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We get asked frequently what open and click rates our clients(new and old) should expect for their emails and I thought I’d share the secret behind how any regular email campaign can achieve a 100% open rate.

Firstly it’s worth mentioning that open and click rates can vary greatly across industries and lists due to the fact that all communications and recipient groups are unique. The more engaged with the brand or sender the group of recipients are, the more likely they are to open. But this engagement depends on a range of factors such as how they’ve come to receive your email. Were they opted in due to a transaction or did they sign up on your website? Are you sending them what they expected when they signed up or are they getting everything you send out? Also, is what you’re offering in the email something that they will react to every time they receive it or only when they have a need for it?

As an example, one of our clients sends two different communications to the same list, one gets on average an 18% open rate and the other gets around 40%. Yet both emails are doing exactly what they’re supposed to do.

So when we’re asked what an average open rate is for any industry, we find it a little difficult to answer directly. Our response is usually to ask what you are trying to achieve with the campaign. What are your objectives? Do you want recipients to just read it? Click on the ‘buy now’ button? Post it on their social network?

Once you know this, instead of using industry benchmarks to evaluate the success, you should be looking to improve the metrics of your campaign. You can build up a good idea of your specific campaign open rates etc. over time and then, in line with your objectives, look at how to improve them.

There are quite a number of ways you can help increase your open rates such as:

  • testing different subject lines
  • testing more meaningful ‘from’ names
  • testing sending on a different day or time
  • Change the content recipients are seeing in the preview pane, use pre-headers especially if an image is going to take up the preview pane – Remember not everyone will have images turned on.

But for those who are evaluated by their managers on achieving high open rates, here’s our secret to achieving 100%. First you suppress anyone on your list who hasn’t opened any of the previous emails; from this you should see a significant jump in open rate straight away. Next, to increase it even more, you can then suppress anyone who hasn’t clicked. At this point if there’s anyone left you can then suppress anyone who hasn’t clicked on every campaign you’ve sent. What you should be left with is a list which has the most engaged recipient/s, and an open rate will be close to 100%. It may result in just you receiving the campaign but you’ll have some impressive stats to show the boss!

Written by Jason Suttie(@i_am_jas)

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