Improve Your Open Rates for Acquisition E-mail
The most common question I get as a panel participant at industry events when addressing audiences on the topic of online marketing, specifically e-mail marketing, is: “What can be done to increase the open and clickthrough rates for e-mail efforts?” In my position, I see hundreds of e-mail campaigns by dozens of marketers every year. Often, it’s the fundamentals that are overlooked by marketers when building their e-mail strategies. The following principles and practices are associated with acquisition e-mail but also apply to CRM programs. And they serve as strategies to consider and employ to yield higher response rates and a more effective e-mail marketing effort.
Open Rates: a Strange and Flawed Metric
When analyzing your campaign, the first thing to consider is open rates. However, open rates are a strange and flawed metric. Less than 25 percent of all e-mail clients (like Outlook 2003 or AOL Mail) allow images to be served when the e-mail is opened. For the open to be measured, the recipient is required to right-click on the message to request that the image be served, and only when the image is served can the 1 x 1 pixel be served that allows the opened message to register as being opened. This means the number of people who really open your e-mail can be much greater than those measured. How do you get the majority of people who open your message to right-click to view your images? It boils down to basic trust and value that will incentivize people enough to engage with your e-mail to take that extra step.
Incentivize Your Audience to Engage
How do you, as a marketer, enhance the trust and value proposition associated with your e-mail campaigns? It helps if you have an established brand. If you don’t, you need to build trust and your brand over time. E-mail is a reasonable and cost-effective brand-building tool when used properly. However, other media, such as banners, search engine marketing and offline media, may provide you with more value while you are building your brand. It’s critical to understand that if you have the budget and time commitment, you’ll get a better lift and a stronger ROI by utilizing a diverse mix of online and offline marketing solutions that are coordinated around a particular campaign and a clear, consistent message. It sounds simple, but marketers who misunderstand this point have wasted millions of dollars.