Open Rate: It's About The Content. Duh

Did you know that the most read email newsletters are those daily deal alerts sent out by the likes of Groupon, LivingSocial, and slew of other knock-offs trying to get in on the party?

According to a February 2011 survey by Yahoo! Mail and Ipsos OTX MediaCT, 61% of U.S. adult Internet users who subscribe to a least two daily deal alerts read every one of the emails that land in their inbox. What B2C company wouldn't want a 61% email open rate? Better, the survey found that slightly less than a quarter of subscribers forwarded the emails along to family and friends every day and 45% did so at least weekly. Now that's word of mouth!

Go figure addicts like a fix. Understanding what your customers want and delivering it to them is the best way to get them to open the email. People love deals (especially in a down economy) so they're opening and sharing these emails in droves to make sure they're not missing out on anything. You wouldn't want to miss half-off a haircut at your local barbershop, right?

Your business, too, can have great open rates: You just have to give your subscribers content they have to open when it arrives. Roughly 30% of daily deal subscribers that have been on such a list for over a year still report they "can't wait" for each day's email to arrive.

Maybe 60% is a lofty goal, but by providing great content to your email subscribers, you can improve your open rates and get people sharing with others, either by forwarding or through social media channels. And it doesn't have to be a "deal"--just make sure the content is useful to the recipient.

Need proof? Darlene McCallum is a Stampin' Up! demonstrator in Edmonton who sells rubber stamps to hobbyists across Canada. She sends out a monthly newsletter that has an average open rate north of 50%. Darlene's secret? Good content.

Darlene doesn't put a hard sell on her customers. Such tactics are a turn-off to her, so why would she do the same to her subscribers? Instead, Darlene provides them with information they can use: projects, techniques, links to how-to videos, and more--all things to make her subscribers' (her customers) hobby more rewarding. And they reward her by opening her email, offering comments, saying thanks, and making purchases.

Are you giving your subscribers a reason to open your emails? Darlene is. The daily deal folks are. You can, too, by using good content.

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