Improve Your E-Mail Open Rate

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The success of any e-mail marketing campaign depends on the open rate, the quality of your e-mail and, of course, how enticing your offer is and whether it is well targeted. However good your product, the first hurdle is to get your prospects to open your e-mail, and this is tough these days when most of us are bombarded with e-mails constantly and it is so easy to click ‘delete’ instead of ‘open’.

Readers will see your subject line first and there is a lot you can do to ensure your e-mail is opened. Once again, we come back to targeting your market because if someone is not interested in the subject, they are not going to spend their time opening your e-mail. Even when your readers are interested in what you have to say it's pretty hard to get them to open an e-mail. If you don't compel them to open it there and then, you have probably lost them because your e-mail will get pushed further and further down the list and end up out of view and forgotten.

So what can you do to compel people to open your e-mail?

Be unique

You need to get creative and think of something a bit different. It can be hard coming up with unique ideas but try to brainstorm hundreds of subject lines, write them down and put them away for at least a few days before coming back to them with a fresh eye. Highlight any that really grab your attention and try to look at your list casually in the same way that you would look at your own e-mail account in the morning -- if your subject line doesn't excite you, then it certainly won't inspire your readers.

Get personal

Your subject line should also be personal, as if you are writing to a friend. Make it warm and inviting as if you have something special just for them. Also, make it personal from the point of view that you are a real person communicating with them. If they do open your e-mails, at the very least sign off with a signature and a name and let them know who you are -- better still include a photograph of yourself, so they can connect with a real person. This is much better than an impersonal, all-purpose message.

Be motivating

You have to motivate your reader and inspire them to want to know more if you want them to open your e-mail. Make your subject line stand out and be persuasive, perhaps with a hint that your information or your offer is limited in some way, either by time or availability. You have to create a certain amount of urgency, or your readers are likely to put your e-mail on the backburner and it will end up forgotten and unread.

Be intriguing

You have to create a little bit of mystery and intrigue to carry on that motivation and get them into the body of your e-mail. Don't give the game away so that your reader already knows what you're about to say, but leave enough intrigue that they have to know more. A good way to do this is to leave a sentence half-finished and complete it within the body of your e-mail -- for instance, ask a question to which the answer is revealed in the e-mail. You can even make this part of your branding and always have a similar format to your subject line for your e-mails…

Don't pitch

We all get fed up with constant requests to ‘buy something now’ and people get irritated when all you ever do is to pitch your next product without giving anything of value. Try to make a habit of sending little tips or some interesting information on a regular basis without pitching for a sale -- this will make your subscribers feel that you actually care about them rather than pushing your offers every time you communicate with them. It's all about building a relationship with your subscribers and is well worth the effort.

Be anticipated

When your subscribers see your e-mails on a regular basis, they will come to anticipate them, perhaps at certain times or on certain days. However, you can further increase this anticipation and get your readers to look out your e-mails by warning them of some special offer or a great new piece of information that is on the way in your next e-mail.

Not too often

We all get exasperated by e-mails that are too frequent and most of them will be left unread or deleted on the spot. If you do nothing else, you should pay attention to the frequency of your communication -- daily is too much, unless your subscribers have signed up for a daily bulletin -- weekly is probably about right, or even monthly seems frequent enough so that your readers don't forget you. If you send e-mails too frequently, you risk your readers unsubscribing even though they might be interested in what you have to say and could buy something at some point had you kept them onside.

Pick your customers

We all know you should only send e-mails to people who have opted in for your products or services, or your newsletter, or whatever. However there are different ways of getting an opt-in list and sometimes people get onto a list by default because they have forgotten to uncheck a box -- it doesn't necessarily mean they are anxious to hear from you. Ideally you should build a list where people have actively opted-in and are anticipating your e-mails and communications as they are the ones who will open your e-mail.
Then, all you have to do is make sure you keep them interested with lots of great content and the occasional irresistible offer