business messaging blog
How to get better open and click-through rates for your email marketing campaign
Scott Navratil

The email marketing channel doesn’t enjoy the automatically high open rates that SMS does (more on that later). The average open rate for email is around 20% and the click-through rate is around 3%. The marketers who put the most thought into their email campaigns should easily be outperforming those averages, though and outperforming even by a percentage point or two can mean hundreds or even thousands of more customers reached depending on the size of your audience. The following tips can help you achieve better open and click-through rates with your email marketing campaign.

Perfect the subject line

Before you can even start to worry about your click-through rates, you have to think about open rates. After all, they can’t click on any embedded links if they don’t open the email in the first place. And if you’re going to think open open-rate, then you have to start with the subject line. Since nearly all recipients will at least glance at it before making a decision to delete or open. Your subject line should:

  • Be personal. One of the reasons so many emails are deleted unread is that they don’t speak directly to the recipient in the same way receiving a text message does. Something as simple as including the recipient’s first name in the subject line of an email can make it seem meant for him/her and more likely to be opened.
  • Be short. Longer subject lines are cut off so the full subject line isn’t even likely to be read. Your subject line doesn’t have to include all the main points from the email’s body, it can just mention the top one or two things you want to get across to the audience.
  • Be free of words that trigger spam filters. Avoid spammy sounding words and phrases in your subject line like “free money,” “no credit check,” or “winning.” Even if they make it past the spam filters, recipients are more likely to roll their eyes and delete than open it.
  • Use trending keywords. Borrow from your SEO efforts some trending keywords relating to your industry and include them in the subject line of your emails.

Segment your audience

Unless your ideal customer already fits a very specific demographic, consider further segmenting your email audience into sub lists. This way you can craft different emails for different segments of your audience. This allows for more personalized and customized messages that will be more relevant to all recipients.

Optimize for mobile

Approximately 65% of all emails are opened from a mobile device. If your bulk email service doesn’t support responsive design (emails that are displayed optimally for each specific device being used to open them) then find a new one that does. Optimized will be easier to read and any embedded media like photos and videos will display more quickly.

Include video

Younger demographics prefer video content to every other kind of content. So especially if your audience is younger, simply including a video in an email can increase the odds of people clicking on an embedded link.

Insert your call to action multiple times

Your call to action button is typically placed at the very end so that recipients who’ve read or at least skimmed to the bottom can then make their decision of whether or not to click. But why assume that recipients aren’t ready to click earlier on. In longer emails, include two, three, or even four call-to-action buttons. They can all be the same (in the hopes that some will click earlier in the email) or they can be different ones meant to appeal to different interests. In short, more links means a greater likelihood at least one will be clicked on, just don’t overdo it either.

Experiment and test

Test your email by campaign by sending out emails at different times of the day and on different days of the week. Experiment with including different elements and keywords. Experiment with calls-to-actions in different locations. Whatever your experiment, just make sure you’re paying close attention to your metrics so you know what’s working and what isn’t. Don’t test too many new things all at once or you won’t know which thing is responsible for the better response if there is one.

Make opting out easier

Getting more people to open your emails or click on included links is only one half of the equation. You can boost open and click-through rates by reducing the number of people on your list that never open or click. Try making opt out instructions more prominent and don’t lose any sleep over the increase in opt-outs; you don’t want to spend money emailing people who aren’t going to be influenced by your emails anyway.

Bonus tip: try SMS as well

SMS costs more per recipient than email and it can be a lot harder to build a recipient list since people are more guarded about giving out their mobile phone number than they are their email address. It’s a more intimate method of communication and more difficult to get right but for the marketer who does get it right, there’s a lot of opportunity since text messages are opened 98% of the time.

Chantel Fullilove

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