The Marketing Word | Differentiation Marketing

Beyond Sent Emails – How to Get Your Emails Opened

You’re in business. You’ve sent emails. In fact, you send email after email.  Are you tracking your email open rate?

One of my clients emailed me with the question, “How can I get people to open my emails?”  She was looking for tips to make her subject line more enticing.  She had recently sent an email to her list of 527 subscribers and had 124 opens.  That’s an open rate of 23.5%.   

A “good” or average open rate for an email is 15 – 30%.  Her open rate is within range. But it could be better. In her niche, health, the average open rate is higher, in the 30 – 40% range. Here’s an article I found with open rate info:

Average Email Open Rates

Her particular email was announcing a local event. Because her list is national, her open rate was probably lower than usual – her subscribers know where she is located.  But event emails are not a one-shot deal. For an event (seminar, get together, webinar) you really have to hit people at least 3 times with emails because they either miss the email, or don’t have time to open and look the first time they see it or think they will go back and open it “later on” (which is why I have over 1,000 emails sitting in one of my accounts).

People are in a time crunch these days. One thing I have seen work is a subject line that says — “This will take less than a minute” (or 30 seconds) and I’ve also seen something like that in the first line of an email: “This email will only take you about 2 minutes to read but will blah blah blah — some benefit to you.”

People also respond to FUN.  So, if you’re doing an email series, have at least one of the emails have something about fun or pleasure in the title.  Analysts (marketing and psycho) say people are more motivated by avoiding pain (2.5 times more likely to move away from pain) than moving towards pleasure, but in my experience people go for instant pleasure if the ensuing pain is 1) not that painful and 2) far enough away in time, i.e., “Eating cake will make me fat and isn’t good for me.  I don’t want to be fat but that’s the result of MANY pieces of cake and this one piece of cake won’t make me instantaneously fat so I’ll have it.”

Do I have a study to back me up on that? No. But I do have whoopie pies and ice cream in my kitchen. And if you take a look around you, you will probably see the results of people making that choice. On a daily basis…   So, give people a little pleasure in your subject line mix.

The same day my client emailed me with that question, I also got this email with a free offer for an email marketing tip ebook from Icontact, an autoresponder company:

10 Rules for Successful Email Marketing

I’m not sure how long it’s going to be available.  It looks like an affiliate link (not mine, probably for whoever runs WebProNews, the company that sent me the email) so you will most probably be put on a list. This particular opt in is especially intrusive – Icontact has put this ebook out and is offering a free trial of their services with it.  (Complete disclosure: I gave them valid information except for my phone number – I can delete emails; phone calls are just freakin annoying.) My attitude on this is if I get tired of the emails or find they are not helpful, I’ll just unsubscribe. But I’m always open to new sources of info.  (Hmmm.  I think I feel another blog post coming on about information gathered for opt ins.)

I know I sound like a broken record sometimes (OK, most of the time) but the best way to get people to listen to you, whether you are sending emails, writing blogs posts, doing videos or posting on social media, is to put out good information. People search the internet for information. Yes, they buy things over the internet, but first and foremost, they want information. The best thing you can do is make sure the information you give is relevant, helpful and applicable.  The importance of the subject line goes down as people get to know, like and trust you and your information. However, if your list is constantly growing, people are in various stages of their relationship with you. The stronger you can make your subject lines, the more likely people are to open your emails and from there, develop a stronger relationship with you.  But don’t let it torment you. They can’t all be diamonds. Better to get the email out than to sit and agonize over the subject line.

 
Barbara Grassey

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1 comment

  • Brenda Ellison · 09/29/2012 at 3:55 am

    I really liked this article. First of all it mentioned chocolate cake and I love to see even the mention of chocolate cake whether it is applicable or not to the other content…so yes, you are right…appeal to pleasurable experience.
    I completely agree with subject material being short and attention getting even humorous as I have had great experience in the past with getting emails opened with quirky but attracting titles.
    It seems that the title should work almost like a key word search in Google….find the phrase not everyone is using but everyone will search.
    Great article Barbara and thanks for another great share.
    As always I look forward to your writing…especially when you give it some cake and humor!
    Brenda Ellison-MyInfoSnap

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