Rule number one of getting your emails opened is be the person your list knows, likes and trusts. When you’ve accomplished that, you won’t need to put as much energy into your subject lines and ‘from’ fields. But until then, try these hacks to improve your open rates and get your emails read…
1. Catch the eye with the ‘from’ field.
If you go to your own email program and scan the emails, which ‘from’ fields stand out? And why?
Udemy (4) – Looking at my own inbox, the first eye catcher I see is from Udemy, the (4) indicating they sent the same email 4 times. Perhaps not the best idea, but it definitely pulls the eye in. You can duplicate this by using a number in your ‘from’ field.
Actual Email Addresses – The next eye catcher in the ‘from’ field is from Amazon because they used their actual email address with the @ sign in the middle of it. So few people use their email addresses in the ‘from’ field anymore, that if you choose to do this you will stand out.
The downside – it can look a little amateurish. Then again, if Amazon is doing it…
Academy Sports + Outdoors – Of course, it’s the ‘+’ that draws the eye.
~ PayPerClickSearchMarke – notice the symbol (do you see a trend here?)
Fab – crazy short, thus eye catching
The Email Fairy (via Tel. – This is from Tellman Knudson, who employs the unique strategy of using all sorts of different names in his from field. Still, it’s the ‘(via Tel.’ that catches my eye.
chintimini – one word, no capitals. Everyone else uses capital letters which makes this stand out.
Don @ EnginesPlus – This is a good one because it has the person’s name, their business and the ‘@’ sign.
2. Catch the eye with your subject line. Not with the actual words – we’ll cover that in a moment – But with symbols, capitalization and so forth.
Check your inbox and you will likely notice a few fancy symbols and emoji. These might be check-marks, snowflakes, hearts, faces, etc. These are actually Unicode symbols, and they’re easier to install into your subject lines than you may think. Here’s a brief tutorial on how to do it… Just Google it.
One note: Don’t go symbol crazy. Generally one per subject line is plenty, 2 is questionable and with 3 or more and you just look like spam.
About using capitals – If you use all-caps, you will stand out. But use this tactic sparingly since it’s tantamount to shouting. Best bet – use all-caps on your keyword only.
3. Use specifics.
First, you need to be absolutely clear on what your goal is. Are you promoting something? Are you giving helpful information? Do you have a story to share?
Let your customers know what they’re about to read. Being honest and upfront will get you opens. “Coupon Inside, today only” “Free Report: New Killer Traffic Source” “Twitter’s Dark Secret: The Real Story”
4. Ask a question in the subject line.
This is a great way to raise curiosity and get the customer involved with your topic before they even open the email.
For example, for a Christmas email involving Santa Claus, you might ask, “John, have you been good enough?”
Or if you’re promoting a book on persuasion, you might ask, “Who will you persuade with your new powers?”
5. Whenever possible, personalize the subject line.
Not just with names, but with other pertinent information as well.
“John, getting the most out of your new XJ524 Printer”
“Day 1 of your Jump Purple Hoops program, here’s what to do first”
“Sshhh… Special one day offer for our UK friends only”
6. Mail a series and let them know which day they’re on.
For example, maybe they joined your list to get a series on building more traffic. You could title each email with, “[Day 1] – Traffic Builders Course” This also makes it easy for them to go back and find the emails they missed.
7. Optimize the preview text as well.
Remember that the first line of text shows up in most desktop email clients. This means the recipient sees not only the ‘from’ field and the subject line – they also see the first sentence.
The last thing you want is to have it say, “To unsubscribe from our list” or any other housekeeping type of content.
Instead, think of your first line as an extension of your subject line and keep it interesting, intriguing and highly relevant.
One last thing: Become a fanatic about testing. You hear it time and again; test, test, test. But are you doing it? If you’re really serious about improving your open rates, testing is definitely the way to go.