5 Powerful Email Marketing Techniques that will Improve your Open Rates

One of the most common challenges among email marketers is improving their open rates. To put it into perspective, your email open rate should be between 15-25% (depending on your industry of course). But the reality is, many businesses simply aren’t achieving these numbers within their email marketing campaigns. So how can they improve? Sure, a good subject line goes a long way in some cases, but what if I told you there are other techniques that may help you even more in the long run; techniques that provide extra value for your audience?

In this article we will run through 5 powerful email marketing techniques that help you improve your email open rates.

Let’s start by identifying what might be causing you to experience low open rates in the first place.

More of than not, a low open rate may be due to:

  • Your subject line is not relevant or interesting enough
  • Your audience is composed of a wide variety of subscribers
  • You may be sending too many or too few campaigns
  • Your content isn’t performing well

While some of these issues may seem tricky or irreversible, there are plenty of techniques you can apply to improve open rates.

Let’s take a look…

Email Marketing Techniques to Improve your Open Rates

1. Leverage email campaign feedback

Have you ever noticed how many campaign emails out there are just putting out a message rather than trying to engage with their readers? Many email marketing challenges actually revolve around a lack of understanding and engagement with the target audience. There is no sense of connection or push for engagement in these kinds of emails, which means communications are solely outbound. And what’s worse this style of communication tends to leave marketers with no real insight into how their email was received by their readers.

This lack of insight into the performance of an email campaign is precisely why it’s important to gather email campaign feedback.

Newsletter email feedback exmaple
Example of newsletter feedback (Mopinion)

For example, say you’ve sent out an email with your company’s latest product updates, along with several promos. In the (likely) event that your readers say nothing in response to your email (and you do not collect email feedback), you will have no way of knowing how it was received by your readers.

Was the content relevant? Was it useful? Was the promo relevant for these readers? Do your readers have suggestions on how you can improve? These are the pieces of qualitative data that email campaign feedback will fill in for you.

In return, as you continue to optimise your campaigns with content your audience wants to read, you’ll find that the amount of engagement and therefore open rates will rise steadily.

Learn more about Mopinion for Email here.

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2. Send out messages relevant to your audience

Segmentation combined with personalisation efforts is another great way of boosting your open rates. And I’m not just talking about a personalised subject line or salutation. There are also many other ways of giving your emails a more personal touch including segmenting your audience and sending emails that are relevant to these groups. After all, relevancy rules all..

According to DMA,

Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue

So how can you segment your email list for the best results? Try using any of the following targeting strategies:

  • Role / Job title
  • Geotargeting
  • Stage in sales cycle
  • Company size (if your B2B)
  • Purchase history
  • Abandoned shopping carts

Additionally, when segmenting your audience, be sure to use a recognisable ‘from’ name, send only content that is relevant for that particular audience, enable two-way communication (see #1 on email campaign feedback), and use an optimised subject line (short and specific).

Email marketing segmentation
Source: MakeWebBetter

Want to learn more about email segmentation? Be sure to check out Neil Patel’s blog on How to Use Email Segmentation to Increase Your Conversion Rate.

3. Clear-cut design for all devices

There are plenty of design areas we could dive into in this section, but we prefer to focus on two major areas that are often overlooked by email marketers and can deeply affect your open rates.

The first is your plain text emails. As you know emails are sent out in two different formats and depending on whether or not your recipient’s email client supports these email styles, they’ll either receive a plain text message or a nice, clean cut HTML message. That being said, it is very important that your plain text emails are fully optimised. Not only will this keep your emails out of spam folders, but it will also guarantee that your emails are readable and digestible.

The second is a mobile-friendly email. More and more people are using their mobile devices to read email. According to CampaignMonitor, 47% of all people across demographics use a mobile application for checking their email. It is therefore critical that email marketers design their email campaigns with these mobile users in mind. Otherwise, their open rates and user base will be significantly affected.

Mobile responsive design
Source: AWeber

So how can you optimise for mobile? There are a number of different ways including using smaller image sizes (as these take less time to download), giving your CTA (call to action) buttons a boost in visibility by increasing their size as well (HubSpot suggests CTA buttons and links larger than 45-57 pixels), and perhaps one of the most important – make sure you have a responsible template. This last one is simply a matter of investing in a licensed template or purchasing your own email templates. Very easy!

Not sure what you should be changing in your mobile templates? Consult your email feedback insights. These insights will help guide you in understanding why an email (opened on a mobile device) isn’t converting. In other words, it will give you the qualitative data you need to back up your changes and make more informed decisions.

By catering to your email recipients with these two approaches, you’ll be well on your way to an improved open rate.

4. Make use of A/B testing

Then, of course, there’s the well-known A/B testing approach. In addition to testing the response to different subject lines (i.e. tone, length and content), there are a variety of other ways to A/B test your emails including:

  • Preheader text
  • Sender name (e.g., company name vs. employee name)
  • Sender email (e.g., hello@mopinion.com vs. name@mopinion.com)
  • Send day / time
  • CTA buttons (design, color, size, content)
  • Content within the email

The last one is particularly interesting as it is not often tested to the extent of the others. For example, let’s say you’ve sent out a newsletter to your customer base. Testing this newsletter using a formal tone versus the same newsletter with an informal tone might be a quick and effective way to determine how you should write the content in your newsletters.

A/B Testing in email marketing
Source: Zapier

The only challenge with using this technique alone is that it only gives you quantitative insights, meaning you’ll need to ‘beef it up’ with qualitative data as well. One way of doing this is via the aforementioned email campaign feedback method, i.e. email feedback for newsletters. Use these together and you’ll quickly steer into the trends that’ll help you make your email campaigns more desirable. Learn more about how to validate your A/B testing with user feedback.

5. Follow opt-in best practices

Opt-in marketing, permission marketing, call it whatever you like, but opt-ins are a critical factor when it comes to your open rates. Members of your opt-in email list are essentially recipients who have given you permission to email them various mass emails, newsletters, or other forms of digital communication from your business.

And don’t forget, in Europe following opt-in best practices is simply the law, according to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Macys email opt-in example
Source: Macy’s

According to Clickback, “sending B2B email campaigns to a purchased list presents one of the toughest scenarios when it comes to email marketing, so ensure that you have taken the necessary precautions to maximize deliverability. Due to how subscribers were added, it’s simply not possible to achieve the open rates of an opted-in contact list with a purchased list.”

So the key takeaway here is to focus on using and maintaining an email list that is opt-in only. Not only will these users appreciate your engaging content more, but they’ll also be much more likely to open an email from a brand they are familiar with.

Ready to improve your open rates?

We hope this list has supplied you with the advice you need to start improving your email campaigns and boosting those open rates. Want to knock out two birds with one stone? Then start by applying the first technique in the list – gathering email campaign feedback. With this technique you’ll not only gather insights into how you can improve your open rates, but also how your customers experience your email campaigns from a qualitative perspective.

Ready to see Mopinion in action?

Want to learn more about Mopinion’s all-in-1 user feedback platform? Don’t be shy and take our software for a spin! Do you prefer it a bit more personal? Just book a demo. One of our feedback pro’s will guide you through the software and answer any questions you may have.