Interaction with your email marketing, or e-letter, starts by getting your email message opened. It’s no secret that your customers’ inboxes are inundated with client email, personal email, marketing email and spam, too. So, how do you help your message get opened?
Let’s look at 3 tips to improve your email marketing open rates:
1. Brand Reputation, More Importantly Email Brand Reputation
Do you think your email recipients are actually excited when they see your email in their inbox? Why or why not? Companies have a hard time understanding that they develop an email reputation that can make or break open rates.
Break it: If you email too often, only try to sell them (buy! buy! buy!), write near novels, or never establish yourself as a valuable reference, you are going to suffer with each additional email.
Make it: You deliver timely, valuable content that your users associate with your brand so that they look forward to hearing from you. You educate, inform and help, benefitting the recipient more than your company.
Personally, I have about 5 companies that I get a monthly email from that I’m actually excited to open. I have about 20 that I pass over just about every time.
If you do one thing after reading this post, evaluate your email brand reputation and work to start improving it right now. You can slowly turn long time subscribers into frequent openers and deliver a substantial first impression to your new subscribers.
2. A/B Test Your Subject Lines
I’m always amazed at how subject lines are ignored as a key contributor to your email marketing success. Creating multiple email subject lines and testing them against each other in a A/B test is just plain smart.
The email marketing platform we use allows our campaigns to test two subject lines with the first 50% of the email list. Afterward it automatically sends the second half of the list the email with the winning subject line. This A/B test helps produce an increase in opens just about every time out.
The example above illustrates that for this A/B test, Version A was the winner and helped produce an estimated 96 more opens than if Version B’s subject line was used. This resulted in a 19% increase for delivery of the winning subject line to the second half balance of the email list.
To take it a step further, this A/B test was the only one done by this client in a 6 month period and it returned a higher open rate then the other 5 email campaigns. (Note: The client manages their own campaign sends, but Spyder Trap initiated the A/B test to illustrate to them the value of A/B testing subject lines.)
The September campaign with the A/B test saw an open rate of 25.35%, almost a full 4% higher than the 6 month average, and out performed all of the other campaigns. Even November’s campaign, with 400 more subscribers in the list saw 105 fewer opens.
If you don’t currently use an email platform that enables A/B Testing, we can help.
3. Mobile Email Awareness Is A Must
So, you already know that people engage with email on their smartphones more than any other platform (desktop client, webmail, etc.). Today’s email marketer in any industry needs to make their emails mobile friendly in all aspects.
Step one is to be aware just how many of your email subscribers are opening your email marketing via mobile. The example below shows you that IOS devices iPhone and iPad dominate how this company’s email marketing is opened and read, especially the iPhone. (Over 1/3 of their readers!)
Step two is to understand how your subject line differs on mobile devices. You will have less characters in the subject line depending on what device it is viewed on. For example, an iPhone 4s can display as little as just 33 characters. Also pay attention to what message/text appears in the content teaser below the subject line. If you start your email with a graphic header, that teaser might just be visible HTML code and not even the content of the e-newsletter.
Step three for your mobile awareness is to start building your emails using responsive design. This allows your email to change its shape and size when it’s opened on a smartphone compared to a desktop email client. Just as responsive web design is solving many companies challenge of a great mobile experience, email shouldn’t be left out.
Email is Still the ROI Leader
Even though we have a lot more to think about over the last decade for online marketing, and so many more exciting options to consider, email is still the ROI leader. Take into account these 3 tips to improve your email marketing and open rates and it can be an even stronger performer for your organization.
If you need an expert email partner or a better email marketing platform to help improve your email marketing efforts, we’re here to discuss what can be done.