Email Marketing: Open-Rates and Click-Throughs

The “FROM:” line in an email is the most important factor to getting it opened.

“Email marketers should use a consistent ‘From:’ address, and it must be recognizable to their customers,” says Gail Goodman, chief executive officer of Constant Contact, a self-service email-marketing firm. “The first question your customers will ask is, ‘Do I know this person or this company?’ If the ‘From:’ line does not address this basic question, your customers will most likely not open it.”

Chris Baggott, chief marketing officer and co-founder of ExactTarget, another email marketing firm, agrees. “The ‘From:’ line is key. It must be the same from email to email. And I prefer to see someone’s name here. A ‘From:’ line of ‘info@‘ is bad. People like to hear from other people, and not from institutions, which is what ‘info@‘ implies. An institution.”

Past is indicative

Past history with receiving your emails is the second most important factor to getting an email opened. “A domestic airline company sends me an email every week with travel specials that never apply to my situation,” says Baggott. “The specials don’t include the city where I live. And you know what? I’ve learned to rarely open these emails, because I’ve learned that they are most likely a waste of my time. The same is true with any sort of email marketing. If an ecommerce firm has bombarded its customers with irrelevant, useless email, those customers will learn not to open it. So, past history is very important to getting your customers to actually open your email.”

Says Gail Goodman, “Prior email content will determine whether someone wants to open and read another email from you. If you’ve sent someone emails that don’t interest him and are otherwise not relevant to his interests, he’ll learn to ignore them and not open them. So be careful that your emails are targeted, relevant and interesting to that recipient. You don’t have to always include product offers. Vary your emails with relevant articles and tips that will interest someone.”

“For example,” Goodman continues, “If I purchase a kayak from a retailer, I most likely will be interested in reading about kayaking tips and advice. That would likely interest me more than, say, a product offer on an unrelated sporting goods product. In this manner, a retailer is only sending out targeted, relevant and interesting emails, which, for this example, revolves around kayaking.”

Content, content

The content of an email is the most important factor in getting customers to click-through from it to your website.

“Short, snappy and to-the-point,” says Goodman. “Email text should be much shorter than other methods of text communication. Cut out every unnecessary word and phrase. And always have someone else read over it before you send it out.”

“As a broad rule,” says Chris Baggott, “HTML emails work better than text-based emails. This is especially true for retailers, who have products to showcase. Most customers like to see pictures of these products. But the important factor that determines a click-through rate is relevancy. Segment your customers and make certain you are sending them offers of products and related content that interests them. That factor, relevancy, drives the click-through rate.”

“Just get them to your website,” says Goodman. “They can buy something once they get there. And to get them to your site, send short emails on products and topics that interest the reader and for which there’s more information on those products and topics once they get to your site.”

“Interestingly enough,” says Baggott. “The creative design of an email is pretty far down the list when it comes to factors that influence click-through rates. The most important is relevancy.”

Kerry Murdock
Kerry Murdock
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