How To Double Your Email Open Rates

One of the most effective and inexpensive things you can do to grow your business is stay in touch with interested prospects and clients who have opted-in to your email list. Of course, sending an email is easy. Getting it recognized, opened and acted upon is the real challenge in today's over-communicated business environment.

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One of the most effective and inexpensive things you can do to grow your business is stay in touch with interested prospects and clients who have opted-in to your email list.

Of course, sending an email is easy. Getting it recognized, opened and acted upon is the real challenge in today's over-communicated business environment.

In this article I want to share three changes that you can make to your emails that have been proven to dramatically increase the number of people who open and read your messages by up to 1,300%.

The best part? They only involved small tweaks with the subject lines – not the email messages themselves. So you can see dramatic improvements in minutes – not days, weeks or months.

Why Subject Lines?

In print marketing the headline that you use does 80% of the work. It's what people use to determine if they should read the ad or not. The same thing goes for email. Your subject line is your headline. And your clients use it as a way to determine if they should use their precious time on your message.

Your job is to use a subject line that gets the person interested enough to open your email and start reading.

The following tips are based on my own experience as well as number from Aweber – one of the world’s largest email service providers.

(1) Use the Date 
Putting the date in the subject line increased open rates (how many readers 'opened' the email) to over 51%.  Compare this to a ‘normal’ open rate, which according to my experience is usually around 25%.   

Even more amazing is when you extrapolate the numbers.  If you send a message to 1,000 of your subscribers it's the difference between 500 opening it and 250.  Now, depending on what you have in the newsletter or message it's clear you can be much more effective by testing the date in the subject line.

(2) Use Your Clients First Name (but not their first and last)
Messages with the clients first name generated an open rate of just over 40%.  Messages that used the client’s full name or last name dropped open rates by 20%.

Per Aweber’s tests, messages sent without personalization get around a 28% open rate.  Unfortunately, 56% of Aweber users didn't personalize at all which cost them anywhere from 12% to 22% drop in open rates.

(3) Most Effective: Learn to Write Clear, Interesting Subject Lines
By far the most effective thing you can do to get more of your emails opened is start writing more interesting and intriguing subject lines. And, the quickest and most effective way to do that is to copy headlines that are already working.

Where can you do that? Where headlines are tested everyday - magazines and books. So, the next time you are at the bookstore, online or in the checkout line at the grocery store pay attention to the headlines that catch your attention and try to repurpose them as subject lines.

I’ve personally seen small subject line changes increase open rates by over 1,300%. That seems crazy but I can assure you it’s not at all uncommon. It’s actually easy to double open rates with just one word changes.

Also, try to avoid ‘creative’ headlines and opt more for direct and clear subject lines.

For example, Aweber tested creative versus direct email subject lines for its own email list and the differences in open rates averaged five times higher for the direct and clear subject lines versus creative.

Here’s a quick example:

Clear: Grow Your Email List 99% Faster: How One Site Did It

Vs.

Creative: Customer Spotlight – SEER Interactive

The clear subject line outperformed the creative subject line by 541%.

Little Hinges Swing Big Doors

Subject lines are a small thing, but they can have a profound impact on the overall effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. Which is why they are one of my favorite things to test. So the next time you send an email message to your list try some of these quick changes on half the recipients and compare the effects versus the other half getting the ‘old’ subject line.

About the author: Curtis M. Alexander is an Online Marketing Strategist who helps industrial companies increase revenues and lower marketing costs online. To learn more ways to grow your company online request your free copy of "7 Online Marketing Mistakes Industrial Companies Make" at www.curtismalexander.com

Cover photo courtesy of RambergMediaImages.

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