Article: Email Marketing Open Rates

Are you tracking the open rates for your email marketing campaigns? You should be.
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Email Marketing Open Rates

Are you tracking the open rates for your email marketing campaigns?

You should be.

But before you get started, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Open rates are not the final word in email marketing. All open rates really tell you is that those readers have images turned on so the tracking imaged was loaded.

Any readers that don't have images turned on but still read your message won't be counted in your open rate tracking. But they did read your message and that is what you're after.

There is also the possibility that your message was technically opened by email programs that give a preview but not actually read in any detail by the recipient.

So what's the point of tracking open rates?

First, tracking open rates gives you an overall picture of how your email marketing campaigns are being responded to in the market place. A low open rate may be an indication that your message is off-target or your subject line isn't compelling.

Direct Mail marketers know that they will make their living based on a 1/2% response rate or better. Yes, that is one-half of a percent!

Direct Email Marketing, when conducted properly, can realize significantly higher response rates. This is one of the reasons Email Marketing is so popular with businesses.

Here are a few tips for tracking and maximizing open rates in your email marketing campaigns:
  1. Get a solid baseline by tracking open rates if you are not already doing so. This tells you how your email marketing campaign is currently performing. To get that baseline, start tracking your open rates and allow at least a few days before you settle on a figure as many times, emails will be opened over the next several days rather than all on the same day they were sent.

    Resist the urge to define your starting open rate as "good or bad", "high or low". Just start by getting a snapshot of where the open rate currently stands for your letters.

  2. Once you have established a baseline for your open rate, make changes and test the results to see if your open rate is affected. Some examples of elements you might test:

    1. Change the day you send your messages out.
    2. Test different subject lines for your messages.
    3. Personalization your subject lines.
    4. Personalize the message content.
    5. Use ALT text in your images to encourage readers to turn on images.
    6. Add a picture of yourself to your email messages.
    7. Use more or less HTML in your messages overall.
    8. Change the frequency of your messages (especially helpful when using AutoResponders).

    As you test the results of each change, you can begin to fine-tune your approach and generate consistently higher response rates for your offers.

  3. Realize that open rates are not an exact science. You are getting an overall picture of how well your messages are getting through and reaching your readers.

  4. No matter what your open rate is, don't become complacent. Constantly find ways to improve your open rate so that your email marketing message is getting through.
While it may be difficult to pin down a moving target such as "industry norms" or "standard open rates", the key here is that you can get a baseline for what your own open rate is and then begin work on improving that rate.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what Billy Bob Marketing Guru is getting. You make your living based on the response you get to your own email marketing messages.

So track your open rates. Track your click-through rates.

Then begin taking steps to improve both every where you can.

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