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How to Improve Your Email Marketing Open Rates

Email marketing is one of the most important aspects of any online (or offline) business.  Having a large and responsive list can help you make money almost on demand.  When it comes to improving your list, you should always start by looking at your email open rates.  After all, if people aren’t opening the emails you’re sending, they will never convert to visitors, much less buyers.

Reasons People Don’t Open Email

There are many things that can affect your email open rate.  The following list will not only serve as an educational point about understanding open rates, but also help you be able to perform measurable tests.  Remember, you should always be working on improving your open rates so that more people will see your message, and hopefully become your customers. Here are some of the things that help to determine whether or not people will open your email:

  • Subject Line – This is one of the most obvious and most significant items to check.  Fortunately, it is also one of the easiest to check, test and improve.  A good subject line can dramatically improve your open rate, so make sure you’re taking your time and writing an attention grabbing line that will have your list clicking fast.
    subject line
  • Time of the Day – Some people open their mail throughout the day.  Others only open it during specific times.  Figuring out what time of the day your list is most responsive is very important.  Keep in mind things like the time zone most of your audience is in, what types of careers they might have, and even whether or not they are likely to have a family.  Testing this item is critical, but like the subject line, it is also fairly easy.
    time of day
  • Disinterested In Your List – While none of us want to admit it, people often sign up for lists and then lose interest after a few weeks or months.  These people often just keep deleting your email rather than unsubscribing.  Consider looking through your statistics and seeing which ones haven’t opened any of your emails for a set period of time, and removing them from the list.  This can save you money depending on your email marketing plan.
  • No Sense of Urgency – This is somewhat related to the subject line point, but it goes much further.  If people feel that they can just put your email off for later, they will often never open it.  This starts by writing a subject line that gets people to click fast, but goes much further.  Letting people know that there will be special offers or time sensitive information in your future emails is a great way to build anticipation.
  • Rate of Emails – If you’re sending too many emails to your list, they will get sick of reading them.  If you’re sending too few, they will forget who you are and just delete anything you do send.  Finding that sweet spot can take some time, but it is well worth the effort.
    rate of emails
  • Seen as Spam – If you’ve already burned your list by constantly promoting sales items to them, they will get tired of opening the emails.  They don’t want to see constant advertisements in your messages, so keep that to a minimum and only promote the really good products.
    stop spam

Once you’ve looked at each of these items, try to find ways to improve them.  Even small changes can often have a significant effect on the open rates.  One great way to make changes is to perform A/B testing, also known as split testing.  Many of the top email marketing providers have this type of testing built right in, so you just have to set it up.  If that is available with your email marketing provider, make sure you’re taking advantage of it.

Remember, never stop improving your email marketing messages.  This is often the fastest and easiest way to make a business more profitable.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.


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