This article is provided in partnership with Constant Contact.

Email marketing continues to be one of the most popular marketing tools for businesses of all sizes. Although many businesses have found digital marketing success through tools such as social media and blogs, email marketing allows a business to connect with customers directly. However, with spam filters, excessive junk mail and people’s busy schedules, getting customers to open your emails can be challenging. But there are strategies that you can employ to entice customers to open your email newsletters.

With 19 years in the industry and over 650,000 customers, Constant Contact is the leading email marketing provider. Constant Contact Chief Marketing Officer John Orlando, an expert in the world of email marketing, shares tips on how you can increase open rates for your company emails.

screen shot 2016 03 31 at 12 10 58 pm Expert Advice: Double Your Email Open Rates By Following This Optimization Checklist
john orlando Expert Advice: Double Your Email Open Rates By Following This Optimization Checklist

John Orlando
(Photo courtesy of Constant Contact)

screen shot 2015 08 31 at 3 41 10 pm1 Expert Advice: Double Your Email Open Rates By Following This Optimization Checklist
screen shot 2015 08 31 at 3 41 10 pm1 Expert Advice: Double Your Email Open Rates By Following This Optimization Checklist
Stay Out Of The Spam Folder

Many small business owners use their personal email account to connect with customers. But many don’t realize that bulk messages sent directly are more likely to be flagged as spam — even from email accounts like Gmail, Comcast and AOL.

Services such as Constant Contact can help keep your email out of the junk pile. “When companies use an email marketing service provider, their messages get through,” says Orlando. “In fact, the delivery rates for most email marketing service providers are close to 100 percent.” With these services, you can set the “Sent From” address to come from any email in your organization. Make the address recognizable, so customers don’t automatically flag it as spam.

Key takeaway on getting through: Bulk email messages from personal accounts like Gmail are often flagged as spam.

 

Get Personal

Your first line of contact with customers is the subject line. Having one that is too vague could get you tossed in the trash, while having one that is too specific may lead you to be deemed irrelevant. Approach your subject line through the eyes of your customers. According to a Business Insider article titled, “How to Write an Excellent Email Subject Line,” by Jenna Goudreau, “Since you don’t know how much of the subject line will be viewable from a smartphone, it’s important to put the most important information at the beginning. Otherwise, compelling details could get cut off.”

Once you’ve gotten your customer to open the email, keep them interested with personal content. “Successful campaigns contain original, exclusive content that demonstrates the business owner’s expertise,” says Orlando. “For example, a restaurant that offers cooking tips from the chef goes a long way in establishing credibility and keeping the restaurant top of mind with the customer.”

By balancing your content, your customers won’t feel as though they are being “sold,” which helps to build trust. Orlando recommends the following ratio: “Successful emails strike a 70/30 balance between content and offers to engage customers by leading with valuable information, as opposed to blasting sales offers. They are focused on achieving a single goal such as raising donations, driving awareness or promoting a new product.” This way, the goal is clear in the content and the single offer that comes with it.

Key takeaway on emails: The subject line should contain information of real value. Repeat the subject line at the top of the email’s main body.

 

Listen To Your Customers

The best way to entice your customers to open your email is to create content that is geared toward their needs. Engage customers directly before determining what to include in your emails. One way to achieve this is by segmenting your email list. Email marketing services have back-end tools that allow you to analyze certain metrics such as open rates, and some even allow you to determine who is opening your emails.

Compare open rates of different campaigns to determine which ones are the most successful. “Creating content starts with regularly engaging your most active customers, so you can build closer ties to them, while also getting insight into their interests and needs,” says Orlando. “From there, segment your contact list by various attributes such as recent purchases, interests, location, etc.”

Tailor your message to different segments of your mailing list. “When you segment your list, you can create more personalized content, and that’s the key to engaging customers. The more you do this, the more you’ll learn about your customers, which leads to even more tailored content and offers.” Email marketing services allow you to upload different databases, so you can send messages to different members of your list.

Key takeaway on listening: Try A/B testing by segmenting your list and using different subject lines and messaging.

 

Email marketing is a cost effective and successful marketing tool for engaging customers, but your efforts should be personalized and tailored to increase your chances of success. By engaging your customers and creating content that speaks directly to their needs, you can increase email open rates and more effectively build relationships with your customers.

This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger for Small Business Pulse

For more information on email marketing, visit Constant Contact.
 

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