A tried and true marketing tactic is email marketing. There’s a reason why every website tries hard to get your email address, despite the fact that spam filters and anti-spamming laws try to limit their effectiveness.


Email marketing is a powerful marketing tool because it creates a direct link between you and your subscribers. It allows you to stay top of mind and allows you the opportunity to provide valuable information to your customers. This is all great and wonderful, but all that work is for naught if your email open rate is nonexistent.


In our previous post, we discussed how to grow your email list. In today’s post, we look at four useful strategies you can use to improve your email open rates. This will help you to capitalize on all your hard work in building your email list.


email open rates

What is your email open rate?

While the term “email open rate” may sound intuitive, there is actually more to it than just how many people open your email.


When you send an email, your email service provider (ESP) adds an invisible pixel to the document.  It is the treatment of that pixel that determines your email open rate for that email. There are three main scenarios that can determine how your email is classified.


In the first scenario, the email recipient opens your email and the pixel is able to load, the email is then considered open.


In the second scenario, the email recipient does not allow images to load automatically. Therefore, the recipient opens the email and reads it, but the pixel does not load. This email would be considered unopened, even though the person read your email.


In the last scenario, the recipient opens your email and the pixel loads. The recipient loves your email and ends up opening it on multiple occasions. So even though only one person has read the content, this email will be considered opened each time it loads.


What each of these scenarios tells us is that email open rates are important, but the information should be taken with a grain of salt. It may not be showing you the whole picture.



What is the average email open rate?

According to Mailchimp.com, the average email open rate is 20.81%. The emails that were the most opened were those about hobbies (27.35%) while emails about daily deals and e-coupons were the least opened (14.92%).


These values provide a benchmark to see how your email open rates compare. If your rates are doing better than this, Congratulations! You are rocking your email marketing campaign and should be proud.


If, on the other hand, your rate is not so stellar it’s not time to panic. Here are some ways to help improve your rates.



Strategies to improve email open rates


1. Keep You Subscriber List Current

The goal of a good email campaign is to stay top of mind with your subscribers. This is important as your subscribers might not need your service all the time, but when they do, you want them to think of you first.


To stay top of mind, you want to have regular engagement with your subscribers. You want to send them regular updates and offer compelling calls to action to have them engage with you.


To stay top of mind, you want to have regular engagement with your subscribers. Click To Tweet


Sometimes however, despite your best efforts, subscriber’s needs change and they may no longer need your services. When this occurs, they will either unsubscribe themselves or they will simply ignore your emails. Unsubscribes are okay, but those that simply ignore your emails will have a negative impact on your email open rates.


Your email open rate is determined by dividing the number of emails being opened by the number of people you send the email to. Therefore, if a large portion of your email list ignores your emails your email open rate will drop.


The way to fix this is to periodically clean up your subscriber list. If a subscriber has not opened any of your emails in the last few months, it’s time to cut them loose. You can send a last ditch email asking if they want to remain on your list, but if they do not respond it’s time to remove them from your list.



2. Create an attention-grabbing subject line

Your subject line can be the most powerful tool you have to get subscribers to open your email. If you can pique their interest right off the bat, then chances are good you can get them to open your email.


When crafting your subject line, get inside your subscriber’s head. If they are interested in information, tailor your subject line to be a question or list. If they just want to stay abreast of what’s going on, use an announcement or teaser type subject line.




3. Optimize for mobile devices

As more and more people move from a desktop to mobile devices, having your emails optimized for smaller screens is critical.


To begin, make sure your sender name and your subject line are short enough to fit on the screen. Sometimes you only have enough space for 5-7 words, so make them count.


If you have links embedded in your email, make sure they are spaced far enough apart for the reader to tap each one individually. If they are too close together, the reader may click the wrong link by mistake.




4. Make your sender name clear

As spam emails become more prevalent, people become more hesitant to open emails from unknown senders.


To fix this, make sure your “from name” reflects your business. At a minimum, use your business name as the sender (e.g. ABC Company). If you want to add a personal touch you can include the author’s name and the company name (e.g. John Doe at ABC Company).


If possible, you should also use an email address with your business’s name in it. This adds credibility to your email and helps reassure your subscribers that the email is from you and not a hacker.



Are you ready to improve your email open rates?

These four strategies are aimed at helping you improve your email open rates. Try them today to see how they can help boost the success of your next email campaign.




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