Think about the reasons why you open email messages. Is it because of who it’s from? Maybe the subject line is enticing? Did you read the opening of the email in preview and it further piqued your curiosity? All of these points increase the likelihood that the person receiving the email message will not only open, but will also read the email you send. And all of these reasons, and more, should be considered when small to midsize businesses (SMBs) send out email to customers.
According to a recent post on hyperlocal website Streetfight, the perceived success of an email campaign is often judged by the SMB based on its open rates, or the number of consumers who actually opened the sent email. Typically, email open rates are between 13 and 30 percent. The key to increased ROI on an email campaign is to raise the percentage of consumers who open the emails.
Benchmark Email, provider of email marketing tools, says it’s not always about selling. They provide the following tips as a good starting point:
- Make your email campaigns relevant. Pay attention to the types of links your subscribers click, the products they purchase and more. You can segment your email lists based on that data. This ensures you deliver the most relevant email campaigns possible to them. For example, if you’re a clothing store you may have a men’s and women’s list. The men on your email list probably don’t care about your sale on dresses.
- Stop selling! If all you’re doing in your email campaigns is trying to make your subscribers purchase your products or services, they’re going to tune you out, or worse yet, unsubscribe. Instead, try to provide value to your subscribers. You can do that by being informative and educational. Teach them about your industry and build trust. Then, when they’re ready to purchase the type of products or services that you offer, they’ll think of you first.
- Give your email campaigns a voice. Bring some personality into your email campaigns. Make your subscribers feel like there’s a person behind the email you’re sending them.
- Make sure the reports mean something to you. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Know what the purpose is of each email campaign you send. No more hitting send and crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. Know, if it’s an email aimed to build branding, that open rates are your focus. If it’s more to promote a specific product, then clicks to your website are what you need. That way, there’s always a reason for each piece of content hitting your subscriber’s inbox.
Streetfight offers further strategies for getting recipients to regularly open your emails. Among the top points is ensuring the subject line is indicative of the contents, but not dull nor too lengthy. Ron Cates of Constant Contact says:
“Your subject line is key to getting people to open your email. The subject lines that get opened the most are the ones that tell exactly what’s in the email. It’s that simple. With your subject line, tell me the when and what — ’40% Off Clearance Items this Saturday — and I’ll open your email to learn more about the where, why and how.”
Mirielle Tessier of CakeMail adds that the length of the subject line is equally as important as what it says:
“Subjects should be clear and concise — think 25 characters or less. Some email clients, especially mobile, simply don’t have that much space, so smaller, all-inclusive subjects do better than vague, abstract, ‘This person lost 500 lbs. with this one weird trick’-type subject lines.”
In this increasingly digital world, perhaps the best and most important tip for SMBs, though, is to first consider your domain name. Free email services like Gmail and Yahoo may increase the likelihood that your email could end up in a spam folder. If your email address contains your company’s domain name, readers are more likely to receive your email and trust its contents as being informative and professional.