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3 ways to Increase your email open rate

GoCardless
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Last editedAug 20222 min read

Social media may be popular but email marketing is still one of the most effective tools available today. The only downside is this: are your emails actually opened? Fortunately, this can be overcome with an effective strategy. Here are three tips to help increase the open rate of your email marketing campaigns.

Keep your email list clean and organised

This is easy to overlook. Keeping your email list clean means limiting your email-address collection to customers who actually want your emails. Never try to coerce customers into entering their email address (e.g. to get a special offer): this is unethical and may do more harm than good.

Check for and delete email addresses that have been mistyped, which does happen occasionally. Similarly, purge any email addresses where your emails are routinely unopened. Reach out to the recipients before you do so, which may reactivate them; if not, purge them.

Finally, segment your email list as much as is practical. This ensures that your recipients get the minimum number of emails with the highest level of relevance. Demonstrating relevance is the key to email campaign open rates, and all tips to improve it stem from this basic fact.  

As a bonus, sending fewer emails at a time reduces the risk of them being misflagged as spam. It’s even better if recipients add you to their safe-senders list, so prompt them to do this when they sign up. Guide them to the instructions for the most popular email hosts, but remember that you can’t rely on them doing so.

Learn how to write effective subject lines

Write your subject line as though you were writing a tweet (without hashtags or emojis). Put the most relevant information first. Limit it to 80 characters, so it displays properly even on a small mobile phone. Put extra information at the end, but be aware that it may not be seen.

Personalise the subject line with the recipient’s name. This not only gets their attention, but it shows that you are a legitimate sender, not a spammer. Steer clear of words that might trigger spam filters; these tend to change over time so periodically check the internet for an up-to-date list.

Format your emails with mobile in mind

Just clicking on an email is not actually enough to count as having been opened. The email service provider has to detect that images were loaded or a link was clicked; this makes sense because a recipient may click on an email by accident and then delete it. If they allow images to load or they click on a link, they are showing interest.

Properly formatting your emails maximises your chances of engaging a customer’s attention.  These days, it’s very likely that your email is opened on a mobile device. So it’s vital every email you send looks good on a small screen. What’s more, to encourage recipients to keep opening your emails, the content has to work well on a small screen.

The prevalence of mobile devices is one of the main reasons why marketers are increasingly turning to images, and, in particular, video, instead of text. This can be a good strategy but remember that images should be optimised for mobile. Similarly, videos should be in portrait (vertical) format and be as short as possible. Where text is used, keep it in short paragraphs.

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