Wednesday 17 December 2014

Over 20 email marketing tips to increase your open rate

On average, subscribers only spend 3-4 seconds deciding whether they’re going to open your email. You’ve got to get in there quick! Here are over 20 easy-to-implement tips to get more email opens and keep readers engaged.

Short and sweet subject line

Subject line space is precious. The most successful subject lines are straightforward, to the point and non-salesly.

Research by MailChimp of 200 million emails found that subject lines longer than 50 characters had lower open rates.

Short. Stands out.

Seven tips for a better subject line:

1) Keep it under 50 characters.

2) Be specific.

3) Be informative.

4) Give location and / or date information.

5) Avoid salesy, promotional language.

6) Use amounts instead of percentages.

7) Words to avoid: free, reminder, CAPITALS!!!, help, special, and any promotional phrases.

Make best use of pre-header space

The pre-header space is the snippet of text pulled in from the message of the email to next to the subject line. On an ISO mobile (an iPhone for example), the subject gets one line of space and the pre-header gets two! So it’s a great opportunity to give subscribers another reason to open your email.

Four tips for a better pre-header:

1) Continue the conversation on from the subject line.

2) Be personal. Emails from personal contacts get the highest open rates and they usually start off something like this: ‘Hey Henrietta, how are you doing?’.

3) Include a call-to-action. This sets the expectation for the email.

4) Above all make sure your pre-header doesn’t include default text like: ‘view email as webpage’ or ‘If you’re having trouble…’ This is wasting the opportunity.

Mobile friendly design

Nearly half of all email content is read on mobile devices and 80% of consumers say they delete emails immediately if they are not optimised for mobile.

The most successful email marketing uses responsive templates which resizes the content to fit the device screen size, but even without a responsive template you can make your emails work better on mobiles.

Here are six tips for mobile friendly emails:

1) Minimum font size of 13 pixels.

2) Buttons should be large enough to read and click on a mobile.

3) Use a single column.

4) Make sure links aren’t too close together.

5) Check that the call-to-action is above the fold.

6) Use bullet pointed lists rather than paragraphs.

Keep content fresh

Newsletter subscriptions start off with high open rates, then as time goes by, email opens drop off. The challenge is to keep your content fresh. A big part of this is personality.

Here are four tips to keep your email content fresh and interesting:

1) Have a voice. Say things in a particular way. Your voice should be recognisable and fit in with your brand.

2) Sign emails from a staff member. Your emails will be far more memorable if readers think they’re coming from a real person.

3) Offer opinions in your writing, and anecdotes too. This will set you apart from the boring marketing spiel that so many promotional emails are filled with.

4) Start with a friendly hello and message, just as you would if you were emailing a friend.

Personality is really important to maintain engagement and it’s what will keep each email fresh and different to the last one.

Include alt text in your images

When your images don’t show up in an email, alt text will describe the image that can’t be seen. Alt text is really important to encourage people to download images and not just click delete on your email. If images aren’t downloaded your email will not be classed as an ‘open’ and any activity or links clicked won’t be tracked.

Focus your emails on a single topic

Then you can craft the subject line, message and images to that topic.  The subject line must set up the expectation, the content must be informative and to the point, and the call-to-action obvious but not salesy.

Emails covering multiple topics with multiple call-to-actions will often see better success when split up into shorter, more focused emails. Lower down in the email, you can of course include some relevant offers or promotions but make sure it’s clear what your email is about.

Perform A/B testing

A/B email testing involves comparing the performance of two variations of the same email, where there’s one difference between the two emails. You can test which subjects, call-to-actions, styles of writing, length of content, format etc… get the best responses from your readers.

Summing this all up, I would say, think as if you were the reader. Think about your own experiences with promotional emails and full inboxes and ask: Would you open your emails? Would you stay subscribed?

Please let us know in the comments below if you’ve got any great email marketing tips, we’d love to hear from you!

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