Monday Catch-up: Improve Open Rates and Write Better Subject Lines

Good Monday morning, marketers! Here a few news items to help get your workweek off to an informed start.

Tips for improving open and clickthrough rates

“In a perfect world, your emails would be opened and read by all your subscribers, thereby increasing the engagement on your website exponentially. But sadly, we are not living in a perfect world and you may face several challenges while deploying your email marketing strategy,” writes Sandeep Mallya at 99signals. He goes on to offer six suggestions that email marketers can quickly implement to improve open and clickthrough rates. Among them: be sure to respond within 24 hours of a new contact taking action, such as subscribing to a newsletter; make sure your copy is short and concise; include just one CTA button; and add links to your images.

Lessons for email marketers from an eye-tracking study

Aaron Beashel, writing at Business 2 Community, takes a look at the results of a recent study that tracked the eye movements of email readers. He explains that eye-tracking studies use computer software and cameras to follow the eye movements of a subscriber as they look at an email and are useful because “knowing what catches your subscribers’ attention can help take the guesswork out of email design.” He shares four takeaways from the study for email marketers: develop emails using an “inverted pyramid” design; include a value proposition; use a CTA button; and be sure to A/B test.

The impact of subject lines

“It seems so simple. We’re all just trying to get someone to click (or tap) on our subject lines and take a quick look at an email. But so is everyone else,” writes Justin Megahan at Mixpanel. In a quest to answer one of email marketing’s fundamental questions – “why do people open emails?” – he took a look at 85,637 subject lines, 1.7 billion email sends and 232 million opens. Among his takeaways: when it comes to subject lines, shorter is better; including the recipient’s name in the subject line may or may not increase open rates; and being polite pays off – using “please,” “thank you” and even “sorry” can make a difference. He adds that email campaigns that are targeted to and crafted for a smaller subset of your users will probably yield better results than “blast” campaigns.

When language gets too casual

“Brands may be tempted to adapt cultural language anomalies in their email marketing, but to do so also risks offending someone, sending subscribers text they don’t understand or even hurting brand trust,” writes Jess Nelson in Media Post’s Email Marketing Daily. He cites the use of the words “bae” and “lit” in a recent email as an example colloquial language that may have best been avoided. “It’s a good rule to speak to your audience on their terms, but it’s obvious when marketers try too hard,” says Vivek Sharma, Movable Ink CEO, in the article. “Customers and prospects want authenticity and can sniff out stilted attempts to be cool. How casual language gets depends on the brand and the experience they’re trying to create.”