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By Natalie Rockall, Founder of Total Email Marketing

What’s so great about email marketing then?

Email marketing is such a great way to keep in touch with your base –  you can keep them up to speed on your news, generate leads and sales and drive visitors to your website or phone lines; all for one of the lowest marketing costs out there.

Plus, it’s easy to get started – set up a free account (if you’ve got a reasonable sized list), create your first campaign, pop in your copy and then press send. Easy, right?

 But is that where you stop, or are you missing a trick?

Running your email reports and looking for ways to improve can have a dramatic impact on your marketing.

I know it’s tempting to dive straight back into your to-do list once you’ve pressed send, but putting aside 30 minutes to run your email reports, log the results and see what’s going on with your numbers can really pay back.

At the very least keep an eye on, and get familiar with, your email open rates. Improving the number of people who open your emails is a sure-fire way to increase your reach and a natural increase in click throughs from your emails should follow.

Getting even a small increase in your open rates makes a difference. For example, on a list of 1000 people you could get 600 more opens over a year on your monthly newsletter if your open rates increased from just 25% to 30%.

How do I increase my open rate?

Here’s 5 tips for getting your email campaigns opened:

  1. Split test your next campaign and try two different subject lines – perhaps one long one, and one short one. Which one gets the best open rate?
  1. Send your email on a different day from usual – does sending on a weekend or weekday result in more or fewer opens?
  1. Send your emails out at different times – maybe a send at 7.30am might get you more opens from people browsing during breakfast compared to a send at 3.00 in the afternoon when people are typically at work (big assumption here!)
  1. Play with a different ‘Friendly From’ name (the name that shows up instead of your sending email address). If it’s your brand name, why not try adding in a name of someone well known in the business. For example, instead of using ‘Total Email Marketing’ try ‘Natalie at Total Email Marketing’.
  1. Personalise your subject line. For example, try adding in the recipients first name – i.e. ‘It’s your lucky day Natalie – save 10% today’. Just make sure you set up a relevant default name set up for anyone on your list who you don’t hold a first name for.


Open Rate Glossary:

What exactly is an open rate?

Your email open rate is a measure of how many people from your list of people you sent your email campaign to, actually opened (or viewed) that email campaign. Open rates are expressed as percentages.

How are open rates worked out?

Your open rate is calculated by taking the number of opened emails and dividing them by the number of emails delivered.

Open rate % = number of opened emails / number of delivered emails

So, for example: if you had an open rate of 20% then out of every 10 emails delivered you had 2 opens (or viewed).

Opens are logged by your email marketing system when a small (so small you can’t physically see it) image within your email is ‘called or requested’ from the servers. When the image is ‘called’ this shows the system that an email has been opened (as long as images are downloaded).

What kind of open rate is good?

Typical open rates vary wildly, especially when looking at email campaigns sent to small lists where one or two opens from a list of 30 or 40 people can make a big difference. Having said that, there are some trends –  a typical open rate may be somewhere between 20% and 40% on average. It’s worth remembering that as the number of people in your list goes up, your open rate will tend to fall.

Although you can compare your own open rates against other companies and brands, the most important thing to do is to compare your own open rates over time and across different types of email campaigns. Check to see if different campaigns get different open rates and are your open rates trending up or down?  Make sure you record your open rates and review them on an ongoing basis.


Natalie Rockall is an email marketing specialist and helps business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups with their email marketing. She runs online training for those who want to send email campaigns but don’t know where to start as well as template reviews, reporting and analysis and more for those who want to improve returns from their emails.  Like her Facebook page for email tips and discussions or call her on 07783 4046023.

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