How to achieve a 60%+ email open rate

How to achieve a 60%+ email open rate

| September 11, 2014

From E-Goi:

One of our clients averaged an outstanding 65% unique email open rate! This is his story.

Caio Teodoro is a young Brazilian fellow who put together PromoB, a site offering a series of hands-on courses on 3D architectural rendering. Visitors simply pick their desired course and enroll using an E-goi form built into a WordPress plugin. E-goi will then dole out a series of daily emails for each class in the course, as well as a couple bonus hints and tips from Caio himself.

So far so good. Nothing too fancy, it’s just a standard autoresponder sequence. As all sign-ups are double opt-in, good open rates in the first few emails are virtually guaranteed, but Caio was keen on increasing engagement over the course’s follow-up series (which usually tends to wane). This is where it gets interesting

What did he do?

Instead of whipping up his follow-up series and just leaving it at that, Caio took it upon himself to keep a close eye on how each follow-up performed every day, so he could finetune them on the fly. After 6 months of tests and more than 15,000 emails sent, these are his top takeaways:

1) Most engaging subject lines (over 60% unique opens):

– I need to apologise
– Bad news
– I’ve been deceived
– Important course information
– Are you familiar with this technique?

2) Unique clickthrough rate required to sustain such a high open rate: 60% or more (Caio averaged a 72% unique clickthrough rate, a clear, unequivocal indication that his emails connected with his audience)

Which subject lines fared the worst?
“Hi, check out this hot tip”, “Don’t miss out on this class from a top expert”, “Awesome flash sale” and “How to use software X”. They averaged 30% or less (still nothing to shake a stick at).
Should I use such spammy-looking subject lines?

Email subjects which go right for the jugular are always a touchy matter. When is pushy too pushy? That’s why you really need to make sure that the contents of your emails follows up properly and honestly on a killer subject line – drive masses of subscribers to open your email because you said “I need to apologise” and you better be pretty damn sure to have a bullet-proof reason for having done so. Honesty is absolutely key here. The more you talk openly and frankly with your audience, the more you’ll earn their trust and engagement. Fail to do so and you’ll get yourself in a big heap of trouble.

Any other tips?

Yep. Caio cooked up another way to keep his subscribers engaged. He would send an email with highly relevant, impulse-clicking contents first thing in the morning and re-send it the next day only to those folks who hand’t opened it the previous day. He’d then do the same on the 3rd day but only for those non-openers from the 2nd day. Rinse and repeat for the next few days. The masterstroke here is making the re-send look like a personal reminder by adding “Re:” or “Fwd:” to the subject line and quoting the original email below Caio’s follow-up text (he went with “Hi again, did you have a chance to check out my email below?”). It’s particularly effective to drive opens from folks who have tons of messages to sift through. E-goi can automatically create and send this reminder.

What’s the key for high response rates?

Engaging contents that truly connects with your audience. We have a lot of customers reaching 50-60% unique open rates, but they’re usually major retail brands or bloggers with large followings. For single entrepreneurs with no subscribers and no previous mailing history, engaging contents is by far the best way to quickly and effectively ramp up your response rates.

This requires you to test, measure, repeat! Set up slightly different follow-up series (focus on subject lines, contents and sequence order), use segments and tags to sort your subscribers into small groups (about 50 people) and kick off each follow-up separately so you can easily compare them against each other. You can either do it manually or use E-goi’s automated A/B split testing.

And even when you get to see a nice lift in your open rates, keep monitoring your sends daily and be on the lookout for any wrinkles to iron out. Remember, there’s always room for improvement!

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