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June 16, 2016
Marketing  |  7 min read

Email Marketing: 4 Simple Ways to Boost Opens and Click-thrus

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Lyn Craig

Average email marketing open rates are fluttering at a tentative 17.62 percent and click-thru rates at a miserable 3.69 percent. Times are tough.

Between the current generation’s information overload and the abundance of digital choice marketers now have to deal with consumers who have wizened up.

The spammy email just won’t do anymore. The email that provides poor information won’t render results either.

In fact, if you consider that your website only has a couple of seconds to grab your visitor’s attention before they click away, you can be sure that unless your email is unique to all the other crap they’re getting, it’s going to land up in the trash—with all the other crap—in less time than it takes the recipient to blink.

Something has to be done; online marketers know that the email list is the bread and butter of any marketing campaign, so growing it is a priority.

What if I said that by working on the next simple four methods, you could double the open and click-thru rates of your email marketing campaigns?

Got your attention? Read on.

1. Target audience

Before developing any marketing email, know your audience. This aspect alone will largely determine your success rate although it’s probably the most neglected element in most marketing campaigns.

You’ve got to remember, that it’s never about you, your revenue or your desires. The only way you’re ever going to get maximum results, is when you base all your marketing efforts on the people you serve.


According to eMarketer, 35 percent of marketers made segmentation (target audience) and targeting a priority in 2015

Let’s take a moment to explore this, shall we?

Your target audience is owners of small information technology companies. An owner of an IT company is likely to be a technical person. Although I’m generalizing here, those who work in technical fields tend to be practical, logical, organized thinkers who need an analytical approach; meaning, if you want to convince this kind of person about something, you need to provide facts and figures without the fluff.

If you were to send a technical person an email that is written for a person who is more a feeler than a thinker, you probably won’t get very far.

2. Email length

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to online marketing, and this applies to how long an email should be.

It really depends on your reader, and because your readers are unique individuals with their own unique personality and character, it’s hard to say what’s going to work with them. But if you’re considering your reader in the first place, you have the key.

Start by looking at your target audience as a whole, and you may be able to figure out how long your email should be based on that alone, because if your target audience is the CEO’s of conglomerates, for instance, you can be sure they don’t have the time to read copious amounts of text in an email. A simple introduction in the email with a link to the rest of the copy on a website would probably work best for them.


According to Boomerang, emails that engage recipients the most are between 50 and 125 words in length. Use this as a guide, but don’t live by it.

You can find out the best length of emails for your target audience firstly by studying their personality types, and secondly by analyzing the data you’ve already collected through your email marketing software.

3. Subject header

The subject line is one of four parts that determines whether your email gets opened or trashed, so it’s essential to put effort into creating a compelling subject header.

I bet you’re wondering what the other three parts are to getting your email opened, so let’s get them out of the way:

  • Your reputation: If your reader considers your emails to be valuable, they are likely to open them, but if you don’t provide much value to their lives, they are likely to click the “unsubscribe” button or trash your email.
  • The first line of your email: Why? The first line is often displayed in email systems and on mobile phones. Statistics show that most people going online now use mobile phones instead of desktop PC’s, so it makes sense to optimize your email marketing efforts for mobile viewing. No one wants to pinch and zoom more than they already have to.
  • The from line: Make it instantly recognizable. When you create the “from” bit in your email marketing creator remember that most people getting your email won’t remember you from the last email, and they probably won’t remember how they got onto your email marketing list in the first place either, so don’t rely on their memories of you.

4. Email format

There’s a lot of controversy around this debate: should email messages be formatted in HTML or plain text? Well, most people say they prefer HTML, but, and here’s where it gets interesting: they don’t really.

1. HTML emails had lower open rates

2. Adding GIF (images) decreased opens

3. HTML templates had 25 percent fewer opens

4. The more HTML, the fewer opens

5. HTML reduced click-thru rates

If you’re going to use HTML emails, keep it simple and make sure you create a plain text version too.

In summary

If I needed to leave you with only one sentence, it would be this: With email marketing, there is never a one-size-fits-all approach. Test, test, test!

(That’s two sentences, but who’s counting?)

Building your email marketing list is a priority. Although the average open and click-through rates are depressingly low, it’s possible to double yours by:

1. Compiling your email based on the needs and personality of your target audience.

2. Basing the length of the email on what your target audience prefers, not by asking them, but by analyzing the data.

3. Putting effort into creating a compelling subject header that intrigues them enough to get them to open the email.

4. Using plain text email where possible, but if you must use HTML formatted messages, keeping them simple and designing a plain text message too.

This article originally appeared in Your Escape From 9 to 5.

This article was written by Lyn Craig from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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