As I sit down to write this article I look back on the growth of email marketing and how businesses have come to adapt and adopt the technology to serve their needs.
Looking at companies or blogs today showcasing the numbers on their list, it simply baffles me and raises one question.
- The Help Scout blog has over 56,583+ subscribers.
- Michael Hyatt has 453,514+ subscribers.
- Social Media Examiner has 320,000+ subscribers.
- Smart Passive Income has 75,000+ subscribers.
Does size really matter?
The only logical answer I can think of is, No.
A BIG email list Isn’t always best if you can’t get them to take action.
In fact, you will find bloggers on the web claiming that each month they add about 1000 new people to their email lists.
What they don’t tell you and what is most important is that how many of them open their emails or the open rates as we marketers like to call it.
You might have read about bloggers measuring success by the traffic they generate or the revenue their blog makes. If you are looking to measure the success of your email marketing campaigns, one of the important factors to look at is the open rates.
Other measurement metrics for email marketing includes and not limited to the following:
- Click through rate
- Social Shares
- Purchase after click through
- Forward to friends
If you are someone who is managing an email marketing program ensure that you use these metrics to track performance at different levels.
In this article we are going to focus on the foremost metric and try to tweak our email marketing strategy for better ROI.
Table of Content
- Average Email Open Rates
- Email Marketing Benchmarks
- The Top 8 Email Open Rate Growth Hacks
- Keep It Short
- Start With An Action Word (Verb)
- Simple list of verbs you can use
- Place Important Words At The Beginning
- Be Clear & Specific
- Create Urgency By Limiting The Timeframe
- If Someone Referred The Subscriber, Use Their Name
- Personalize Subject Lines With The Recipient’s Name
- Don’t Use ALL CAPS
- Eliminate Filler Words
Average Email Open Rates
I was able to find an updated benchmark results from MailChimp. This data is updated as of March 2015. This data will give you a base to start a comparative study based on the industry you are in. If your open rates are lower than the ones mentioned here respective to your industry, then you are going to have to do some A/B testing to improve your ROI.
If your open rates are much higher than whats stated here then you are doing good, but keep an eye out for changes as your client base grows.
Email Marketing Benchmarks
|Agriculture and Food Services||26.09%||3.53%|
|Architecture and Construction||25.80%||3.45%|
|Arts and Artists||28.25%||3.04%|
|Beauty and Personal Care||19.90%||2.33%|
|Business and Finance||21.71%||2.97%|
|Computers and Electronics||22.03%||2.72%|
|Education and Training||23.15%||3.11%|
|Entertainment and Events||21.75%||2.45%|
|Health and Fitness||23.81%||3.19%|
|Home and Garden||26.14%||4.21%|
|Marketing and Advertising||18.89%||2.22%|
|Media and Publishing||22.96%||4.76%|
|Medical, Dental, and Healthcare||23.53%||2.82%|
|Music and Musicians||23.19%||2.89%|
|Photo and Video||27.21%||4.18%|
|Recruitment and Staffing||21.51%||2.65%|
|Restaurant and Venue||23.09%||1.50%|
|Social Networks and Online Communities||22.54%||3.81%|
|Software and Web App||23.27%||2.80%|
|Travel and Transportation||20.86%||2.52%|
The Top 8 Email Open Rate Growth Hacks
Growth Hacks is a simple term used to define a growth methodology or strategy that otherwise might not have been applied. Even though the tips given here are quite common, there are hundreds if not through of bloggers and businesses getting it wrong.
Keep It Short
Email subject lines can make or break your email marketing efforts. Did you know that AWeber (aff link) has a two step spam prevention system that keeps their emails out of the junk folder. This is also one of the main reasons that bloggers and marketers love them.
- The system tells you how spammy your subject line is.
- If a user marks you emails as spam, they would stop future emails to that user even though it might show on your list as subscribers.
This 2 step system simple helps the business do better. However, the marketers on the other hand contribute to overlook these best practices and end up creating either spammy looking emails or emails that no one opens or reads.
Write a short email subject, try to keep it between 40-60 words. This way you will be precise in what you want to tell the readers and not over do it.
I know its hard, trying to convey your messages in 140 char was also hard, but we all overcame it and we continue to use Twitter.
Start With An Action Word (Verb)
The first and the foremost thing we want our email subscribers to do is to open our emails. That in itself is an action the subscriber needs to take. The only way they are going to open your email is if you give them a reason to.
In order to achieve this, simply using an action word (a verb) will improve your conversion rate. While you cannot add a verb to all your email subject lines, you can apply them wherever possible. Here are a few examples of email subject lines that start with a verb.
- Accept the gift from your friend.
- Decorate the hall for the holidays, please.
- Encourage your children to read everyday.
- Fix the hole in the boat so that it will float.
Simple list of verbs you can use
Source: Helping With Writing
This is not the only list of verbs, there are a lot more and if you do your homework you will be able to come up with some really interesting subject lines that start with verbs.
Place Important Words At The Beginning
The words that are most important to us and the subscriber is not always the same. Its important that you strike a neutral zone where you use the words that are both important to you and your subscribers.
Again these words might not be verbs and its okay. Placing the word at the beginning of the subject line is important it does not have to be the first word.
Some companies like to use keywords, or brand words in their email subject lines and that’s okay as long as they deliver the message as intended.
Be Clear & Specific
One of the most common mistakes made by marketers is stuffing the email subject with fillers or unwanted words that distort the message or topic of the email.
This can be a huge factor including readers to not read your emails because they believe that there is nothing valuable in the email.
Remember even the verbs and brand words you use sometimes can make your subject line go way out of context, its times like that you have to use your better judgement to ensure that you deliver the right message by making necessary adjustments.
Create Urgency By Limiting The Timeframe
Offer a limited time deal or offer is a great way to get people to open up your emails and see what’s in it. Set a clear timeline as to when the offer ends. Words, like Hurry, Limited time offer, Get it now, are most commonly used terms to create urgency.
These words used properly in the subject lines can increase your email open rates tremendously.
If you use it in all your emails its not going to work well for you in the long run. This technique should be followed at times when you really want to make an offer and want the reader to take immediate action.
Deals that last a just a day or two like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You want to get those referral clicks in and capitalize quickly.
If Someone Referred The Subscriber, Use Their Name
Its always cool to tell your readers if someone helped you or referred them to you or if you learned something from your peers.
Imagine if you had to send out an email with the subject “Read why Neil Patel Just signed up for my newsletter.”
This is something that works awesome, especially when you are doing a JV with another company or blogger. Using their name in the subject lines can do wonders for you, especially if they are someone big and people known them well.
While this will boost your email open rates this again is only used in special circumstances.
Personalize Subject Lines With The Recipient’s Name
Miriam, Issue 3 of Instaglam March Newsletter
Something as simple as that can drive your open rates, because you have personalized the subject line and it makes the subscriber feel you are talking to them.
Its all about building trust and personal relationship with the readers that you can get them to read your emails over others. WHat better way to start personalizing than using the subject lines.
Don’t Use ALL CAPS
I’ve subscribed to over 30 email newsletters, they all serve their purposes but some of them are hardcore affiliate marketers and pitch me with every other email.
The most annoying part if that they use all caps. Its an immediate turn off that I delete even without reading further.
Even if one word is fully capitalized its annoying. Readers for reasons I am not certain hate email subject lines with CAPS.
Eliminate Filler Words
With such precious space, don’t waste it with unnecessary words like “hello,” “nice to meet you,” and “thanks,” which can easily be included in the email’s body.
Remember the length of the subject line I mentioned earlier? always keep that in mind while writing your email subjects.
To conclude I have one important piece of advice for you. Irrespective of what I’ve shared in this post, you should test out what works best for you. Because our audiences are different and people react differently and change their behavior continuously.
If you have any other email subject line hack. Why not leave a comment?