When it comes to generating revenue via email marketing, there’s a few factors that must come together in order to make a sale happen. 

To get the ball rolling <surprise>…. your email must be opened.

Given the fact that an average open rate in ecommerce is (depending on the source) anything between 15 and 18% percent, this means that around 80% of prospective customers won’t open your emails.

Luckily, there are ways to deal with this discouraging statistic and have your emails opened reliably more often. That in turn should translate to more money on your account.

At the end of the day, what good is even the best email copy in the galactic if hardly anybody gets that far? With that said, here’s 8 ways to increase your email open rates. 

1. Get your subject line right.

The subject line is the second thing people look at right after the sender’s name. In my opinion, the easiest way to come up with an effective subject line is this: google “the best/the most effective subject lines” and use them as a jump-off point to put your own spin(s) on it. If you’re not a copywriter, it will make things much easier for you. 

Then, before you settle for the final version, try to write up at least 5-10 different variations. After that, let it cool down and pick the best one. From my experience the more direct and clear it is, the better it works. Typically, a good  subject line needs to either invoke curiosity or spell some kind of benefit for the reader but there are other angles you can approach it from.

Also, keep your sender’s name (the “from” field) real. I am not saying it should always be your first and last name. Simply don’t make it look scammy because it will impact your domain’s reputation and determine success of future campaigns. An example of a bad sender name could be your nickname or your first or last name only (I don’t really see it working for eCommerce).

2. Don’t skip the preheader

Most people do. But a good preheader works like an extension of your subject line. It’s basically  a few words more that can tip the scales in your favor and make someone open the email. 

You can even get creative and use the so-called cliffhanger where you can leave your sentence unfinished. Not necessarily by cutting half of it out (because if it doesn’t make any sense it won’t help you), but by not finishing the entire thought. 

This way the brain catches the bait and needs to satisfy the curiosity to read the rest. Also bear in mind that if your email starts with an image, the alt text is what will show first. So make sure to write alt text for the top image that will work as a compelling preheader.

3. Don’t half-ass copy

As obvious as it sounds, good copy creates better results. Of course, you may as well use pre-built email flows or some other templates but this can only get you so far.

If you really want to infuse some brand into for example, a welcome flow or a newsletter, then bland, cookie-cutter copy won’t be nearly as effective as “branded” one. 

4. Honor thy email domain. 

No matter how good your emails are, they may sometimes fall prey to those invisible gatekeepers called spam filters. Gmail, which is the biggest email service provider with 1.5 billion active accounts— is also the hardest to get past through in terms of “security”. 

So the emails that you send which land in Spam folders will not only decrease your overall open rate but they will also negatively impact your email domain. This, in turn, will likely set off more spam filters and so the vicious circle begins. 

Gmail uses user behaviour such as clicks, opens, replies, folder segregation as a way to determine how important a particular email is. So the more replies you get, the better for your domain’s reputation. One of the best practises is to ask your subscribers to move your emails from spam or promotions tabs into their inbox. 

A really cool tool to test to check the “spaminess” of your domain is this tool:  “https://www.mail-tester.com/”. It gives you a “reputation mark” based on multiple parameters. Then, if something’s wrong, you know exactly what the cause is and you can work on fixing it.

5. Segment your list.

If you pay attention to overarching trends in marketing, you may have noticed that personalisation is something that has dramatically gained importance in the last few years. 

The best way to put this strategy into practice is by setting up automations and building up segments that allow you to send you better-targeted and more personalized emails. 

Example: you just launched a new product and want to make a promo. Now, if you send emails to the whole list, it will also include the least engaged people and they will not be opening your emails let alone buying. Solution? Create a segment of the most engaged users (the ones who have opened your emails recently or have a rich history of purchases) and advertise to them. The result will be completely different. 

6. Choosing the right email marketing tool.

Options abound but a well-established standard in the eCommerce world is definitely Klaviyo. 

It’s pretty straightforward to navigate (even if you’re not very tech-savvy) and it has pretty advanced analytics (including predictive analytics).  

7. Find the ideal frequency and the best time of day.

There’s no golden rule, and the only way to figure out what’s the sweet spot for your audience is by testing. If you email too often, people will deem your emails spammy. But if you don’t send them often enough, people may not remember you when the ‘buying time” comes.  

Now, with segmentation in place,  “ideal frequency” becomes even more relative. This is because different segments within your audience will have a different “tolerance threshold”. 

As far as timing goes, the more familiar you are with your audience, the better you can put yourself in their shoes and predict what would be the best time for them to read emails. According to GetResponse study, the best time to send email to your list is around 11 AM and 2 PM (on the weekdays,  of course). 

8. Optimize for mobile.

Since more than 50% of all emails are opened on smartphones or tablets, by NOT optimizing your emails for mobile you’re shooting yourself in the foot. The most important things to bear in mind here is using: 

  • Small file sizes (to speed up loading and decrease bounce rates) 
  • Larger CTAs to facilitate clicking 
  • Mobile responsive email templates.

Now, that’s pretty much it. Implementing all these tips properly could probably account for 80% of success in your email marketing. Of course, this is assuming you sell good stuff to the right people. 

Now, here’s the next step you might consider…

If you’ve got a weird feeling that you’re leaving money on the table because people skip past your emails/ads and you want an extra set of trained, brown and charming eyeballs to look at your stuff, I might be the guy you want to schedule for a free copy-audit. You can book it here: https://calendly.com/oscarolczakcopywriting/30min

Alternatively , you can share this article with someone you think could benefit from reading it or leave a comment below. Because why not.