Email Inboxes Give You Three Distinct Opportunities to Engage Your Readers
Email newsletter open rates increased 19% in 2020 and 3.5% in 2021, for an overall average open rate of 21.5%. As our “new normal” has settled in, people have become increasingly reliant on digital marketing to keep them connected with their favorite brands.
Depending on your industry, your 2022 benchmarks from Campaign Manager may be higher or lower. For example, financial services has an average open rate of 27.1%, compared to retail’s 17.1% average; after a few turbulent years, it is no wonder people prioritize financial services over shopping deals. Note that education has the highest average on the list at 28.5%, in a year where COVID-19 disrupted school frequently and parents were open checking in on new protocols and announcements. Campaign Monitor also noted that in 2020, an election year, government and politics took the top spot on the list.
To push your open rate above the industry average, pay attention to the three opportunities you have as a marketer to capture the attention of your email subscribers when they scan their inboxes.
Let’s look at each of these opportunities and discuss how to make the most out of each.
3 Ways To Increase Email Newsletter Opens
1. The Sender Name
It may seem that your subject line is your first interaction with your email recipient. But actually, the “from” line comes first. Most businesses default to their company name to tell recipients who the email is from, but it’s worth at least considering something more personal or specific to a particular campaign.
Email marketing software allows you to change how the sender name appears in inboxes for each email you distribute. You might find that an email sent from a person (e.g. Laura at Breezy Hill) performs better than the business name alone.
If you are sending a group of emails centered on a particular campaign or initiative, changing your from line to illustrate that the email emanates from that campaign could give the campaign more gravitas.
A non-profit might choose to send an email about a particular fundraiser using a fundraiser-specific from line: “United Way Virtual Fundraiser,” for example, instead of just “United Way.” The sender name can be changed again after the campaign ends.
Under the right circumstances, a unique and targeted sender name can give your emails a special boost.
2. The Subject Line
It’s a good bet to assume your contacts are scanning their inboxes quickly, whether on their phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops. Your subject line will get a split second of their time, so being concise, direct, and action-oriented is the key.
Verbs that inspire readers to learn more are more effective than descriptions of what is in the email. Think about the how and why of the email rather than the what.
Use these top 10 best keywords in your subject lines to help increase open rates:
- Last chance
- In stock
- *Month* (the current month)
You can also add fun and different elements that grab users’ attention. Exaggerated spelling, like “We have sooo many offers!” and emojis can grab users’ eyes and make them want to learn more. Be sure to use these tactics sparingly, as it can come across as insincere or spammy if you use more than one exaggerated spelling and more than 2 emojis.
3. Scheduling Your Newsletter
For the average commercial consumer, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the favorite days for sending out newsletters.
In general, Mondays are tough because everyone is back in the office (or home office), and having a stocked inbox is not a happy Monday morning welcome. Friday has become the worst weekday to send newsletters, as you are trying to compete for the attention of people suffering from burnout at the end of the week.
According to HubSpot, B2B newsletters receive the best open and click rates when sent on Saturdays at 10AM. HubSpot also recommends sending B2C emails on Saturdays, though we typically steer clients towards mid-week schedules.
When you send your emails should ultimately be determined by the success of your campaigns. Send content out to segmented audiences at varying times to test which receives the best open and click rates. For example, we have found that Sunday mornings perform well for certain segments of B2B healthcare professionals, while mid-week, late afternoons perform best for other segments in the same industry.
Remember, small details are what make or break your open rate. Make use of offers that expire, rewards, and address pain points. With careful consideration of these three inbox opportunities, you can bend the open rate curve in your favor and increase your email newsletter opens and readership.
Thanks for stopping by,
Editor’s note: Originally published in November 2020, this blog has been edited and updated in April 2022.