Increase Your Open Rates

Email newsletters are designed to be opened. You can spend an endless amount of time on preparing and sending out newsletters, but unless people are drawn to opening them then it can become a pointless exercise. One of the first things a recipient sees is the headline. That is why having a captivating headline that captures the recipient’s attention is so important. It will lead to higher open rates.


Subject Lines

The subject line is your introduction. It needs to catch the recipient’s attention immediately otherwise you may not get a second chance. People are reluctant to keep reading if the purpose of the email has not been addressed. It is also important when writing subject lines to factor in mobile and tablet devices, as mobile devices are limited by character length. The highest open rate occurs with 6-10 words, or 40-50 characters. Anything greater and your message may get missed.


Be Heard and Seen

Open rates are measured by not only the opening of an email, but by the recipient seeing the pictures in the email and clicking on a link in the email. In general, the open rate of emails is about 20-30%. Therefore, up to 80% opt out of seeing the content. That is a large number of potential customers. So, instead of missing out on them, provide them with a reason to open your newsletter by following a few simple guidelines.

For example:

· Use of double opt-in.

When a recipient signs up to your subscription, sending an email with a link to confirm their subscription reiterates their interest in receiving your newsletters.

· Remember the Pre-header.

Make sure to use the pre-header to further persuade people to open your email.

· Add your email address to their contact list.

Ask the recipient to add your email address to their contact list. This will reduce the chance of your email being marked as spam.

· Clean up your email lists.

Be sure to maintain your lists on a regular basis. If a recipient does not open your emails for a select number of times some email providers can start directing your emails directly to spam. Removing invalid or outdated email addresses also helps.

· Use your name.

Studies show people look for the name of the sender in the email. People want to have a sense of personal contact. Direct line of communication rather than generic. Always use a real name (of an employee) or a company name. It will help instill trust into the recipient while also raising brand awareness.

· Offer an incentive.

By offering an incentive or discount for a specific period i.e., “today only” will encourage people to open your email.

· Manage the length of your newsletter.

Although content is good, people’s attention span is not that great. So be mindful of delivering quality content, not quantity.


The Role of Images

The use of images also plays an important role in the delivery of the message. Some email clients like Gmail and iPhone automatically display the images when the newsletter is opened, while others do not. Therefore, a combination of text and images is ideal to clearly communicate the message.

Where images are used it is likely to relay the message more quickly. Especially when recipients are scanning the email to see if it is worth reading in full or not. The facts are, not everyone has time to read all their emails in full. And most important of all, images can make the message easy to understand.


Target and Delivery

Another crucial element to consider is the time of delivery of the newsletter. History shows us that higher open rates occur between 7-9am when people are on their way to work and 4-6pm when people are on their way home from work. Those with kids will generally view emails after 8pm when the kids have gone to bed.

But no rule without exception, so you should always test what works best for your audience. Try sending out at different times or review the history of previous newsletters to see when they were opened.

So, understanding your audience and when best to deliver your email newsletters will definitely steer you in the right direction to obtain higher open rates.

This blog post has also appeared in a MarketingPlatform Newsletter.

Author: Alex Trajcevski