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How to Improve Open Rates in Email Marketing

Jul 5, 2013   |   2 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

Open SignEmail marketing is like a journey of a thousand steps. But that journey doesn’t end when your email arrives in your subscriber’s inbox. There remains one final – and formidable – challenge: getting your email opened. So how can you improve your open rates? We’ve outlined three key steps.

  1. Build Great Relationships

    A recent Entrepreneur article stated, “Email marketing remains the most powerful tool in your relationship-building toolbox.” The trick is to build trust with care:

    • Always provide subscribers with value – whether it’s a discount coupon or a special report
    • Target your messages and offers to the right audience segments
    • Test new ideas and listen to subscriber feedback in order to continually fine tune your strategy
    • Honor your subscribers’ preferences and always deliver on your promises
  2. Timing is Everything

    When is the best time to send your emails? Lisa Friedman, senior director of marketing for, understands how daunting this question can be. The answer depends entirely on your audience. Faced with the challenge of improving her email program’s performance, Friedman wanted to know if her team was sending emails at the right time.

    First, Friedman and her team analyzed subscriber behavior on a rolling basis, to determine the time of day each subscriber opened his or her emails. Friedman’s team then began delivering messages to subscribers at the precise time of day each subscriber had shown he or she was most likely to open and click.

    The personalized send times made a measurable difference. Open rates increased 7 percent, and click through rates increased 13 percent. As Friedman explained, “Obviously if the timing is right, that’s important. Having that edge makes a big difference.”

  3. Write Subject Lines Carefully

    The subject line of your email is the first thing readers see – it’s what grabs their attention. So put some thought into what you say:

    • Keep subject lines specific
    • Stress benefits and value

    Ultimately, your subject line needs to let the reader know why your email will be worth reading. Details sell – even if the details make the subject line longer.

    Consider these two email subject lines an oil field services provider used to promote a major industry conference, the IADC 2011:

    • “First Look at New Products, Technology, and More”
    • “IADC 2011 – Exclusive First Look at New Products, Technology and More” The second subject line generated 8.2 percent more opens. Even though it was longer, it provided the details and the benefits that piqued readers’ interest and made them to want to learn more.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, email marketing comes down to knowing your audience. If you focus on delivering what your audience wants, your email marketing journey will end the way you want – with email open rates that keep improving!

Remember, emails cannot be opened if they are not being delivered. To ensure yours are reaching your subscribers’ inboxes, download the free guide, “Email Deliverability: 21 Steps to Success,” today.

photo credit: trawin

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