5 Ways to Maximize Your Email Open and Clickthrough Rates

One of the most frustrating parts of being an email marketer is putting a ton of time and effort into your message, only to find after sending it that a small fraction of your list actually read and clicked on your link. Such is the perpetual struggle of the email marketer; ascertaining how to write an alluring email with persuasive content that gets people to engage in click-through.

In order to be effective, your emails need to be perceived as timely, informative, useful, relatable, or sometimes all of the above. Keep reading to discover five ways to maximize your open and click-through rates as an email marketer.

Deliver value with every single email

It cannot be overstated that you must deliver high-quality content and relationally-driven value in each email you send. Your subscribers first opted in to your email list because they trust you, and trust can be easily broken if you’re not careful. This is not to say your subscriber list will rapidly deplete if you send a few unexciting emails, but your readers want to receive value they know they can only get from you.

There are many methods through which to deliver value. One way is to periodically send your subscribers free eBooks or downloads, as a thanks for being a supporter. People love to receive free, quality resources, and this illustrates to subscribers that you’re grateful for them.

A second way is to get personal, and always–or often–speak from your own perspective. One of the top ways email marketers do this is sharing stories from their own lives. Powerful sales and marketing lessons can be gleaned from personal failures, and subscribers typically love that personal connection that comes from reading how leaders overcame business obstacles.

A third way to provide serious value is to frequently send how-to and tactical resources. The sheer volume of information available these days is overwhelming to the average consumer; accordingly, most are desperate for clear strategies. Winning the trust of your subscribers is therefore as easy as sending them formulas that have been proven to produce results. If you can help your readers get results, they will enthusiastically embrace your content.

Over time, these behaviors will demonstrate to your subscribers that you care about them and value their success as individuals. Your supporters will continue to click through your links, download your resources, and stay engaged with your messages.

Test your CTA copywriting

If there’s one area of many emails that typically gets neglected, it’s the copywriting of your call-to-action (CTA). Provided your subscriber has read your subject line, opened your email, read through the content, and feels motivated to discover more, your CTA is the most vital aspect of your email.

In most instances, the shorter the CTA, the better. In keeping your subscriber motivated, you don’t want to overwhelm them with wordiness, which may cause them to change their mind. Sticking with a CTA that is four words or fewer allows you to write something creative that is also focused. For purchase-oriented campaigns, the tried-and-true “Buy Now” can generate strong performance, as well as “Get Access” and “Download Now”. For campaigns of an informational or educational nature, CTAs like “Sign Me Up”, “Learn More”, and “Get Info” may see top click-throughs.

Make a shortlist of phrases and prompts you want to test, and test one phrase across at least 10 or so emails. Continue with each other phrase you have, and after a few months, you’ll have solid, reliable data through which to see the CTAs your audience loves best.

Write better email subject lines

Another factor you can’t overlook is how powerful and influential email subject lines are. Your readers are scanning emails all day, and usually decide to open or pass on an email within three seconds. If your subject line didn’t convince them, you are toast.

A simple and easy way to boost open rates through subject line copywriting is adding the “FNAME” personalization code, wherever it fits best. A subject line such as “[Name], get my ultimate list of content marketing resources” could perform much better including your reader’s first name than without.

Another excellent way to increase email open rates is evoking in your subscribers the need to know more. A few ways this is commonly achieved is by starting to tell a story but not finishing it, asking a question, or making claims about industry presuppositions.

As one example, the subject line “He achieved ___ result in ___ days” starts telling a story, but purposefully leaves gaps in your readers’ knowledge. In order to find out how the person achieved said result, they’d need to click on your email and read the body. Most people want to discover information that could benefit them, especially if they don’t already have access to it.

Employ exclusivity, scarcity, and urgency

An email marketer’s three best friends are scarcity, urgency, and exclusivity–provided you employ them ethically. When embedded in legitimate offers and content, these psychological factors can drive your subscribers to act when they’d otherwise view your content as humdrum.

Scarcity is used by producing a set number of clients you can take on, or products you will sell. Defining the number of spaces or products your customers can purchase ethically forces them to more actively make decisions, because people don’t want to miss out.

Creating urgency (i.e. offering a steep discount but only for three days) requires your customers to either commit to the purchase, or refrain from buying if they still aren’t sure. The best way to do this, though, is to create a high-value offer with a real time limit. If customers find you offering the same deal a few weeks later on a different platform, you will lose their trust and they may not purchase from you anymore.

Exclusivity is providing services and products that only your email subscribers have access to. By providing you with their email addresses, your readers have indicated they value what you offer, and exclusive deals and products are an excellent way to foster your relationship with them. You’re also demonstrating that they deserve preferential treatment for opting-in to a direct marketing relationship with you, the expert.

Experiment with different send times

One of the most forgotten aspects of email marketing is when to send your email. As tempting as it is to send it as soon as it’s finished, this may not optimize your open and click-through rates.

Research from leading email marketing platforms has shown that Tuesdays and Thursdays are optimal days to send emails. While reasons for this may vary, experts agree the “workweek blues” have subsided by Tuesday, and people are ready to consume new informative, useful, or entertaining content. Thursdays are excellent because people are getting excited for the weekend, but are also looking for things to do, and tend to be sharing information widely across social media networks.

As far as time of day goes, researchers have found most people tend to check email first thing in the morning (6:00am to 7:00am), around midday (10:00am to 12:00pm), and again late evening (8:00pm). If you preschedule your emails to send at any of these times, see if any of them tend to perform well for your business. You could then focus your most important emails at the best time, and thereby maximize customer receptivity.

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