1. Make a good start: keep your subject line quite short but the most appealing
2. Work on the content of your email to increase the response rate
3. Make your email samples properly formatted and similar
4. Add a professional email signature to boost your email response rate the most
5. Check for mistakes and read the email text aloud
6. Develop the most competitive email campaign based on marketing data and analytics
7. A/B test your email ideas to get the best results and measure the possible response rate
You know that you have a great product or service that can change the world (or at least make it a little easier for customers). However, when you send emails to potential customers, you hardly ever get a response. What is it all about? Why do some have insanely high response rates while others get nothing but a zero off that number? In this article, we’re going to share some secrets on how to reach your audience and increase the response rate significantly.
But before we get to the point, let's talk a few essential things. For example, what is a good open rate for email? According to the marketing company Epsilon, the average open rate for the fourth quarter of 2018 was 29.4%. But be aware that there are some pretty big swings (from 14% to 29%) depending on which industry you are in. And what is a good response rate? Just like the open rate, response rate may vary from industry to industry, but, on average, 6-8% is a good indicator. Why does email marketing response rate matter? Knowing such statistics will help you understand how engaged your subscribers really are.
There are three basic components you need to pay attention to if you want to increase the response rate. Those are content, design, and analytics.
Make a good start: keep your subject line quite short but the most appealing
You may be surprised, but a lot of companies have a great email content and a fantastic offer inside the email, but they rarely touch the subject line, the first thing that potential customers will see when they receive the email. That is what helps them decide whether to open the message or delete it. To create a good subject line, try to avoid such spam words as “100% free,” “buy,” “terrific,” “lowest price,” “income,” etc. The ideal length of a subject line is 3-6 words. Also, try to stick to the following rules.
Tell what the email is about
Your subject line should always give the reader a clear understanding of what your letter is about. When looking at a subject, a person on the other end should be able to prioritize the email importance even before reading the content.
Add your recipient's name
Personalize your email subject lines with the recipient’s name, custom URLs, and other variables.
Make the subject line noticeable
People often read only the first few words of a subject line. So try to put the most important information first. Including data and numbers is another good method to make your subject line noticeable in the recipient’s inbox. Be sure not to write everything in CAPS. It's kind of rude.
Use alert words to encourage recipients to click on the emails and see what the rush is about. For example, “Lifetime access to our recent development course,” “Get our best-performing templates,” “2 undiscovered ways to get more followers on Instagram.”
Read our article “10 Tips For Writing An Excellent Email Subject Line.”
Work on the content of your email to increase the response rate
Now let's see how you can present your marketing message in the best possible way.
Make the beginning engaging
We all get cold emails, and most of us are incredibly good at recognizing boilerplate openings. Compare the following examples.
I hope you had a fantastic weekend. My name is Sarah, and I am writing to ask if you would be interested in…”
We would love you to join us on our show to talk about your blog. The show has a global audience of 1.3 million and regularly appears in YouTube's Trending.”
Which of the two emails did you want to read to the end? We guess you prefer the second example, and you appreciate how quickly you can get to the point.
Start with a great opening sentence
If you don't want recipients to delete your emails before they finish reading, make your first sentence better than “My name is,” “I work for...,” or “I hope you're doing well.” Instead, try something like “I have a few suggestions for your new website,” “I loved your article/tweet/blog on X,” “We help companies like yours solve [insert a pain point] by…”
Adding animated images to your email can help your message stand out and entice the recipient to take action.
Don't make the body of an email too long
Often, a sender can make the whole message three lines, but instead, they decide to write a short novella. When writing emails, remember that they may be left unread because they are too long. Here are some tips on how to fix that.
Focus on the most important things
If you don't know what you’re trying to say, you fill the space with meaningless phrases such as “What's up,” “I hope this email finds you well,” “May I ask you a question,” and so on. Don't send that email until you have something specific to say or ask. If your emails are brief and to the point, your recipients will be more likely to respond.
Experiment with adding videos, images, GIFs, infographics, and cinemagraphs. This type of content can be better at eliciting emotions than words.
Make sure you use simple language
Eliminate jargon and unnecessary words. Also, avoid using buzzwords and corporate speak. Write in a clear and conversational tone.
Don't forget to emphasize the benefit of taking the action you are asking for – your recipients won’t miss an important message with a special deal or valuable information.
Use a little bit of humor
Incorporating humor into your email marketing can significantly increase response rates and set you apart from the competition. However, keep in mind that making your audience laugh shouldn’t be the goal of your campaign. It’s only there to support it.
Add a reply request to your email
Many of your recipients get so busy that they eventually forget to answer emails. So it may be an excellent idea to politely ask for a reply to your email. For example: “Kindly give your reply, as your feedback is very important to us.”
Make your email samples properly formatted and similar
The content inside can only create an impact if it is paired with a solid design. So, let’s improve the format of your emails.
Test your emails on all possible devices and platforms
Start testing your emails to ensure they look great and perform everywhere. You can use tools such as SendinBlue, Email on Acid, Litmus, and many others.
Include CTAs throughout the email
You can increase the response rate of your email by including a well-thought-out CTA (call to action) button. For instance, you can request a few minutes of the recipient's time for a quick phone call or demo.
Read our blog post “The Best Sales Call to Action Examples to Improve Your Conversion Rates.”
Use your brand colors and design
After receiving even a couple of emails from a company, a recipient can tell if you are really trying at email marketing. And they can also tell when you don’t put the effort in. Having a branded email template with consistent colors, typefaces, etc. can create a positive impression and also contribute to the trust factor of your message.
Make sure the email looks good without pictures
Ensure your messages still look good even when images are blocked, either by the subscriber or the email client.
Use the same or very similar color for images and email backgrounds. This way, you can be sure that the color matches the overall design and works well with the content too.
Add a professional email signature to boost your email response rate the most
If you want to increase an email campaign response rate, always include a professional email signature in your emails. Because it carries your name and contact details, it helps the recipient to know who sent the message as well as where the email comes from.
Add a photo to personalize your messages
Adding a high-quality photo of a sender with no distracting elements can also boost a response rate because people love to know with whom they deal. By the way, our email response rate increased up to 20% when we added professional headshots to our email signatures.
Share your social media accounts
Apply icons to show your social media accounts, but make sure that your email footer doesn't look spammy because of too many social links.
Use CTA buttons and banners to maximize your emails CTR
Banners in email footers play an important marketing role. They help businesses share any piece of information and increase the email click-through rate.
Related: “How to Kick off Your Conversions with Email Signatures.”
Check for mistakes and read the email text aloud
Read your text aloud or even record yourself reading to understand how much engaging your email is.
Proofread everything you send
Sometimes, people never return emails due to wrong spelling and poor grammar. Be sure to check that the recipient’s name and title are correct. Also, check if the entire message is perfectly clear, without any typos, or anything that can be misunderstood. Before you hit “Send,” make sure you have attached all the important files or included all the necessary links.
Make sure the email sounds interesting and engaging
Engaging and converting email messages are highly-targeted, to the point, and written in a way that demonstrates expertise and reliability. The more personalized and relevant the email message is to its recipient, the more likely they will respond. Polish your email until it highlights benefits, sounds interesting and engaging.
Develop the most competitive email campaign based on marketing data and analytics
To stay competitive, we recommend you to find out how your email marketing results compare to other businesses in your industry. This will help you determine, for example, what kind of open rates or conversion rates companies like yours should expect. The more you know, the better.
Calculate and track your response rates
The response rate is a metric that shows how many potential customers get in touch with you from each email campaign. If you are not quite sure why would you do that, here are a few benefits: response rate monitoring will help you learn which of your marketing campaigns bring in quality leads and the most moves; identify the most effective forms of marketing; learn more about how and why the recipients contact you.
Create and review your recipients’ list
If your open rates are lower than you might expect, it's time to review your recipients’ list. To keep the list fresh, you need to periodically remove inactive subscribers (those who haven't engaged with your email campaigns in the past six months or more). But before you unsubscribe them, try sending the last re-engagement email asking if they still want to hear from you.
You may also like: “How to Properly Segment Your Email List to Get the Right Response.”
Protect your emails from spam filters
Another common reason for the low open rate is when your email goes to spam. To avoid being caught by spam filters, make sure you follow these rules:
- Make sure all subscribers have actually opted-in to receiving emails from you;
- Avoid the excessive use of such words as “buy,” “investment,” “100%,” “clearance,” “discount,” “billion,” “credit,” or “cash”;
- Use a recognizable sender name;
- Choose reliable email service providers;
- Monitor your reputation and avoid blacklists;
- Evaluate the metrics of your email engagement.
You may also like: “52 Tools That Every Small Business Should Use in Their Daily Marketing Activities [Updated].”
A/B test your email ideas to get the best results and measure the possible response rate
Now that you have a fresh, engaged recipients’ list, you can carry out A/B split tests. Such tests will help you understand which version of your email campaign works best. Here is a list of basic A/B email split testing ideas you can try out:
- Subject line copy and length
- Personal tone vs. business tone
- Customers vs. non-customers
- Image sizes
- One column vs. two columns vs. three columns
- Color palette
- Time of the day
- Using customer testimonials in email
- Discounts and coupon codes
- CTA button design
- Long copy vs. short copy
- Human tone-of-voice vs. corporate tone-of-voice
- And many more.
Make a schedule for your emails to follow-up at the right time
Don’t forget to follow-up, especially if the first emails are doing bad. You could write a persuasive follow-up message, but if you send it at the wrong time, chances are it’ll get lost in the recipient’s inbox. So be sure to send your follow-ups at the right time — when your subscribers are checking their inbox.
According to data from Getresponse, the best engagement hours are 8-9 a.m. and 3-8 p.m.
Read how to write a follow-up after a sales proposal to seal the deal.
There’s a difference between being proactive and pushy. Don’t be the latter.
Proactive vs. pushy
We miss you! vs. Why are you avoiding us?
Last chance: Book your seat at the ABC conference before midnight, and get one-on-one access to the best experts in the industry.
THIS IS YOUR FINAL CHANCE: The sale ends at midnight tonight!! ACT NOW!
The email response rate is one of the most important metrics businesses can track. Responses are good indicators of interest and long-term potential. And when it comes to understanding this critical metric, remember that it may vary based on industry, content, and audiences. To know if your response rate is good or not, you should base it on your metrics as well as those averages in the industry you are in.
To improve response rates, follow these rules:
- Keep your email list clean and up-to-date;
- Segment your list;
- Create short but appealing subject lines;
- Personalize your emails and make them engaging from the very beginning;
- Use humor and visual content;
- Consider adding a reply request to your emails;
- Keep the design of your mailings neat;
- Use a professional email signature;
- Proofread before you send anything;
- Always test your emails;
- Don’t forget about sending a follow-up email after no response.