5 Keys to Improve Email Open Rates

Getting your email marketing content setup is not the end of your work.  Ensuring that the greatest potential possible OPEN the email is critical and you MUST spend time to improve email open rates.

Are you using email marketing or automated email nurture campaigns?  HINT: You should be!

A key for email marketing is the open rate.  It does no good whatsoever to have great content if it never gets read!  In this episode we dive into 5 keys to improve email open rates.

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5 Keys to Improve Email Open Rates Video Podcast

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What are the 5 Keys to Improve Email Open Rates?

I'm glad you asked!

In my book, Game Plan for Social Media Lead GenerationI showcase the digital funnel.  It's in the "lead capture" area where your Call to Action takes place.  In the Capture area you have reached ideal potential customers and now directed them to your website and this is where the CTA needs to kick in and work for you so they sign-up.  Once they sign-up they are going to get started on your automated email nurture series.  This is a sequence of emails dripped out to them over time and this is the key area where email open rates need to happen!

Without the opens, they don't get to know you and build trust with your company!

See Digital Marketing Funnel image below...

The funnel is a strategy of reaching the right audience, engaging that audience, and then bringing that audience to your website, and email is a key ingredient!

Email Open Rate Keys

According to eMarketer, almost 237 million Americans will use email in 2017. This represents a significant portion of the online population.  People read email!  Here are 5 keys for great open rates:

1. The Email Subject line

It all starts with the email subject line.

Readers must be enticed at the subject line level to open your email!  This is your first and most important objective because many times those looking at their email inbox make a decision to open or not open based solely on the subject lines of all new emails in their inbox list!

[Tweet "Many times an email open is determined solely by the subject line! 5 keys to greater open rates by @Mike_Gingerich"]

Due to this, the subject line needs to be something more than what you can dash off at the last moment. I have had emails where I’ve spent more time crafting the perfect subject line than I spent writing the email.

If the subject doesn’t grab them, they won’t read it!

Whenever possible:

  • Personalize your email subject lines, most ESP (email service providers) allow you to do this easily.  "Hey, Mike, this 30% off deal is time limited!"
  • Keep subject lines short, specific and action oriented
  • Avoid lots of ALL CAPS and multiple exclamations!!!

If your email contains an offer, tell your audience about it, so your recipients know what’s inside the email waiting for them.

Again, keep it concise, active, and inviting.

2. Timing is Critical

Timing your email send to an ideal "sweet spot" can lead to greater open rates. Email marketers agree that mid-week (Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) emails are most successful for B2B businesses. If you’re B2C, your delivery window widens by Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

I like to send emails early in the morning, so they’re in the inbox when it’s first opened in the am. Or around lunch, people ease back into work by checking their emails. Because they’re full and satisfied, they’re more likely to be patient enough to read the mail rather than deleting it for lack of time to read it.

If your email is promoting an event with specific timing, send the email a couple of weeks before and again a couple of days before the event.

3. Offer Valuable Email Content

Give your customers something of value in every email. Even simple tips and tricks on how to do something can be value-adding. What you take for granted can be valuable information for others! When you offer value, you’re less likely to end up in the "unread" category down the pike.

I recommend you focus on one key item in a email and have 2-3 related and supporting links.  This is a good way to drive traffic back to past blog posts and bring visitors back to your website.  The email should not be massively long or the entire full blog post.  It introduces the topic, dives into a key point and then points to the website post for the rest.

4. Segment the Email Lists to Increase Open Rates

It’s a good idea to segment your list right out of the gate. Group your readers by products they’ve purchased, where their IP address is located, or special interests. Your ESP will now their location from their IP address.

Add several email subscription forms to your list with free downloads and segment as to the download they choose or page they subscribe on.

Here are a few of the most common data sets you may want to segment by:

  • Time they have been on your mailing list
  • What they’ve purchased from you
  • Date of the last purchase from your company
  • Last interaction

Drilling down with that information can lead to more effective and directed email campaigns.

5. Ensure Mobile Friendly Emails

Take your email recipients’ lifestyle into account as well. A full 64% of decision-makers read their emails via their smartphone. (Want to know what your readers are viewing on and you use MailChimp? Learn how here.) If your email isn’t formatted to be easily read on a mobile screen, you may receive fewer click-throughs and find your open rate decreasing over time.

If you make these changes and don’t see an immediate turnaround in a declining open rate, don’t get discouraged. There is an art to strategic email marketing. When you pay attention to the data you have from email recipients in your email marketing system, you’ll become better attuned to what works best for your business.

So, what are you waiting for?  Go look at your open rates and your emails and make adjustments on future emails deployed!


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Why the Halftime theme Mike? 

I’m an Indiana Hoosier native where basketball is the top sport. Every team heads to the locker room at halftime to evaluate the first half and create an updated plan for the second half. That plan includes adjustments based on reviewing what worked and what didn't. The “halftime” is a key review point where the game stops, the team pulls away to huddle in the locker room away from the fans, and they come out prepared and ready to succeed in the second half.

That’s what this podcast is all about, taking the time to pull away for a bit to evaluate, learn, and set some strategies for your business to succeed in the second half. Join me by subscribing and let me be your “business halftime” to help you find great success going forward!

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