One of the biggest problems faced by marketers when attempting to promote products or even where we want subscribers to read an email that we believe will be of interest to them, involves getting them to open this message.
If you do things well and capture leads via a contact form (that is, they voluntarily subscribe and you do not employ lists provided by or purchased from anywhere else), the opening of an email is dependent upon a number of factors, all of which, to a greater or lesser extent, affect the likelihood that subscribers will open your emails more or less often.
Whilst the most obvious factor might be the subject of the message you are sending, what is truly important, although frequently ignored, is “the context”, that is, everything you do to make subscribers eagerly await opening you emails, even before they arrive.
In other words: the manner in which you foster loyalty amongst your subscribers and make them want to open your messages. Below, I offer 7 tips to help you increase your open rate, whilst outlining methods for avoiding a number of problems.
If you'd like to learn more on this topic, here's an article that lists 11 ways to increase your email open rates.
1. The time that transpires since someone subscribed
It is difficult to maintain the interest of all subscribers over a prolonged period of time. In general, those who recently subscribed to your blog are more likely to open your emails than those who have been following the blog for years.
Unless you are able to maintain constant interest amongst your subscribers, with techniques such as those outlined below, it is likely that other blogs, similar to yours, will arise, offering them the value that they originally found with you.
However, obviously the same process occurs with other blogs in relation to your own: you can represent a fresh option for many subscribers hailing from other blogs, and you must make the most of this initial appeal.
2. Employ a non-standard thank you page
The thank you page to which you redirect subscribers once they have filled in the contact form is of great importance, in order to give them precise instructions to consult your emails and thereby receive the material or information they were expecting.
Don't settle for the standard page offered by email marketing tools, create your own. You can display an additional message on this page, such as the following: “Check your spam folder if you don't receive the material in a few minutes”. This will encourage them to go to their inbox and search for your email when required.
3. Welcome new subscribers
Once they have found your email and have received what they were expecting, a good method of fostering loyalty amongst your blog subscribers is to welcome them, telling them a bit about yourself and what you do.
In this manner, even though they have subscribed to receive free material, they will understand that behind the product in question there is a brand with real people who can work closely with them when required.
4. Encourage them to classify your emails
The best method of ensuring that they are able to open all of your emails in the future is, firstly, to ensure that they receive them, bypassing any possible filters.
To prevent them from being sent to the spam folder, or the Promotions tab if they use Gmail, send them detailed instructions outlining how to prevent this with their email provider.
For example, in the case of Gmail, you can tell them to add your email address to their list of contacts by clicking on the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of your email, as outlined in the image below:
Another possibility is to ask them to add you to favourites within the configuration of the inbox, or that they create a folder (tag) to receive all of your emails. If you would like to know how to do this for more providers, here is a Comprehensive guide to ensuring that your users receive all of your emails (Editor's note: our guest blogger runs an awesome Spanish speaking blog, so link and examples will be in Spanish!)
5. Offer value in all of your communications
As stated above, context is essential to ensure that subscribers show an interest in what you are offering. If you only sell products or services and everything you publish relates to this, it will be difficult to ensure that they keep opening your emails (unless you are a sales company).
You must share content with value. And that isn't a trite remark. It does not mean that you refrain from sharing promotional material, but you must do so in such a manner that it is not the only thing you offer in each communication.
Put yourself in the place of the user: what do you do when a site to which you have subscribed bombards you with information that is of no interest to you? Well, there is your answer and the response you wish to avoid. 😉
For example, if you share what you have published on your blog in your newsletter on a weekly basis, a good method of encouraging users to open your emails and to refrain from going directly to your blog to read the information is to assure them that they will find something different in your email, content that has nothing to do with the post, but which also affords value.
We normally employ inspirational content that is not necessarily linked to the subject of the post, but which does have bearing on the niche in which we operate. For example:
[TRANSLATION OF THIS IMAGE]
Do you know what Design Thinking is? I have always believed that design should be interpreted in a broader sense.
Here is a presentation that might inspire you: The Role of Design Thinking. This doesn’t deal with designing, but rather, with moving from the perspective of making people want things to the perspective of making things that people want, that is, satisfying the needs of your users. In this regard, design can prove to be of great assistance. Have a look at it, because it is a great presentation.
6. Frequency of publication
Publishing on a frequent and constant basis goes a long way to ensuring that your subscribers are predisposed to receive your content.
Whilst it is not always possible to maintain uniform constancy for a number of reasons (particularly where your publications are drawn up or are dependent upon third parties), in an ideal world, it is best to assign one, two or three days for publication each week, or every two or three weeks. When is not important: what is important is that you maintain the frequency that you have led your subscribers to expect.
If you only publish from occasionally, it will be difficult to arouse expectation amongst your readers.
7. Periodically update your lists
Something that we do not normally consider, but which greatly assists obtaining a higher rate of opened emails is “keeping only those subscribers who open emails”.
It is clear that each subscriber is not going to open every email, but the smaller the list, the easier it is to achieve a higher open rate. Keep those who are interested in what you are offering, insofar as this proves possible.
You will have to decide when to cull your lists on the basis of the emails opened over the course of the last few months, but it is illogical to maintain subscribers who have had no interaction with you for an extended period of time.
You can engage in such culling in two manners:
- With a certain degree of abruptness. Only employ this method if you wish to grab the attention of subscribers who don't open your emails. Subjects such as “We are going to delete your subscription”, or similar messages, usually work well. In this case, you want the subscriber to see that there is no sense in maintaining a relationship where one of the parties shows no interest. Nevertheless, such “explosive” messages can generate a certain degree unease amongst subscribers.
- In a more subtle manner. This is probably the most intelligent method of grabbing the attention of subscribers who have failed to open your emails over an extended period of time. With subjects such as “Are you still interested in our publications…?” you open up the possibility of redirecting them towards a closer relationship.
In the main body of the message, you can question them to discover why they do not open your emails. This post provides you with a series of campaign ideas and examples that will help you to reactivate inactive subscribers.
Whilst we have discussed context, the first thing that you should bear in mind before embarking upon email marketing campaigns, another explanation as to why someone opens or refrains from opening an email entails the subject of the message itself.
There are techniques that can help you to create subjects that lead to a higher rate of opened emails, but we will address them in an upcoming post. 😉
Do you usually employ such techniques in your campaigns? Which works best for you? Let us know in the comments below!