It all starts with the open.
It’s likely that the end goal of your email marketing campaigns is to get your subscribers to convert. Whether it’s purchasing your product, taking a survey, or signing up for an event, you want recipients to take a certain action, but that’s not an issue if no one sees your email in the first place, right?
Before subscribers can take your desired action, they have to be interested enough to even open your message. Many factors can come into play when it comes to encouraging the open, but today we’re going to focus on 4 of the most effective ways to get your emails opened.
4 Key Factors in Getting Your Email Opened
1. Building Relationships
I recently made the statement that in email marketing, the relationship is king. If you’re trusted by your subscribers and provide valuable information, they will look forward to receiving your emails and are more likely to not only open your email, but also click through, share, and convert. Think about it: if you receive an email that looks like spam (unrecognizable from name, questionable subject line, etc.) from a company you don’t really know, it’s much easier to hit “Delete” and move on. However, if a brand you trust (that often sends you relevant, targeted messages) sends you an email, you’re much more likely to open it and see what they have to say. Concentrate on building a relationship with subscribers and your open rate will skyrocket.
When it comes to building a strong relationship with your subscribers, you should:
- Provide valuable content (solve a problem for them, make their life easier)
- Target your messages (segmenting your database will make your communications more relevant to subscribers)
- Listen (monitor your reply-to address, ask for feedback, and always respond)
- Follow through with any expectations you set in the beginning (see #2 below)
- Honor your subscribers’ preferences (allow them to choose what you send them as well as how often)
2. Setting Proper Expectations
This tip includes two factors that often go hand-in-hand: frequency and consistency. First, when planning your campaigns, determine the frequency at which you will send your emails. Because your recipients are all different and may subscribe to your messages for different reasons, offer different frequency options. All them to choose a daily or weekly email option, or even offer a monthly or quarterly summary (as long as it makes sense for your business). Offer these options on your opt-in form, and then reinforce them in your welcome email and subscriber preferences center. This way, subscribers will know when – and how often – they can expect to hear from you.
The key here is to be consistent. Set a plan and stick to it. If you don’t email subscribers often enough, they’ll forget they subscribed in the first place; however, if you email them too frequently, you may become a nuisance. Both of these scenarios will cause people to unsubscribe, opt-out, or mark your email as spam. If subscribers know that you email them at the same time every day or on the same day every month, they’ll look forward to hearing from you and will be sure to open your email in their inbox.
3. From Name
Does the from name matter? Waldow Social DJ Waldow answered this question on our blog. His answer (and mine)? Yes, it matters. If the from name is recognizable to subscribers, they are much more likely to open the email. Just like in DJ’s example, even if your audience is loyal to you, they will likely delete your email if they don’t recognize the sender. Use your company name, a brand name, or anything that’s recognizable to subscribers. Only use a person’s name if it’s synonymous with the brand (think: Mickey Mouse/Disney, Steve Jobs/Apple, etc.). In order to get your email opened, you need to quickly and instantly grab subscribers’ attention. Test and find out what your audience best responds to, and then be consistent.
4. Subject Line
The subject line is meant to give recipients a taste of what’s in your email, so use it hook your readers. It can be fun, catchy, or completely informational, but it cannot be misleading (make sure it relates to the email’s content). No matter what, you want your readers to be excited about what they’ll find in your email, so put some thought into your subject lines. A few best practices to keep in mind:
- Put the most important piece(s) of information first (in case the subject line gets cut off in the inbox).
- Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. If it’s too complicated, chances are people will delete it thinking they don’t have time to read the email.
- Test! Your subject line is an easy element to test. Use your email service provider’s A/B split test feature to include a few different options and see what your subscribers respond to. Then, use this information to optimize future campaigns.
*When it comes to your from name and subject line, think about including your company or brand name. When your email hits the inbox, recipients should know it’s from you. This is one of those things that you really have to test and see what works for you. Using it in both your from name and subject line could be redundant with some audiences, but with others, the repetition might work!
While your end goal might be conversions, getting people to open your email is critical. What works best for you when it comes to getting your emails opened? Leave a comment below!