Ever send someone a present, like a pair of chocolate mice with satin tails, just for the heck of it or maybe as a thank you for a referral? Maybe you prefer a book or gift card with a note. Regardless, you don’t expect anything in return, right?
How about acknowledgement of receipt? I know times have changed, but at the least, I still like to hear that the gift made it to the recipient. Tracking allows us to find out when we shop through a company that offers it. Not all do.
So, when we hear nothing, we wonder and worry it might have gotten lost or delivered to the wrong person. We might think of calling or emailing to see if it arrived but that smacks of looking for the thanks it would be nice, but not necessary, to have.
Email marketing can be like those (maybe) lost mice with the satin tails.
Not that we expect to hear something from everyone, (Is there anybody out there?) on our list when we send out an article with a call to action (click) or an offer, but when we mail and get crickets, it can be demoralizing.
We want clicks, shares, and sales from our emails, amiright?
None of those can happen if they aren’t getting opened. And the first hurdle to getting them opened is to get them to the intended recipient.
In this round-up, I’ll cover why your email might be being ignored — or seem like they are — and what to do to boost that number.
It’s the number of opens after you figure the number of emails sent less bounces. If you send 100 emails and 20 bounce, you are starting with 80 emails. If 40 people open your open rate is 50%. (And I want your secret!)
If only the word “open”, in this situation, actually meant what we think of — to click on and consume the contents. In fact, “The email open rate is tracked with the help of a transparent 1×1 pixel hidden in every email”, I learned over at the Sendpulse.com. glossary.
Here’s how this affects your open rate: If someone receives text-only email — no images — then that email won’t be tracked. Some subscribers have images turned off so won’t be counted unless they click through to read the email out of their inbox. If your potential reader has a preview function, they may be able to read your email without triggering the tracking pixel.
What’s a “good” open rate, you ask? That depends on the following:
- What industry are you in?
- Is your list segmented?
- How are you at writing headlines that create interest?
- Do you regularly engage your subscribers?
MailChimp.com has compiled a list of email marketing benchmarks so you can check your industry or segment of an industry and see how you compare.
Bottom line, open rate matters — but it’s not the only metric that does.
Click-through rates are also something you want to measure.
What’s to click on, you might ask? Emails without calls to action are not as engaging as those that give your reader something more than they can get in the email. Your content leads them to the next step you want them to take.
- Link to content, video, or audio that complements but expands what’s in the email
- Offer a coupon, discount code, or free shipping
- Want to know more about your reader? Offer a short survey with some kind of reward for participating
- How about a complimentary call to review some aspect of the reader’s business, or laser coaching session on a specific topic.
These two metrics will give you a more complete picture of how your email marketing is working for you.
Let’ talk deliverability. There are many reasons email never gets where it’s intended to go. Hubspot has a comprehensive post on this problem titled, 29 Email Deliverability Tips You Must Know in 2020. It’s long people, but super-helpful. (Head over to the article the find out the “why” behind each of the dos and don’ts.)
Here are the 5 tips I think matter most for small business:
- Clean up your list. Repeatedly mailing to addresses that bounce hurts
- Don’t write your headline in all caps or use exclamation points!
- Don’t use spam trigger words.com, a high-end copywriting firm, has the most comprehensive list of spam trigger words, 924 of them to be exact. That might seem like a ridiculous number of words to wade through, but they are sorted into helpful categories like sales, marketing, calls to action, etc. Seeming normal words like
- Don’t buy lists, and definitely don’t mail to anyone who did not opt-in at least once, (double opt-in is safer.)
How about 5 things to do:
- Allow people to view your email in a web browser.
- Offer both text-only and HTML versions of the email
- Be sure you have a visible unsubscribe link
- Ask subscribers to add you to their address book in your welcome email
- Test your emails if you aren’t sure. Here’s where we get to have some fun. The following 3 nifty apps will tell you how spammy or safe your email copy is…
Mail-Tester.com has a simple home page where you will be given a random email address—it’s different every time someone goes to the page—where you’ll send your email as if to a subscriber. According to Hubspot, “The software will analyze the text in the message,your mail server, and IP to determine if there are any deliverability issues.”
SpamCheck.com allows you to paste in plain text body copy and get back a score from 1 – 10 on language that might trigger a spam filter.
MyToolBox.com has an email address that you will send your email to. It will analyze it and send you an email with a link to “View your full deliverability report.”
SendGrid.com, an email service provider has data showing that as of late 2019, 55.6% of all emails are opened and read on mobile devices. If your email is not optimized , 80% will immediately delete it. Ouch.
The best way to ensure your emails are mobile friendly on any mail client is to use a responsive email template. Most email service providers have them. Your email will show up right on any phone or tablet, in any ESP. That said, test it on your phone or tablet and ask a friend with a different reader to test it on theirs.
Once the mail you worked so hard to put together is snuggled in their inbox, crowded by the hundreds of other pieces of digital mail others have worked hard on, why would they read yours? Your subject line creates more interest. Or it simply describes what the reader is looking for. Maybe it’s an offer with a deadline to purchase. (Watch those spam trigger words here.)
You’re not alone in the quest to make your email the one they open. Subject line analyzers to the rescue. Be prepared to get lost playing with InfluenceMarkeingHub.com’s analyzer. Theirs is the first one you’ll come across in 11 Subject Line Tester Tools to Increase Your Email Open Rates. I’ve tried a few and this one is the most helpful, specific, and doesn’t generate horrible bro-marketing type alternatives. My original headline was “How to get them to open your emails.”
Spam alert; “get them to open”. I tried 5 variations before I got a score of 100. I would have been happy with less. My goal was to not trigger the spam police.
In the year of the pause that is 2020, IMs, chat, and social networking seem to have taken over how we learn about companies, engage with them, and even buy their products. Is email on the way out?
In a big way, no way.
According to the Radicati Group, a tech market research firm in California,
- the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day will reach 319.6 billion by the end of 2021.
- By the end of 2021, the number of worldwide email users will be over 4.1 billion.
And, they make a good point, “All forms of online communication require users to have an email address to access their services. In addition, all e-Commerce transactions (i.e. shopping, banking, etc.) require a valid email address.”
Email is not going away and it makes sense to master the art and science of this lifeline to our customers and clients. Remember — social is great, but you don’t own your followers, can’t guarantee the platform will stick around, or that algorithms won’t make it harder to engage with your people.
You can learn more on email marketing best practices here in article earlier from earlier in the year. “Email Marketing, what works — the 2020 edition”