You’ve done the hard work and have managed to establish a good email list and segmented it properly.  However, there is still one more very crucial thing to do – and that is to improve your email open rate.

In part five of our email series ‘Your Guide to Spam Proof Email Marketing’, we will talk about all of the factors that go into creating an email that gets opened.

Improve Email Open Rate by Staying Away from Spam Filters

First and foremost – you need to do everything possible to stay out of the subscriber’s spam folder.  If you obtained permission from your subscribers and are using one of the email marketing services mentioned in part two of our series, you’re off to a great start!

Now, let’s review some best practices that will ensure you stay out of spam folders:

  • Use a good, reliable IP address for all your email campaigns.  This IP address should not have been used by anyone to send out spam emails in the past.
  • Use verified domains to send out emails.
  • Make sure that your emails are using code clean templates.
  • Ask your subscribers to add you to their address books and encourage them to whitelist your business.
  • Refrain from desperate, sales language (some common spam trigger words include: buy, discount, cash or clearance).
  • Have clear, relevant subject lines.
  • Always include your location in your emails.
  • Have an easy process for subscribers to opt-out or unsubscribe.
  • Luckily, most of these points are taken care of by the email marketing services mention in part two of our series.  You can also use MailMonitor’s preview and rating services as another line of defense.

Get Rid of Inactive Subscribers

While you can try your luck with re-engaging with your inactive subscribers, you should consider getting rid of them if there is no response at all.  It is imperative that you keep your email lists fresh.  It is equally important to maintain regular communication with your lists to avoid them getting stale.

An inactive subscriber can vary, depending on your business, but as a general rule, anyone who doesn’t engage with you for over 6 months is a stale contact.

Before giving up on them, try sending the last email in an effort to re-engage with them with a subject line that might catch the subscribers’ eye, such as: “We miss you. Come back soon!”

It’s All about Timing

Your timing can make all the difference between a campaign’s success or failure, so be extra careful about the time and the day of the week you choose to send out your emails.

While you will not be able to identify the perfect time right away, it’s something that you will understand over time.  You can use A/B testing to establish the best time-frames in which to send your emails to get maximum engagement.  You can also find some support from the email marketing services like MailChimp as they can also guide you with selecting the perfect time for your campaigns.

Have a Killer Subject Line

As far as your open rates are concerned, the subject lines are the most critical part. So, understandably, your subject lines need to stand out.  You can follow these tips to create those killer subject lines:

  • Trigger curiosity, but don’t overdo it. You just want to create that sense of curiosity in the subscriber’s mind to open your emails, not confuse them.
  • Use numbers.  It’s just something that draws the eye (consider a subject line like ‘5 amazing deals just for you!’).
  • Use a conversational, human tone. Also, make sure your sender email address has a human name.
  • Speak in a tone that your subscribers can relate to – a tone that they use while talking to their friends.

Don’t Make it Generic

While drafting subject lines and message content, most email marketers have a tendency to think of thousands of people and get stuck in writing generic lines.

Try creating subject lines that speak to an individual instead of a whole crowd.  It’s this added personalization that can make all the difference in whether or not a consumer opens your email.

This is why it’s important to know your buyer personas inside out and to craft the perfect subject lines for each.  You should be able to understand their wants, needs, values, likes, dislikes, and problems.  You can conduct little surveys with lead magnets of their own to get a better understanding of your subscribers’ personalities.

Be Friendly

Say goodbye to your corporate hats and write as a genuine friend.  This is perhaps the only way to really appeal to your subscribers and make your subject lines stand out.  A friendly subject line could be something like: “You’ve got to see this deal I got just for you.

Our experts feel that this will make the email look more personalized and it significantly reduces the chances of your emails getting deleted.  With all those other, robotic and cold corporate subject lines clouding a subscriber’s inbox, be the friend who is actually there for them.

Write Quality Content, Consistently

It should also be kept in mind that the content of your email is equally as important.  While you might be able to get one email opened from a subscriber based on your subject line, if the quality of your email content isn’t good, then you shouldn’t expect opens in the future…even if your subject line is remarkable.

Consistency with this quality content is mandatory.  Your emails shouldn’t be sent out just for the sake of sending out emails – they need to hold real value and purpose for the subscribers.  Consistently sending out good, valuable emails should get you loyal customers and fantastic open rates.

Add a Little Humor

Humor, if done right, can be a wonderful thing.  It’s personal and light-hearted and stays in people’s minds for a long time.  Having said that, you need to be careful and witty and not overdo it.

For effective humor in your emails, try to understand your audience intimately. Knowing their likes and dislikes, preferences and pain points will make it a whole lot easier for you to crack a joke that they would like.

You can also add funny GIFs and videos, but remember that you are not a comedian, so keep it professional.

Be Mobile Friendly

The world we’re living in is moving towards mobile domination at an alarming rate.  More and more users are checking their emails using mobile phones as their primary device.

Make sure that all of your email campaigns are mobile-friendly, with loadable media and responsive formatting. Also, do account for the smaller screens of the mobile phones so keep your fonts readable and subject lines shorter.

Try to follow these tips to appeal to mobile users:

  • Keep simple formatting, under 600px wide.
  • Images might be turned off automatically, so make sure your emails look good without them.
  • Have smaller images and other media to reduce the load time.
  • Have a clearer and bigger call-to-action buttons that are easier for mobile users to click.
  • Avoid placing two links on top of each other to help users easily click on them.

Don’t be discouraged if the results don’t turn out to be as expected right off the bat.  Try different things and make subtle changes to see what might work.

And don’t forget to check out the final post in our series, ‘Guide to Spam Proof Email Marketing: Part 6 – Automate Your Email Marketing‘.