8 Tips to Significantly Improve Your Email Response Rate

by Larry Baltz

Here are eight tips to help you improve the results you get from your email marketing campaign.

Are your e-mail response rates dismal? Unfortunately that's the nature of the online environment today. Recent statistics show that over 50% of the tens of billions of e-mails sent daily are spam, and the top Internet Service Providers are blocking almost 25% of permission-based e-mails. These are staggering numbers for business owners relying on e-mail as a marketing tool.

Is there anything you can do to keep this from happening to your e-mail campaigns? Absolutely. You can significantly improve your deliverability, open rates and number of responses by addressing three key issues: getting past the spam filters, attracting your reader's attention with a value-focused subject line, and offering an e-mail that is short and targeted

Here are eight key tips to help you overcome these challenges.

1. Get permission
Permission-based e-mails don't guarantee deliverability, as the statistics above confirm, but your success rate will certainly be higher than without permission. Also, once you have established a relationship with someone, ask them to put you in their address book. This is the single most important thing you can do to increase deliverability.

2. Focus on your Subject Line
This is critical to get your message opened. You have only a few seconds to get the reader's attention before you're clicked into the garbage pile. Focus on Value. Give the reader a compelling reason to open your message before deleting it and going to the next one. You will sabotage your efforts if you only use generic information. For instance, if you're sending a monthly newsletter with valuable home maintenance tips, don't use "March Newsletter" as your subject line (I receive numerous newsletters just like that). That won't entice anyone to open it. However, if your subject line reads "6 home maintenance tips that add value", you'll get a much higher open rate.



3. Front-load your message
Some recipients don't see the entire subject line due to shortened screens. Make sure your most valuable part is not cut off.

4. Pay attention to the spam triggers
All CAPS, excessive punctuation, repeated phrases and specific words/phrases trigger the spam filters. (Note. The trigger words and phrases are continually changing. To keep up-to-date, I recommend a newsletter that offers advice and guidance on e-mail marketing and other online issues.)

5. Tighten up the body of your message
Avoid long blocks of copy by limiting paragraphs to no more than three or four sentences. Most people scan e-mails quickly because they're forced to deal with so many. Use numbers and bullets to make it easy for the reader to focus (if you're technologically challenged like me and don't know how to use html code, you can simply type in the numerical digits or copy and paste a "bullet" symbol from a word document).

6. What's on the screen?
Do not put large graphics or a giant masthead on top of your e-mail. You're wasting valuable space. And include your most valuable content first, since the latter part of your message probably won't be viewed without scrolling. Send yourself a test and discover what you see in your preview pane.

7. Select appropriate colors
Avoid colors like yellow, fuchsia, aqua and other colors that are hard on the eyes and score higher on the spam filters.

8. List Maintenance - Keep your lists up-to-date
Delete undeliverable addresses and "bounces" before mailing again since not doing so can negatively impact future deliverability. You can make your job easier by including easy-to-follow unsubscribe instructions with every single message you send.

100% e-mail open rates are probably not realistic given the current online environment. But you certainly can improve yours by following the above guidelines.

Larry Baltz runs a company called More Sales - More Profits. He works with small business owners who want to get more clients and sell more products and services. Larry is a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and small business marketing expert.  Visit his web site at http://www.moresales-moreprofits.com.

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