8 Fail-Proof Tips to Improve Email Newsletter Open Rates

Here’s a search query that will likely give every digital marketer a sense of heartburn, indigestion…maybe even severe pain: “How do you delete a lot of emails at the same time?”

In Google alone, that search phrase produced about 270 million results. Vary the search terms a bit and you get hundreds of variations: “How do you delete a bunch of emails at once?” “How do I delete thousands of emails?” “How do I mass delete emails on iPhone 6, iPhone 7, Android iPad…in Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo?”

Those types of deletions represent massive amounts of hours marketers devoted to strategizing, crafting and timing email messages that get absolutely nowhere. Just straight to the trash.

As a digital marketer, getting email opens is a challenge that’s only going to intensify. The competition to grab your audience’s attention is getting tougher by the minute. Literally, by the minute.

Take a look at these statistics provided by Statista:

  • 269 billion emails were sent daily in 2017.
  • That breaks down to 186,805,555 emails sent every minute.
  • Expect that number to hit 231,388,888 every single minute by 2022.
  • More than 2 million Snaps are shared on Snapchat every minute.
  • More than 4.3 million videos are watched on YouTube every minute
  • Users post nearly 50,000 photos on Instagram every minute

With so much online content available, it takes more effort than ever before to get your audience to pay attention to your email newsletters.

That’s why it’s critical to regularly review your marketing strategies and tactics to ensure that you’re doing what it takes to keep a connection with your current subscribers and win over new ones. You need a strategy that enables that 1:1 personalization you covet with your audience.

Take a look at these 12 tips designed to help you get better results with your email open rates and click-throughs.

Develop a personal one-on-one experience

Getting to relationship status will always be one of the most important goals of any marketing strategy. You want your subscribers to value the relationship they have with you.

It takes some work to get there but it can pay off with subscribers anticipating emails from you—and skipping over yours when selecting which emails will go straight to trash. Here are a few things to consider.

1. Understand who you’re talking to.

Although the concept has been getting a lot of attention lately, personalization marketing is nothing new. Successful marketing professionals have always strived to create an experience in which each individual came away with that feeling of “You get me.”

However, in the past, marketers were limited in their ability to truly deliver that one-on-one delivery.

Marketing personas still had that element of a large group—certain types of people in a demographic that generally were perceived to have the same pains, needs, buying habits, etc.

The digital era has changed all that. You’re able to use data to identify much smaller segments of your audiences based on their actual activity on your site. As a result, you can develop content for people who share the same passion for biking, whether they’re 17-year-old high students living on the West Coast or 32-year-old attorneys in Boston.

Use your email automation software to start making those distinctions. Consider purchase and browsing habits, downloads, click-throughs and other characteristics to start capturing a picture of what motivates a particular segment. Develop your market personas with the benefit of the tools that give you that 3D view.

The more you can segment your subscribers, the more you’re equipped to take the next step in developing a more effective email marketing campaign that generates more opens.

2. Develop content categories based on the buyer’s journey.

If you’re operating in the B2B realm or as part of a non-profit organization, there’s likely a natural progression in the typical customer’s journey with you.

The first categories can range from explanations about how you can solve the client’s pains and address their challenges with your services or solutions to familiarity with your product. As the subscriber becomes more familiar with your solution, you can move on to additional categories in which you are providing more advanced solutions to further enhance their results.

In the case of a nonprofit, the progression can begin with a welcome message and fundamental information about how your organization works. Donors who have been with you for years may be ideal recipients of email newsletters about the benefits of legacy gifts, volunteering and other deeper levels of commitment.

Avoid brainstorming target personas and the buyer’s journey in a vacuum. Members of your sales teams and other client-facing employees can provide further insights into the data you’re receiving from your email marketing platform and other sources. They can help you build a foundation that can be essential to your success.

3. Build email trigger campaigns based on activity.

As numerous studies have indicated over the years, timing is an essential component of email open rates. Best day to send emails? In some studies, the best day emerged as Tuesday. And the best time ranged between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Depending upon the industry, those times may have varied. Maybe Thursday at 4 p.m. was better for your audience. Or even Mondays. And the studies varied from year to year. It could get confusing.

But fast forward to today, and you can do even better than that. With email automation software, you can time emails to be sent out to subscribers based on their individual activities.

If a subscriber downloads an ebook, don’t wait until the next generic newsletter goes out on a Tuesday at 10 a.m. With an email drip campaign that is designed to automatically send newsletters based on a specific activity from the subscriber, you can send relevant information within minutes.

This approach can work equally well for B2B and B2C customers. For example, if you’re in the entertainment business, you can design a campaign that sends email newsletters about events similar to the one already purchased by the subscriber. Attendees of an acid rock concert may not be interested in an operatic performance. But maybe they are … only your data can provide those insights.

Ikea is among the notable brands that get it right. The Scandinavian store engages in trigger email campaigns to ensure a personalized experience for its subscribers. After a user browsed a coffee table that could double as a display case, a follow-up email provided another look at the table in addition to some other items that are ideally suited for collectors and their collectibles.

Other considerations for trigger campaigns can include cart abandonment, events and queries. Explore and list the many possibilities that can be scheduled for trigger campaigns.

4. Be helpful.

Unfortunately, too many emails are crafted and delivered simply because there’s an expectation that your team will send an email every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m.

As a result, there’s a danger of monotony setting in. Your team may start losing sight of the subscribers’ pains, needs, desires, and interests. With every email newsletter, try to main a laser focus on what would be of interest to the subscriber in that particular segment.

You won’t nail it every time, but at least your subscribers will understand that you’re making an effort … that you really are invested in the relationship.

In the case of that entertainment vendor, a newsletter can provide helpful information about the best locations to park before an event, the ideal times to arrive and highly rated restaurants in the area.

With this approach, you’re conveying that you’re not just out to gain more sales from them. You’re truly invested in meeting their needs. You’re being helpful by making their experience more enjoyable.

The same can be applicable for B2B clients. Your email newsletter should not focus solely on your products, your solutions and your services.

Include up-to-date information in your newsletter that’s relevant to your subscriber’s industry. Create alerts for each of your customer segments to stay on top of industry trends and make sure to include them in your newsletters in a timely manner. If the topic is really hot, send it right away.

You also can develop partnerships with organizations that can provide your subscribers with invaluable information, as is the case with Acorns, an online investment company. Acorns sent a recent informational email to its subscribers about their rights as an investor.

Did they send this same newsletter to new subscribers? Probably not. The information may have detracted from the basics the new subscriber needed at the time.

Sherwin-Williams, which is in the business of selling paint, recently provided its subscribers with information about the color trends forecast for 2019 along with an article that provided helpful seasonal tips about sealing and protect a deck.

With helpful additions to your email newsletter, you’ll find that your subscribers will find value in your email newsletters. They will trust you to provide information that’s not a waste of their time.

5. Show up where they are.

According to a study by the global advertising agency OMD, consumers will switch between their devices to consume content—from smartphones to laptops and iPads—an average of 21 times within an hour.

You can’t afford to adopt a strategy that only focuses on a laptop experience, neglecting the opportunity to connect via SMS.

With the benefit of automation, you can develop a comprehensive communications strategy that ideally suits the different types of device that your subscribers use on an hourly basis.

Consider how each of the experiences can complement one another. A text message, for example, can promote a discount described in a lengthier email about various events or offerings.

And with the benefit of real-time data insights through automation, you can deliver messages that automatically respond to where your subscriber is hanging out at the time.

Pay attention to your brand

We can pay so much attention to studying our audiences that we lose sight of our own brands. However, an investment in fine-tuning your brand and your brand messaging can be just as critical to your ability to gain more engagement from your subscribers.

Here are a few tips to consider:

6. Revisit your brand personality.

The rules of attraction always involve at least two parties. Your brand must be perceived as attractive to consumers because of your brand personality: smart, warm, funny, dependable, honest, witty…it’s up to you to determine which traits best fit your brand.

And, as a brand strategist pointed out in an Inc. article, you should consider whether or not you need a brand identity revamp in an environment that’s constantly changing. According to Molly St. Louis, “businesses succeeding in marketing are those with a clear, undeniable perspective…or in other words, a strong brand.”

Anthropologie is among the brands that deliver a consistent tone throughout its emails and website. In keeping with its brand reputation for delivering out-of-the-ordinary fashion, the company’s marketing teams send email messages with subject lines like this: “A beret, a bangle & a boot walk in…”

The tone is playful and engaging throughout the email message. It makes you wonder what is Anthropologie will surprise you with next.

Make sure you choose what works for you. Playful may not be what your audience is looking for when urgently looking for a solution that addresses their most challenging problems at work.

7. Leverage the expertise of your CEO or SMEs.

It’s a mistake to assume that your CEO or a leading subject matter expert is so busy that they can’t make time to contribute to your marketing efforts. In some cases, it can represent the difference between succeeding in reaching your sales goals or falling significantly short.

If you can find value in your CEO being the face and voice of your brand, you could leverage their expertise to promote your brand.

Marie Forleo and Austin Kleon, a motivational business coach and an author respectively, excel at serving as the voice of their brands. In both cases, it seems like an obvious leap that they would make that type of investment.

However, Elon Musk has demonstrated that CEOs can perform in the same capacity even for larger brands — but, of course, with varying results, depending upon who you talk to.

Determine what works best for your brand.

Maximize the features of email automation software

No email marketing strategy can be fully effective in providing subscribers with that 1:1 interaction without the benefit of automation. It’s virtually impossible unless you only have a few dozen subscribers. That’s why the final tip emphasizes mastering email automation software.

8. Learn to leverage your software.

Without the benefit of your email automation software, personalizing your email newsletter can be a cumbersome progress. Take the time to master what it takes to implement workflows that make easier work of personalization and sending your email newsletters at the right time.

Your software also should give you the ability to quickly assess the effectiveness of your campaigns and where they can be tweaked to gain better results.

It provides you with the data insights you need to increase your engagement, including email open rates and click-throughs.

Ready to learn more about email automation? Talk to us about Delivra’s user-friendly automation software. Reach out for a demo to discover how it can work for you.

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