The biggest factors that affect your open rate are the quality of your email list and the relevance of your content.
If you find that your open rate is well below industry averages you should first look at your email list quality and make adjustments to improve the quality of your list. You will want to remove those who have not responded and replace them with fresh email addresses you have gathered recently from your opt-in email list activities.
You will also want to examine the relevance of your emails. If you sell hats you shouldn't be sending emails advertising shoes.
Aside from the above there are some other factors that can increase your open rate, here are some you may wish to look into:
- The From Sender Name: The name and email address you send from need to be immediately recognizable to the recipient. The name is the most important determinant for a recipient as to whether or not they open the message.
- The Subject line: The subject line must capture their attention. A subject line that makes the email look like any other newsletter they may disregard will be disregarded.
- Frequency of sending: If messages are sent too frequently the recipients will ignore them and not open. If they are sent too infrequently they will forget who you are and not open. The balance depends on the type of messages you send and your audience.
- Spam filters: Spam filters are increasingly more difficult to pass. Elements that will get you caught in a spam filter include the use of free email services for your sender address (e.g. yahoo, hotmail, etc.), the use of exclamation points or words like "Free" "Viagra" "Work at home" etc., as well as the use of large images and very little text. The Internet is full of resources for learning what will get you caught in a filter and some websites even have downloadable software for checking the spam score of your email.
- Image Suppression: ResultsMail reports opens based on the downloading of images from our servers. For this to happen, the recipient must open and view the HTML version of the email while connected to the Internet. Email programs such as Outlook and webmail readers will by default suppress images. If the recipient does not click on the link to download the images, an open cannot be recorded.
This means that if you send an email that only has one large image and no text, they may not select to view the image because they do not see anything in the email. Conversely if the email you send does not include images, the recipient will not feel a need to click the link to download images and so the ResultsMail open recording image will not be downloaded and an open will not be recorded. To increase open rates, it is therefore necessary to design good HTML emails that include text and images and encourage the recipient to download the images.