Part of getting your email marketing up to speed is looking at open rates. Email marketing open rates tell you the number of subscribers that opened your email. This is determined by putting an invisible image in the message and keeping track of how many times that image is requested. Because of this, open rates can only be calculated for HTML-based emails, not plain-text emails. It also means that subscribers that disable images won’t count as opens.
This number isn’t perfect, but it is still a number you should review and strive to increase with each message you send.
Increase Open Rates
There are four things that impact open rates:
- Sender Domain Name
- Sender Name / Email Address
- Subject Line
For sender domain, name and email address, make sure you use something that your subscribers will recognize. If a subscriber signed up for your email at my-domain.com but your message comes from some-other-domain.com, will they know who the message is from? If you normally use [email protected] but without notice change it to [email protected], it may also confuse them.
The best thing to do is tell them who to expect the message to come from when they sign up. On the confirmation page, tell them what name and email address your messages will use. Ask them to add your name/email address to their whitelist. You should also send them a confirmation email from that name/email address. You should again ask them to add your name/email address to their whitelist. Doing this multiple times will help them remember your name and email when the next email arrives.
Look at Your Subject Line
Once your message arrives and they recognize your name/email address, the next thing they look at is the subject line. The subject line should tell them what will be in the message.
- Don’t try to be fancy
- Don’t use spammy words
- Don’t use all CAPS
- Don’t use excessive punctuation!!!!!!
Not only will doing this trigger most spam filters, they won’t be impressed either. The subject line should also relate to the content the subscriber signed up for. If you promote your newsletter as a weekly update of car racing news but your subject line refers to getting “20% off your next order of ShamWow,” what are the odds they will open the message?
Protect Your Reputation
Finally, there is reputation. Just as it impacts your delivery rate, it also impacts your open rates. Let’s say they signed up for your newsletter last year, but over time, they have found that your messages were less about car racing and more about selling car related products. Still car related, but not what they signed up for. Over time, they will open your messages less often or never.
They could unsubscribe, but they’re lazy and it is easy to just hit delete. Over time though, maybe they start hitting the “spam” button…
You need to protect your reputation to get more opens just like you do to get your message delivered.
If your subscribers aren’t opening your messages, what’s the point of sending the message to begin with? So look at your historical open rates and start thinking about ways to improve that. If you’re curious, check out this list of benchmarks for open rates and more.
The last resort is to remove subscribers that aren’t opening your email. Getting rid of these subscribers might decrease your email sending fees and it will automatically boost your open rates.