Use these tactics to cut through the clutter in your clients’ inbox
Email is one of the most versatile and powerful communication channels for brands: It can snare new leads, engage existing ones, sell products, gather feedback, build awareness, and much more.
Of course, all these things are only possible if customers open that email you send them.
With brands big and small capitalizing on email marketing, consumers’ inboxes have become cluttered spaces. Indeed, many people receive over 100 emails each day — and that’s just related to work. As a result, many of the emails that brands send end up in the trash bin without being opened. (Or worse: caught in the spam filter.)
Ensuring that emails are opened, and not tossed, has become a careful science. To beat out the competition and make sure you’re getting read, follow these proven tips:
Personalize your message. Consumers judge emails quickly, determining in a split second if they’re worthwhile or not. Often, an impersonal subject line is enough to disregard an email. Seeing “Hi, customer” suggests a mass mailing with little value. Small tweaks like putting the customer’s name in the subject line, however, suggest intimacy and relevance. “Consumers expect brands to know who they are and provide them content they care about,” explains Campaign Monitor, an email marketing platform. Campaign Monitor continues: “Personalization increases open rates by 26%.”
Craft a compelling subject line. When we’re reading the news or flipping through television channels, we tend to settle on the content that appears most compelling. Email subject lines are no different. Use brevity and urgency frequently: “Limited offer ends tomorrow” will almost certainly beat out “This offer will wrap up in the coming weeks.” Marketing experts have also learned that using emoji and numbers in subject lines can increase open rates. And “putting the word ‘video’ in the subject line of an email increases open rates by 19%,” according to Salesforce.
Use a survey. Trying to uncover what factors influence whether your customers open your emails? Well, just ask them. Savvy brands will include a simple survey in an email, asking what subscribers are looking for. The finding of that survey can be applied to your next subject line to seriously improve open rates. As noted earlier, customers’ inboxes are hectic — so your survey should be short. The marketing software company HubSpot has helpful survey suggestions. Among them: Ask about demographics (e.g. age and location), ask how often customers want to hear from you (e.g. one email a day versus one email a week), or ask about brand engagement (e.g. how do you like the product or service)?
Optimize your delivery. A range of factors can influence whether customers open your email. Some are out of your control, like an individual customer’s mood, or how many other messages are in their inbox. But some factors are well within a brand’s control, like at which time the email is sent. Draw on historic open rate data to determine the best time to send your missive. Perhaps you’ve learned customers are half as likely to open an email in the early morning before work, or twice as likely during the lunchtime. Brands can also draw on broader open rate studies. OptinMonster, an online lead generation company, writes: “The best day of the week to send emails is on Thursday… [and] sending on the weekend is the least optimal day, with Sunday being the worst day to send emails.”
Email open rates aren’t blind luck — far from it. Increasing open rates is a science, and one any brand can master. By following proven industry tips, and also drawing on your brand’s own email data, you can ensure your messages get read and not tossed.