How Can You Improve Your Email Marketing Open Rates?

#4 in Our 20 for 20 Series

Welcome to 20 for 20 where we share our 20 best tips for email marketing and business to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

Everyone doing email marketing looks at their open rate for a signal as to how they’re performing.

It’s surprising that MOST people don’t even know exactly what an open rate is, and how it’s calculated. Your open rate is calculated using the number of people that download images in your email. That’s it.

This creates a problem because it doesn’t really tell us who actually read the message, just that they downloaded the images. Now you might be thinking, Well, if they downloaded the image that means they must have read it. Not true. Some people’s email service is set to download all images all the time from every email they get. If this is true for your recipient, you’ll think they opened the message when they might have instantly deleted it.

The opposite is also true. If your message is text-heavy, your recipient may have read every word of your message, but since they didn’t download images, you’ll see them as not having opened your message. Incidentally, if someone clicks a link in your email even if they haven’t downloaded images, they will count as an open and a click because you can’t click on something you didn’t open, so you’ll get credit for that one.

OK, now that we know what open rates really are, how do we improve them?

Here’s a question for you: What do you think is the number one factor on whether or not your message will get opened?

If you guessed the subject line, you’re wrong. According to consumer research, 69% of the people surveyed found that the “From” name is the most important thing in determining whether or not an email is opened. Only 47% said it was the subject line. Now, subject lines are important—don’t get me wrong—but the “From” name is the most important, so here are some tips on this.

Just think logically for a second about your own inbox. If you get a message from your boss—or your mom—that’s going to determine whether or not you open the message. What factors are at play here? The REPUTATION of that sender is the most important thing. If your mom has a reputation of sending you junk mail three or four times a week, you’re less likely to open that message than you are an email from your boss who usually recognizes you for a job well done.

Now reputations aren’t built overnight, so be sure to start changing direction if your email marketing ship is off course. Or if it’s time to get professional help, book an appointment with us so we can help get you on the right track.

Here’s a hint: If you’re only sending your audience messages about you and your promotion for instance, that may be why your open rate is low. You need to add more value.

Your ultimate goal here is to make sure that you have an excellent email marketing campaign—one that your audience WANTS to open so that when they see a message from you, they’re already primed to open it before they even read the subject line.

One more thing about the “From” name. I’ve seen some businesses that are trying to be “friendly” and “authentic” use an employee’s name in the “From” name field. This is a big mistake unless that person’s name IS the brand. 99% of the time, you should be using the name of your brand or company—and that’s it. Don’t get cute by adding people’s names. Marketing is an exercise in repetition, so make sure you stick with the same sender name.

And nothing is better for your reputation than giving away a box of delicious donuts. For every 20 for 20 message, we’re giving away a prize. Today’s winner will receive a box of donuts delivered right to your door. And the winner is Gustavo at rapidresponse*****@gmail.com. Please contact us to claim your prize.

Thanks for tuning in to 20 for 20 where we are celebrating our 20-year anniversary by giving away our 20 best tips for email marketing and business. Be sure to read your next email—I’ll be telling you how to create great subject lines and how to use the powerful preview line for great results.

Sign up below to get 20 for 20—our best tips for email marketing and business. As a bonus, we’ll send you our Top 5 Email Marketing Mistakes that almost all businesses make. Once you’re on our email list, you’ll also be eligible to win one of our giveaways announced every month via email.

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