Many people freak out about email open rates. I’m not one of them.
Sure, we want people to read and open our emails but how many marketing emails do you open a day? Do you open every single email you get to your inbox? Probably not.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but a case can be made for sending more emails per week even if the open rate is lower.
Obviously, you shouldn’t write crappy emails and spam people. That won’t get you anywhere. But realize that simply by seeing “Mike Kim” in your inbox can remind you of me, whether you open the email or not.
This premise is based on direct mail.
Do you open every single letter or brochure you get from Bed, Bath, and Beyond? No, but when you’re ready to dole out on a new shower curtain or some bedsheets, the first place you think of going to is Bed, Bath, and Beyond. (God, they send so many coupons.)
Mail, whether it’s print or digital, is oftentimes more about staying “top of mind” than hitting a certain open rate.
A few other thoughts:
The average email open rate for a small business is about 18%. If you are over this number, you’re actually doing pretty well.
The larger your list, the lower your open rate tends to be. This is mostly due to spam folders or the simple fact that most businesses send worthless emails to their list and have trained their subscribers to ignore their emails.
Take a look at your spam and look at the kind of marketing emails you get. Macy’s, Ticketmaster, Expedia … are these brands actually sending you anything useful other than the occasional coupon or hot new deal? Their emails aren’t helpful, which is why they go unopened and end up in spam purgatory.
In the long-term, you need to work hard at changing people’s mentality about your emails. Condition them to think that your messages will actually be of some value. Better subject lines will help, too. For help with this:
Beyond writing better subject lines, one easy way to increase your open rates is to simply RE-SEND YOUR EMAIL TO UN-OPENS.
The service provider I use, ConvertKit (affiliate link) allows me to do this with a few clicks. Here are stats from a promotion I ran to a segment of my list awhile back:
The original email I sent is the second one in the screenshot above. The stats: 6,818 Recipients, 22.8% Open Rate, 3.8% Click Rate, 262 Clicks, and 30 Unsubscribers. Had I never re-sent the email to the people that didn’t open this, that would have been the end of the campaign.
The next day, I re-sent the email to anyone that didn’t open the first one. The numbers there: 5,484 Recipients, 12.9% Open Rate, 2.1% Click Rate, 113 Clicks, and 9 Unsubscribers. Yes, that means that 5,484 people totally ignored my first email. Ouch. But maybe not, because…
When you combine the two stats (which ConvertKit does for me at the top) I end up with a 30.3% Open Rate for this campaign. That’s way over 18%, and I can tell you that those extra 113 clicks on the re-sent email were a very good (and profitable) thing.
To increase your open rate, re-send to un-opens. I often resend one to three days after the initial email as long as it’s not part of a launch.
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