Anyone who is doing any email marketing through Aweber or any other service should be looking at ways to increase their email open rates. Because I personally used to open almost every email I received I had originally thought that this wouldn’t be a problem, but after doing email marketing for a while I’ve learned that anything over 30% for an open rate is good.
First for newbies – What is Email Open Rate?
Email open rate is the % of the people on your list that simply open your email. If you send out 100 emails with a broadcast and 25 people open the email your email open rate will be 25%. Aweber and the other services have some tracking device that can track when someone opens the email.
Why Do Such a Low % of People Open Emails?
Like mentioned earlier if you can get 30% of the people to open up your emails you are doing something right. Most people, including myself, probably thought that a good open rate would be maybe 85% or higher, so why do so many people not open emails? The first problem is spam filters. With all of the email spam going around these days the email services work hard on creating spam filters that may sort your emails into the spam box. People may also not recognize your name in the “from” field and simply won’t open it assuming it is spam. Another reason may be your email subject line looking too much like spam, or it may be something they are just not interested in. People are busy and a lot of people are getting hundreds of emails per day from different retail companies, friends, facebook notifications, etc, and simply don’t have the time to open every email.
How Can I Increase Email Open Rates?
Avoid Spam Fliters: Spam filters will be triggered by certain things that are in a lot of scam or spam emails. This includes words like “free”, but also things like too many CAPS, lots of !!!!, colored fonts, talk about $$, etc. I’m not really an expert at what spam filters see as spam, so I try to just make my emails seem like a normal email without being too salesy.
Be Recognized: I run a bunch of websites with opt-in videos where I introduce myself as “Kevin” so when I email out I have the “from” name as Kevin. If no one knew my name was Kevin it wouldn’t make much sense for me to use that in the “from” field because people wouldn’t recognize who I was. For example, If I didn’t use my name in any videos or anywhere at my main site, The Sports Geek, I would maybe instead go with something like “Kevin – TheSportsGeek.com” or “The Sports Geek”. Now with that said I’m not really a fan of that, because I think using your first name looks more personal. I suggest always trying to use a name with your websites so that when you send out emails people will recognize it’s your email and open it up right away.
Subject Line: I usually have two different ways to do this. With my sports handicapping sites I send out picks each and every day. To make things simple and to make sure everyone can spot my emails I keep them the exact same every day. For my MLB picks site the subject line would be “MLB Predictions – June 15th”. People have gotten that from Day 1 and are accustomed to it, and that way they are on the look out for it or at least when it comes they know exactly what it is.
The next way to do increase your open rates with subject lines is to create curiosity. I like to do so with interesting subject lines and also I often finish the line with “…”. That kind of leads the reader hanging and they are interested in seeing what’s inside. For example I will often use “Can you do me a favor…” or “You need to see this…”. Other random ideas that would make people curious include “Did they really do this?”, “Is this for real?”, “Can you imagine this happened to you…”. Of course you’d have to test your list but I think those subject lines would do much better than something that gave away whats inside (unless its something they are looking for).
And my last tip is you can try and stand out. Sometimes I do this by putting something in brackets, or ending with a period, or using no caps. Here are some examples: “New betting system [Must See]” or “Best betting system ever.” or “must see betting system”. All three of those will probably stand out if someone is looking through their different email subject lines.
Time Your Emails: I think I’ve read somewhere that emails on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon get the highest open rates, but don’t quote me on that. Either way you should always test your own list as every list responds differently. You might find that your list opens up emails more often when they are sent before 8:00 am (maybe they wake up around 8:00 am and check their emails), or you might find that emails sent around 5:00 pm work best (maybe people get home from work and haven’t had access to their emails until 5:00 pm). You might find that neither of those produce good open rates, and you will have to try another time. The key thing here is to test. Aweber allows you to split test broadcasts, and also look back at your old broadcasts and it will show the time sent and the open rate. Take advantage of that.
Also be sure to test out certain days of the week. For sales type emails you might find that your list is in the buying mode in the middle of the week (bored?) and they don’t respond well on weekends (too busy with other things?).
Don’t Be Annoying: You will have to get a feel for what your list likes and how often they don’t mind being sent emails. With a few of my lists for sports betting picks the subscribers love getting their picks daily. They look forward to my daily emails, and they’ve even said in a survey that they don’t mind if I send out 2 emails per day when I add another pick. With another list of mine I get the feeling that I need to keep the salesy emails to a minimum and overall just send them maybe one email per week. If you have awesome content that your visitors love to see they won’t mind a lot of emails, but if you aren’t sending out a ton of really solid, helpful content try to keep it to a minimum. If you try to sell too much you may get people ignoring your emails.
Be Likeable: This ties into the last point a little bit, but you need to be “likeable”. If people like you in general they will probably enjoy hearing from you. I like to be myself in my emails, and make it like a 1-on-1 email to a friend. If you have a small list you can communicate with your subscribers by asking them questions and emailing back and forth, etc. I don’t have time for that anymore but I used to that a bit and probably have some loyal customers now due to that friendly, personal connection.
I hope those points give you some ideas on how you can personally increase your email open rates. Let me know in the comments below if I’ve missed anything.