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Posted on 10.10.2013

Tips to Increase Open Rates in Email Campaigns

Email campaigns are widely used for numerous reasons to communicate a message to a specific audience. They can be used to distribute newsletters to clients, target consumers in a certain geographic area, engage potential new clients, and more. The million dollar question in all of these campaigns is, "How do you increase open rates?"

According to Emma, a popular email marketing provider, the average open rate for the entire Emma community is 20 percent. Open rates actually vary by industry, with education having the highest rates (26.2 percent) and computer hardware, telecom and electronics having the lowest (13.4 percent), according to the 2013 Silverpop email marketing metrics benchmark study.

After a bit of online research, I have compiled some of the best tips for increasing your open rates:

  • Use only clean, "opt-in" lists.
  • Send email early in the week - Tuesday through Thursday morning is ideal.
  • Segment your audience and send relevant information to the right people - i.e., CEOs get one email while Directors get another with targeted messaging appropriate to their respective positions.
  • Keep the subject line short and make one point.
  • Test different subject lines, messages and "from" addresses to see what performs better in different campaigns.
  • Build a sense of urgency with your subject line and ensure there is an incentive for the recipient to open the email. (For example, offer a free service or analysis.)
  • Include your company name in the subject line.
  • Personalize the introduction line of your email.
  • Use images to reinforce the message.
  • Find the right frequency of communications. Separate recipients into groups that might warrant emails at varying frequencies. And keep track of the results so you can uncover patterns and refine your methods over time.
  • Add social sharing buttons. Emails that have social sharing buttons have a 115 percent higher click-through rate than those that do not.
  • Wait a few days, and then tweak the subject line and send your email again to those who didn't open it the first time.
  • Link your logo to your website.

To determine the best possible combination of these tactics to maximize your open rates, it is important to track your results and note what you do differently in each campaign. Every distribution is important in helping tailor your messages and distribution strategies for future campaigns.

What are some other tips for increasing open rates that have worked for you?


Katelyn Fish is an Account Executive at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Katelyn’s blogs here. Connect with Katelyn at Katelyn@lovell.com, or @katelynfish.

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