How I Increased Email Opens 2X with One Simple Tactic

I’m not exactly proud to admit it, but recently I sent one of the lowest performing emails I’ve ever sent. After having average email open rates of about 46% for the past several months, I sent an email that only had a 27% email open rate.

At first I was mad at myself. This email had nearly 1,000 less opens than normal, which could easily represent several hundreds in revenue. I didn’t know what I could do to

Then it Hit Me

After looking around in the GetResponse admin area and talking to support, I realized that I could very easily segment out all of the subscribers that had not opened up the original email. From there, I could very easily send a new email that would allow me to test how a different headline could increase email opens.

This method can also be used to test different content and calls to action in an effort to increase your email click-through rate.

Email Open Segment

*Note: GetResponse has slightly upgraded their interface and made this process much easier. Now, from within the email analytics page, all you have to do is select all ‘unopened’ contacts, then click send message at the bottom of the page.

The Results – Increased Email Opens by 2X!

By now you may be curious to see the actual numbers behind these two emails. Below are the headlines for each email in bold along with the condensed results.

  • [[firstname]], Is Your Blog Design Converting? – 815 Opened / 27% Open Rate
  • Here’s How we Increased Traffic 15-20% with a Blog Redesign – 879 Opened / 38% Open Rate

What’s interesting here is how the second was able to get such a high open rate. Also, I effectively doubled my email opens by sending two emails. Between the two emails I had 1694 email opens, which is more than twice as much as the first email alone (815 email opens).

While it would take more testing to nail down which headlines convert best, here are my two takeaways:

  1. Use  Numbers – Bottom line, statistics are more appealing than simply asking a question.
  2. Be Specific and – People are busy and they have to sort through dozens if not hundreds of emails daily. If your email headline doesn’t communicate a specific benefit, they may never even open it.

While the numbers were impressive in this case,  please allow me to add that I do not always expect to double the number of email opens I have or to get such a high open rate on the second email. The results will likely vary.

What Do You Think?

I’ve showed you a simple tactic to quickly increase the email open rates of your email marketing campaigns.

After reading this post, how do you think this technique will help you? Have you used any tactic like this before?

Written by Eric Binnion

Eric Binnion is a computer science student at Midwestern State University. When Eric is not online, he is usually volunteering in his community or enjoying time with his family. You can find Eric on Twitter.

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Comments

  • Orissa says:

    Eric,

    I love this – simple concept, but so effective, and only a tiny bit of extra work to reuse quality content that didn’t reach it’s mark.

    It’s easy to write off unopens to people who aren’t interested in YOU, when really they just need a more appealing headline to get some action.

    Thanks for the article.
    Orissa

    • Eric Binnion says:

      Orissa,

      You made a very good point. I’m looking forward to testing this with different content to see how click-through rate is affected. :)

      Thanks for chiming in!

  • Anil says:

    Eric,

    I publish a newsletter thru Phplist. And use the code [USERTRACK] to track opens. What I found –

    Even when some people have read the Emails – I do not get their stat as open – possibly as they might not have downloaded the 1 pixel gif file – that I guess is included with [USERTRACK] . These people use Outlook 2007 /2010 etc

    What should I do ?

    (How am I sure they have opened – because at times, they reply to my Email newsletter !! )

    Await your guidance.

    Regards..
    Anil

    • Eric Binnion says:

      Hey Anil,

      Here is how I would approach this situation. First, be sure there is plenty of time in between the first and second emails.

      Second, I would suggest changing the comment to mimic something like this below:

      “Hey there [[firstname]],

      Last week I published an article about how I was able to increase email open rates with one simple tactic.

      The post has turned out to be pretty popular and has some lively discussion.

      If you’re interested in simply increasing your email open rates, would you consider reading the post and joining the conversation?”

      Notice how the conversation has changed significantly. This comes off as more of a polite reminder which is applicable to people that either have or have not read your original email.

      This should minimize how many readers are irritated by receiving multiple emails about the same post.

      I hope this helps Anil, but please keep in mind that I have not personally tested this technique.

  • Max Savin says:

    It would be useful if you can share the different headlines.

    • Eric Binnion says:

      Max,

      Thanks for the input. I edited the original post to include your recommendation.

  • Nicholas says:

    A genuine “eye-opener” on an important facet in email marketing. Thank you.

    • Eric Binnion says:

      Thanks for the comment Nicholas!

      I hope this tactic works out for you as well as it did for me.

  • John Ribbler says:

    Thanks Eric. Always good info with no hidden agenda.

  • Barbara says:

    This would be more informative if you had detailed the two different headings so we could see examples of what you are discussing. That would have been worthy of a read.

    • Eric Binnion says:

      Hey Barabara,

      Thanks for the feedback! I have edited the post to include some more statistics and the headlines used.

  • onkar says:

    Have to admit, I never sent two emails about the same subject, it didnt occur to me and then to put in different headline, so simple, thanks for the headsup

    • Eric Binnion says:

      Hey Onkar,

      It’s definitely a very simple tactic. It was one of those “AHA!” moments for me :)

      I hope you enjoy it!