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By Jackie Ellis

Email lists. Love them or hate them, there’s no better way to ensure your business’s long-term success online than cultivating an active list of email subscribers—the kind of subscribers who open everything you send, click on your links, visit your website, and ultimately buy your products.

But those link clicks, website visits, and product sales will only happen if you nail the first step: getting your subscribers to open your emails.

The industry standard for a healthy email open rate is between 17 and 28%; reaching this percentage range is a sign that your audience values your content and that they are becoming loyal followers of your brand. These loyal followers are the ones most likely to turn into buyers.

Need help increasing your email open rate? Here are three easy ways to give it a boost.

3 ways to increase your email open rate

1. Spark curiosity in the email subject line

Chances are, your subscribers are sifting through upwards of 100+ emails every single day. If you want YOUR email to be the one they choose to open, you have to be able to stop their scroll using your subject line.

Tweaking your subject lines is one of the first steps you should take to increase sales. Why? Because a good, strong, curiosity-piquing subject line will encourage more email opens. A great way to improve a subject line is by asking a question or giving a sneak peek into the value you have waiting for them inside the email—they’ll have to open it to find out!

Don’t be afraid to show off your personality. This will make your email stand out in a sea of generic “Sale ends today!” messaging. You definitely don’t want to blend in with a subject line that could work for any other business.

Remember to throw in a little humor, make it about THEM (not you), and use some buzzwords that will stand out to your audience.

Try your own variation of these subject line examples to see how your audience responds:

  • Can I buy you a coffee?
  • Appointment Confirmed with Justin Timberlake
  • Can you believe I said NO to this?
  • How many ads should you try before giving up?

If you’re curious about what’s inside those emails, those subject lines are doing their job.

2. Don’t be a stranger in their inboxes

The more familiar your name becomes in your audience’s inboxes, the more often they’ll open up your emails. That means if you’re only emailing your list when you want something from them, they’re going to scroll right past—because they’ve forgotten who you are.

Many business owners are afraid of turning off their customers by emailing them too frequently. But rarely is this true. In fact, the more frequently your customers see your name, the more top-of-mind you become.

Make it a goal to email your list at least once a week so that your name stays recognizable. If you’re wondering what you should be sending to your list, read on to the next tip.

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3. Deliver undeniable value in every single email you send

It’s one thing to get your audience to open one email. It’s an entirely different feat to get them to open up every email you send. The difference between having a list that stops opening your emails and a list that can’t wait to see what you come out with next depends on one thing: the value they’re getting inside your email.

People will be on the lookout for your name when they trust that your emails are worth the read. Here are a few ways to become the favorite name they see in their inbox, without even having to create new content:

  • Tell a funny story, and relate it to your newest blog article (and add a link to the actual post so they can read the whole thing).
  • Share a rookie mistake, and how you wish you’d had your product when you were first starting out (then direct them to your sales page).
  • Let them know that your latest podcast episode is live, or that you’re being featured on someone else’s.

Maya Angelou is known for saying, “At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” Providing value, no matter what the form, makes people associate you, your brand, and your business with positive feelings.

It’s something that people don’t forget and are more likely to reciprocate (in the form of purchases)!

Bonus tip: Spring clean your list like you do your closet

It can be discouraging to see engagement and sales from your email list start to drop off, but that could be a sign that your list needs a little spring cleaning.

As uncomfortable as it may be to say “goodbye” to some of your subscribers, a good list scrub is sometimes necessary to increase your email open rate. Just like you do to your closets once per year, take a look at your email metrics. Most email service providers allow you to pull reports that segment highly engaged subscribers from the ones who haven’t been opening your emails.

Once you have identified the subscribers who are not opening and reading your emails, you have two choices: 1) remove them from your list, or 2) send them two to three reengagement emails offering them the opportunity to remain on your list by clicking a link (or simply by opening the email).

The power behind a list scrub is that you’re left with the cream of the crop. These are the subscribers who open your emails, engage with your content, and who truly want to hear from you. This tells your email service provider that you are a rock star and drastically improves your deliverability.

When you implement these tips consistently, you’ll be on your way to hitting that 28% open rate mark. And it only goes up from there!

About the Author

Jackie Ellis is a digital marketing strategist who helps busy online entrepreneurs grow profitable businesses through killer marketing. She’s committed to helping female entrepreneurs get seen (and make more money) online.

RELATED: 4 Little Email Marketing No-Nos That Could Land You in Big Trouble

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