I'm excited to show you the email marketing tips I use to consistently drive open rates over 20% in my business (which is really good for the internet marketing industry), make more sales, and keep my subscribers happy in the process.
First, let me point out that there is no ONE average open rate to aim for because it varies according to industry. You can use Hubspot’s open rate tool to find the average open rate in your industry.
Now, let's dive in…
1) Don't Do Typical Marketing Emails
You have to understand that traditional sales emails are dying. These emails tend to be heavy on images and buttons, and they look more like really classy web pages than emails. But, they look good, so we find ourselves wanting to send emails like that.
But, there are several issues with typical marketing emails:
They Hurt Open Rates
According to Hubspot, as the number of images in an email increases, the clickthrough rate of the email tends to decrease. Pretty is pointless if no one is even seeing them, right?
They End Up in the Spam/Promotions Folders
It's rare that emails like this actually get into the inbox. After all, the Promotions tab on Gmail is looking to catch exactly those emails that are heavy on images and buttons because they are clearly promotions. And, as soon as your email gets grabbed by the promotions folder, your open rates are going to go way down as a result.
They Are Obviously Meant for Selling
The only people who are going to see those emails are the ones whose Promotions folder doesn't pick them up. But those people are still going to see them as sales emails and will most likely just delete them anyway.
For all of these reasons, you need to come up with a more effective email marketing strategy. But, what should you do instead?
Create conversational emails where you include one-line sentences and stories. When you do that, you use email the way it was meant to be used instead of sending off a giant website page embedded in an email.
Conversational emails get really high open rates, and people will actually read your emails. Now, that's successful email marketing.
2) Make Emails Easy to Read
Out of all the email marketing tips I am presenting you with, this one is likely to make the biggest impact for you. You have to get away from emails that are a “turn off.”
Word heavy emails where nothing stands out are intimidating and uninviting. They are hard to read and they feel like you are sitting down to read a dictionary. No one wants to do that, so no one will read them. Here's an example of what I'm talking about…
Right off the bat, you can see what I mean, right? It's intimidating. It's a ton of words, they're small, they're packed in, and there's nothing that really stands out. It just looks hard to read, and the result is people back out. They don't want to be intimidated by something. So, they click in, they see it, and they leave.
Here's what you want to do instead…
Look at how much more inviting this email is. Here's what is different about it:
- The sentences are short
- The overall email is short
- Some areas are bolded
- The text is bigger
- It's spaced out
This type of format causes the reader to make little commitments that keeps them reading your email.
The funny thing about the above two emails is that they are both emails sent by me. The first one was 2-3 years ago and the latter one is much more recent. Learn from my mistakes and write emails like the more recent one so that you can have effective email marketing now.
3) Use Stories
No article on email marketing tips would be complete without this one. Stories are not only one of the best email marketing strategies, but they are valuable in every form of marketing.
I'm not saying to include one in every single email because your subscribers would probably get a little annoyed. Plus, you'd run out of stories because it's not easy to think of good stories that go along with an email or product you're talking about.
But you want to use stories as often as possible, and there are two big reasons for that:
Stories Build Relationships
When your subscribers look at your emails, they just see text and it's difficult for them to see that there's a person on the other side of the email that they can relate to.
Stories are what does that for them. I actually personally think the best way is with video, but a great way is to tell these stories that make them relate to you and see you as a person.
Stories Help Build Trust
As the stories help people relate to you, your audience will start to trust you because they see that you're like them.
Then, down the road, when it's time to start selling something to your audience, you've established that trust and you have the type of relationship with them that makes them feel like they know and trust you to have a quality product.
4) Use a Combination of Automations & Broadcasts
There's definitely a debate going on about this one, and you'll find email marketing tips that tell you to use automations and others that tell you just to use broadcasts. The argument is between two crowds of people:
- Marketers who love automations because they are passive.
- Marketers who love broadcasts because they are timely and are more effective.
I think both of these groups have valid points and either one can be an effective email marketing strategy. Let's look at automations first…
Automations are where you send out an email every day or every couple days automatically. We don't have to put any work in after we create these emails because they just happen on autopilot when someone comes onto our list.
I happen to absolutely love automations because of how passively they allow you to earn money.
But then there's broadcasts…
The people who love broadcasts say you've got to email your list every single day with timely good stuff. And they're not totally wrong. Emails that are now-based and more timely tend to be more effective.
But, they also are hard to keep up with.
So, the way I work it in my business is to mix it up.
I have automations that people come into, but I set them up so that it never send emails on Wednesdays, for example. That way, on Wednesdays, I can hop in and send a broadcast email if there's something timely that I want to talk to my audience about or something that I want to promote really quickly.
And then I have other automations that will only send emails once or twice a week so that I can send broadcasts on any of the other days.
The reason you want to do both automations and broadcasts is because even if you're one of those hardcore broadcast people, unless you're just crazy diligent, you're going to have bad weeks where you don't have time to send an email.
You may even have bad months where life just gets crazy and you don't send out any emails. And you never ever want that to be the situation because your list will start to go stale.
People will start forgetting who you are, and then, if you do send emails again, you tend to have worse open rates because people don't recognize who you are. Then, your emails will get put in the spam filter or the promotions folder a lot more.
Doing both means that you have a back up of automations that keeps your list fresh. If nothing else, it's keeping your name fresh in the eyes of your audience.
If all you want to do is broadcasts, that's fine but keep those automations running at least once a week so that you can disappear for a few weeks and not be stressing about sending an email every single day.
Let me make a shameless plug here for my favorite email autoresponder, which is Active Campaign because not all email marketing software allows you to exclude certain days of the week in your automations. Active Campaign handles this beautifully.
You can also read my Active Campaign Review here or read about why it's the best email marketing software for small business here.
5) Connect Emails in Long Strings
To be an effective email marketer, you can't give away everything in one email. One of the best email marketing tips I can give you is to start talking about something in an email and then leave your audience hanging.
Maybe I sound like a jerk for saying that, but that's how you get them to be excited for your next email.
I think Andre Chaperon calls these kinds of emails “open loops.” You leave these loops where people want to know what's in that next email because you left them hanging.
You just drop hints and say something like, “I'm going to show you what changed my life and what made everything better for me… in the next email.”
Then, when the next email comes, your subject line says something like, “Email #2,” or “Remember I promised to tell you what changed my life.” You tie it into the previous email and then you're open rates explode on that next email because you've connected the emails together.
You can do this over a series of like 4, 5, 6, 7 emails where it's all interconnected and they're looking forward to that next email.
What's really cool is you'll get replies from people that are like, “Oh, I'm looking forward to the next email. That was awesome. I can't wait to see that happened.”
6) Keep Your List Clean
You probably see a lot of email marketing tips related to keeping your list clean. That's because maintaining a clean email list really is so, so, so important. Here's why…
It Improves Your Email Reputation
If you're sending out a large number of emails to email addresses that don't exist and they're bouncing, email providers like Gmail are going to take notice.
They keep track of this and they realize that every time you send an email, like 500 of those email addresses don't exist and only like 5 people open that email. That hurts you because it tells them that people don't care about what you have to say. Then, you start to end up in that promotions or spam folder.
You only want people on your list that are engaging and that are reading your emails and opening them. That's what a clean list is.
When you have a clean list, you'll send an email and 20-40% of the people that receive that email will open the email. Then, Gmail thinks that people care about what you have to say so they put your emails in the inbox. Then, you start climbing up this ladder and getting better and better open rates.
You Save Money
Autoresponders typically charge per contact, so you can save money by cleaning out all of those contacts that aren't making you any money and that aren't even seeing your emails.
7) Split Test Your Emails
We all have different email marketing tips that we could be doing a better job on, and this is definitely the one I struggle to do as much as I should. Having said that, it is also one I am working to improve because I know how important it is.
Email is a numbers game. So, to succeed at it, you need to increase your numbers.
To do that, you need to send out the emails that work the best. And the way you know which ones work best is through split testing.
If you can increase your open rates by 100%, you'll double your profits. Here's an example:
If you have a list of 10,000 people, a 10% open rate means that 1,000 people open that email. Then, let's say that 10% of those people click a link in your email. That's 100 people. If 10% of those people purchase what you're selling, that means you just made 10 sales.
Now, let's say you are able to get 20% of your subscribers to open your email. That's 2,000 people opening your email. If 10% of them click it, that's 200 people, and if 10% of them buy, that's 20 sales.
Split testing is the key to this. It's just figuring out what works and what doesn't. And believe me, you'll almost always be surprised what does.
At the very least, split test the following two things, especially on emails that can make you money.
Test Subject Lines
Subject lines are the most important thing for open rates, so split test which subject lines get you higher open rates.
Test Actual Emails
Here, you want to test which emails get people to click your call-to-action.
- Is it the one with the big button or just a single line?
- Is it the short email or the long email?
What does better at getting a higher click through rate?
And even if you can only increase it by 20-30%, that's a 20% increase in straight sales with zero money spent to make that increase. You just need to spend a little bit of time to create the split test.
Next Steps Beyond These Email Marketing Tips
Thanks for checking out these email marketing tips. Each of them is a gem that you can use to have more successful email marketing experiences to improve your open rates, click through rates, and sales.
If you're still here, I love you and I have a couple assignments for you…
1) Tell Me How I Can Help You
I want to know what you don't know about email marketing. What do you want to know? Let me know in the comments so that I can design some new trainings that will help you the most.
2) Grab My Free Email Marketing Course
And of course, you can always grab my free email marketing course that goes way more in depth than this and actually shows you my screen as I build out all the things that I'm talking to you about here. Just click the image below…