It doesn't matter how amazingly well-written your email is, or how many eye-catching images you've included ... if nobody opens it, it's all for naught. So let's take a look at ways you can improve your email open rates.
Make sure that the email addresses are correct. If you have access to another database with your customers' names, use it to compare and check that the names in the email addresses are spelled correctly. Check for typos. If an email is typed .con or .nrt instead of .com or .net the email will bounce. If you do notice a bounce but can't identify the mistake, delete the address from your contact list. It's not getting to the intended recipient anyways and it's compromising your reliability as a sender. On the same note, if someone unsubscribes delete their email immediately, as it's illegal to send them any more emails.
Entice your readers to open the email. Maybe you can ask a question that gives the impression you will answer it in-depth in the email body. Or perhaps you could say something controversial? (but not offensive). Provoke the reader into opening the email. You can justify and explain yourself in the email or offer the opportunity to continue the discussion. Beware: some email servers have built-in spam filters that flag generic subject lines as spam. Avoid words like "money", "debt" or "weight-loss" that will land your email in the spam folder. For a more detailed list, check this out.
Don't bore readers with information that's irrelevant to them. If you have a couple of topics to discuss that are not related to each other and are not relevant to every subscriber ... consider sending different emails to different customers. If someone has to search for the information that's meaningful to them, it will deter them from bothering to do so in the future. And worst case scenario, they click "spam" or unsubscribe from your list.
The longer an email sits unnoticed in the mailbox, the more likely it is to remain unopened. Send the email when it is most likely to be opened. Depending on your clients these times will vary. Nine-to-fivers are most likely to check their messages first thing in the morning. However if click-through rates are important to you send it in the afternoon when they need a break from work and will take the time to read it. Avoid sending the email Mondays when it is likely there are too many emails to get to and some will be neglected. Instead, consider sending it later in the week on a Wednesday or Thursday. Avoid Fridays when people's schedules are often unpredictable. If your emails are not work-related but are interest or leisure reads, then it may be better to send the email Saturday afternoon or Sunday evening when people are more likely to enjoy the piece.
Your email marketing software should provide some reporting. These reports are an invaluable tool to help you understand what's happening with your emails. Pay close attention after sending your campaign. How quickly is it opened? Are there bounces? Are there opt-outs? By studying your reports you can begin to notice trends and can decide what works best as far as subject lines and best times to send.
This seems simple but asking people to open your emails is an overlooked method to getting your emails opened. Whether you are communicating online or in person feel free to ask customers to open your emails when they sign up. Tell them when they can expect their first email and remind them to check their spam folder since you're a new sender and sometimes unfamiliar senders end up in spam. It doesn't hurt to send them the latest newsletter at the time they sign up either! The sooner they look for and open your emails the less likely they will be relegated to sit unopened in the spam folder.
Of course we're tooting our own horn, but our Email Booster tool is a great way to improve both your open rates as well as your click-through rates.
Now get our there and work on improving your email open rates :)
Kane Miller from Winning.Email
Kane has a background in computer engineering, but now focuses on creating new and interesting web services. His passion for improving his own email deliverability rates was the driving force behind the creation of Winning.Email.