How We Manage to Consistently Get 30-45% Open Rate on Our Email Marketing
Posted by drew on Aug. 17, 2015, 6 a.m.
For most of our email marketing clients, Fusionbox manages their accounts through MailChimp, which allows us to see industry averages for metrics such as open rate. For one client’s particular industry, the average open rate is around 19%, but we have managed to consistently get open rates above 30% for that client, so we thought we would talk about some of our techniques.
As an aside, a recent study from Symantec indicates that email web spam is currently at a 12-year low. This decline in spammy email marketing could perhaps be contributing to higher open rates. When users are less bombarded with spam, they are more likely to trust (and open) the emails they get.
Here are some of the things we think about when building lists and sending emails.
Segment Your Audience (or maintain small lists)
As a general rule of thumb, it is easier to create content that is more relevant for your audience when your audience is smaller. In order to keep your email marketing relevant to your audience, it will help you to maintain many small lists as opposed to one large mailing list. You could also maintain one long list that you segment differently for each email message you send out.
Segmenting allows you more flexibility, in that you can easily shift your audiences from one campaign to the next. But how do you know how to segment your audience?
The answer, unfortunately, is that it depends. You may find it useful to segment your audience based on geographic location, how they were added to the email list, how active they have been with your previous emails, etc. Write content that speaks directly to your small, segmented audience without being uncannily specific, which may end up scaring your audience.
Keep Subject Lines Short and Transparent
Most users will quickly scan your email subject when deciding if they will open or delete your email, so it’s advisable to keep the subject line to 50 characters or fewer. This will also prevent your email subject lines from being truncated on small screens, meaning your users will get the full message you intend.
Additionally, make your subject lines as transparent as possible, but simply telling your audience what is contained in the email. It does not serve you (or your open rate) to use vague subject lines like “Check this out” or “Our Monthly Newsletter.”
A Good Mix of Images and Text
Emails that contain mostly images run the risk of being labeled as spam by email platforms, so it isn’t a good idea to only send images with text in them. You should also consider a user’s experience if they, for some reason, choose to block images from displaying in their emails. Would your email still be comprehensible without any of the images?
On the other hand, emails loaded with text and no images can appear drab and lack good branding. It is important to find the balance between those two things. Exposure to one of these emails can decrease open rate for future emails.
There are some email marketers who get away with breaking this rule (Brian Dean of Backlinko has become known for sending out long, text-filled informational emails with few, if any, graphics), but it isn’t a good idea to use these exceptions as your model.
Consider Your Email Frequency
There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule on how frequently you should send users emails, but it deserves some thought. Some users want to get your email every day, while others would be bothered by that kind of frequency (another example of a segmenting opportunity there).
Something that has helped us in the past is the idea that users are the most interested in your emails immediately after signing up, and that interest begins to wane as time goes on. Accordingly, you may be able to get away with sending new subscribers emails every day for a while, but you may want to consider dialing that frequency back as time goes on. This is especially true if the user’s engagement is relatively low with the first emails.