If your email newsletter has open rates that trail behind or if you want to become one of the email "all stars, here are 3 simple tricks to increase email open rates.
As far as subject lines go, there are three big no-nos that have consistently been proven to tank your open rates. The top three subject line faux-pas: "Help", "Reminder", and exclamation points.
Help means "ignore me".
Reminder means "duplicate content".
Exclamation points look "spammy".
Sometimes boring emails get the highest open rates. People like to know from the subject line exactly what they'll be reading when they open your email. You'll want to see a recent Mailchimp email survey for a great side-by-side comparison of the best and worst email subject lines. The "best" column emails look downright boring while the "worst" column looks like advertising copy. Check it out at: http://mailchimp.com/resources/research/email-marketing-subject-line-comparison/
2. < 50 Character Subject Lines & Titles
The first two words are the most important in an email subject line. Most email clients will not display more than 50 characters in a viewing pane. Email marketing best practices dictate a subject line limit of less than 75 characters – about ½ of a tweet – for the highest open rate. Subject lines should be short, urgent, and ultra-specific highlighting top content to incentivize opening the message. The same goes for headlines and article titles.
Put your most important information at the top of the email (deadlines & calls to action). Many of your members may be viewing your email communications in a preview pane. After seeing what is visible in that screen people decide whether or not they want to open your email, ignore it, or delete it. The preview pane will only show the top left portion of the email you're sending. Make sure to keep your more important information in the top 1/3 of your email. This includes deadlines, registration information, and your call to action.
4. Table of Contents
Links toward the bottom of an email get less traffic. By adding an “Inside this issue” directly beneath the header, users get an instant snapshot of the entire message. A table of contents facilitates easier jumps to important/relevant content interesting to each individual user. This is something I implemented in the most recent iterations of the Knowledge Community newsletters.
5. Include graphic elements
Include graphic elements, like images and designed buttons, to make your communications more visually appealing. Graphics can help improve your open rates and clickthroughs. A common mistake is to use images ONLY. Be mindful of those receiving text-only emails and people who have HTML disabled. While it is important to use a recognizable header graphic, it's best to stay away from *giant* images in the top portion because they may not be displayed. All emails sent by me for the Knowledge Communities will have ALT text that meets web accessibility standards. If a recipient is using a mobile device or has disabled images in emails, ALT text makes sure they can read what others are visually seeing.
For more information on that, check back to my previous post on email open rates where I explain how text-only and HTML-disabled clients can interfere with the accuracy of email statistics.
Related Post: Understand your email open rates
Questions? Contact me, Ann Harris, at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message through AIA KnowledgeNet.
Article originally appeared as Increase Email Open Rates on the Southern Social blog.
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