Nov 17, 2007

The Best Way To Increase Email Open Rates

The Top Way To Boost Your Email Marketing Is To Increase Your Email Open Rates.

Seems easy enough, right? Well, not really. Most people don't realize the #1 way to increase email open rates all keys on one concept:

Write Better Subject Lines.

STRONG SUBJECT LINES are the single most important way to increase your email open rate on emails sent out to a list, database, or newsletter.

That's right. You often end how you begin. Begin with a poor subject line, and people opt-out or fail to open your email (or e-mail). So, be smarter than that, and write catchy headlines that increase traffic and increase website traffic.

Ways to increase your email open rates:

1. Write from the reader or prospect's perspective (instead of the marketing perspective). This is the #1 problem with most email subject lines. Their perspective is backwards. Just as with selling, when the salesperson is obsessed with telling you all about their product, if they don't know what YOU NEED or build a RELATIONSHIP PRIOR to trying to sell something to you (or just allowing you to buy) they'll fail, it is the same with Email Marketing. First, build a relationship. Second, understand the buyer's needs. Third, understand their emotional reasons and logical reasons why they might need your product. Fourth, position your product to address those reasons. Fifth, make it easy to buy. Okay, I digress.

A better way to increase your open rate:

Write to what your customer or prospect cares about instead of writing what you want to sell. We need help with things like (a) more traffic, (b) more customers, (c) more sales, (d) losing weight, (e) staying young, (f) quitting smoking, (g) dress to impress, (h) how to get more love, (i) better meals, (j) more restful sleep... and so on. So, take smoking, for example. You wouldn't say "Five patches to help you with smoking." It would be better to write "Having problems quitting smoking?" Now you're writing about the problem, not your solution. (The solution will come inside the email, not in the subject line.) You will increase your open rate if you think about what the reader needs to see rather than what you want them to see.

2. My most powerful method to increase e-mail opens is to ASK A QUESTION. Using a question is the single best way to increase an email open, because what must we do with a question?

Right. ANSWER IT. So, try rewriting your subject line from a statement to a question. Instead of "We found a way to quit smoking," Better would be "Want a new method to quit smoking?" Fortunately, I have seen very little SPAM with a question mark, so your email is not likely to get flagged for SPAM violations.

3. Find a problem. Increase opens because they will care more. The first thing customers care about is their problem. Write about it. Just as with good headlines in PR, it's the same with Email Marketing in trying to increase your email opens. Find a problem that your article, product, or service solves. Then look at the email from the perspective of the PROBLEM, not the solution.

Say, for example, that you're selling highly professional website design. Your headline might be: "Warning: Is Your Website Ruining Your Professional Image?"

4. An email gets opened when it offers something new, better, or secret. So, offer a secret to get your email opened. Or, offer something new and improved. These words have been staples in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry for so long for a good reason: because they work! "New and Improved! Want new secrets to Vista?" Might be a developer's handbook subject line for secrets to using Vista. Or, "Secrets From A Guru Revealed: How To Build Your List Faster With Less Effort" might be a way to sell an email list marketing solution.

5. Using names to improve your email open rates. First Name/Last Name? People think if you use my name, I'll open it. Perhaps, but what if you used the WRONG name. That's a surefire way to make sure I'll delete it. Or, if the end-user goes by Mike, but his website name is Michael, he can screen you because you'll say "Hey Michael..." See what I mean? As an email recipient, I'd rather you tell me YOUR name. If I like it, I might open it.

For example, "ARRiiVE Discovered The Top Problem With Email Opens" might get read more than "Michael, buy this powerful email marketing tips e-book." Even better: "Want to discover ARRiiVE's secrets to increase your email open rate?"

6. Poor word choice limits email opens. Good word choice will increase your open rate. Words like Welcome... Free.... Win... might either turn off your prospect, or worse, get caught in a SPAM filter, so your prospect never sees the message at all. Exclamation points are over-excited. Avoid those. Even F-R-E-E could get you blocked. Hey, Hi... What's up? Are all getting blocked by some people. No subject line at all is definitely a no-no.

Better word choices: Secret... Top 5 Ways... Challenges facing...

7. Make a joke. Depending upon your industry, saying something funny might increase your open. Or, if it is a holiday, you might say, "A Funny Message for Thanksgiving" as people like funny emails. You can also get clever. Words with the "K" sound make people laugh. If you want people to think your email is funny, you could say, "Want To Touch Something Squishy?" That sounds funny, silly, and inviting. I'd expect a goofy email to follow.

8. Offer a Statistic to increase open rates. Even better yet, a statistic is more powerful if the statistic is something shocking. For example, a company who helps you quit smoking might say: "15 Million People died of lung cancer this year. Are you next?" They're hitting the problem square in the nose: it isn't smoking, it's HEALTH! Identifying the right problem, then giving a statistic for that, especially a shocking one - people's health, baby health, loss of something, or so forth, can be shocking. Like "100 Billion In Toxic Waste. What About Your Baby's Diapers?" might be a way to sell "green" diapers, for example.

One funny email I'm thinking about trying is this: "Only 3% of people will open this email." Just to see what percentage opens it.

9. Keep Is Succinct. The only thing I don't like about the last example I gave is the LENGTH. Sometimes, length matters. As in, brevity. And, the more powerful way to say it is with the right words, in as few words, as possible. In my tests to write this blog posts, I found that subject lines with 49 or fewer characters had click-through rates 75 percent higher than for those with 50 or more characters.

Try these tips to increase email open rates and see if you don't increase your email opens in your email campaigns.

If you're seeking more of this type of information, I'm publishing a new e-book on email marketing, which will be coming out in about a month. Add our feed and you can keep track of the product announcement.

Remember, with your subject line, you've got about 3 seconds to impress someone, if that. So, it has to be powerful, concise, intriguing, funny, shocking, or at least intriguing enough to get an open.

I'm actually thinking I need to update how I do my newsletter, to address these, rather than say "AspireNow's Monthly Newsletter" as that does not follow the guidelines of my subject lines. So, see, sometimes in writing advice, we improve our own material. If you subscribe to AspireNow's Newsletter, you'll see how I do at following my own advice!


Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales and marketing, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

More joy than jellybellies: SUBSCRIBE to our feed to stay "in the know" with articles like this.

No comments:

Post a Comment