If there’s one truth in the wild world of email marketing, it’s that the success of a campaign relies heavily on the amount of emails opened. If only it were that simple. The Radicati Group estimated that in 2013, the average corporate email user will send and receive approximately 110 emails per day, and, despite spam filters, 19 percent of these emails fall into the unwanted “graymail” category.
With competition at an all-time high, and the volume of received emails steadily increasing each year, here are four quick and simple tips to help improve your email open rates.
Get To the Point
If your subject line reads more like a novella than a call to action, what is the incentive for audiences to open your email? Just like reading a newspaper, audiences want to know who, what, where, when, why and how before they decide to invest more time. This is not to say your subject lines should be written like the nut graph in a breaking news story, but rather, the faster your audience can digest what’s being said in the subject, the more likely they are to continue on and read the body of the email.
In an email subject line analysis, Return Path found that subject lines containing a maximum of 49 characters had a 12.5 percent higher open rate in comparison to subject lines containing 50 characters or more. If the majority of email providers cut off subject lines longer than 55 characters, its best to play it safe and employ the old mantra, less is more.
Choose Your Words Wisely
It’s not just about how many words you use, but which words you use. Selecting words for a subject line can often be overlooked, and the most effective words may be hard to predict, so a little research could save you a lot of time and energy.
Surveying 932,000,000 emails, email service provider Adestra found a significant difference in email open rates when terms like “coupon” or “voucher” were used. Citing group buying sites as the likely culprit responsible for this drop, they found that 55.6 percent fewer emails were opened than average when the term “coupon” was used, whereas terms like “% off” received open rates 61.5 percent higher than average.
When to Press Send
Determining the best time to send an email can be a point of contention. Do a quick Google search and you can probably find a handful of studies, each claiming a different hour of the day as having peak performance. If there’s one thing they can all agree on, however, it’s that the best time to send an email depends largely on the industry.
A benchmark survey conducted by Experian in the fourth quarter of 2012 found that across all industries, emails sent on Saturday and Sunday had the highest open rates at 17.8 percent; however, capping out at 10 percent, the weekends had the lowest volume of emails sent in comparison to the rest of the week. After the weekends, Tuesday had the second highest email open rate at 16.8 percent, with an email volume of 15 percent.
Also in this study, Experian noted that 21.7 percent of emails sent between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. were opened, making it the most successful time, in comparison to emails sent between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11:59 a.m., which only received a 16.1 percent open rate.
But you shouldn’t rely on statistical averages in this case, and you should try varying time and day to discover when your subscribers are most responsive.
How Often To Press Send
Sending emails too frequently is a sure fire way to get your recipients to open your emails-but only to hit the unsubscribe button. When Chadwick Martin Bailey teamed up with Constant Contact to survey 1,481 US consumers, 69 percent cited excessive emails as the top reason they unsubscribed to an email list.
Every company is different; some say no more than three times a week, while some say once a week, and others claim once a week is one too many. The truth of the matter is, like everything else under the email marketing sun, your industry and audience will help dictate the appropriate amount of emails to send. To find the perfect email algorithm for your company, employ a little trial and error, and be sure to follow up by reviewing your metrics.
To learn more ways you can improve your email communications, download our free guide, “5 Easy Ways to Take Your Email List to the Next Level.”
Photo Credit:Valeria Melissia Rosalez