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3 Tips to Boost Email Open Rates and Engagement in Overcrowded Inboxes

Erik Mathes
November 13, 2020

3 minute read

There’s no better channel than email marketing for gaining trust and building a loyal following for your brand. Especially right now. Consider these three tips to get you started on crafting emails that readers will not only open but click through as well.  These proven methods for driving higher email open rates and engagement can also be incorporated into customer engagement marketing strategies.

Here are the three tips to get you started.

Send more personalized, value-packed emails

Are you sending enough emails? It’s common to conclude you’re sending too many, a fear that keeps brands from developing meaningful connections with their audiences.

Think about it: When you successfully collect email addresses on your site through value-driven lead magnets, you convince someone it’s worth their time and effort to give you permission to directly interact with them through their inbox.

That means, at least in theory, they want to hear from you in the future — but only if you continue offering something worthwhile to them. As marketing guru, Seth Godin, who’s sent a daily email to his list for over a decade, says in an interview on Outrageously Remarkable, “If you didn’t show up with that email…would people call you and say, ‘Where is it? I’ve been waiting for it, what’s up with you?'”

So, if you’ve got something valuable to share with segments of your audience, make sure you collect new subscribers’ first names in addition to their email address on all of your sign-up forms so that you can start sending personalized emails without holding back.

Craft better subject lines

Think about yourself for a moment and all the emails that you ignore in your inbox. What is it that makes you say “no way” versus giving away your precious time to read something from someone you likely never met?

The answer likely has as much to do with trust as it does with expertly crafted email subject lines. Smart marketers elicit curiosity when writing subject lines by focusing on themes such as simplicity, hope, and possibility.

Here’s an exceptional list from SmartBlogger of over 800 “power words” to incorporate into your copy to evoke emotions for instant enhancement. Avoid using “spam trigger words,” as email providers may automatically detect emails they believe to be malicious or solicitous and relegate them to the abyss of the spam folder.

Purge your email list

If you hit some lavish milestones in your subscriber count, it may feel painful and counterintuitive to remove a large chunk of the email list you built up. But if a portion of your list stopped engaging, clean things up — they cause your email open rates to appear artificially lower.

Email marketing expert Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income recommends waiting at least six months to purge your list if you’re starting out, and on older lists, purging subscribers who haven’t opened an email for six months.

Before purging, Flynn recommends segmenting those you plan to remove into a separate list and then sending them a few emails letting them know you’re going to stop communications unless they open, just in case they don’t want to be unsubscribed.

Start with these simple steps and see what kind of impact it makes, but don’t stop there. This trio of tips is just the beginning when it comes to ways to increase open rates.

Erik Mathes
Erik Mathes is a content marketing and SEO expert with an extensive background in food and drink, travel, lifestyle, and tech. He has consulted and created content for some of the world's most notable companies and startups, including Amazon, MasterCard, Unilever, AWAY, Neil Patel Digital, Vitamix, LivingSocial, and Oracle, and his writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including BuzzFeed, AFAR, The Daily Meal, The Huffington Post, Yahoo! Travel, and USA Today.
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