Friday, December 13, 2013

How to Boost Open Rates of Your Holiday Emails

During the winter holiday season, your customers’ inboxes are inundated with promotions and special deals on top of regular newsletters and holiday correspondence. That means you have to work extra hard for your emails to stand out from the competition this time of year. Here are some ways to keep your open rates high amid the flurry of holiday email marketing.

Offer an incentive or benefit in the subject line.
Depending on your organization and email marketing goals, the incentive to open the email could be just about anything from a free download to a coupon. Even exclusive or super useful information can be a great incentive if you craft your subject line just right.

With so many other emails offering holiday deals and promotions, finding a good incentive besides coupons and sales can be tough--which is why the right benefit can boost open rates by a large percentage. To make this work, you have to really understand your subscribers and constantly test to find what works.

Use the right “from” name and address.
If subscribers don’t recognize the “from name” or don’t remember subscribing, they’re not going to open your emails. Make sure your “from name” is properly branded and easily recognizable. This means using your organization name as part of the “from name,” as in “Support at Email Contact” or “Jason Holladay @ Email Contact.”

Also use the most appropriate “from email address” for the type of communication you’re sending, such as support@yourdomain or returns@yourdomain.

Research and avoid using spam words.
It can be helpful to know common spam filter phrases and avoid using them, especially in subject lines, so your emails aren’t blocked by spam filters. While there are some high-offense spam words that will trigger spam filters, many words or phrases can be once or twice without negative consequences. But they can add up fast if you’re not careful, so it pays to know what kinds of words and phrases will trigger spam filters.

The best way to do this is to simply focus on providing great value to your subscribers. Always test your emails before sending to your list to see if any words are flagged as spam, then adjust accordingly.

Occasionally use power words in your subject lines.
The opposite of spam words, power phrases get subscribers’ attention and make them want to open the email. According to a study conducted by the Psychology Department at Yale University, there are 10 power words that, when used strategically in subject lines, can boost email open rates by up to 5%. Those 10 words are:

10. New
9. Save
8. Safe/Safety
7. Proven
6. Love
5. Discover
4. Guarantee
3. Health
2. Results
1. You

Personalize with the recipient’s name and words like “you” and “your.”
This creates the illusion of a personal conversation instead of mass broadcast from a faceless company, and it helps you answer the subscriber’s question, “What’s in it for me?” Personalizing also helps make your emails more useful and valuable, building trust so recipients are more likely to open your future emails.

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