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Writing a Ridiculously Effective Email: 7+ Strategies to Boost Your Email Marketing Open Rates

booting your email marketing open rates strategiesIn digital marketing, the primary source of interaction is often email. An email marketing strategy is a great way to engage new and returning customers. But if your strategy is not generating the open rates needed to facilitate customer retention and customer acquisition, there are tactics you can incorporate to help your lead generation.

If an email is never opened, the valuable information inside never has a chance to be seen.

So, what’s the secret to writing an email that gets opened? To help d3 clients get better digital marketing results, we advise starting with the gatekeeper: your subject line.

Email subject lines: Small space, powerful punch

It’s the most important part of the email, but amazingly still quite often overlooked. Think about what compels you to open an email — chances are, it uses many of these best-in-class tactics:

  1. Keep it short and sweet. To get the attention of people who quickly scan their inbox, Hubspot recommends you keep it to 50 characters less.
  2. Get to the point. Why should someone open your email? There’s no time for long-winded prose here. You don’t have a lot of space to work with, so don’t let essential details get cut off.
  3. Avoid trigger words. If you don’t want your email mistaken for spam, leave out words like Free, Help and OK.
  4. Ditch the caps. Title case is fine, but avoid hitting the caps lock key, as it’s the digital form of yelling and tends to look like spam.
  5. Go visual. If you have yet to test emojis in your subject lines, what are you waiting for?
  6. Don’t be too clever. Emojis, puns and alliteration can grab a reader’s attention, but leave out the cutesy image or cheesy jargon if it doesn’t align with your brand.
  7. Write to your specific audience segment. Know where they are in their buyer’s journey and what message would resonate based on that. Even the best subject line will fall flat if you don’t tailor the message to your audience.

My email was opened. Now what?

Once an email is opened, you want to make sure it gets read. Or, at the very least, that it’s scanned for the most important details. The fact is that only 20% of your audience is actually reading, while the other 80% quickly scans. Here’s what you can do to make your efforts work harder at generating leads:

Stop talking to your “list.” Instead, write like you’re speaking to an audience of one. And while personalization can be powerful, using a name too often throughout your email copy can quickly sound like a script.

Keep it brief. Email marketing isn’t the place to ramble. Ditch the small talk, and begin by presenting the most relevant information. Focus on communicating key facts into as few words as possible. Once you complete the first draft, read it over again to eliminate words or sentences that won’t make a difference.

Cater to short attention spans. Remember, most people don’t read — they scan. So keep your paragraphs short, vary sentence lengths, bold key words, make content pop with different formatting, and use bullet points to better organize ideas. The end goal: Make important details easily understood at a glance.

Don’t leave the tone up for interpretation. Because emails are written, they’re prone to tonal misinterpretation. Make sure you’re writing in the appropriate tone for your audience. Keep in mind that humor or sarcasm can easily be misconstrued.

Avoid common clichés like the plague. These words and phrases won’t do anything to improve your response rates. Plus, they can make you sound annoying, passive-aggressive or just plain boring. According to Grammarly, the following clichés should be avoided:

  • Thank you in advance
  • I look forward to hearing from you
  • Per our conversation
  • I hope you are doing well
  • Sorry for the late reply
  • To whom it may concern

Embed images. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Images are processed faster than text, so you can quickly convey the theme of your message. A good rule of thumb is to use a 30/70 ratio: 30% images and 70% text.

Include videos. According to Martech Advisor, videos can increase click-through rates by more than 50%. Whether you embed a video or opt for an animated GIF, adding this powerful tool to your email marketing can open up a whole new level of engagement. Be sure to use them sparingly so the novelty doesn’t wear off.

Be clear on the intended action. The best emails have a clear path to next steps. Don’t bury your call to action in the middle of a long paragraph or make the reader work to figure it out. Tell them exactly what you want them to do and when you want them to do it.

Be mobile-friendly. How does your email look on a tablet or a cell phone? A whopping 48% of emails are opened on a mobile device, so you want to ensure that your marketing efforts are optimized for mobile. To maintain mobile-friendliness:

  • Invest in responsive email templates
  • Use smaller image files for faster loading
  • Resize images by proportion of screen
  • Increase the size of links for better click-ability

Even the most carefully crafted email campaign will fail if your data’s not on point — clean, accurate and properly segmented. That’s where the right digital marketing partner can help your brand get on the fast track to successful customer acquisition and customer retention. Learn more about d3 Specialists.

Related Questions

How do you avoid email churn?

Email churn — the result of subscribers leaving your list — consumes 25-35% of the average email list every year. While some churn is expected, routine hygiene, subject line testing and using a different email server can help you see an overall reduction.

How do you nail down the timing of your email communications?

Knowing when and how often to blast your customers is directly correlated to how they buy. You need a solid understanding of their unique purchasing behaviors to ensure they’re receiving the right emails at the right time.

Susan Sigal Goldsmith d3
Susan Sigel Goldsmith
Email Expert

Susan Sigel Goldsmith has over 25 years of experience in the marketing field with a diverse background spanning publishing, direct marketing, digital marketing, and email. She has worked with brands large and small, and ran her own marketing agency prior to joining Specialists/d3. She lives on Cape Cod with her son and pug, and enjoys gardening, sailing and horses.

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