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Tips to Increase Email Opens

Email is one of the most powerful marketing tools for building customer relationships, increasing brand awareness and driving sales. It’s a worthy part of your digital marketing strategy, but impact hinges on getting people to open your messages. Here are some tips for boosting your open rate.

Personalize

Personalizing email marketing based on customer behavior, history, interests and preferences can increase open rates and conversions.

Segment your list so that you can tailor messages to specific needs and interests. Personalization increases relevancy and builds trust and relationships with customers. Data from Statista shows that open rates for personalized emails average 18.8% compared to 13.1% without personalization.

Invest in the Subject Line

Spend as much time perfecting the subject line as you spend on the rest of the content. Readers make split second decisions on whether or not to open an email and that decision is based on the email’s subject line. A marketing email can be visually appealing and contain great content, but if the subject line is not compelling, the email won’t be opened.

Subject lines should be short and attention grabbing. Use action words that motivate the recipient to open the email. Use 40-50 characters and 4-6 words. Emojis that add to the meaning can be effective. Use strategically and sparingly.

Provide Great Content

Email newsletters should include content that brings value to the reader. Content should be brief, attention grabbing and relevant. Giving customers information they want to receive makes it more likely they will open the email.

Design with Your Brand

Your email design should reflect your brand. Don’t let the recipient question the legitimacy of the message because it does not look like it came from you. Use eye-catching images, short blocks of text and white space that allows the eye to rest.

Invest in ROI

According to the Data & Marketing Association, every dollar spent on email marketing has a return on investment of $42. To achieve that ROI, you need to send emails that people open. Take time to create email campaigns using these tips and you are on your way!

Email Marketing Checklist

Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing tactics to nurture a relationship with your clients and prospects. Inboxes are crowded places, but research still demonstrates that email gets the best engagement and return on investment.

Here I offer a checklist of best practices for effective email marketing.

Build Your Own List

Build a list of clients and prospects by collecting information from your contacts list, social media, in-person networking, etc. DO NOT buy a list. Email from someone or a brand you did not ask for is spam and is counter to the goal of creating meaningful connections.

Spend the Most Time on the Subject Line

The subject line determines whether the recipient opens or deletes the message. It is the most critical part of your email. Keep subject lines short and clear. Highlight what the reader will get by reading your message. (What’s in it for them.)

Preview Text

Many email clients also include preview text in the inbox. Don’t just default to the first few lines of the email. Write preview text that summarizes the value of the email to the reader.

Use a Consistent “From”

Define the “from” and be consistent. You want people to recognize all your messages as coming from the same place. Whenever possible, make the from a person rather than the business. That’s more personal.

Body

Keep emails short! Research shows that 200 words or less is ideal. Be sure to put the most important information first. Assume your reader won’t get far into the message.

Emails should have one goal or focus. Don’t allow any distractions from the goal. All links in the email should drive toward the goal.

Write in plain language, using simple words, and short sentences and paragraphs.

Call-to-Action

Include one call-to-action per email. Multiple CTAs in an email dilute your message and goal.

The CTA is usually a clickable button. Make sure the CTA is clear. The transition from the email to the CTA should be seamless and easy to understand.

Send Strategically

In general, best practice is to send emails between 9 and 11 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Pay attention to your metrics to see if your audience behavior differs.

Monitor and Adjust

Monitor all responses to your messages. Pay attention to comments, engagement and click metrics. Refine your approach based on the insights you gain.

Research Shows Emojis Don’t Help Email Opens

Nielsen Norman Group recently did some research about those emoji that are increasingly part of the clutter in all our inboxes. I was surprised to find that the research shows that emojis in subject lines increase negative sentiment toward an email and do not increase the likelihood of an email being opened.

They looked at the negative sentiment elicited by an email, defined as the difference between the average number of negative words and the average number of positive words that participants associated with that email.

In general, people selected more positive reaction words and fewer negative reaction words for the emails without emojis compared to those that had emojis. They found that adding an emoji to an email subject line increases the negative sentiment towards that email by 26%.

Overall, key findings were:

  • Emoji emails were perceived more negatively than no-emoji emails.
  • Emoji emails were seen as less valuable than no-emoji ones, but there was no difference in participants’ perception of trustworthiness for these 2 email types.
  • Emojis attracted attention in a balanced inbox containing both emoji and no-emoji subject lines. On average, emails with emoji subject lines were considered for opening more often than different emails without emoji subject lines.
  • Emojis made people more likely to say they would open that email for its visual qualities rather than for its meaning ones.

To gauge how these findings impact your email marketing, see the complete research results.