You Have “Only” a 20-30% Open Rate? Consider Your Email Marketing a Success!

Open My Email, PLEASE!

In my last post,  I discussed the good news that Mobile Email opens are increasing. But the bad news is that your open rate report percentages will probably go down or not properly reflect how many recipients are actually opening your emails.


From Constant Contact re open reports (and it’s pretty much the same for all email service providers):

…if the contact has decided not to or can’t display images, that image won’t be loaded and we can’t verify that the email was opened. That’s why we have measures in place to track when a contact clicks a link in your email, as well.
Using these two ways to determine when an email is opened allows us to be pretty accurate. However, you can always encourage your contacts to add you to their address books or enable image viewing to make sure that no open is left behind.

That last line is pretty much useless (bs) as no one or nothing can “make sure” no open is left behind. It would take too much detective work for most to track when an uptick in opens means recipients added you to their address book and/or enabled viewing against whether your email was just opened by more people for that particular email. So a bunch of placating BS if you ask me. But it’s not their fault it occurs. I just wish they’d be more direct in their attempt to explain it all.

And just how IS an email open rate calculated?

EMAIL OPENS = EMAILS OPENED divided by EMAILS SENT minus BOUNCED EMAILS – assuming they all displayed their images or clicked on a link!

SO what can you do?

  • Add more links to test interest since those are definitely tracked no matter what!
  • Distribute your email link EVERYWHERE – social media, posts, website, etc.
  • Create an archive link for all your emails and post the archive link everywhere as well. You can even use it as part of your regular email signature ( I just thought of that – I need to do that, too!)

Is there any consolation here?

Yes. You can easily tack on a good 5-15% to your open rate for those invisible opens…

In other words, your open rate is better than you thought – and always has been…

Keep it Slow and Simple with LOTS of Visuals! – Seminars and Webinars, that is… :)

Seminars have your head spinning?

I’ve been asked to provide a presentation/demo on online tools that a) are free and b) easy for even the tech-challenged (these aren’t just boomers either… I’m surprised how many in their 30s have no clue).

It started with an email newsletter that I sent with a few tips on free tools. The host of the event is a subscriber and loved it, so she asked me to present on it at one of her events. (Which shows you never know where opportunity will knock).

To tell the truth, I had felt guilty about that newsletter. I had been so busy that I didn’t have time to do the newsletter I wanted, so I featured the tools. Hmm. But, turns out it was fortuitous in giving me the opportunity to speak (I loooove to speak!).

Now, how do you fill 45 minutes on tools without overwhelming the audience?

I’ve decided to keep it slow and simple. With LOTS of visuals!

I mean, don’t you attend a seminar or webinar to feel like you actually LEARNED something?! I haven’t been attending as many as I used to because I get disgusted with people who hold you captive for an hour only to gloss over the topic and then slam you with a sell at the end. And the worst are those webinars with a stagnant visual just in your face the whole time.

Give me some meat and potatoes. Give me something to chew on for a while. Give me a reason to go back to my desk and try something new.

How about you?

I hope my audience walks away with something of real value…


3 No-Fail Ways to Collect Email Addresses

Free Email Marketing Trial

Why Email?

  • It’s cost-effective: Direct mail vs. email
  • For the same response, direct mail costs 20 TIMES as much as email [Forrester Research, Inc.]
  • Email ROI is the highest when compared to other internet marketing mediums [Direct Marketing Association]

There’s no need to fear asking your customers, clients and contacts for their email addresses!

I hear it all the time – businesses are afraid to ask for an email address. They hate spam in their own inbox and expect customers to react to asking for an email address the same way.

Your email marketing is not spam

Not if you are doing it right. Read on…

There are 3 important elements to growing your email list:

Asking vs. Offering Value

They will undoubtedly say “No, I get too much email already.” If you ask a yes/no question you are shooting yourself in the foot because a customer’s knee-jerk response will usually be “No” even if they might say “Yes.”

Instead, educate and offer:

Try something like: Sign up for our email list and you’ll get a monthly (bi-monthly, etc) email newsletter filled with product information and exclusive coupons and sale notifications!

Rather than: “Would you like to be on our mailing list.” – When you ask a yes or no question, people are programmed to say no, even if they may be interested, because a direct request puts a prospect on the defensive.

2. Eliminate objections:

  • “We don’t sell our email list to anyone. It is strictly for our store communications.”


  • “You can 1-click un-subscribe at any time. Sign up and if you don’t find it of value, just opt-out!”

3. Entice them with exclusive features:

  • “We have very few public sales, but our email customers get exclusive coupons and notices of specials in the newsletters.”
  • “Our email newsletters include information about new products, events and specials.”

Practice these responses with your staff and you will watch your email list GROW quickly!!! As a result, your regular communications will increase customer loyalty.

Make it easy!

Text to Join Small Business Smart Marketing Newsletter
This is my actual Text to Join for SmB Smart Marketing’s Newsletter. Try it out !

Keep a sign up sheet or attractive guest book at the cash wrap for people to sign up as they wait for you to ring their sale.

If you use Constant Contact for your email marketing, you have options to make it easy for your customers to sign up:

  • “Text to join” where you can create your own branded message for text subscribing on the spot on their mobile device. This handy tool enters their email address directly to your contact list and is more accurate since one doesn’t need to decipher bad handwriting
  • “Join our mailing list” buttons for your newsletters, Facebook page, websites, etc.
  • Custom URL for your branded email signature

When you make subscribing easy, more will opt-in.

Now make sure you keep the 80/20 rule in your newsletters – 80% education / 20% promotion – and keep your open rate high.

5 ways to Raise Your Email Open-Rate

Customer Profile Dimensions
Image by fogfish via Flickr

When creating content for your newsletters, remember that there are common emotional needs in all of us and that especially applies to your customers if you want to build loyalty.

1. Love me

Show your customers your love. Yes, I said love. Tell me you don’t love seeing them walk back in the door for repeat business!? Well, share that feeling with them. Let them know you appreciate their returning business. Express your thanks in every newsletter you email – and be sincere, change it up each time or it will seem canned.

2. Nurture me

They bought your product. Now educate them on how to get the most from their investment. Think of the first time you put your hands on it. What did you need to learn about it? What were your questions? What were the features that compelled you to stock it for your customers? Educate your customer on the  value of the product they purchased.

3. Feed me

People are busy. Far busier today than ever. Spoon feed them the information they need to make wise buying decisions. Too many retailers assume that because consumers are more educated and internet savvy that they are spending hours researching before buying. Maybe they are on some purchases, but not all. And even if they have researched, you should be ready to answer all of their questions about their needs. Listen to your customers’ questions and answer them in your communications.

4. Relax me

Put them at ease about their purchases. Add relevant alternate uses for your products. Give them a reason to feel good about shopping with you. People want to feel good about their purchases, not stressed about having spent the money. Get their mind off the money they spent, and reinforce the value the product brings to their lives.

5. Guide me

Now that they have a comfort level with their purchase, don’t forget to give them information about accessory items that can enhance usage. Guide your customers down the right path for  add-on purchases. If you educate them enough on how accessory items will add more value to their original purchase, they will see you as their go-to source for their purchasing needs.

80% educational info, 20% promotional

Add these 5 elements to every newsletter along with your promotional announcements and they will get opened and read. The 80/20 rule is easy to follow when you use this guideline.

Now go put out a great e-newsletter!