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5 Strategies to Improve Email Open Rates

While new fads such as text/SMS and mobile application ads are quickly gaining ground, email still remains a key communication device – both in the home and in business. Because of its ongoing popularity, email has developed into a marketing staple that allows businesses to communicate with their target audience. However, with more and more companies developing their own email marketing campaigns, it can become difficult to ensure your messages are standing out from the crowd.

Here are five key strategies to help your business make the most of email marketing.

A/B Testing

Not all subject lines are created equal and, even though you have spent a great deal of time and energy into thinking of something catchy and appealing, it never hurts to test. It is for this very reason that the majority of popular email marketing systems provide the option for A/B testing.

The A/B test option allows you to enter two different options for a catchy subject line, sending each option to a percentage of your total contacts list. The system then waits a couple of hours to determine which subject line garnered the most opens. The program then selects the most popular subject line to use for sending to the balance of the recipients – helping to ensure the largest open rate for your email.

Email’s continued and growing popularity is not only appealing to businesses. It has also enticed scam artists to grow their email phishing and hacking capabilities. The growth in email scam campaigns has led to a wariness of unknown from name and from email address that can directly affect your open rates.

Email marketers should use a familiar name and email address that is designed to represent the company. Whenever possible, businesses should use an email address that utilizes the company name rather than a personal email. If the company has a domain, it is a good idea to arrange for an address with that domain name that is specifically used for marketing and/or sales programs (e.g.

Get Permission to Send

Emails receive the best response rates from people who have actively opted into a list. Generating your list specifically from those who have raised their hands to receive messages also helps your business avoid the dreaded issue of spam complaints – which can quickly shut down your email marketing accounts should issues arise.

There are multiple ways to raise your number of opt-in addresses including:

  • Online sign-up forms

  • Download forms with email sign-up check box

  • Trade show sign-up apps/sheets/text-to-join

  • Promote email lists on printed collateral

Be Consistent

People can be fickle and, when it has been a long stretch since hearing about or from a specific business, they often forget what and/or why they have registered to hear from you. Keeping up a consistent level of communication can keep your business relevant in the minds of your target audience. Be sure to set up a schedule for your email program with a standard schedule for general emails to help your campaign maintain consistent communication – even during slow weeks or months.

Don’t Overwhelm

While a consistent message program is important, there is the possibility of being too regular. While the timing is typically dependent on the type of business, news and alerts – some email recipients may be tempted to opt-out, junk or ignore messages from companies they see flooding their inbox.

In order to avoid this stigma, it is important to make email consistency and content clear upon opt-in. While it is occasionally acceptable to deviate with additional messaging, too many messages can be a turn-off for many. Make sure out of schedule emails are especially noteworthy and relevant to your base.

Email marketing can be challenging. However, a few simple rules can help you and your marketing team raise open rates and increase interaction within the inbox of your target audiences.

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