Digital Marketing

4 Ways to improve email open rates (and when to use SMS instead)

4 ways to increase your email open rates

The money is in the list. You may have heard this saying about email's lead generation power. The Direct Marketing Association would tend to agree, estimating that email's ROI can be as high as 4,300%, making social media look rather sheepish. So no matter what trendy new Facebook and Twitter tactics are doing the rounds, email continues to be one of your most powerful promotional tools. Download our white paper on solving the top 5 ecommerce challenges with SMS But email has its challenges. Your campaign's success relies on people first opening your message and then clicking through to your site. Both of these actions are getting harder to achieve all the time with competition for inbox space and attention rising all the time.

According to Mailchimp, average open rates for ecommerce emails are 17.19% and clickthrough just 2.70%.

So creating successful campaigns is tough. To help you out, here are five tactics for improving your email marketing success:

Tell them what's in the message

Don't sell

Subject lines are the most important element to get right, and also the hardest. In a study of 200 million emails, Mailchimp found that boring works best when writing subject lines. Instead of trying to be clever or loud to get attention, simply tell people what's in the message to get the best opens and responses. People are just too savvy to fall for spammy attention seeking subject lines anymore.

Variety is the spice of success

Trying to bully subscribers into buying your products, with one promotion after another, is a fast-track way of shredding your list of subscribers. Instead, mix it up. Follow the Pareto 80/20 rule, where 4 out of 5 emails are helpful and informative so that when you do slip in a sales message it's accepted. This will also give your sales emails more impact.

Optimize for mobile

According to Litmus, over half of the people now check their emails on a mobile device. This means the mobile first world has arrived. You now have no other option than to ensure your website, product pages, and lead capture forms all work on mobile screens, and the experience is smooth and hassle free. Otherwise you're throwing away over half your leads from every email campaign.

Test, track and tweak

The beauty of email is that every open, click and conversion can be tracked. This allows you to spot what's working and what's draining subscribers. You can also split test two emails at once, and see what impact images, design, copy and calls to action are all having on your conversions. This allows you to continuously improve the success of every message.

When to use SMS instead of email

An email is a key tool in your marketing mix. But it's low open rates and slow response, with it taking on average 90 minutes for customers to read your messages, means email isn't always the best channel. Put simply, if you need to send urgent, time sensitive updates email isn't the answer. SMS, on the other hand, enjoys a near perfect open rate of 98%. Better yet, the notification ping on mobile phones means that SMS messages are typically read within 90 seconds. This makes SMS perfect for notifying customers of important updates, time sensitive promotions and on the spot customer service. Top brands including Harley Davidson and Dunkin Donuts have enjoyed massive success using SMS for running promotions.  SMS is a low cost, is highly deliverable, and you can launch campaigns fast, so why not add them to your marketing arsenal? Along with improving open rates, you can find out how SMS solves other ecommerce challenges in our new white paper guide.

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