Almost every Ecommerce store owner knows that email marketing is effective, yet one of the biggest hurdles is how to improve email open rates. This post will cover 4 of the essential practices for the most improvement.
Email marketing remains one of the most effective, time-tested methods for promoting products or services. According to a report published by Experian, it's 20x more cost-effective than traditional forms of advertising. But email marketing only works if recipients actually open your messages. If recipients click the delete button - or worse, the mark-as-spam button - it could send your campaigns in turmoil. So, how can you improve the open rates of your marketing emails?
Use a Recognizable 'From Address'
When crafting marketing emails, be sure to use a from address that recipients know (or should know, at least). Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that emails are more likely to be marked as spam if the recipients do know recognize the sender, which holds true. Users have become increasingly skeptical of opening messages from unknown senders, due largely in part to the rise of viruses, malware and phishing attempts. The bottom line is that you need to use a recognize from address to ensure a high open rate.
Arguably, one of the most effective ways to increase the open rate of your emails is to personalize your messages. In other words, create unique emails that contain the recipient's name, geographic location or past order history. You don't necessarily have to add this information by hand, but rather use an email marketing platform to automatically personalize your messages via tokens. Recipients will feel more confident opening an email if it contains their name or other personally identifiable information.
Just How Effective is Personalized Email Campaigns?
Experian claimed personalized promotional mailings had 29 percent higher unique open rates and 41 percent higher unique click rates. For triggered email campaigns, personalization resulted in double the transaction rates compared to non-personalized triggered emails.
MarketingLand published Experian's research showing that personalized subject lines delivered 26 percent higher unique open rates overall, with travel companies experiencing the "biggest boost" from personalized subject lines.
Unique Open Rates for Emails with Personalized Subject Lines by Industry:
Don't make the mistake of blasting your subscribers with an excessive amount of promotional material. There's nothing wrong with using email to promote your products or services, but you you must balance a fine line between sending informative content and promotional content. For every one marketing email, for instance, you should send at least two non-promotional messages.
A great way to diversify content and help keep your customers engaged with your brand after they have completed a purchase is by offering useful advice for using a product. Think about how your customers use your products and services every day, and consider what some stumbling blocks are or what features may go undiscovered.
Dynamic content is another great way to diversify and deliver exactly what your customers want to see. If you don't know about dynamic content, Dynamic email content is where you use what you know about your subscribers to show more relevant content to them.
For example, if you sell clothing and you know you want to send gender specific messages to your subscribers, you can use dynamic content to send a single email that contains the latest men's range for male recipients and the latest female range for women. This technique opens the door to sending highly targeted, relevant information to different types of subscribers - all through a single email campaign. It's all about maximizing your viewers attention span....
"...the average time allocated to a newsletter after opening it was only 51 seconds. "Reading" is not even the right word, since participants fully read only 19% of newsletters. The predominant user behavior was scanning. Often, users didn't even scan the entire newsletter: 35% of the time, participants only skimmed a small part of the newsletter or glanced at the content."
Email Newsletters: Surviving Inbox Congestion - Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, June 12, 2006
Create an Engaging Subject Line
Subject lines play a key role in whether or not a recipient will open their email. If the subject line is vague, irrelevant to their interests, or comes off as being too "spammy," recipients may skip it and move on to the next email. This is why it's essential that marketers create engaging subject lines that really strike a cord with the recipient. Feel free to conduct an A/B split test of at least two different subject lines to see what works and what doesn't.
If you're looking for creative ways to improve your email subject line, check out tips from the pro's over at Constant Contact.
One way to check the effectiveness of your email content is to check your own inbox. Put yourself in your customers' shoes to help determine if your email message is effective, helpful and enticing. Happy emailing :)