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In a perfect world, you consistently email content that your
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About the Author: Adam Costa is the Editor in Chief
2011 was a big year for social media (big changes
Sometimes it feels like a hassle to manage subscribers on
Do you know why you’re using email marketing? Email marketing
Online retailers rejoiced at the news their email marketing campaigns are eagerly read by consumers. This report showed that nearly half of those surveyed said they look forward to finding the latest deals in their inbox.
This is a guest post by Andreas of London Cyclist.
He contacted me asking if he could share how he’s achieved increased open rates for his email marketing campaigns. I think you’ll enjoy his story and advice.
Take it away, Andreas! -Justin Premick
Listening in awe to a highly accomplished blogger about how she built her email list, I only had one burning question in my mind.
When the presentation was over, I eagerly worked my way through the crowd and asked: “I’m getting email open rates between 60-70%… what can I do to get it higher?”
The blogger looked at me a little shocked.
It Turns Out 60-70% Constitutes a High Open Rate
She sat down with me and we pinned down the key things that were contributing to the success.
Four of these you can easily implement in the next hour, while the last one will take a little longer.
Whilst I wouldn’t recommend you use email open rate as your only key metric, it’s one of those things that as email marketers our eyes can’t help drifting towards.
Here’s how I maximize mine.
Find Your Perfect Time and Stick To It
Through testing I’ve found the perfect time to send out my emails. Now, I stick to it religiously.
To achieve the same result, try split testing your emails and seeing which one receives the highest engagement.
Once you’ve found the perfect time, deliver on it consistently. This way subscribers come to expect it. Most of my subscribers get to work, flip open their email and grab a cup of tea while they read my newsletter.
Use The Headline and First Sentence Effectively
We all know a well written headline will tempt someone to open an email. But did you know there’s a another key thing subscribers see when they are deciding whether to open your email or not?
It’s the first sentence inside the email. I’m often disappointed to see most email marketers are missing this opportunity to lure people into reading the email.
I typically receive emails where the first line inside the email reads: “Click here if you cannot see this email correctly”. Hardly attention grabbing!
The first item in my email newsletter is my logo. I’ve set the alternative text inside the logo to a secondary headline I use to lure people into the email.
The HTML You Need For This
My subscribers often receive content that is not available on the blog.
Whether that be an exclusive competition, a new article or something a little bit more personal about me or the site that I wouldn’t share on the blog. This gives subscribers an extra reason to be vigilant about opening my emails.
My open rates often skyrocket when there is content in the newsletter that cannot be found elsewhere.
Draw People Into the Next Email
Another method to make sure people are opening the emails you are sending out is to point out what is coming up next. If one of the topics in your next email strikes their interest then they’ll look out for it. I do this by simply having a “Next Week” section at the bottom of my e-mails.
The Big Secret
The above four techniques can be instantly applied to great effect. The final suggestion takes a little longer.
If you sat me down in a quiet cafe and pushed me further on the techniques that have worked I would lean back, scratch my head and tell you this:
Treat your email subscribers like you treat your best friends. Take an interest in them, learn what their needs and fears are and then create content and products that will suit them perfectly. Then they will always be eager for your next email.
Your Steps to Take for Higher Open Rates
- Create an email schedule. Deliver emails consistently and make sure readers know when to expect them
- Make sure the first sentence readers see isn’t “Click here if you cannot see this email correctly”
- In your next email think about what extra content you can give that hasn’t be seen before
- Hint towards what content is coming up to draw people into the next email
- Get to know your audience so you can cater your offers and content to them
Andreas Kambanis started London Cyclist when he saw the need for a place for casual cyclists to meet and exchange tips online. He uses email marketing to sell his own products such as the London Cycle Routes eBook and affiliate offers. You can check out his newsletter here.
Does it really matter if you schedule your emails for specific days and times?
Some marketers think so. Others don’t. You can certainly peruse your reports for days and times that draw good response in your own campaign. But what if you don’t find anything conclusive?
To help you figure out your scheduling strategy, we took a look at when some of the Big Guys send. Do any of their approaches work for you?
Newegg sends on weekdays, two or three times a week. With the exception of some (strategically planned?) Black Friday emails, they send between midnight and 8 every morning – perfect timing for pitching their electronics and digital products to the 9-5 techie crowd.
Weekday morning sends can also work for promoting office supplies and industry equipment or sharing job postings.
The Container Store, before mid-June, sent with haphazard timing. Since then, they’ve sent every Friday afternoon. Their emails arrive just as their readers’ focus is shifting from the work week to managing life at home – a good time to suggest containers that can help one do so.
Friday afternoons can be ideal for sending emails about local events, home remodeling tools, concerts, art shows – anything useful for planning weekend activities.
Several Times a Day
Such a high frequency can work for limited-time offers or for sending out updates during an event. But be careful with this frequency. You’ll need to provide a lot of value for subscribers to put up with two or more emails in a day.
(Almost) Every Day
Yoga Journal sends Tuesday through Sunday. On Mondays, people are busy digging out from work accumulated over the weekend. After they’ve caught up, YJ sends them a new idea to try in their spare time each day, whether it’s a backbend to battle fatigue or creating yogic space with natural materials.
Subscribers who are counting down to an event or working their way toward a goal may appreciate a daily (or almost-daily) nudge. Whether to skip a day of the week depends on your readers, so check your open rates to see if it makes sense for your campaign.
At Lunch Time
Other ideal lunchtime content might be lighthearted news reports, quick tips or advice, daily inspiration or hobby-related digests. Who doesn’t want something fun and uplifting to read while they chomp?
As News Breaks
Immediate emails could work well in fast-paced industry, with alerts for software releases, real estate listings and the like? The immediate timing assures readers that they’re the first to get the scoop.
To Schedule or Not to Schedule
While these brands send at specific times, other big names, like Bed Bath and Beyond and CVS, don’t. Their content may not be time-specific. Or maybe they trust their emails to bring in clicks morning, noon or night.
What about your own campaign? Do any of these strategies fit? Or would you send at an opposite time to stand out?
Also, consider your subscribers’ schedules. Do they work weekdays, 9-5? Are they freelancers? College students? Retired?
Do You Already Time Your Emails?
If you do, how did you decide when to send? We realize you might not want to give up all your secrets, but we (and your fellow marketers!) appreciate any details you’re willing to share below!