Email marketing is a challenge, especially in the face of the ongoing competition for your customers' attention from social media, messaging apps, etc. Even if you have amazing email content, your email marketing campaigns are only effective if they are getting opened in the first place.
What is an email open rate?
Your email open rate indicates the number of subscribers that opened a particular email to read it versus the total number of emails sent out to your mailing list.
Most email marketing tools will calculate your open rate for you. Still, if you want to understand the math behind the number, it's pretty straightforward: divide the number of people who opened your email by the total number of people who received the email. For example, if you sent an email to 1,000 people, but only 100 clicked the email to read it, your open rate would be 10%.
Tracking your email open rate will help you understand how well your email marketing strategy works and if your emails are grabbing your audience's attention.
Average open rates vary by industry, but typically you should aim for 15 - 30%. Improving your open rate can be a challenge, but it's worth taking on. Especially when you consider that, on average, email drives a return on investment of $36 for every dollar spent – higher than any other channel.
5 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rates
If your open rates are lower than you would like, here are five things you should consider :
Is your subject line clear?
Think about how many emails you receive per day? The average person receives between 100 - 120 work-related emails each day. Add personal email accounts to this and the fact that many of these daily emails are spam or cold sales, and it's easy to see how subject lines have risen to make-or-break importance. Add to this that subject lines don't provide a lot of real estate, especially for those reading on their phones. Your subject line should convey the purpose of your email and its value within 60 characters or less. If not, there's an excellent chance your emails will be deleted unread.
Is your email personalized?
Personalization is an easy way to increase the effectiveness of your emails. Something as simple as including the subscriber's first name, or company name, in the subject line can result in an increased open rate. Personalizing your email subject line helps you foster familiarity with your subscribers, increasing their sense of trust for your brand.
Is your email relevant?
It's important to remember that your mailing list subscribed for a particular reason. Hopefully, when they did sign-up, you gave them a sense of your email content and how often they'd be hearing from you. It's important not to stray too far from those expectations. Equally important is to respect their inbox and not send out a weak email simply because it's "time to send an email." If your audience begins to see your emails as a waste of their time, they will stop opening them, or worse, unsubscribe. If your emails aren't relevant to your entire list, consider segmenting the list and addressing each segment directly.
Is there a better time to send your email?
To avoid inbox fatigue and increase open rates, you need to work around people's habits. Test times where your subscribers are most likely to engage with your emails. Identify when you can send out emails that will capture the largest number of eyeballs and see how that impacts your open rate.
Is your email coming from the right person?
When sending emails to your customers, you may not consider who the email comes from. Obviously, it should come from the name of your company, right? Not necessarily. Using a personal name rather than a general email address or company name may increase open rates. If a personal name seems too casual for your business, consider something like "Kevin from Mighty Roar." Much like adding the recipient's name to the subject line is more personal, emails from a real person help build trust and a connection with your audience that may get them to open more of your emails.
If your email campaigns aren't performing as well as they should be, improving your open rates is a great place to start. Beyond the five considerations listed above, it's worth developing an ongoing testing plan to try new approaches and methods. Just make sure that you're not constantly tweaking things that it begins to annoy your subscribers.