In light of the recent shift in working arrangements, emails – considered in pre-pandemic years to be a dwindling method of communication – have become more important than ever.
It’s not just how we communicate between colleagues anymore. It’s how we communicate with everyone. Friends, family, neighbors, politicians…no one is exempt from the delight (or dread) of these bite-sized messages.
As a digital marketer, you already knew the true value that emails impart and it is time to address a common question.
How do you increase your response rate?
The average email open rate sits around 20%, depending on the industry. But the average response rate only comes out to about 10%. (Though it can run several percent in either direction). For those at the low end of this number, you could be losing valuable 1:1 time with your audience.
In this guide, we’ll discuss 10 tips for more email responses, so you can watch your ROI shoot through the roof.
1. Write Captivating Subject Lines
Every great interaction starts with a great opening line.
That’s why, in many marketing campaigns, the subject line is make-or-break time. This is the first contact your subscribers have with every email – if you don’t draw them in here, you never will.
But there are different ways to approach a “great” subject line. Some of this depends on your industry, as well as your subscribers.
Depending on the industry you are in, you will need to find the right balance between clickbait titles and professionalism. Let us illustrate.
Sure, titles like “Your Order” will have a high open-rate, but at the same, this is the best way to get your audience angry and also get your emails flagged as spam.
On the other hand, titles like “Our new emailing guide” may be quite boring. So you have to find the middle ground where the title will be interesting but at the same time will not evoke any “fake” or negative emotions. For example:
- 50% open rate increase in two weeks.
- 5 Tips for Higher Inbox Rate.
- Quick Emailing Tweaks.
You may do well with a line that’s witty and succinct or a statement with a little shock appeal. Sometimes, information or even a call-to-action (CTA) is the way to go. Whatever you choose, the goal is to increase your open rates as much as possible so the final pick will depend on your audience and their interests.
2. Personalize Your Content
One of the great things about modern marketing is how much consumer information you have. You can use this data in dozens of ways to gain insights into and improve your business.
And if you aren’t using it to personalize your email content, you should be, from subject line to sign-off.
Email personalization is a powerful tool. For one, subscribers are more likely to open emails with personalized subject lines.
And secondly, think about your own experiences with receiving marketing emails. Do you feel like marketers care a little more if they put your name in every email? Odds are, you do!
In some cases, websites go as far as aligning the personalization with the specialized landing pages they’ve built but you can start much easier than that.
If you’re not sure how to go about personalizing your email content, consider:
- Using subscriber names in the top / in the body of your emails
- Tailoring advice to user’s personal habits
- Sending birthday emails – perhaps with a 15% off coupon inside
- Describe how your products can improve your subscriber’s lives
- Link to content or blogs that may benefit your users
Many email marketing sites, allow you to add these basic personalization tactics to your content. Here is how it’s done in Automizy.
Even a simple personalization as putting in the title something like “High John, quick question?” will do wonders for your CTR.
3. …And Your Email Domain
Personalizing content for your subscribers is not the only way to add a unique touch to your campaigns.
If you’re working from a generic Gmail or Yahoo address, chances are you will not be treated seriously (not even mentioning the bulk sending limits that those email providers have).
Think about it. Your subscribers may receive dozens, if not hundreds, of emails per day. With a generic email domain, your content will slip right through the cracks.
To that end, consider making a simple switch to a new domain name. One common way to address this concern is to follow a format such as FirstnameLastname@companyname.com. Not only does this add a personal touch it also looks more professional. It also makes it simpler for the recipients to identify your emails immediately.
Last, but definitely, not least it makes it easier to avoid the spam folder. While gmail.com has a high domain rating, even Gmail will many times send Gmail emails into spam. So if you would have several hyperlinks in your email (additional spam trigger) the chances of your email not even reaching inbox are now substantially higher.
4. Create Engaging Copy
Of course, all this personalization does no good if your content is bland.
If you’re short-sighted in providing bland content now with the intent of ramping up later…don’t be. Training your subscribers to expect boring or irrelevant content in your email campaigns is a surefire way to get unsubscribed.
Instead, focus on providing recipients with value – something worth their time (and response).
Offer short, engaging pieces that relate to their interests. If you’re in the right industry, you can even include a link to an in-depth blog article with more information
Or, if you’re in the email marketing and selling business, write catchy offers and ad copy to hype your latest products. Chances are that your subscribers subscribed for a reason. Remind them what that is – what your brand can provide them.
If you’re not sure where to start, there are a few basic practices you can incorporate into your content:
- Encourage participation with links to surveys and outside content
- Offer coupons in return for quick action on their part
- Incorporate popular trends and references (but don’t overdo!)
- Create FOMO – fear of missing out – by using intriguing or “limited time” language
5. Add a Specific Call-to-Action
At some point in your engaging content, consider adding in a CTA to boost your engagement and response rates. This can look like a quick sentence, a request for action. Just make sure that the CTA is clear to your readers.
By including a call to action, you provoke your subscribers to…well, take action. In particular, you can encourage them to do what you want at that moment, be it read your blog, buy a product, or vote for your favorite Masked Singer.
Pro tip: the words “Limited Time Offer” can go a long way.
Or, if you’re looking for more thoughtful responses, ending your email with a simple question may be enough to encourage your subscribers to send you an email back.
6. Watch What You Say (And How You Spell It!)
In all this, it’s essential that you know how to curate the response you want.
One of the most obvious tips here is to avoid “Do Not Reply” language. There is nothing more off-putting than a business that wants your money but refuses to allow you to react. If you have to have an unmanned inbox, be sure to redirect to a manned inbox for your subscribers to contact you.
Additionally, you’ll want to craft your CTAs with care. Some pushy CTAs are cute, while others are downright obnoxious. On the other hand, embedding your CTA so cleverly that your users can’t find it does nobody any good.
And of course, through all this, you want to make sure that your grammar and spelling are on point. Emails with more than one or two errors are seen as unprofessional, which can lead to lower open and response rates. Take the extra five minutes to make sure you know the difference between here and hear.
Your subscribers will thank you for it – by interacting with your content.
7. Formatting is Key
One area that email marketers often struggle with is how to format their content. A clean, readable format increases your open rate, reader understanding, and responses.
Furthermore, everyone dislikes copy-and-paste emails. While templates make for quick work, they can also look like you don’t care to put time into your messaging. If you do opt in for a template, be sure to customize it with on-point branding.
Additionally, you can address your formatting concerns by:
- Sticking to the basics – bold, italics, and underlines
- Include bullets or lists to organize your points
- Removing special fonts or colors except for branding purposes
- Write short, genuine, simple messages
- End your emails with a professional sign-off or signature (when applicable)
- Test your formats, messaging, and subsequent modifications
For more ideas on how to format your emails, check out Automizy’s email design guide.
8. Segment Your Campaigns
At some point during the campaign creation process – hopefully not after your letters have reached their target inboxes – you’ll also want to look at email segmentation.
Segmenting your marketing lists is a simple, effective way to increase your ROI. Sending the right (read: relevant) content to the right people is one of the best ways to pique their interest.
After all, sending offers for baby bottles to retirees probably won’t get you many bites. And, if you send it enough times, you’re almost guaranteed to lose a subscriber.
Not to mention, putting content into the hands of subscribers who need it, you’re more likely to increase their engagement overall. Users want content that appeals to them and their needs. As a digital marketer, the onus is on you to make that happen.
If you’re not sure how to start segmenting your lists, take a look at the data you collect about your subscribers. You probably have their name, and maybe their birthdate, general location, and of course their email address, too.
If not, now is a great time to start filling in those blanks with a quick survey – not to mention all the other blanks in your spreadsheets.
9. Timing is Everything
Before you send your emails into the world, you’ll also want to consider when your emails go out. “Timing is everything” is a cliched phrase, to be sure – but it’s a cliché for a reason.
When it comes to email marketing, timing is one of the most important factors in determining whether you’ll receive a response. This is true across niches, industries, and even (especially!) international borders.
To improve your response rates, you’ll want to time your emails based on subscribers’ lives, as well as the products or services you offer.
No one wants to receive work-related emails at 9pm when they’re relaxing on the couch. And in the same way, opening an ad for an amusement park is more annoying than exciting when in the midst of a global pandemic.
If you’re not sure when to hit send – what’s the best time to market plumbing services? – this is where your subscriber data will come in handy. Most email services, such as Automizy, include a basic dashboard that covers:
- Open and engagement rates
- Response rates
- Emails marked as spam
- Unsubscribe rates
Use this data to construct a timeline of when your emails are best received. Do you receive more opens but lower responses in the morning? Are people more likely to respond in the evening, even if your open rate is lower? Test your theories and apply your learned knowledge, and soon you’ll be on your way to greater responses.
10. Optimize for Mobile Devices
Sometimes, harping on what seems to be obvious is obnoxious. But it’s important to remind everyone that, even now, the world is more mobile than ever. Even for areas still experiencing the impacts of the global pandemic, the use of mobile devices is more and more common.
In fact, over 50% of all website traffic is generated by mobile phones alone. And that doesn’t account for tablets and other smart devices. Nor does it address the differences in mobile uses across ages and borders.
Thus, if you’re not already optimizing your emails for mobile content, you should be. If you don’t, you could be driving away half – or more – of your subscriber base.
Additionally, you may want to take pains to test your emails on multiple devices and across several clients. Emails that work on the Gmail app may not always respond well on the Yahoo web portal and vice versa.
As with everything that is related to digital marketing, getting more email responses comes down to the same thing – testing (which Automizy of course provides :). Even if you think that you already have a great result it can always be improved and these incremental increases that you win here and there will combine into a huge difference in the bottom line of your business and email marketing analytics.