Improving Email Open Rates

David Byrd : Raven Call
David Byrd
David Byrd is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer for Raven Guru Marketing. Previously, he was the CMO and EVP of Sales for CloudRoute. Prior to CloudRoute, He was CMO at ANPI, CMO & EVP of Sales at Broadvox, VP of channels and Alliances for Telcordia and Director of eBusiness development with i2 Technologies.He has also held executive positions with Planet Hollywood Online, Hewlett-Packard, Tandem Computers, Sprint and Ericsson.
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Improving Email Open Rates

Email blasts are an everyday occurrence and a bane on work productivity. However, as a CMO, I have to acknowledge that emails are the one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to communicate with a large number of people concisely and quickly. Consequently, it is often misused and, therefore, fails in meeting a key objective; getting opened and read.

Earlier this year I pointed out that email marketing had an ROI of $38 for every dollar spent so it is very cost effective. I also identified six key elements to creating effective emails. But I did not share one of my most closely held secrets for email marketing until now.

Most email blasts sent out by companies rely upon brand recognition, intriguing subject lines or compelling content. I looked at open rates and gleaned that in general marketers expect 10-15% and were genuinely excited with 15%-20%. However, I wanted a much higher open rate and to achieve it, I instituted a policy where most of our communications with our customer base and agents would come from either an account or sales manager for customers or channel manager for agents. As a result, emails distributed using these “trusted” or “familiar” parties are opened with a rate that sometimes exceeds 60%. Moreover, since so few emails are sent using the corporate identity of ANPI, when an ANPI branded email is sent we typically experience greater than a 30% open rate.

A survey conducted by email marketing software company, Campaigner, discovered using familiar names influenced nearly 25% of recipients to open an email. It was the top category for influencing such behavior. Following name familiarity was email subject line with 15%, 10% were influenced by the device in use to read emails with a fairly small 6.3% allowing the length of the email to determine their behavior. The study was of mobile users so all readers of emails were not polled. However, the conclusion still supports a practice that I strongly recommend. Though, it does require a commitment to segment and manage your CRM by account and primary contact person. Also, it is useful to have an email marketing tool so the emails can be sent by someone other the actual sales person whose time is better spent selling.

So, the added number seven in my list of ways to implement effective email marketing suggests limiting the use of your company name to send out emails (unless you have a compelling brand) and using the primary contacts for your customers, agents or prospects. Be cautious in how much email you send out using these trusted and familiar contacts and make certain the content is valuable. If these contacts are used to send out spam or inconsequential information, then the method will be compromised forever. Perform this correctly and your email campaigns will be in the top quartile of open rates at 35.7% or higher.




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