How to Increase Your Email Open Rate and CTR? 20 Best Ways!
When it comes to email marketing, you can choose different strategies, and all email strategies can be more or less effective. There is no universal approach that would work equally well for any business from any industry. Therefore, you should be able to evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts so that you can improve your strategy or change it.
There are several key performance indicators (KPIs) that enable you to evaluate the performance of your email campaigns. Your click-through rate (CTR) and open rate are two of the most important KPIs. Your CTR reflects the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link in your email. These are people who not only received your email but also visited your website and therefore became prospects.
Your email opens are recorded when images in your emails load. You can also track open rates of text-only emails by using transparent images. Given that an open rate is calculated based on images, it’s not 100% accurate. An average open rate for all industries is 18%, while an average click-through rate is 2.6%. These numbers, however, may vary significantly across industries. Your open rate and click-through rate are influenced by a number of different factors, including your subject lines, the time when you send emails, and the list of recipients itself.
If you want to improve your open and click-through rates, you should understand that optimization is a continuous process. Here are some tips that will help you achieve better results.
1) Use catchy subject lines
Subject lines are very important because they can either encourage recipients to learn more or make them simply scroll down their inbox and forget about your email forever. A good subject line should be easy to read, and it should arouse curiosity. Make it meaningful but easy to understand. Include a couple of relevant keywords and make sure to avoid words that can make your emails filtered as spam. For example, we suggest that you don’t use such words and phrases as “free,” “cash bonus,” “lowest price,” “guaranteed,” “exclusive deal,” “limited time,” etc. Besides, we suggest that you don’t write your email titles in all caps.
2) Address your recipients by their first names
Addressing your recipients by their names is the first step towards personalization. Make sure to ask people for their names in email subscription forms. Adding their names will make your emails more personal and therefore more effective. Sometimes, you may even add “Re:” at the beginning of your subject line so that your recipients can immediately understand that they’ve already interacted with your brand.
3) Define a clear objective for each email
You need to determine a clear purpose of each particular email because otherwise, you won’t be able to use effective and well-focused calls to action. If your emails feature too many CTAs, your recipients may feel confused because they won’t understand what exactly you want them to do next. This phenomenon is known among psychologists as choice overload. According to research, while more options available make people more interested, they are also less likely to make a purchase.
It’s great if consumers have a choice, but the very act of choosing can make their user experience less satisfying and even lead to complete frustration when the choice isn’t obvious. When planning your CTAs, think of a single action that your recipients should take. This way, you’ll be able to write a well-focused email that won’t confuse readers.
4) Use open loops
Open loops are often used in TV shows and movie trailers because they are a very effective tool that helps create anticipation. Cliffhangers make your audience feel curious or even anxious because they need to fill the gap in the information that they receive. Open loops are one of the main reasons why we love TV series so much — we are eager to learn what happens next. You can use the same approach in your email content: leave your readers in front of a cliffhanger and tell them that they can learn more in your next email.
This approach can be especially useful when writing informative and educational emails with tips and how-to instructions. Of course, you should always keep your promises and actually deliver the information that you’ve mentioned in the previous email. At the same time, it’s important to make sure that cliffhangers don’t damage the consistency of your email campaign.
5) Segment your email list
If your campaign is aimed at everyone, it means that it’s aimed at no one in particular. A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t effective in email marketing because you’re dealing with a wide audience that consists of different people with different backgrounds, interests, and needs. Therefore, you should segment your audience and adjust your content to each segment’s needs and preferences. You can segment your email list based on different factors, including demographics (age, gender, location), online behavior, and purchase history.
6) Build urgency with relevant news
If you want to improve your open rate and click-through rate, you should make sure that your prospects understand why you send your emails. They should intuitively understand the relevance of your emails without wondering what you want from them. It will be easier for you to prove the relevance of your emails if you incorporate relevant news. Mentioning important events from your industry will help you establish the context for your message and build a sense of urgency.
7) Trigger curiosity with negative subject lines
You can use different emotions to make your recipients open an email. According to research, fear is most likely to cause a reaction. If you offer your readers gain, this stimulus will be not as strong as if you offer them an opportunity to avoid loss. You can use this feature of human psychology to craft effective subject lines that will increase your open rates.
Alerting your readers about a possible danger is a much more powerful message than offering an opportunity because it’s not always easy to imagine how far an opportunity will take us. In contrast, it’s easy to imagine loss — it feels more real because we know exactly what we can lose.
8) Ask your recipients how often they want to get emails from you
People’s needs are not static and they change all the time. Therefore, you shouldn’t think that your audience either wants something or doesn’t but you should consider to what degree they want it. This way, you’ll be able to come up with the right solution. For example, people may want to see emails from you, but how often do they want to receive these emails?
According to research, 43% of email users want businesses to email them less frequently. To understand how often you should send emails, you can run various tests. However, this might take a lot of time. Besides, people value honesty, so the best approach is to simply ask your subscribers how often they want to hear from you.
9) Resend unopened emails
If your recipients don’t open your email now, they may do it next time. There’s no need to immediately change your message in an attempt to make it more attractive — just give it another shot. Such a simple practice can help you increase your open rates by up to 50%.
10) Emphasize scarcity
All marketers are familiar with a phenomenon known as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). People don’t like to miss out on good opportunities so you should use this feature of human psychology to your advantage. For example, you can include real-time alerts with products that are running low in stock. Such an approach will increase your CTR significantly.
11) Have several headlines written before sending one of them
You don’t need to be a journalist to notice how much subject lines and headlines have in common. Both subject lines and headlines are aimed to spark curiosity and to make readers want to read more. Given that your subscribers receive tons of emails, your subject lines should stand out and be perfect. Therefore, we recommend that you prepare a few subject lines for each email and then choose the best one.
Creating effective subject lines can be difficult if you don’t have professional writers in your team. Fortunately, you can always find experienced freelance writers. For example, you can check paper writing service reviews. Although the main category of customers for such services is students, experienced professional writers also work with business clients all the time. Therefore, top essay writing services reviews can be a valuable source of recommendations.
12) Personalize your messages
Personalization will make your recipients much more likely to open your emails. Consumers want to receive relevant and interesting offers, and personalization will also help your messages stand out from a bunch of generic emails. Personalize emails for different segments of your audience, and you will boost your CTR by increasing engagement and relevance. Research data demonstrates that personalized emails have a 27% higher CTR.
13) Test your send time
One of the reasons why your CTR is low might be that you send your emails at the wrong time. Different segments of your audience can be most active at a different time so we recommend that you think of when these people are active and adjust your emails accordingly. The best approach is to test send times so that you can understand at what time you get the most clicks.
14) Optimize your emails for mobile
42% of emails are opened on mobile devices, while desktops only account for 18.2% of email opens. Therefore, optimizing emails for mobile is crucial for the success of your campaign, Make sure that your emails look equally well on all devices, and don’t forget to optimize your images so that they will load quickly.
15) Make your emails customer-focused
If you want people to open your emails, you must make these emails useful. It will be impossible to do if your emails are more focused on your product than your customers’ actual interests. Think of why people need your products, in the first place. What do they want to accomplish? How can you help them? For example, you can share some good advice and provide your customers with useful information.
16) Use different CTA buttons with the same message
We’ve already mentioned that you should clearly define each particular email’s goal to have one clear call to action. However, having one CTA doesn’t mean that you cannot have multiple CTA buttons. Quite the opposite, if you give your audience more opportunities to click on your links, you’ll be able to increase your click-through rate.
The main thing is to make sure that different buttons and links are based on the same message. For example, you can place a “See Details” button in the middle of the content and a “Learn More” button at the end. This way, your readers will be able to decide when they are ready to click on your CTA.
17) Use an inverted pyramid scheme
An inverted pyramid scheme will help you make your emails more engaging and persuasive. The main principle of the inverted pyramid structure is to provide the most important information first and then move to less important information. For example, you can begin your email with an attention-grabbing headline that highlights your value proposition, then provide some details and images that illustrate the benefits of clicking-through, and then include a compelling CTA.
18) Add social media links
Adding social media buttons at the bottom of your emails will help you get closer to your audience. Your brand should be available, and people may want to engage with it through different channels. Some of your recipients may not click on your CTA, but they may still want to take a look at your page on social media or become followers.
19) Ask why people unsubscribe
Your unsubscribe rate says a lot about your emails. People may unsubscribe from your emails for different reasons, and these might be the same reasons why other recipients simply don’t open these emails. When users unsubscribe, redirect them to a quick survey so that you can understand the problem and fix it.
20) Proofread your emails
If you want people to click on your links, you should put some effort into building credibility, and nothing can undermine your credibility quicker than spelling errors. Always edit and proofread your emails before sending them. Check the logical structure of content and fix any grammar
Your open rates and click-through rates depend on numerous factors so if you want to make your emails more effective, you should embrace improvement as a continuous process. We hope that our tips will help you focus on the right aspects and improve the performance of your email marketing campaign.
About the Author
Gregory V. Chapman is passionate about researching on new technologies in both mobile, web and WordPress. Gregory in love with stories and facts, so Gregory always tries to get the best of both worlds.