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How to boost to boost email open rates

Let’s flash back to the days when we used to rely heavily on physical mailboxes for correspondences, if you’re old enough to have lived in that era (I wasn’t born then myself). Thank God for all the ‘americana’ movies we saw while growing up, that should give you a pretty good idea of what it looks like (or didn’t you watch those too?). So the idea is your letter or parcel gets to the post office and the mail man drops it off for you in your mail box. You pick up, open the envelope and digest the content of the letter. The sender might turn out to be a friend, relative, your employer/potential employer and of course sales letters.

Fast forward to the present and we have the same process play out electronically via emails received in virtual mailboxes. Life has certainly improved and communication has become more effective since email and the internet were invented. A lot of marketing is now done through this medium of communication. This form of marketing is called Email Marketing.

As a business owner, company or entrepreneur, it is easy to type a ‘salesy’ email and send to a list of subscriber, however, how motivated are the recipients to opening the mail? Open Rate is a term thrown around a lot by email service providers (ESP) as well as marketers. It simply refers to the number of your recipients actually ‘opened’ your mail to peruse its content. If we are to get technical, Open Rate is calculated by dividing the number people who open the email by the number of emails that did not bounce i.e. failed to reach the recipient. Pretty straightforward. The formula should look something like this:

Open rate = Unique opens / (Number of emails sent – Bounces)

So the success of an email campaign depends largely on the open rate. Of what use is an unopened email? Imagine putting a gold-plated Rolex wristwatch in a dumpster and anonymously drop it in from of the recipient’s door. Nobody sees any value in a dumpster other than a place to dump thrash. Put that same wristwatch in a beautifully wrapped gift box and deliver it to the same person. The chances of the box getting opened are very high.

These tips will help improve your email open rate if applied correctly.

1. Define your subscribers. This can be achieved by using a lead magnet that would appeal to your target customers only. Do not try to attract everybody. Be specific about who you ask to join your email list.

2. Pitch the right subject line. The subject is the fishing hook that will encourage recipients to take a look at your mail.

3. The sender name matters. A mail that displays the name of a company employee as the sender will perform better than a generic company email address. The goal is to sound as personal as possible.

4. Optimize the pre-header text. This is the part that appears after the subject line. Subscribers will most likely scan the pre-header to validate the subject line, so it has to be apt.

5. Don’t piss off spam filters. Inboxes have been programmed to filter words typically associated with spam such as “free offer” or “guarantee”. Avoid these words as much as possible.

6. Categorize your lists. Sorting your subscribers into different segments will help you tailor a message that’s well suited for each.

7. Optimize for mobile devices. Nowadays, 70 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices. You will do your company a lot of good by making your emails read well on mobile devices.

8. Personalize your message. This will not only improve your open rates, it will also boost click-through rates. Avoid a generic, one-size-fits-all kind of message and speak in the language of your subscribers.

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