Are there certain marketing emails from companies that you always open, yet others that you totally ignore?
For most of us, the answer is yes. With average open rates hovering between 15-25%, this means that a staggering 75-85% of emails are stuck in the “totally ignored” category in readers’ minds.
So, for marketers, the crucial question becomes, “How do you make sure your campaigns are the kind that people always open?”
In this post, we’ll give you actionable advice on how to get people into the habit of opening and reading your campaigns.
Stick to a consistent frequency
Readers can’t develop a habit of opening your emails if they don’t know when to expect them.
That’s why one of the most important things you can do is to choose (and stick to) a consistent cadence of email newsletters.
A best practice for email frequency is to aim for twice a month. In 2021, Backlinko reported that companies sending emails 2x per month saw the highest average open rates.
However, we recommend choosing the frequency that works for you — if you can’t commit to 2x a month, it’s better to opt for a slower frequency than over-commit and let down your readers.
Finally, once you decide on a sending frequency, share it with subscribers upfront. This helps establish expectations, so subscribers can start building a habit of reading your emails from the start.
For example, Campaign Monitor customer The Gist states their email frequency prominently on their opt-in form: “5 minutes every Monday, Thursday, and Sunday morning.”
Send emails when people have time to read them
If your goal is to help people read more of your emails, make sure you aren’t sending emails when most of your subscribers are too busy to read them.
We recommend looking critically at your list to determine when is the best time and day to send emails. Examine when your engagement is highest, or search for patterns in when people tend to subscribe.
For a general guideline, our research in 2019 uncovered that the best days to send email newsletters are Wednesday-Friday. We also found that the best times to send email are during typical workday hours (9 am to 5 pm, excluding lunch hours), with the highest open rates tending to be during the late afternoon hours (3 pm to 4 pm).
To take the guesswork out of send times, you can also use Campaign Monitor’s “Optimize send time” feature, which selects a send time based on when your subscribers have historically been most active.
Choose a familiar “from” name
We often get asked what the best “from” name is to use in your email marketing campaigns. Should it be your company name? Or should it come from a specific person inside your company?
lt really depends on who people expect to hear from. For instance, if you were to sign up for our email newsletter would you expect to receive emails from Campaign Monitor or from Aaron Beashel? Given that you’ve signed up for these emails from the Campaign Monitor website, chances are it’s the former.
So in order to improve open rates, ensure the “from” name you choose to use in your campaigns matches the user’s expectations.
Many companies use a hybrid approach. For example, Shopify Plus uses a “from” name that makes the reader experience feel personal, “Hailey” (the name of a team member), but also adds “at Shopify Plus” so that readers are clear about the company the email is from.
Start with a value-packed welcome email
Welcome emails have been shown to improve open rates down the line, generating a 86% lift in unique open rates.
Additionally, sending a welcome email ensures that you capture your readers’ attention when they are most engaged. Our research found that leads are most engaged 48 hours after first subscribing.
These statistics demonstrate why simply sending a welcome email can do a great deal to get your readers in the habit of reading your emails for years to come. To amplify this effect, send a welcome email that is packed with value, showing your readers that opening your emails always leads to a reward.
This reward can be anything from a great piece of content to a discount. For example, Andalou Naturals sends a welcome email with an impressive value-add of a 20% off discount:
Create quality, reader-focused content
If you have a blog — or are using other content marketing techniques to attract visitors — then relevant, high-quality content is an ideal way to keep subscribers reading your emails.
Campaign Monitor customer BuzzFeed is a great example of this.
BuzzFeed rewards subscribers for opening their emails by including highly entertaining, shareable content that their subscribers love to read.
This consistent rewarding of subscribers gets them in the habit of opening and clicking their campaigns, and has allowed BuzzFeed to build an engaged subscriber list that drives millions of visits to their website each month.
To ensure you’re creating quality content for your list, always ask yourself: “What’s in it for the subscriber?” before sending.
This will help you avoid making the mistake of sending content that doesn’t provide value to your reader, like bland company news or press releases.
If you want to grow the number of clicks, conversions, and ROI you get from your email marketing campaigns, it’s important to keep your subscribers engaged with your campaigns for the long term.
Rather than focusing on improving open rates for individual emails, you can improve your open rates overall by getting subscribers into the habit of opening and reading your email campaigns.
This begins with foundational strategies, like sticking to a frequency, optimizing send times, and always providing high value in your emails.