10 QUICK WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR MAILER OPEN RATES

10 QUICK WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR MAILER OPEN RATES

It's a new year. 

Do you need to do something new to your mailer campaigns? 

The number of people who open your email isn't the most important stat, but If your engagement stats are generally dwindling, or they've hit a plateau, it might be time to look at upping your mailer game. More openers mean potentially more clickers, which mean potentially more leads / downloads / etc... so it's wise to invest the time.

So here are 10 quick ways to improve your mailer open rates...
 

1. EMAIL PEOPLE WHO HAVE GENUINELY OPTED IN TO HEAR FROM YOU

Sounds obvious, but targeting people who have never given you permission to mail them, much less; who may never have heard of you, will undoubtedly have a knock on effect on your open rates, with a considerable amount of recipients sticking you straight into their junk mail folder. This applies to recipients you've bought via a list (from one of the countless faceless organisations peddling this stuff about). These are not people who are necessarily interested in whatever you have to say, and can you be 100% certain they've given your list-seller permission to sell their details on?

In turn, if your mailers are marked as spam too often, over time this can negatively impact deliverability.

On top of this, some email marketing platforms will ask unsubscribers 'why' they want to unsubscribe from your emails - with 'I never subscribed to this mailing list' increasingly appearing as an option.

So even if your CRM system doesn't carry a large amount of people who have given their consent to be mailed, it's far better to stick to sending to this group, as the likelihood of them opening is far greater.  
 

2.Use segmentation to tailor your 'send' list

Sounds really obvious, but if your audience wants to hear about offers on spa breaks, maybe don’t send them mailers about bungee jumping excursions and jet-skiing?

Take some time to identify which content / offers / messages your intended audience is actually interested in. If you’ve employed the tactic of having the briefest of forms on your website to help encourage a higher volume of sign-ups, I know this might prove a little tricky – however, you might be able to predict some of this through common sense. 
 

3. Use personalisation in the subject line

You may be emailing 5,500 people with the same message, and that’s fair enough, but research (and reality) has shown time and time again that using personalisation adds an extra notch to your post when it comes to getting people to open your mailers.

So instead of: 

“Sale: 20% off all shoes”

...how about: 

“Kim, save 20% on your next pair of shoes” 
 

4. Write an engaging subject line

With so much 'noise' online now, and everyone marketing everything, everywhere, all the time - it’s more important than ever to ensure your subject line stands out in peoples’ inboxes.

As well as using personalisation (see point 3 above), consider the tone of your subject line.

  • Can you get away with something more informal?
  • How can you make what might be perceived as a mediocre offering, more exciting?
  • Can you hint at the email definitely offering them some real value?

Also, watch how many characters you’re using – too short, and it may not fully get across the gist of your message. Too long, and the end of your sentence might be truncated (depending on device and/or email client type).
 

5. Don’t forget to fill in the ‘preview text’ field

I only have to take a sample of received mail from my own inbox to find that even the big household names leave this field blank - more often than you might expect.

Some even leave the original placeholder text in, and forget to replace it with something else. This doesn’t look great to the intended reader, and can put some people off opening from the start.

It only takes 30 seconds to formulate something for the preview field which will reinforce your subject line.
 

6. Test your mailer before you send it

Again, it may sound obvious, but check for what you’d expect – does your email render ok on mobile devices? Does the CTA button appear where and how it should? Is everything the right colour.. and so on.

Also, give the final mailing list you intend to use a quick scan. Are there first names in capitals? Are there any obvious misspellings?
 

7. Send it at the right time

If you’re using a professional platform to send your campaigns, it may be clever enough to guide you as to when is best to send your mailer - based on either previous performance of your mailers, or based on the platform’s total sum of overall customer performance. This free insight is worth taking into account when you’re making a decision on the day/time, plus there are plenty of other thoughts and stats on the whole timeliness of sends issue to be found online.

It can actually vary from industry to industry, so do a bit of research and see what actually works for your organisation.

Obviously consider predictable human behaviours (most people are asleep between midnight and 7am) and seasonal factors (Mr Lyons won’t be opening your email on Christmas day when he’s stuffing his face with turkey and food).
 

8. Don’t forget to remail non-openers

By remail, I'm talking about two tactics:

1. Resending your campaign once more after your original send to non-openers. It’s likely you’ll prompt some further engagement this way, and even more so if you take a minute to tweak things like the subject line – i.e. don’t just send exactly the same wording as the first time. Reflect the fact that you’re emailing them again.Could you tweak your wording to make your offering even more unmissable?

2. Mopping up people who weren't sent your mailer the first time round. Look at the undelivered / bounce list/s and see if anyone's not been mailed due to something you can fix - is there an obvious misspelling in their name or company name? Fix these, and then resend your campaign.
 

9. Honour ‘unsubscribe’ requests

It’s pretty simple, if someone requests to leave your list, let them leave – don’t keep mailing them. It’s annoying, it’s not professional, and it doesn’t leave the person feeling great about your brand (I’ve written a whole blog about it here).
 

10. Keep your mailing lists fresh

From time-to-time, it's worth dipping into your overall database to see who's worth removing because:

  • You know they're a dead duck, prospect-wise
  • You've heard they've moved on
  • They've requested to unsubscribe (and this hasn't been done automatically through some system, for some reason)
  • They've moved to a sector that's not relevant to your company
  • Of something sinister - like they're no longer breathing (it happens)
  • Of something else I've not listed here

Though this may reduce your overall contact total, you'll immediately increase the quality of the contacts on your database. As a result, this can lead to a better open rate for your campaigns.

Stick to these 10 little rules, and you should see some uplift in your open rates. Good luck!

Want more? Check out my 8 quick tips for optimising your mailer campaign.

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