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Strategies to improve your Email Open Rates

Jul 02 2009, 04:56 AM

Email marketing is all about percentages. Emails opened. Links clicked on. Surveys answered. But none of this matters without the most important percentage of all – delivery – as in how many emails show up in the inbox.

The good news is, as an email marketer, you have some real tools in your arsenal to boost your chances of making it to the inbox. Not everything is within your control – spam filters are tricky things – but you do have some simple rules you can follow that can increase the chances that your email or newsletter will land in front of your customer's eyes and not in their trash file. Here are some ways to make that happen.

1. Use a recognizable "from" name
Recipients should be able to clearly and quickly identify and recognize your company from your from name. State your organization's name simply: ABC Company.
2. Use a clear subject line
Never underestimate the importance of a compelling, well-constructed and effective subject line. A good subject line not only tells your recipient what to expect when they open your email, but it also sets your email apart from the hundreds of others in the inbox.
3. Maximize your preview pane potential
Keep in mind that an ‘open’ status in your email reports does not necessarily result in a click-through. Your recipients may give your email a cursory glance through the preview pane but unless your message grabs their attention, they will not bother to open and read it. To optimize use of the preview pane, you must include engaging and compelling information. Another great way to attain immediate click-throughs is to place your key call to action in the preview pane area. Additionally, be aware of how your email will render in the preview pane if images are disabled, and design accordingly.
4. Start with confirmed opt-in
Confirmed opt-in means not only getting permission to email someone, but verifying that permission through an email with a link. Once that link is clicked on, the customer's account is officially active. This procedure cuts back on fraudulent sign ups and spam complaints, which can easily ruin your email delivery. So, keep your nose clean. Use double opt-in every time.
5. Use authentication
Yahoo DomainKeys, SPF records and other authentication protocols tell email clients that the email you sent came from you and you alone. They also undercut spammers who forge headers and purport to be you, hoping they can hawk their fake Rolexes and herbal treatments under your good name without getting caught. If the email comes from you and your authentication records show that, you'll gain a huge delivery advantage. If you are a Benchmark Email customer, Email Authentication is turned ON by default in your account.
6. Keep your list squeaky clean
A list that is not cleaned of your bounces and unsubscribes will bring down your open rates and might even damage your reputation and hurt your delivery rates. Your reputation is responsible for your emails being delivered, bulked or bounced. Remember, your reputation will be adversely affected by repeatedly sending emails to invalid or non-existent email addresses. Using an Email Service Provider (ESP) such as Benchmark Email is a good way to ensure clean lists and safeguard your reputation because it provides you with the easy option of deleting nonexistent email addresses quickly.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Deliverability

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Comments

Lanny

Feb 03 2013, 04:26 AM

In tip #6 where you discuss keeping the list clean, you don't mention purging the email list as one of the options to improve delivery and open rates. I see that you do offer that service after 5 or more emails are unopened by a recipient. Is there a reason you don't recommend it here?