5 Tips to Improve Your Click to Open Rate

Like many people who work in the digital realm – and quite a few who don’t – I have several email accounts. I’ve tried to segment each account to receive email that’s relevant to it’s purpose, but sometimes there are just too many to read. So, they languish in my inbox until I have time to deal with them.

It isn’t that I don’t appreciate the time and effort companies take to reach out and keep me informed or offer deals. There are just so many of them.

Despite word of its death, email marketing is still a potent way to communicate with customers. But, even the most well-planned and crafted campaign will fail to bear fruit if customers aren’t opening and engaging with your emails.

What is a Click-to-Open Rate?

This is a two-part response to what seems to be a single question. In email correspondence, the open rate is the ratio of people who actually open your messages in relation to how many are sent. The click-through rate is the percentage of those recipients who follow through with your CTA.

In formulaic terms, they look like this:

OR= (Total email recipients/people who open your email) x 100

CTR= (People who click on an embedded link/total number of recipients) x 100

The click-to-open rate is a combination of the two that focuses on unique engagement. It’s measured like this:

CTOR = (Number of unique clicks/number of unique opens) x 100

Taken together, these numbers provide a lot of useful information to businesses and marketers. You’re able to test the effectiveness of your outreach, and you’ll gain a better understanding of your audience via feedback and levels of engagement.

Why Aren’t People Reading Your Marketing Emails?

Lack of time and sheer volume aren’t the only reasons your click-to-open rates are in the basement.

Although these numbers can vary according to your industry and intent, the average click-to-open rate runs between 9 and 19 percent.

There are several reasons that your email marketing isn’t getting the results you expect. Here, in no particular order, are just a few of them.

1. You haven’t established a relationship with the recipient. The proliferation of scammers and suspicious emails has impressed on our brains the dangers of opening unsolicited emails and the folly of clicking links. The common practice of opt-ins for subscriptions and newsletters has alleviated some of the problems associated with unsolicited mail. But if you want a response, establish some sort of relationship with your audience first, and allow them to filter by how often or what type of emails they’re willing to receive.

2. TL;DR. For a while, the trend was to create long, drawn-out stories in an attempt to engage your audience. I don’t know about you, but I began to wonder when they would get to the point.

This might be fine in a blog post or landing page, but keep the content brief and readable when it comes to email solicitations. Make sure to include a clear CTA at the end so that the reader knows what action they’re expected to take once they’ve finished.

3. It’s not mobile-friendly. Have you tried to read/respond to email on a smartphone? It’s an exercise in frustration. Everything these days relates back to prioritizing mobile first design and navigation. Being that more than half of all digital activities are now performed on a mobile device with a relatively small screen, make sure that your emails are formatted to fit the most common usage.

4. Badly constructed subject line. First impressions are important, and your subject line is the first thing people see when they browse through their inboxes. Although they mostly contain just a snippet of information, there is an art to constructing an email subject line that compels recipients to open the message and read it. In as few words as possible – and without being spammy – let the reader know what the message is about and why you’re reaching out.

5. It contains attachments. One of the first rules we mention when discussing internet security is not to open emails with attachments or click on links. Unfortunately, many email solicitations include the very thing we’ve been conditioned to avoid for our own safety.

If you must include attachments or links, makes sure that they’re being sent to people who are expecting them. See points one and four for more information.

Monitoring and improving your CTOR numbers will allow you to:

  • * Reach more people
  • * Save time and money
  • * Improve performance
  • * Increase conversions

Now that you have a little insight into the nature of the problem, here are five tips for improving your click-to-open rates.

Refine Your Email List

One of the biggest challenges in marketing is making sure that you get information out to the right audience. Cull unengaged recipients from your email list, and segment the remainder according to your intent and theirs. People are in different stages of their journey at any given time, and your content targeting strategy should reflect this. Make sure to give them one last chance to remain on your list, though.

Know Your Audience

This can’t be stated enough. The days if shooting fish in a barrel are done. It only wastes their time and yours. Your audience will be more likely to open and engage with content that’s relevant to them. Collect data through performance metrics and feedback to better understand your audience and what motivates them to act, and then tailor your content to engage on that level.

Make Sure Your Emails are Relevant

We all have too little time and too much email to sort through. At the outset of the opt-in process, ask how often they’d like to be contacted and what type of information they want to receive.

Once you have them subscribed, make sure that your text is compelling, personalized, and relevant to the recipient.

Avoid Passive Voice

All of your correspondence should serve two purposes: to inform and to spur recipients to action. Keep the content concise and use wording that motivates without being too salesy. This begins with a subject line that piques their curiosity, follows though into the body of the text, and ends with a clear, actionable directive.

Test, Test, Test

Metrics and feedback are meant to help you refine your strategy and approach. But, they’re only as good as the information they contain. Try several subject lines and try a few different messages to see which get the desired response. This is an ongoing process that should be conducted at the beginning of each new campaign and periodically throughout.

Final Thoughts

Although email marketing is still one of the most effective – and cost-effective – ways to reach your audience, it’s still a time-waster if reading isn’t followed by action. Our goal is to show you some tried-and-true methods to improve your click-to-open rates. Creating clickable content is the best way to make sure that your emails are read and acted upon rather than just ending in the virtual trash bin.

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Today's Author

International SEO consultant is my title…but who cares about those? What I love is creating strategies that include marketing, social, SEO, relevance, ruffling feathers and starting revolutions. What you read on this blog will hopefully inspire you to continue the conversation. When I’m not multitasking around Level343 I sneak away and go sailing. I’m crazy about pistachios, and of course Nutella.

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