Recently I’ve blogged a lot about email campaign open rates and what the stats mean, but do you know how to improve them? I’ve been seeing and experimenting with a few of techniques to increase open rates that seem to be working REALLY well, so I thought I’d share what I’m finding with you.

Resend to Non-Openers

The time of your original campaign send can mean that some of your audience don’t get to see your original campaign.  That can be for many reasons. Other priorities could have got in the way. Your email could have got ‘lost’ in an overflowing inbox, or they just simply didn’t see it.

By scheduling a resend to the non-openers a couple of days after the original send, you get another chance to get in front of their eyeballs.  When I’ve done this the open rate had increased significantly. The increase has been anything from 5% to 10%, so it’s worth doing.

A good email marketing tool will allow you to create a list or sub-list of non-openers. In Constant Contact, the tool I use, it gives you a list of the non-openers so after selecting them I just use their ‘quick send’ facility and select the last newsletter.

In Mailchimp, you can create a sub-list of people who didn’t open the last campaign, but you have to make a copy of the last campaign to send it to them, which takes a little more time.

Remove the Bounces

Bounces are recorded when your email wasn’t delivered to the recipient. There are two types of bounces – soft and hard. A soft bounce could be that their mail box was full or there was a holiday autoresponder. Soft bounces are ok to hang on to, as it’s a temporary state.

Hard bounces register for when their mailbox didn’t exist. Maybe they changed their email address or they’ve left the organisation. Sometimes, it could be that the email address is incorrect. These should be removed. Why waste money on sending campaigns to non-working email addresses?

Removing bouncing email addresses should be a task you do regularly, just to keep your list healthy. Too many bounces will skewer your open rates, so it makes sense to remove them.

Remove the Non-Openers

This one sounds more drastic, but think of it this way. It costs you for every person to be on your list or to send them a campaign. So if they’re not opening your emails, then they don’t deserve to be on your list. Clearing out non-openers makes room for new subscribers who are engaged.

Think about it. Removing non-openers can drastically increase open rates. Let’s say that you’ve been seeing open rates at around 15%. That means 85% are not opening your emails. If your list is 2000, that’s 1700 people not opening your emails! Removing those people will mean your list will reduce to 300. However, your open rate will shoot up to nearer 90% and above. That’s a far nicer open rate than 15%!

I’ve seen several ways to re-engage with a list

  1. Just plain and simple remove anyone who hasn’t opened your email in the last 6 months, no notice
  2. Send out an email explaining they’re cleaning up their list and asking them to unsubscribe or opt out
  3. Send out an email explaining that to stay on the list (and receive all their tips) they need to opt in or click on a link
  4. Send out a last chance email explaining that to stay on the list they need to take action (click a link)
  5. Do number 1 after trying 2, 3 and 4

What to Do With the Removed Non-Openers

Now this one is really clever…

Before removing the non-openers from your email tool, download them so you have a spreadsheet of the names and emails.

Next upload them as an audience in your Facebook ad account and set up a targeted ad to just that list offering them one of your freebie downloads. That way you may be able to re-engage with them and win them back in your list.

Increase Open Rates

So there you have 4 neat ways to increase email open rates. Let me know if you try any of these out and how that works out. If you need my techie help to do this for you, then let’s talk. Set up a Web Tech Clarity Call with me.

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