Copywriting, Emails, Language, Psychology

5 ways to increase email open rates

Useless unless opened!

It’s very important to spend plenty of time making sure your email copy is as clear, targeted and emotionally triggering as possible before you let it loose on your list, but there is one element of every email that is by far much more important than any other…

The subject line.

If the subject line of your email is not effective enough, all that time and effort spent on the contents of the email is a complete and utter waste.

So what’s the purpose of a subject line and how can we get it to work as well as possible?

Ok, first of all, contrary to popular belief, a subject line is not there to tell readers what the email’s about.

I know this might seem counter-intuitive but let’s think for a second what our overall goal is by emailing our members in the first place: to sell of course.

And in order to sell to our list of members, we need to let them know how great whatever it is we’re selling actually is – that’s where your email comes in. The contents of your email are sales-driven (or at least should be!).

The subject line is the mechanism via which you get the reader to go from skimming his inbox to actually opening your email and learning all about your fab product or service and how it’s so great for him.

In short, your subject line is there to get your email opened.

So how do we do this?

There are a number of ways of increasing email open rates. Here are just 5…

1. Start with the member’s first name – eg. ‘John, this tourney’s for you…’

Why does this work? Well, think about it. Your own name does have a tendency to catch your eye!

This personalisation lets the reader know that you know him, so it’s less likely to be spam and more likely to result in the email being opened.

2. Trigger curiosity – eg. ‘John, have you seen this?’

The vague and teasing nature of a subject line like this triggers an emotional response that can be exceedingly difficult to overcome – curiosity.

If you can work some magic here, your open rates will soar!

3. Boost their ego – eg. ‘John, winners like you will love this…’

Nothing invites a little attention more than an ego massage.

And everyone loves to be complimented, making this approach effective, but ONLY if it’s done right.

4. Add a sense of urgency – eg. ‘John, you’ve got 2 hours left to register…’

No-one wants to miss out on something that might be important, and the ‘time running out’ approach can work rather well when used appropriately.

5. Use symbols – eg. ‘ John, you’re now registered for the tourney!’

(The  is meant to be a club card suit symbol, but it does illustrate an issue you may want to take into acccount, and that’s whether or not the symbol will show in most inboxes!)

Yep, 2012’s big subject line trend saw an increased use of symbols.

They aren’t too common yet (so try them before they’re everywhere and people get desensitised!) and as such are great eye-catchers.

Get these right and keep them appropriate for maximum eye-catching impact!

Remember, subject lines play a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of your email campaign.

Fail at the first hurdle of the subject line and you WILL fall flat on your face.

Dedicate some time to testing what works with your list to make sure your emails at least get opened!