Email marketing remains one of the most powerful ways to connect with your clients and prospects.  According to a June 2016 survey of US marketers conducted by the Direct Marketing Association email has a median ROI of 122%, more than 4 times higher than other marketing formats!

That is an amazing increase over things such as social media, direct mail and paid search.

BUT, as we know, email is a noisy channel. In fact the average office worker receives 121 emails per day and checks their email 74 times per day! Estimates by the Radicati Group put emails sent per day at around 269 billion. (Interesting fact: according to multiple reports Groupon sends the most emails per user)

If email marketing is so valuable, and there is so much noise in our inboxes, the next question is what can you do to make your marketing message stand out. How can you create and send an email that your market will want to open, read and click on?

There are several things you can do to increase those numbers, but there is one thing that, above all else, will impact your open and click rates.

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches - at scale.” ~ David Newman

Make your emails valuable!

Don’t send emails for the sake of sending emails. Send emails with valuable content. Share information and ideas that your prospects and clients want to have. Share valuable insight that they can’t get elsewhere. Make sure that they are glad they opened your emails, and that your emails are something they begin to look forward to!

Now, assuming you have nailed the valuable content piece, here are 10 additional things you can do to increase your open and click rates:

“The most popular radio station on the planet is WII.FM...What’s In It For Me. Always remember your reader is asking themself that every time they see your email. Make sure they have a good answer.” ~Tracy Hoobyar

Use a meaningful subject line 

Don’t use re: unless it truly is. Subject lines with fewer than 50 characters have higher open rates and tend to show up fully without being truncated. Make your subject line catchy, but don’t get too clever. Study after study shows that consumers like subject lines that tell them what’s in the email.

Segment your email list. 

Sending emails to your entire list will reduce all of your metrics, guaranteed. You need to send targeted emails to targeted sections of your list. Once you do this you will likely see open rates around 14% higher and click rates that are just over 100% higher!

Emails with personalized subject lines generate 50% higher open rates

Make sure your emails are mobile friendly. 

This doesn’t just mean make your emails mobile responsive.  You can also use vertical columns, short subject lines, big images that are easy to see and click on, bold headlines, and CTA buttons at least 44 pixels squared so they can be easily tapped. And increase your font size to 16 or 18 pt. You won’t be sorry!

Mobile opens account for 46% of all email opens. (Hubspot, 2020)

Make sure your email comes from a real person as opposed to “noreply” or “inbox”. 

As I’m sure you would agree, personal emails are a lot easier and more fun to read. Make sure your email is setup to send from a person’s name rather than info@ or Noreply.

Remember the preview pane, even the pre header text. 

This is some of the most valuable real estate in your emails. This is the area that your reader will see before they open your email. The line that teases what’s to come, makes it a bit more interesting and catches their attention. Don’t waste it with “Hi [Firstname],” make sure you test the email and see what’s showing up in your preview pane.

Test to find out the best time of day.

Most research agrees that Friday is a terrible time to send out emails. But there is some discussion around the best days. Some research says Tuesdays or Thursdays, some says Wednesdays, others say Saturdays. The best thing you can do is to test it for your business and your subscribers. Test different days and track opens and clicks. The proof will be in the numbers.

For every $1 you spend on email marketing you can expect an average return of $42 (CMA, 2019)

Track link engagement. 

You cannot improve what you don’t track. Pay attention to your link engagement. Find out if your list likes links to be in text, or if they prefer images as buttons. Pay attention to the kinds of links they are engaging with, and give them more of those. Include links in multiple places in your emails. Some research suggests you will get the highest click through rate if you have 30 links in your emails! That seems a bit high to me, but give it a try, see what works for your list.

Practice good list hygiene. 

Clean your list monthly. Remove those contacts that have been hard bounces, unsubscribes, etc. If they cannot be emailed, remove them. There is no benefit to keeping them and they could be dragging down your metrics.

Make sure you are authenticated (DKIM, SPF, etc) 

Confirm that your email service is set up to tell email clients that you have authorized them to send for you. If you don’t do this one small task, you could be sent into spam folders without even knowing it.

“If you don’t want to read your email, why would anyone else?” ~Tracy Hoobyar

Create great content. 

I know I already said this, but I want to say it again. Create great content that your readers will want to read, that they will wait for, and that they will set up as important so they never miss an email from you.

These will help you to improve your open and click rates of your emails. Remember, make them personal. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. (CampaignMonitor)

Be conversational. Be memorable. Be relevant.

And most of all, be diligent about tracking your metrics. Know where you stand, how you are trending, and where you want to go. Set goals for your open and click rates, and work consistently toward reaching those goals.


email open rates

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