Email marketing is about as essential, these days, as running a business website. However, many affiliate marketers become discouraged from their low performing lists yet don’t realize that the majority of fault lands upon the email subject line (what ultimately makes a reader open the email).

Let’s use this time to take a look into the element of email open rates, how it affects your email marketing strategy, and a few ways to improve your numbers.

Why are my open rates so low?

There’s a lot going into play whether someone will open your email:

  • It may have come at a bad time
  • The subscriber may not be interested in your information
  • You’ve “burned” your list from too many promotions
  • The subject line doesn’t explain enough
  • The email doesn’t seem urgent and gets archived

People are a finicky bunch to say the least; you can rarely depend on consistency with your list subscribers because there are far more factors that come into play outside of marketing (such as their mental & physical well-being).

As far as numbers go, an open rate between 5 – 10% is considered decent for most marketers depending on list size and age (some see 20 – 25%). Some individuals get better stats but don’t based your entire performance on the open rate – focus on the conversions (what makes you money).

iContact has a few examples of what goes on behind the scenes for email open rates along with tips and suggestions for understanding these numbers. To summarize, it’s how many people open your email but can only truly be improved by continuous testing and delivering a valuable experience to your list.

Learn more about iContact here!

Improving those numbers

As noted, email open rates can be vastly improved through experimentation and attention to your email marketing strategy to deliver quality information and value.

In specifics, here are a few items you should test and improve:

  • Send emails at the end of the week, early morning, or scheduled at set days of the month
  • Keep your emails short and to the point
  • Craft the subject lines with personalized, relevant information
  • Avoid spam triggers such as “free” or all capital letters
  • Use teasers to peak a readers interest

Use the built-in features of your email marketing platform to perform split tests within your list and use the data to refine and improve your email open rates (and conversions). It’s not rocket science but it does take a bit of engineering to get the numbers you want.