December 6, 2010
Email is totally free. It costs nothing to open a Gmail, Yahoo, Livemail or similar account and it costs nothing to send an email. So with a communication method that costs nothing, is easy to use and capable of sending messages around the world virtually instantaneously why do more people not use if for marketing?
Read our Top Tips on Using Email for Marketing
How can we ensure that our emails are opened?
The reason most emails are not opened is because they look like spam. This isn’t to say that actually are spam but they look like it. So for example if I get an email that says it comes from “membership” or “mailing list” or “list” my immediate reaction is that it is junk mail or spam. If the sender had troubled to say it was from a named membership organisation (one where I’m a member) I’ll probably open it. Or if it is from a named individual I know I’ll probably open it.
Sadly national membership organisations, colleges, charities, and small businessses make this mistake ….. and their opening rates suffer for it.
So ensure your name or organisation is displayed in the “From” box.
The next thing to do is ensure your subject line is compelling or at least interesting. So many subject lines say things like “Latest News”, “Our best offer ever” or “20% discount on all products”. Are these compelling .. especially when they appear to come from “membership” or “list”? No! .. and the opening rate will be very low.
The average opening rate for newsletters is somewhere between 0 – 15% with targetted email newsletters come in around 20-30%.
Get both the subject line and “from” name right and 80% is possible. Quite few of our regular Top Marketing Tips get opening rates at this level.
Highly targeted emails sent to individuals – and these may be part of a campaign being sent to hundreds or thousands of people can come in much higher. One of our early campaigns obtained a 96% opening rate .. but although we’ve hit 90+% since we’ve never reached 96% again .. but we keep trying.
Why do so many emails never get opened?
As well as poor subject lines and getting the “from” box wrong it can be as simple as people are on holiday, busy that day, or it can be down to the sector.
For example dental, medical and healthcare recipients open far fewer emails (13.76%) than say the construction industry (28.7%) according to MailChimp .. and bear in mind this refers to people that have opted in to receive emails from the sender. Where the recipient has never heard of you I.e. they haven’t opted in to a mailing list the figure will be very very low. If your email system detectes the email is from a mass emailing system it usually send it to your spam box .. so if you are intending to send high volumes of email all at the same time you need to use a “white listed” system.