam filters. For example, “free” is commonly caught by spam filters, and if your email marketing line includes it, it could be relegated to the spam bin by accident.
To that end, try to craft marketing email subject lines and content blocks with more unique, diverse word choices. Try to use words that elevate your brand and make it stand out from the competition.
As Cool Links Managing Member Alex Chavarry points out, “At the end of the day, no one’s gonna feel loyalty or connection to a brand that doesn’t have a face”. PixieLane’s Founder Lori Price backs up this assertion with an observation of her own company, stating, “Our events, marketing, and branding are what set us apart”. The same is likely true for your business.
Use Opt-In Email Marketing
Another great way to increase your email marketing’s open rate is to only use opt-in email marketing. In other words, your customers have to provide you with their email addresses to receive emails from your company. This may reduce how many people you send emails to overall. But it also means that you never send emails to people who don’t want them, and who wouldn’t open your emails anyway.
Opt-in email marketing can be effective provided you get email addresses by:
- Offering discounts or coupons to those who provide their emails
- Requiring email addresses for customers who want to join your program or website forum
- Requiring email addresses for customers who want to make a purchase (not recommended in most cases)
Resend Unopened Emails
Don’t forget to resend any emails marked as unopened by your email marketing software. Sometimes people simply forget to open emails or your email might have been caught by a spam filter by mistake. In any event, it costs you very little to resend open emails once or twice before giving up on the lead and moving on to other prospects.
All in all, email marketing can be one of the most effective tools in your kit. You just have to market correctly and make sure your target audience opens your emails regularly. Following the above seven strategies is a great way to boost your email open rate in a major way, plus help you market more effectively overall. Many of those strategies can be used with other forms of digital marketing, like PPC or pay-per-click ads. Good luck!