3 Email Optimization Tips for Better Engagement and Open Rates

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According to Forrester Research, marketers sent over 838 BILLION emails in 2013. (Sadly, Forrester didn’t say how many of those were “exciting opportunities” from princes in foreign countries.) Jokes aside, the reality is 838 billion is nothing to laugh at. 838 billion is a number that helps put your email marketing strategy into perspective.

When you consider the following reports …

  • Consumers who receive emails from businesses spend 83% more when shopping, and their orders are 44% larger, and they order 28% more often.
  • 70% of digital marketers see email as their number one strategy for reaching customers.
  • Emailing has shown to be up to 20x more effective than other outlets.

…it’s a no-brainer to start working on improving your email marketing, if you haven’t already.

Email marketing only works if your customers open your emails…and click through to take you up on your offer. To get them to do that, consider these three email optimization best practices.

  1. Use a Clean List of Targeted Recipients

Buying a list is not good for an email optimization strategy. While it may be tempting to buy a list, doing so will lower your open rates and raise your spam rating. Your spam rating is how many times people report you as a spammer. Sending people emails they didn’t ask for is a sure-fire way to get on “America’s Most Unwanted.”

You can improve the targeting of your emails by segmenting your list.

For example, if you’re in the pet supply business, you could have different segments for…

  • Dog accessories
  • Cat accessories
  • Organic food and treats

Catering your email message and offer to segmented lists improves your open rates and overall conversion rates because you can better focus your message.

  1. Get Personal

Personalizing your emails makes a tremendous difference in your open and engagement rates. An email inbox is a personal place and addressing someone by his or her name creates a personal connection.

Let me tell you a story before the time of email.

It’s a story about a single-page letter of just 361 words…that ending up reaching over 600,000,000 mailboxes over a period of 30 years…and generated (in today’s dollars) about $250,000 a day…and started a business that sold to Ancestry.com for $70,000,000.

It was the Coat of Arms letter, and it is one of the most famous letters written in the world of direct mail. In an audio interview, the legendary copywriter Gary Halpert – who wrote the letter – mentions the one thing that made his letter stand out above all the other “junk mail” pieces: He used the person’s name.

When you have a piece of mail with your name on it, the message immediately becomes personal.

You should know the names of your customers, so you can speak to people in a relatable voice.

Once you know your customer’s name, use it in the…

  • Subject line – “Hey, Bob. Last chance for a discount.”
  • Greeting – “Hello, Bob.”
  • Middle of a paragraph – “…as you can see, Bob, this is easy to do.”

One last tip for using names: use YOUR own name in your email. Instead of [email protected], use [email protected] when sending out your emails. This helps keep spam filters from blocking you.

  1. Use Engaging Subject Lines

Think of your email’s subject line as a headline in a sales letter. Its only job is to get you to read more and open the email.

We just mentioned how using a person’s name in a subject line is a good way to increase response rates, but it’s not the only way…

After analyzing 3,016 of 2013’s more viral headlines, the most effective three-word combination in a headline were as follows:

  • This is the
  • Will make you
  • When you see
  • Til you see
  • What happens when

The website Contently goes on to list the rest, but let’s stop and look at the pattern here. Each one of these headlines uses words that lead up to something:

  • This is the last chance to join our free webinar.
  • The steps here will make you more money.
  • What happens when you delete your blog?

All of these subject lines would do well because they arouse your curiosity, assuming you’re interested in these subjects in the first place.

Just as with a sales letter or a blog post, the headline draws people in to read more.

One last thing to remember with your headline: the best thing you can do with your subject line is to be straightforward and clear. No matter how many books or blog posts you read about writing headlines, being clear is always best.

Bonus Tip: All Copywriting Rules Apply

When writing the body of your email, the standard rules of copywriting apply. This means…

  • Speak directly to readers and focus on them. Instead of saying “We can’t wait to show you,” say, “You won’t believe this.”
  • Always include a call to action. Make the email purposeful and useful, and tell the reader what to do next.
  • If it doesn’t need to be said, don’t say it. If your email is too wordy, it’ll scare people away. Keep your message short and to the point if you want people to read it.

Many businesses struggle with email optimization. If you’re in need of help, you’re not alone. All you have to do is reach out to our team of email marketing experts at Sūmèr who will turn those visitors into customers. Contact us by visiting this page.

If you have any more questions about emailing, you can also drop a comment below. One of our team members will give you a helpful answer.

Photo Credit: tanakawho

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