There are a lot of different metrics you can measure when it comes to email marketing. One of the most important is the open rate. You don’t get another chance to make a first impression, so you need to get that headline right and you need to get your email opened. Otherwise, the rest of the email is useless.
While it’s important to know how your email open rates are performing, it’s also important to understand that they can fluctuate depending on your industry, lists and even during specific times of the year. When you evaluate your open rates, know that campaigns will always differ and don’t freak out when you see a dip around Thanksgiving (unless you are selling turkeys).
So how do you evaluate your email open rates?
It’s best to compare the open rates for your campaigns against past performance. In my experience, this provides much greater insight into how you’re doing than by comparing them to what everyone else is doing. What we like to do at Red Branch is compare our stats month over month and again at the end of the quarter, shifting and testing with things like time of day, day of the week, subject line and sender.
.@HubSpot reports #B2B should see an open rate of about 30% if users have opted in to receiving emails. Click To Tweet
Does that sound like your open rate? If not, there IS room to improve. Here are five key areas I look at when trying to increase open rates:
1. Teaser Text or Pre-headers
The subject line gets their attention, but the teaser text makes the open happen. It appears in most emails as a brief description after or below the subject line. Make sure you check your teaser copy! This important area of the email is often wasted with “logo.gif” copy or “unsubscribe” copy or worse? “Insert header text here”. Gross. That lack of attention can cost you opens.
Wondering where the teaser text can be edited? It depends on your email marketing software, but in HubSpot, MailChimp and SharpSpring (our email provider) it’s right below the subject line.
2. Subject Lines
This is obvious, but still sometimes marketers use stale and uninteresting headlines. When formulating your subject line, there is one question you have to ask yourself, “Does the reader know what he or she should do in the email?” Your readers should know what their next step is. If your subscriber is confused by your subject line, they will just skim right over your email or not even read it. 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line.
3. Timing and Frequency
The time and day you send your emails can make a big difference to your open rate. Sending in the middle of the night might work for those who get up early to go through their inbox before work begins, but you risk being buried under the first thing in the morning emails. Determine the best times to reach your audience by sending tests and accurately reporting metrics. A couple of ways to test are: same day testing at two different times or, try different days of the week. B2B marketers surveyed said that they experience the best open and click-through rates on Tuesdays between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm.
Sending too many emails may be considered bad, but is sending too little? If you don’t stay in touch on a regular basis, your readers may forget they subscribed and hit the “spam” or “unsubscribe” button. Or worse, their spam filter may block you.
4. Add Personalization
Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%. All personalization tags are based on subscriber field data, which is information about your email recipients that is recorded with your subscriber list. Personalization tags only work well if you have the corresponding data for recipients.
For example, you can be sure the “email” personalization tag will work because, if the person is on your subscriber list, their email address is recorded as the value for the default “Email address” field.
Tip: Always be sure to test your personalization tags before you send to your email list. Click To Tweet
5. Clean Your Lists
Cleaning your lists is very important. You want to send your emails to people that are most likely to open them. Segmenting your audience to those who are likely to take action will increase your open rates. Have you considered making a segment consisting of those who have opened your emails in the past six months?
Remove users that haven’t engaged with you in the last 6 months and watch your open rates increase. Click To Tweet
Whether you are working on beating the industry average or just trying to improve you previous campaign open rates, it’s important to record all of the data. Keep an eye on your campaigns, test your subject lines, teaser text and mailing times. Set a reminder to clean your lists of inactive subscribers too! These tasks will not only improve your open rates, but will help you keep your lists engaged.