While email open rates may vary by audience, the average from a known sender (not unsolicited) is somewhere in the low 20s%. Rates are higher among welcome emails and expected communications.
Open rates are something every chamber should be tracking, even those that are data-averse. At the very least, chambers should analyze:
- average email open rate
- click-through rate
Once you know the average for your chamber email communications, divide the data by kinds of emails. For instance, are your click-through rates on your e-newsletters better than on your event emails? Use the knowledge you gain from this analysis to tweak your communications strategy.
Now that you know what your open rates are, how do you improve them?
Why Aren’t Members Opening My Email?
Open rates are based on many things. Some you can control and some you can’t. Things that might influence open rates:
- Your member’s inbox/email count
- The time of day or day of the week you send the email
- The subject line
- Your reputation with the member
- The frequency in which you send email communications
- Spam filters
- Your member’s mood when they see it
- A bad moon rising
While you can’t help the number of emails your members receive from other people, the status of their inbox, their mood or the phase of the moon, there are many things you can control. There have been countless articles written on improving email open rates, like this one from MarketingProfs, or this one from ConstantContact, or this one from the Huffington Post.
You can spend all day reading about this topic but most gurus will tell you, keep the subject line short and pique the reader’s interest.
Get Creative with Email Subject Lines
In a recent analysis of more than 260 million emails across 540 retail email marketing campaigns, Retention Science, a marketing analytics firm, found that using song lyrics or movie titles in subject lines yielded a significantly higher open rate (26.2% versus 15.8%).
While this may not hold true of your chamber membership, adding a little humor or fun to subject lines allows you to stand out from the rest of the emails in the inbox.
When I worked for a software company we sent out periodic announcements of new features. The emails had average open rates, hovering in the mid-low 20s. One of our most successful email subject lines, “Love, Love Me Dues,” garnered a 30% open rate with the song-inspired subject line.
The best way to increase your open rate is to try one solution at a time through A/B testing. Once you find what works for your audience, do more of it.
However, what works today may not work tomorrow so continue to test effectiveness on your audience, particularly if you see a decline in your open and click-through rates.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image via Flickr by Sean MacEntee
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