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Back to the Basics – Increasing Your Unique Open Rates

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Yes, I know this topic has been hashed out numerous times, but I still see email newsletters coming in with subject lines that will send them straight to the spam folder and my finger straight to the delete key. So let’s recap a little.

You’ve hit send on an aesthetic, poignant email campaign and it’s reached your recipients inboxes…but are they opening it? If your unique open rates are less than stellar it may be time to analyze what you may be doing wrong.

Let’s face it…it’s the middle of 2009 and email is the fastest growing communication tool. Users have to spend more time weeding through email after email than ever before. So the real question is – How do you stand out amongst the crowd and gain that sought after unique open?

Here are some factors to consider before launching your next campaign:

Permission-based: Can your users easily remember the where, why and when of opting in to receive your newsletter? If it’s not clear to them they will most likely mark you as SPAM.

Is it clear who the sender is? Don’t switch up your “From” name – stay consistent to avoid confusion with your recipients.

Experiment with your subject lines: One of the biggest factors of whether a recipient will open your email is an enticing subject line. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while writing your next subject line:

  • Don’t use acronyms
  • Don’t bore them – use interesting attention grabbing headlines
  • Include a subject line that reveals a bit of what your newsletter is about.
  • Avoid words like “free” “help” “percent off” and “reminder” – they scream SPAM!
  • First and last name in subject line don’t necessarily help, but localization does – including a city name in your post (if relevant) can increase your open rates – “Cool Spots to Relax in Phoenix”   (I’d open that!)
  • Try and keep your subject line to 50 characters or less – A subject line which is too long will discourage your recipients from opening it.

Finally make sure your key points are in the top third of your email – many recipients use a preview function to decide whether or not your newsletter is worth reading. If all the juicy details are at the bottom of your email you’ve probably lost a few relevant unique opens.

To summarize: sometimes the little things can make the biggest differences. Constant tweeking and tuning your strategies for your online efforts is a must for acheiving the best possible ROI for your business.