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Why Your Emails Have Poor Open Rates

by Leesa Minkel on June 17, 2019

We know how it feels to craft what seems like the perfect email, only to watch the open rates barely hit the industry average. It doesn’t feel good.

You create these messages to re-engage with your audience and send valuable content to your recipients, but all that work is only effective if the email is actually opened.

So how can you improve your open rates? Here are a few things to consider before you send out your next email campaign.

Your subject line is boring

This does NOT mean you should trick your audience into opening an email with content that has nothing to do with the subject. It does, however, mean you should test your subject line using a more personalized and casual tone, or with less vs more text, or with the offer already revealed. Put yourself in the perspective of your audience. Would you open the email if it landed in your inbox? Would your team? Would your mom?

You’re not segmenting your list

If you are sending the same email to every one of your customers, you have to stop. As a customer, there is nothing more frustrating than receiving an email that doesn’t apply to my relationship with the product, service, or company itself. You can segment your email list by location, average order value, time since last purchase, etc. This will allow you to better personalize the content (and subject) of your email, providing more value to the recipient, and increasing the likelihood they will want to learn more.

Your email list is outdated

This one might sound simple, but it can be one of the most overlooked reasons why your open rate is so low - the email is not being delivered. If you are sending campaigns to outdated addresses (keep in mind that email lists decay by nearly 2% each month) then you are likely sending those well-segmented emails, with intriguing subjects, to undeliverable addresses. The more undeliverable addresses you send to, the more it affects your sender score, and the higher the chance your emails to real addresses will land in the spam folder. It’s a vicious cycle, but there is a simple solution - clean your email lists. In the wise words of Marie Kondo, ask yourself, does this outdated email address spark joy? No, it doesn’t. How could it? So, get rid of the junk.

You’re sending at the wrong time

The best time of day to engage with the audience of an influencer marketing company might not be the same as for a bookkeeping company. There are plenty of resources to help you identify a good time to send your campaign based on averages in your industry, but the most reliable source is data from your own customers. Segment your list into three equally sized groups, and send the same email with the same subject to one group in the morning, another in the afternoon, and the last at night. Try this test a few times to get a better understanding of when your readers are most likely to open your emails.

You’re wondering what all this means.

Email marketing best practices require a lot of trial and error. Testing subject lines, list segmentation, and audience engagement tactics are normal processes in determining how to increase open rates for your campaigns and boost ROI. But, one thing you should never test is sending to an email list that hasn’t been verified. Keep these considerations in mind before you send out your next campaign, and subscribe below for more email marketing tips.

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