Email marketing is an important aspect of growing your business. However, most people’s inboxes are so stuffed every day that the delete button seems to get more of a workout than any other key on the computer. The trick to making sure your email isn’t a victim of the dreaded delete button is to make it stand out from the crowd. How can you tell if your email marketing campaign is effective? One important method is to track your email open rates. If your emails aren’t being opened, they aren’t doing you any good. So, how do you make sure your campaigns will get the open rate you need? Here are some tips to get you started.
What is a Good Email Open Rate?
This information varies across industries, which is why when you begin to measure these statistics you use an industry based benchmark. According to Constant Contact, religious organizations have an average email open rate of about 25 percent, while arts, culture, and entertainment have a 16 percent open rate, and child care services have nearly 22 percent of recipients open their mail. Using the correct industry standard is important. If you work in the entertainment industry and compare your email open rates to those of a religious organization, you may feel that your emails are underperforming at 16% percent, when in fact, they are right on par with industry average.
So, how can you start to gauge the success of your email marketing campaigns? You can start by determining your company’s personal benchmarks. The best way to do that is to utilize your company’s personal email open statistics. Review the open rates on previous email campaigns and use that as the standard. From there, you can begin to analyze and improve your open rates.
Track Key Metrics
When beginning an email marketing campaign, there are four important metrics that you want to keep track of.
Measures the percentage of emails opened compared to sent.
Measures the number of emails sent compared to the number of emails delivered.
Compares the number of people who clicked on a link within an email against the total number of emails sent.
Measures the number of people who elected to no longer receive future email compared to the number of people who received your campaign.
If people aren’t responding to your email by clicking through, what actions are they taking? Are they unsubscribing? If so, why? Is it the message itself? Are you sending too many emails? If people complain, what are they saying? It’s important to pay attention to these messages to know how to improve your email campaigns and make them more effective.
8 Ways to Improve Email Open Rates
So you’re tracking the key metrics and understand your company’s personal benchmarks. Now let’s look at a few ways you can improve your email open rates.
1. Qualify Prospects
One of the easiest ways to help improve your email open rates is to make sure you’re targeting the right people. That is why it is important to correctly qualify your customers. It seems counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to improve your email open rates is to actually send your emails to fewer, but better qualified, prospects.
2. Segment Your Lists
It’s also helpful to segment your email lists. Understanding your target audience for any email campaign can help you get your emails into the right hands. You don’t want to send an email to a customer for a product or service they have already purchased. That’s why segmenting can be useful. It ensures people aren’t being bombarded with repetitive information. Sending such emails will cause users to automatically delete your emails without even opening them.
3. Clean Up Your Email List
Removing inactive users from your list will help improve your open rates. If a user hasn’t interacted with your emails in over six months, it’s probably safe to remove them from your list.
4. Personalize the Email
Don’t you appreciate it when someone uses your name in an email? Of course you do—and your customers will too. An email’s open rate will be much higher, and the customer will be more engaged if it sounds like it’s been written directly to him or her. Personalized emails with creative subject lines are one way to help you differentiate yourself from your competitors.
5. Provide Relevant Content
Your customers are not looking for a sales pitch. They want value. They want education. They want information. And you have to give it to them in every email campaign. If you send them information they could find anywhere, they won’t bother reading your content, and your click-through rate on future emails will go down.
6. Grow Your List Organically
Don’t buy email addresses to add to your list. It won’t help you increase your open rates, because the names you buy may not be interested in your product. The best leads are people who are actually interested in your business and want to know about your products or services. You can use lead generation software to track who has visited your product or service pages and in turn use on-site retargeting with specific calls-to-action (CTAs) to entice them to buy; you can also sync your existing email contacts with your lead generation tool in order to identify those users and track your referral source. Another tactic is offering a free eBook, white paper, free video series, or running a contest to get new email addresses. These are more natural ways to grow your list, which will help your open rates in the long run.
7. Be conscious of any government regulations related to your industry
For example, in the healthcare industry, email marketing must not contain any protected health information (PHI) or anything that violates the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPAA) laws. Violating these regulations will put you in a world of legal trouble, and if consumers cannot trust you with their information, more than just your open rates will suffer. To avoid these issues and still engage with your followers, instead share relevant information about wellness programs you offer, upcoming events, and new website content (such as blog posts).
8. Make it easy to unsubscribe
Nothing is worse than being constantly bothered with emails from a company you don’t know or interact with. Making it easy to unsubscribe from your email list is an easy way to build trust with your consumers. Lists that are impossible to unsubscribe from come off as spammy and untrustworthy.