5 email marketing tips to improve open & click rates

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Are you struggling to get people to open your emails? Or are people opening your emails but then not clicking on your carefully planned CTA?

Either way, neither scenario is ideal.

It’s always a little disappointing to spend a lot of time crafting an email only to have it sit in inboxes unopened, un-clicked, and forgotten. Don’t let this happen to your next email.

Here are five email marketing tips that you can use right now to improve your open and click rates so you can start getting the results you need.

Incorporate eye magnet words

One of the quickest and easiest ways to start improving click rates is to use eye magnet words. What are eye magnet words, you might ask? They are the type of words that our brains are hardwired to recognize and pick out. When we read, we don’t usually read every single word we see.

We scan.

This concept applies to email, and even more specifically to email subject lines. The average person receives up to 121 emails a day, so you can count on the fact that they’re not going to carefully read every subject line that pops up in their inbox. In order for your email to stick out you’ll want to try using the following words.

  • New.
    The word new is one of the top 5 most persuasive words in the english language. Our brains naturally crave new knowledge all the time. Putting the word ‘new’ into your subject line suggests that if the viewer opens your email, they will be rewarded with information that they did not previously possess.
  • Secret.
    The same psychology applies to the word ‘secret.’ We want new information that is not readily available. The word secret also applies a level of exclusivity that gets our attention. According to World Data, using the word ‘secret’ in a subject line leads to 11% higher open rates.
  • Free.
    On average, the word free increases email open rates by 10%. The word ‘free’ gives us an emotional charge and is considered a powerful psychological word. When we see the word ‘free’ we automatically assign value to whatever is being offered, which leads to opening the email.
  • First name.
    All of us have been learning to respond to our names since the day we were born so it comes as no surprise that including a first name in the subject line of an email can lead to higher open rates. How much exactly? According to Campaign Monitor, when marketers personalized the subject lines of their emails, open rates increased by 15%.
  • Alert.
    Finally, the word ‘alert’ taps into the more primal area of our brains. Since humans are programmed to constantly look out for danger, the word ‘alert’ will get noticed. In fact, using the word ‘alert’ in the subject line can increase open rates by 33.1% according to Adestra’s website.

Create a sense of urgency and exclusivity

Another tactic for improving open and click rates for email is to make the content seem: 

  • Exclusive
  • Time-sensitive

By creating a sense of urgency, we feel more compelled to not only open an email, but also to take action.

Using phrases such as “Today only” or “Last chance” will create a sense of urgency and time sensitivity, which can spur your target audience to click on your CTA.

You can also position your email to include an air of exclusivity. The goal of exclusivity is to make people feel important.

  • An example of using exclusivity in an email would be a subject line like, “You have been selected for your expertise” or “Become a founder donor.”
    • The first subject line lets your audience know that they're receiving this email because someone appreciates their knowledge. It also makes them feel special.
    • The second subject line lets your audience know that they will become a part of the foundation of an organization. If the offer includes some special perks or honorable mentions, you may be looking at a higher converting email and landing page.

Using these tactics together can work astoundingly well.

The Email Institute cited a 22% increase in click and response rates when marketers positioned their emails as urgent and exclusive.

An example of combining urgency and exclusivity would look a little something like: “I’m holding one of the last 15 seats for you” for a concert event or “last chance before public launch” for something like a new software program. Both of these subject lines give a time frame for the offer while also making the reader feel important and part of something.

Whether you decide to make people feel special or create a sense of urgency in your emails or both, each strategy can lead to higher click and response rates.

Utilize Social Proof

In marketing, social proof involves showing your customer that other people have already converted on your offer or have already RSVP’d to your event.

We tend to be more willing to do something if we know other people have done it or plan to do it.

  • For example, a study showed that potential donors were more likely to make a donation to a charity when the list of donor signatures was longer.
  • Alternatively, potential donors were much less likely to donate to a charity if the list of donor signatures was blank.

You can position your emails in a similar manner.

  • If the goal of your email is to generate event attendees, you could say something in the body of the email like, “Will you join the rest of your friends?” or “I’ve already heard from several people in your community.”
  • If you’re trying to sell a specific product, you could include the number of products already sold or show which products are the most popular.

All of these options show the viewer that others have already taken the action you’re suggesting in your email and have benefitted from it, therefore they could as well.

Focus on Pain Points

It's a well known fact that we dislike pain. A lot.  We dislike pain so much that we're two times more motivated to avoid pain than achieve gain.

A way marketers can use that motivation is by positioning an email with the promise of pain avoidance.

  • For example, if you know certain products of yours aren’t going to go on sale, you could say “You better watch out, these items are not going on sale.”
  • Or, if you know the price of something is going to go up soon, you would want to send an email out saying “Don’t pay an extra $100” to encourage your customers to buy sooner, rather than later.

Both of these emails suggest the avoidance of a negative consequence and are more likely to motivate an action.  

Send on Holidays

Lastly, try sending your next email on a holiday or near one. We tend to check email on holidays more often because we have more downtime than usual.

Sending on holidays and special celebrations is great, but what if you could make it even better? People notice and remember things that stick out.

  • Try sending an email on a not-so-well-known holiday such as National Pie Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day. If you write the email in line with your brand, it’s sure to cause some buzz and stick out to in your target audience's memories.
  • Additionally, sending a Happy Birthday email on your customer’s birthday is a good way to make them feel special and remembered. It will foster a good relationship with your company’s brand and your customer.
  • You can also make up your own holiday such as ‘Savings Saturday’ to display a promotion or deal.

Whether you piggyback off of a national holiday or create your own, your email is bound to leave an impression.

And that, as they say, is that.

Hopefully you’ve found a few ideas that work for your business and you’ll start seeing higher open and click rates.

If you’re looking to improve other areas of your marketing, subscribe to reach out to us. We'd love to hear your story.

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