Why are your email open rates going down?
Back when the Internet was new and shiny, people didn’t get many emails. So they opened them all. Those days are long gone, and the competition for attention is fierce.
But marketers know that it’s worse than that. Most of your emails aren’t even landing in your target’s inbox anymore.
Instead, tools like gmail and the Clutter tool in Outlook are stopping your prospects from even seeing your emails.
What’s a marketer to do?
Your email open rates will go down as you build your list. That is the result of people who join your list because you are talking about X, only to find out that you also talk about Y and Z. You won’t reach them with every post. Think about it. How many newsletters have you subscribed to? And how many do you open every time? Exactly.
Here are five things you can do about declining email open rates:
#1 Ask people to white list you, or threaten to remove them from your list. This doesn’t really accomplish much, other than to remove a bunch of people from your list who weren’t really following you anyway. Arithmetically, your open rates are bound to go up when you remove those people who don’t open your emails. And if your open rates go up, will the spam detecting algorithms think better of you? I wish I knew the answer to that question.
#2 Write better subject lines. If you have fallen into the habit of using a repeatable subject line, such as “XCo weekly news”, then your emails will not succeed. Instead, test and test again with multiple subject lines until you get one that works for each and every email you send.
#3 Write better content so that the learning tools within gmail and other mail services understand that your recipients want to receive your emails. This is an excellent, but difficult strategy.
#4 Avoid the obvious spam traps. For example, steer clear of words like “free” or “offer” as that will send your email straight to spam faster than a republican congressman will say he was always behind Trump.
#5 Rely on other strategies in addition to email. Social sharing, content, etc. This is an easier, but more expensive path, that won’t really work over the long term unless you also deal with point #2 and #3.
There are countless other techniques that you can use, such as personalizing every email, using images properly, only sending relevant messages to the right segments of your list, etc. But the main point is that you need to have great content to drive your email marketing strategy. No amount of technology will take the place of excellent story telling.