Increasing your email open rate can make a significant difference in generating leads and making more money for your business.
When you send email marketing campaigns, you invest time and resources in writing the perfect email, sending that email on the optimal day and time, and hours monitoring report metrics after your email is sent. Many marketers dwell on open rate statistics:
open rate is the percentage of emails that are opened compared to the total number of emails sent in a specific email campaign
1. An optimized subject line can deliver a call to action
Open rate doesn't tell the whole story. Marketers place a lot of value on the open rate of their emails - the percentage of emails that are opened. There are thousands of blogs, articles, webinars, eBooks, SlideShares and other learning tools that focus on how to improve your open rate. But open rate doesn't give a complete picture of the impact of your email.
The whole purpose of an email subject line is to let the reader know what's in the email body, and hopefully encourage the reader to open the email. However, an optimized subject line from a reliable source can provide a call to action that gets results without the reader ever opening the email body. Consider these two subject lines:
1. Don't Miss Our Sale!
2. in-store-only: 50% off all dresses until 9pm today
In the first example, you don't have enough information to take action or make a decision. And chances are, 50% of your inbox is offering a special promotion. If you aren't looking for a sale, you may never open the email to see what the promotion is, when it expires, or how to make a purchase.
In the second subject line example, you have all the information you need to make a decision to purchase. You don't need to open the email to take action.
For a marketer, a well-written email subject line can encourage the reader to take action even though the email is never opened, and so is not reflected in the open rate.
Which scenario would you prefer: a subject line that doesn't spur any action, or a subject line that entices action without even opening the email?
2. Sender and Subject can send your email straight to Spam
69% of email recipients report email as Spam based solely on the subject line
Readers view their inbox in the flash of a second... and base their decision to delete, spam or open based on the sender name and subject line.
- Successful marketers often take more time to craft an essential subject line that spurs the desired action, than actually writing the contents of the email
- Personalize the sender of your email: readers prefer to receive an email from Mary at XYZco than info@xyzco
Look at your personal email habits: what emails do you send straight to spam, without even opening?
3. Not all email opens are trackable
Your email open rate may be higher than your metrics indicate because not all email opens are trackable. Many readers have images blocked on their emails. Depending on your email provider, recipients who received and opened your emails may not be counted as 'opens' in your email reports. Constant Contact is a major email service provider; their users' emails are not tracked as 'open' in these circumstances:
- if it's a text-only email
- the recipient has images blocked from displaying
- the email's <OpenTracking/> tag was removed
Understanding the performance of you emails is critical to creating an effective email campaign that results in your desired action. Open rate and click rate statistics are metrics to help you evaluate the success of your email campaign IF you understand what data your email providers use to create email report analytics.
For More Information on Email Open Rates
Marketing Profs: Marketing Email Benchmarks: Open Rates, CTRs, Device Trends
HubSpot: What's a Good Email Open Rate & Click Rate?
an email written in a formal tone conveys that the sender is "intelligent," "educated," and "authoritative"; an email written in an informal tone conveys that the sender is "young," "funny," and "creative."
Communicating via email and emailed newsletters is the most efficient and cost-effective way to share your message with your audience. More than 139.4 billion business emails are sent and received every day - taking the time to craft an email or newsletter that speaks to your audience is an important step to get your email opened and read.
Your emails are 100% customizable:
- You can customize what the email says, the subject line, how long or short the email is, what day of the week and what time of day the email goes out, whether the email is all text or images and videos, what promotions offered, and your call to action.
- You can send emails individually, or send group emails, using paid or free email and newsletter services.
HOW you talk to your readers in your emails is just as important as what you say - research of 1200 respondents by BuzzStream clearly indicates that age, sex and education determine what voice and tone your readers prefer, and how they respond to your email. Basic business email etiquette helps ensure your message is received the way you intended - and that you don't accidentally offend or alienate your readers.
Tone and voice in email impacts how the writer connects - or doesn't connect - with readers:
Tone is the writer's attitude or emotion: formal, confident, angry, excited, humorous
Voice is the writer's personality or style: vocabulary, phrasing
Business Email Etiquette Facts from BuzzStream
- 60% --> brevity is preferable
- 48% --> wordiness is unacceptable
- 88% --> have rewritten emails to sound more intelligent
- >50% --> humor is acceptable
- 25% --> advanced vocabulary is unacceptable
- 78% --> email etiquette impacts their decision to engage
- 70% --> excessive punctuation is unacceptable
- >35 --> want to be perceived as authentic
- <35 --> want to be perceived as educated
- 40% --> aged 18 - 24 find slang 'totally unacceptable'
Its not just what you say in emails, its how you say it. Know your audience demographics, and choose the tone and voice for your emails that speak to your audience. Don't just guess: A/B testing your emails is an efficient way to evaluate what tone and voice your audience responds to.
Are you prepared for Opt-In Canada? Effective July 1, 2014, Canada is implementing strict laws designed to control access to your inbox. CASL (Canadian Ant-Spam Law) requires that all new electronic addresses added to your business or non-profit contact list after July 1, 2014, must have explicit permission from the address owner. Why the new law? To protect consumers from being deluged with spam: unwanted emails, texts, and social messages.
The new law prevents businesses from sending commercial electronic messages — emails, texts or even social media messages — to Canadians without their consent. It's among the toughest of such laws in the world, with penalties up to $1 million for an individual violator and up to $10 million for a company that violates the legislation.
CASL laws apply to anyone sending electronic commercial messages (ECM) who is in Canada, or anyone sending to Canadian residents. What does this mean for your business? All Canadian businesses must implement a system to document that they have permission to contact each name on their mailing or texting list.
Permission-based contact lists authorize emails or texts only to informed recipients who have given permission to be contacted, typically by signing up - also called opt-in. Many commercial email contact systems have built-in, permission-based sign up, includingConstant Contact, Elite Email, and MailChimp.
To prepare your business for CASL compliance follow these guidelines from Constant Contact:
1. Implement Permission-Based Consent
How do you add names to your contact list? CASL requires documented express or implied consent:
- implied consent: the contact has had a business relationship with you within the last 2 years, either as a customer, a donor, or supporter, and that relationship stays active at minimum every 2 years
- express consent: the contact gave you explicit, written permission to add them to your contact list. Express consent methods include an opt-in message and link on your website or email or a sign-up form at events.
2. Current contact list names must have their consent documented by July 1, 2017
You have 3 years to document express consent for anyone on your contact list prior to July 1, 2014. Constant Contact recommends you email each person a link to opt-in so you can document their permission-based consent.
3. CASL laws require that all your marketing ECM have specific sender information
- who is the sender
- who is the email provider
- how to unsubscribe
- how to contact the sender
CASL laws were implemented to protect Canadian consumers from spam and unwanted marketing; and the penalties for noncompliance are stiff. Implementing permission-based contact lists provides compliance to CASL laws. Even more importantly, permission-based consent is an effective and cost-efficient marketing strategy to share important information about your business with people who are interested, and most likely to respond to your marketing and engage in a relationship with your business.
Note: There are exemptions to the CASL law that do not require express consent to contact a consumer, including:
- someone you have a personal relationship with, such as a family member
- communication with employees or franchisees
- legal communications
- responding to customer correspondence
- fundraising for charities or political organizations
- phone or fax communications
Download the complete Constant Contact CASL Compliance Checklist here
For More Information on Canada's AntiSpam Laws and Exemptions
Davis LLP Legal Advisors: New Guidance on CASL's Charitable Fundraising Exception
Deloitte Canada: Canada's Anti-Spam Law: Key Exemptions
Government of Canada: Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation
New Guidance on CASL's Charitable Fundraising Exception - See more at: http://www.davis.ca/en/entry/charities-and-not-for-profit-law/new-guidance-on-charitable-fundraising-exception-in-anti-spam-law/#sthash.jlMIempv.dpuf
Don't be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing.
~ Mike Volpe, Chief Marketing Officer Hubspot
You have a mailing list, and it just sits on your computer. Why? Because you don't think you have anything to say. If you have a business, and you have a mailing list, if you're not sending out regular emails you're missing an incredibly impactful way to reach and convert your followers. Here are 5 email content ideas that will engage your followers, increase click-through rates, and convert to sales.
5 Newsletter Content Ideas that Work
1. Link to articles that interest you: and will interest your followers
Your followers like your business because it provides something they want, need or enjoy. Chances are, they'll be interested in reading the same articles you're interested in. They could be articles related to your business, to your community, or just generally interesting such as easy summer suppers or last minute weekend getaways. The links don't have to sell your business: they have to interest the people who want to know more about your business.
2. Answer a FAQ
If you're regularly getting asked certain questions about your business or product, chances are there's a lot more people who have the same question: but never asked. Start a regular column where you answer Frequently Asked Questions of your customer, suppliers, or potential customers.
3. Add an Image
People like to look at pictures and videos: its a statistical fact. Include photos of customers using your product. Include photos of your employees on vacation. Include videos of a special event in your neighborhood.
4. Run a Contest
People have more fun and are more likely to enter a fun or silly contest than a contest that seems impossible to win. How many times have you seen a count the gumballs in the bowl contest? Why? Because people like to have fun, and engage in low effort but
5. Ask a Question
Maybe a client has a question you can't answer. You're considering a new product, but aren't sure if there's an interest. You need a someone to design your new website. Ask your followers!
Once you get people to open and read your email, don't forget the whole reason you're sending the newsletter: to get business. Be sure to prominently display and label your Call to Action so your readers remember why you're in business: and why they want to do business with you!
For More on Email Marketing Content Ideas
Digital Information World: How to Use Content Marketing Strategies in B2B Emails
Plan to Engage: Email Marketing Content Ideas
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
~ Ben Franklin
Email newsletters are not an exciting, cutting digital marketing strategy. But in 2014 email marketing remains a cost-effective, strategic and efficient way for businesses and nonprofits to talk directly with their customers, fans and supporters. Email marketing, newsletters, e-letters - whatever you call it - is a way for your brand to get information to an audience who wants to hear what you have to say.
Everyone checks their email: the issue is what they do with their emails. Some are read, some bookmarked for later, some are trashed, others spammed. What every business owner wants is the secret to getting their emails opened, read and converted to business.
Email marketing and newsletter facts and stats:
- Women click 10% more often than men on mobile emails: Tailored Mail Email Marketing Trends
- 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email: Convinceandconvert.com
- 61% of emails are read on smartphones or tablets: Moveable Ink
- 64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line: Chadwick Martin Bailey
- Emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158% higher click-through rate: GetResponse
How to Get Your Emails Opened, Read and Clicked
Email marketing may be old-school, but it doesn't have to be old-fashioned. Incorporating digital marketing strategies into your newsletters and emails make them more likely to be opened and read:
1. Format for online reading:
People don't read online the same way they read a book. Short paragraphs, bullets, links, images and videos all make emails and newsletters easier to read and comprehend. Images and videos attract attention: that's why they get 47% more click-thru in emails compared to text. Simple to find and read information is understood faster and retained longer by today's busy consumer.
2. Integrate with social media:
Social media is the edge that takes email marketing outside the inbox and highly valuable word of mouth marketing. Make your newsletter shareable with links to forward your email and links to your social media profiles. Offer readers a reason to share and follow: a special offer, a free trial, a today-only deal. Then, ask them to share the deal and make it easy for them to share with calls-to-action such as: Share this deal with all your friends: with a link to automatically Tweet or post your newsletter on Facebook.
3. Customize and personalize:
Customizing your newsletter does not mean putting the recipients' name in the To: field. Your audience is savvy, and know that's simply a mailing list option. Nothing is wrong with adding their name: just don't stop there. Customize and segment your newsletter to send a different version to different audiences. The same basic content, but presented in a different layout, in different colors or with different images may appeal more to your different audiences. For example, a yogurt shop might offer the same special coupon to all its audience, but with family and kid images on emails sent to soccer moms, but college clients will be more attracted to pictures of fellow-students in class, at the game, or taking a break. Customizing takes time: but it can improve your open and click-thru stats, which is the whole idea!
4. Write subject lines that get noticed:
Which subject line are you more likely to open: XYZ's Monthly Newsletter, or Open Today for a Free Yogurt? With your 2 year old, that's called bribing. With your audience, that's called enticing. The subject line is the single most critical decision point whether your email is opened, trashed or spammed. Many email management tools can create a default subject line for your email. You spend hours writing, formatting and tweaking your email: why would you let a robot choose your subject line? Test different subject lines on different audiences (called A/B testing) to find out what appeals most to your audiences.
XYZ Monthly Newsletter
Open Today For a Free Yogurt
5. Have something to say:
If you don't have a reason to send an email, why are you sending it? If the answer is because it's on the calendar, don't send the email. Your email should have relevant content or offers that your audience wants to hear. Nothing is going on at your business that's shareable? Then create an offer exclusive to your email: that's a reason to send an email, and a reason for your audience to open your email! If you have nothing to share with your audience, then send out an email with the same old sales pitch, don't be surprised when your open rates continue to spiral down. If you're not excited with what's happening at your business, why would your audience be? Your email is an important opportunity to share your stories and success with your audience: don't abuse it.
Your business makes a significant investment in money, time and resources to produce and distribute emails and newsletters. Your emails shouldn't just get out on time: developing an email marketing strategy results in increased read, open and click rates.
For More On Email Marketing:
B2C: 13 Useful Tips for Integrating Email Marketing and Social Media
SalesForce: 25 Mind Blowing Email Marketing Stats