As those of us in America commence our Independence Day celebrations, we often pack together in large crowds (or in a neighbor’s backyard) to watch fireworks explode in the sky.
These energy-packed bursts are exciting.
Have you ever wondered if you could make your emails just as explosive?
Obviously, there’s no deafening boom or radiant circle of dazzling lights when you tap on an email. But there are many things you can do to skyrocket your email opens.
How do you determine an email open rate?
Many top email providers automatically give you your email open rate, but if yours does not, the calculation is simple.
Open rate = opens/ (number of emails sent – bounces)
When you figure out email open rate, you have a few options. You can use unique opens (i.e. opens per individual) or simple opens, which is the number of opens total. You can also exchange the number of emails sent for the number of emails delivered.
Now you have an open rate. So, what is a “good” open rate?
What is a good open rate?
In 2016, the industry average open rate was 25%, according to Experian’s benchmark report.
But that number is subjective and changes depending on what you’re selling (and who you sell to).
For example, in the marketing and advertising industry, open rates are estimated to be between 10 to 18%. Compare that to emails in the arts and entertainment industries, which sees open rates as high as 28%.
It’s all about your audience. If you want to determine the specific average open rate for your industry, check out this article. It has data on open rates across several industries from several sources.
Don’t skip this step. These benchmarks are important, especially when you start collecting your open rates for the first time. Just make sure that the numbers you choose to benchmark against are using the same variables (unique opens vs. simple opens) as you are to ensure that they are accurate.
Hygiene and Clean
You can’t have impressively high open rates if your list is a mess.
Make sure that your data stays up to date. If someone hard bounces, remove them ASAP.
If someone ignores your emails for months, maybe put them on a separate list to give them a break, then try sending them an email after a month or so welcoming them back.
If your getting a low email deliverability rate, check the quality of your data. You can’t have an explosive open rate unless your data is squeaky clean.
Smooth out and Segment Your Subject Lines
Subject lines are one of the primary factors in increasing open.
Your subject lines should contain a combination of these five elements:
- Real value – the subject line is the first location you make a value proposition to the lead. Here, in a handful of words, you offer your lead something in exchange for their open.
- Controversy – say something that triggers an opinion. This is a great way to encourage leads to open. They either think “that’s right!” and open, or “that’s not right!” Either way, you trigger an emotional reaction, which will lead to higher open rates overall.
- Powerful words – like controversy, these words trigger a reaction. They get leads’ attention, they catch their eye as they skim their inbox. Use strong words at the end of your subject line to leave a lasting impression, enough so they open your email.
- Urgency – this is straightforward. Use time-sensitive language to either imply or outwardly state that time is passing, and your leads are missing out. Be mindful of how forceful your language is, you can be too salesy with these tactics. Use urgency sparingly and carefully. It’s like the boy who cried wolf; if you say “you’re running out of time” too many times, no one will believe you.
- Questions – questions are a great tactic to sprinkle into your email subject lines. Every time you ask a lead a question, you also evoke an answer. This is a double-edged sword, though. If you ask a question like, “Are you tired of fighting with your old marketing automation solution?” and they say no, you may have just lost a lead. But if they say yes, they open your email, and you have succeeded in ushering them a step or two down your pipeline.
Your subject lines are important. They are the first impression leads get of your brand every single time you hit their inbox. Another important tactic is to segment your subject lines (and emails overall) so that the right person gets the right email at the right time.
Don’t miss your chance. Your chance to get them to open your emails comes more than once in a lifetime, but only if you keep your leads opening (and not unsubscribing).
Keep Your (Pre)Head(er) on Straight
A lot of marketers forget that the preheader is the second chance you get to impress your audience. Look over the tactics we mentioned above. You want to use an additional one of those tactics (preferably a different one than the one you used in the subject line) to further tempt someone into opening your email.
And please, don’t forget that the preheader text is there. When you get weird code or disjointed language in your preheader, it’s the antithesis of tempting for your leads.
Try different tactics in your preheaders to see what works. You can even use the same subject lines and do an A/B test to determine what works.
Don’t Forget the From Name
Don’t be dodgy in your from name. Make sure it’s clear who you are and what you do. Identify yourself clearly. If the email is coming from a department in your business, make sure it’s clear which department sent it. You don’t want your marketing emails and your support emails to come from the same place.
Another great tactic to try here is to make your from name an actual human name. That means, instead of your email coming from HIP B2B, it will come from Bret Smith, CEO at HIP B2B. This personal touch will mean the world to leads, many of whom get 100s of promotional emails a day.
Don’t skip this step. A vague or sketchy-looking from name can make or break your open rate.
Would you rather your emails make an explosive impact or fizzle out like a dud firework. Test these tactics in your own email marketing strategy. That’s the only way you will find out what works for you.
Have you changed any tactics that resulted in higher open rates? What were they? Are they on this list? Let us know in the comments section.