5 Ways to Improve Your Email Open Rates by 300%

June 12, 2015 Priyanka Tuteja

The biggest challenge that most marketers face these days, when it comes to email marketing, is how to get your users to open your email when there are hundred others already sitting in their mailbox.
No matter how great your email content is or how targeted your emails are, if you don’t spin magic in your subject line in less than 50 characters, the whole exercise goes down the drain. Everything in digital marketing and the digital space revolves around users and their behavior. So it is imperative to understand who they are and what makes them tick (and click).
At Niswey, we are in the quest of data-driven marketing, so all our marketing strategies and activities are data-driven. In a sense, it means we never stop testing, analyzing, learning and implementing. And in the process, we move one step closer to understanding our users better. As a result of this agile approach, we’ve improved our email open rates by 300%.
Earlier this year, we analyzed the subject lines of over a 100 email campaigns we had done in 2014 for an organically built community of tech and business professionals. We consistently ran A/B tests so that there was enough data to validate what REALLY works for our community and what doesn’t. We then implemented these learnings in the next set of campaigns, to find a whopping 300% increase in the open rates.
Understand what makes your users tick (and click)
Here are our top five learnings from the subject-line analysis:
1. Subject lines with a value-add focus outperform all others: Telling the user what she would learn or gain by opening your email in simple terms makes them act quickly. But remember to stay true to the content of that email while you try to come up with catchy subject lines, as misleading lines may end up getting you more unsubscriptions than opens.
Examples:

  • Learn Tricks to Create Interactive Videos Using HTML5
  • How to Make Everyone in Your Team Think UX

As opposed to:

  • Use HTML5 to Create Interactive Videos
  • UX Training to Make Everyone in Your Team Think UX

2. Avoid subject lines that create a sense of urgency: Phrases like last chance, limited availability, final opportunity and so on, don’t really work for users anymore. Mostly because they understand that these lines create a false sense of urgency with no real need to act. So a smart user can identify these mails and may choose to avoid them altogether. What you really want is to connect with your users, and not force them into action.
Examples:

  • Last Chance to Sign up for Our Power Yoga Workshop
  • Final Opportunity to Get 80% Discount in Our Bumper Sale!

3. Personalizing the subject lines really pushes the open rates: Addressing your users in subjects and personalizing the content really works like magic. So instead of saying ‘How to Sell to the Millennials’, use ‘Adam, Here’s How You Can Sell to Millennials’.
4. Open-ended questions are usually more engaging than the usual lines: Mostly because they make a simple thing sound more personal.
Examples:

  • Adam, Are You Finding It Difficult to Sell to the Millennials?
  • Susan, Have You Signed up for Our Innovation Thinking Workshop Yet?

5. Use simple yet relatable keywords in your subject: To build an instant connect with your target audience, pick out a few keywords from the email content. Now try to spin them into a catchy subject line that resonates with your audience.
Examples:

  • How to Acquire 8 Million Users with ZERO Marketing Budget
  • Business, Luck and Success – Are They Correlated? Join This Webinar to Find Out!

Since there’s never one hat that fits all, keep testing to figure out what works best for your audience. We are still learning from the data we have captured from our campaigns. Are there any other learnings or things that worked for your audience? Do share them in comments below.

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