7 Ways to Increase Your Email Open Rates

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Every marketer, new and experienced alike knows about the power of email marketing.

When it comes to the crunch, having your own highly targeted market to promote to is an essential part of your business: it isn’t reliant on any third party like Google, but instead just on your own skills.

It would be lovely to say that all of your subscribers’ sit at home patiently awaiting your next email, positively salivating over what the might content be, and then pounce on the email as soon as it arrives.

Unfortunately that’s not reality; even your most avid of fans are busy people like you and don’t always open up and read your mails.

If a subscriber doesn’t read the email then how are they supposed to take action and purchase something?

Fear note, for I have compiled some of the best tips and tactics to help increase your email open rate.

1. Improve Your Subject Line

This is probably the most effective way to improve open rates. Who hasn’t just scanned through their inbox and only opened emails that sounded interesting?

Treat your subject line like a headline and craft it for maximum effectiveness. Just like with a headline, the subject line needs to be interesting, thought provoking or even controversial.

If you do use controversial subject lines, keep it to a minimum, otherwise people will start to wise up to it and you may just come across as using click-bait.

On that note, try to avoid click-bait style subject lines, no one wants to open an email based on the title and find out that the content really has nothing to do with the title. Using click-bait tactics is likely to increase your unsubscribe rate rather than your open rate.

Bear in mind that not all email clients and devices are created equally. If you have a long title (and there’s no evidence to support long over short titles or vice versa) then make sure that the meat of the topic is at the front of the subject line. Otherwise it might get cut short by an email client.

Expanding on the fact that your email could be read on a variety of mail clients in various forms, it is important to also consider the first sentence or two of your email.

Some mail clients show an excerpt of the email, generally the first line or so, and if that is lack lustre then open rates could suffer.

2. Frequency

If you send emails every day to someone, they are quickly going to get tired of them. At best emails will go unopened. Even worse than that they could unsubscribe or even report you as a spammer.

On the flip side, sending email to infrequently may result in a similar situation, with users not remembering who you are or why you are sending them emails.

It’s all about the balance, and each niche market has a different tolerance level, so you are best off testing this and/or keeping the send rates to a moderate level (once or twice a week).

3. Timing & Delivery

On the back of the frequency issue, it is also important to figure out the best day and time to send out your emails.

I get an email every Tuesday from a lovely lady over at Copy Hackers. Why does she send it on a Tuesday? Because it’s a great day to send an email!

Mondays and Fridays are bad, your subscribers will either be stressed because it’s the first day of the working week or tired and ready to call it quits for the week.

Likewise weekends are bad because the email may not get read, and if it sits there, come Monday it is has a higher chance of just being cleared out with spam and other non-important emails.

That’s why Tuesday through Thursday are perfect days to send out an email.

4. Be Recognizable & Personal

Whether you use your own name or the website name, make sure that you modify your “From” section of the email to represent this. It makes it easier for people to see at a glance who the email is from, and it also makes the emails seem more friendly and personable.

5. Purge Your List

I hate to say this, but if you have a bunch of subscribers that consistently do not open your emails (and yes I am one of those subscribers, sorry Mr. Patel!) then get rid of them!

You have two ways to do this:

  • Remove them from your mailing list altogether.
  • Segment your mailing list.

The second option is better, because then you can send your emails to a warmer part of your audience and then target the unlikely to open part with specific emails to try and woo them back over to being openers again.

By filtering your list in this way you will see a marked improvement in open rates.

6. Don’t Label Yourself as Spam

Certain words trigger spam filters, resulting in your email being flagged as potential spam and consigned to the bottomless pit of doom of the spam folder.

There are numerous words that trigger filters and each spam filter is subtly different, but things such as:

  • Free
  • $
  • Cheap
  • Discount
  • Make Money
  • Credit cards
  • And so on.

While there are numerous lists out there on the internet there is no one definitive guide.

The best advice that can be given is to read the subject line back to yourself and aloud. If you wouldn’t open it or if it sounds spammy to you, then change that title!

7. Test, Test and Test Some More!

Even though much of internet marketing is an art form, just as much is a science. As every good scientist knows, to make sure something works correctly you have to test it, and test is some more.

Most decent email marketing services such as Aweber allow you to split test things like subject lines easily.

Even if yours doesn’t have that feature you can still segment your list up and send the same email with a different subject to different portions of your list.

Testing will allow you to fine tune what does and doesn’t work for your market, because no two niches are the same. Some might like the fact that your titles are short and to the point, others may prefer longer, more flowery headings.

You won’t know until you test!

The Bottom Line

There are undoubtedly more ways to improve open rates but these 7 tips should get you well on the way.

If you have other tips and tricks that you use, please do share them in the comments!

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