Did you know that an email ‘open rate’ is not when you send out an email and that person simply opens it and sees its content?

Open rates are defined when one of the following happens:

The recipient of your email enables the images to be displayed in the preview pane or in full view in the email or
The recipient actually clicks on a link contained in the email.

Sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it because we usually assume that when we send an email, it is going to be opened and read by the people it is sent to?

In the case of email marketing though, this is not always the case.

But that is why you’re here.

Maybe you’re asking how this email open rate is calculated?

This is by taking the number of recipients who open the mails and dividing it by the number of emails sent that did not bounce or fail to deliver. So if you sent out 100 emails and 90 did not bounce or fail, you then take the number of emails in that 90 that are opened and clicked. If out of those 90 emails delivered, 10 opened up and clicked, then your email open rate on that campaign would be 11%.

With all that being said, maybe you’re asking how you can increase your open rate?

Let’s get onto that!

#1. Start with an engaging subject line

This is the starting point because it is the first chance you get to convince someone your email is worth opening. Make sure you are always testing subject lines to make sure you are giving yourself a chance from the start. If you are not testing this and wondering why your emails are not being opened, this is a good place to start.

#2. Speak to one person

This is a really important point because if you’ve learnt anything in the world of marketing is that when you try to speak and cater to everyone, you are likely going to land up speaking to no-one. Write as if you are speaking to your ideal client, and think about how you would talk to them if you were in front of them.

#3. Quality always wins

Why would someone read an email if they can easily just google the content you have provided? The key to having people open and engage with your emails is sending them info they are not about to stumble across anywhere else, at least easily. You want to provide quality content that the reader feels they are getting value from reading your email. The key in this is that the more interesting your content is, the more chance you will have to convince them to follow the call to action in the email.

#4. Sign it as a person

We live in a big world with a lot of people. The last thing anyone wants is to feel like ‘just another number in the masses’. When you write your emails, make sure it is coming from an actual human with a name so that people feel like they are interacting with a human and not a easy to tell bot or company. Not only is this not personal but you would have wasted your time writing amazing content only to be ignored because the person sees this as another mass mailing spam email.

#5. Pick your moment to send

There is nothing like being disturbed in the middle of the night from someone trying to get you to sign up for their masterclass. It’s annoying and people don’t take kindly to it. Always keep in mind time zones and even a good time of the day to send out. 8 am is probably the least appropriate time to send out because who wants to be propositioned when they are hitting peak hour traffic and are raging mad already. Go back to testing when the best time is to send out emails and you will soon have data to see what times work and what times don’t.

#6. Don’t get put in the spam folder

This is a no-go especially because spam filters are becoming smarter and more sophisticated. Spend time making sure your emails are not considered spam worthy because spending that bit of time to make sure it is not spam, can do wonders for your open rates. Also, remember that no one is going to go check their spam folders unless they need to so your content is going to be wasted if you land up in spam all the time.

#7. Optimize for mobile devices

This goes without saying. If you are sending marketing emails out then you need to make sure that those emails are clearly visible on both desktop and mobile devices. So many people forget that people carry their phones around with them and lose the chance to grab leads because their emails were not working on mobile or were not optimized for mobile. Mobile internet is kind of king right now, make sure you are reaching this audience too!

#8. Stay away from buying email lists

This is a giant red flag. This is the last thing you want to be doing. One you are not guaranteed how qualified these leads are in your industry context and two, these people are likely so sick of receiving emails from all the other dozens of people who bought this list that they already have their spam folder happily primed to get your email. You need to know your audience in order to sell anything to your audience and list building is a part of that process.

#9. Keep things fresh

Every so often it’s a great idea to see who is still active and what emails actually work instead of thinking you are sending to 1000 people when you are actually only sending to 100. Refresh your lists and make sure contacts are up to date. Also, keep looking for new contacts so that you always have a list populating. Never assume people will still be using their emails that you got 2 years ago let alone 2 months ago. Always keep it fresh and regularly spring clean the lists to make sure you are not creating email campaigns for nothing. 

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