Posts Tagged ‘opens’

As smartphone and tablet usage continues to grow, mobile has become an absolutely crucial part of email marketing strategy and with email opens steadily increasing on mobile devices this has become more pertinent than ever.

Especially now that according to Experian Marketing Services’ (EMS) Quarterly Email Benchmark Study Q2 2013 half of subscribers open their emails on a mobile device ONLY, compared to 23 percent on desktop-only and webmail-only. ”With mobile devices now crossing the 50 percent of unique opens, marketers must bring device optimisation to the forefront of their email marketing campaigns,” says Bill Tancer, General Manager at EMS.

The EMS report reveals that merely one percent of opens went to the non-mobile group (Other), in which subscribers used both webmail and desktop, and that just three percent of subscribers opened emails on all of these three platforms, with at least one open on a mobile device (mobile-combo). In spite of the small number of email opens in the ‘mobile-combo’ and ‘other ‘categories, these two see the highest engagement rates, highest click-to-open rates, and are also considered more profitable than the other platform types.



A look further into the increasing impact of mobile devices shows that iPhone was the leading mobile device for opens and clicks, whereas iPad was dominant when it comes to transactions and shopping, and both Apple products put Android at a distant third in all areas. Nevertheless, Android still plays an important role in email marketing and Bill Tancer, General Manager at EMS advises that “While Apple products ranked high for both mobile and tablet metrics, marketers must consider both iOS and Android in their mobile email marketing strategy”

So seeing as mobile opens have now crossed the 50% mark and there are just a couple of month’s to go before the holiday season,  with email still being the biggest driver of sales and revenue, what is your mobile email marketing strategy?

Presenting users with a from name they are already familiar with is the most effective way to drive up open rates according to the December 2012 survey of US internet users conducted by email marketing software company Campaigner.

In fact, one-quarter of respondents said the No. 1 influence on whether they would open a promotional email was the familiarity of the sender’s name. Just over 15% said they were most influenced by the email subject line, while nearly 10% said the device on which they were reading the email had the greatest effect on whether they would open the missive.


Data from email marketing service provider Blue Hornet found that familiar names had a similar effect on open rates. In their February 2013 survey of internet users in the US, they found that almost seven in 10 said they were likely to open emails from brands whose products they often purchased either on-line or in brick-and-mortar stores.

Which really backs up what we’ve been saying all along - the majority of email users look at the sender from name and address before deciding whether or not to open the email. If they recognise the from name they’re more likely to open the campaign.  Read more on this here and here.



Nearly one in three emails sent in North America during Q1 2013 were opened—the highest number in recent history.

According to the eMarketer report “Email Benchmarks: Key Metrics and Trends for 2013″, Mobile device adoption and the use of marketing automation to send more targeted emails are having the biggest impacts on email performance.

Mobile plays an undeniable role in enabling consumers to check email from anywhere and at any time of day - 71.8% of US email users ages 24 to 40 said they typically read their personal email throughout the day.  Knotice showed mobile phones and tablets accounted for a combined total of 41.1% of email opens. That is even higher for others - Epsilon said mobile now accounts for 60% or more of all opens for most clients.

Pam McAtee, Epsilon’s senior vice president of digital solutions, says  “We can see that they opened an email on a mobile device and then on a desktop, predominantly in that order. They’re using mobile devices to sift through their email and clean up their email, and then they’re going back to a desktop and converting.”

Source: Emarketer 

Following on from our post about how your From Name and Subject Line act as the gatekeepers to your email campaigns, (Click here to read) we are now going to tell you the formula for creating the ultimate subject line so you can increase your chances of your campaign standing out, getting opened, and getting read.

As we’ve said before, prompting the open by getting past the first ‘gatekeepers’ is the primary goal, because you can’t count clickthroughs – much less sell something -  if no-one opens your email.

So with so many people receiving many emails, deleting and filtering, how do you get your subscribers attention? A great subject line gets your email opened.



Spam filters can be triggered by a variety of reasons, rarely will specific words like ‘sale’ or ‘free’ get you a one way ticket into the spam folder – filters are changing and it takes a combination of things to really mark your email as spam. So don’t be afraid to put in the odd exclamation mark, you can use all caps, even the word free or sale is fine.

The key is to use these words sparingly. Spam filters assign points to ‘spam’ words, and if the points exceed a certain threshold then the email is considered spam.  However if you just use one or two of these words and symbols throughout your email or even just in the subject line, they won’t automatically mark your email as spam – you may have heard us say before that while content filtering is important, there are now other factors like your sender reputation and engagement metrics that are much more important.


You may have heard a lot of talk about geo-location lately – well collecting and using geo-location data to create more relevant and personal emails and subject lines can increase open rates.  For example, the same email content can come to life when the subject line suggests it’s especially relevant for you.  American retailer Urban Outfitters does this well with subject lines often calling out to me ‘Hey New Zealand – here’s our best sale yet’  or ‘We ship for free to Kiwis every day!’.  Extrapolate that out to your regional customers and – well you see our point.

Subject lines framed as questions have often performed better in tests. Of course you won’t be asking just any old random question – consider your audience, their interests, what your campaign is about, and frame a question around that which will pique their interest and even better if they can respond in some way you can increase engagement.  ‘How many ways can you wear this scarf?’  ‘What’s the best way to show the world you care?’.

Email marketing company MailerMailer found that longer subject lines had lower open rates and click through rates than those emails with shorter subject lines.  They found emails with 28-39 characters in the subject line had the highest open and click through rates. Considering that is about how many characters of a subject line smartphones display, that is no surprise. So the golden rule of thumb is keep it shorter than 50 characters, or at least make your point early in the sentence!


✓ There has been a craze of sorts lately with people using ✶symbols✶ in clever ways in an effort to stand out in the inbox. If used appropriately and cleverly, ✈ symbols may get you more opens, but too many symbols might start driving people crazy so again use sparingly ☂ and only if relevant ☀.  You can read our article about using symbols here.

We’ve heard recently that contrary to previous advice, using the recipient’s name in the subject line does not significantly improve open rates. If it clearly looks like a mail merge then it’s not very personalised at all and will probably have no effect, however if you use their name cleverly and in a relevant way, it may increase opens. In their July 2012 study, MailerMailer saw significantly lower click through and open rates for personalised subject lines compared to non personalised ones.   We have many clients who use this technique every time and it works very well – the answer for you is TEST it!


Keep it useful – why would your recipient want to open your email?  Tell them.

Keep it short – remember the golden rule of 50 characters.

Keep it specific – make sure it is relevant and valuable to the recipient.

Keep it timely – with everything being instant now there really is no place for old news, old jokes, or old memes – keep it fresh.

Always have a call to action – people will respond when you tell them to do something. So ask yourself why are you emailing them? What do you want them to do?  Make your CTA’s easy and ensure they make sense.

Test test test – use the A/B split test send function and test out different subject lines and learn what works for your audience.

Set expectations – clearly state what’s inside the email, and why the recipient should read it.

This advice along with the previous post on From Names and Subject lines will give you some things to work on, and we’re here if you want to talk about what works for you, what doesn’t work and how you might grow your response rates, and deliver great emails to happy customers!

If you follow the email marketing industry, you know that engagement is quite the buzzword lately.  But Engagement isn’t new at all. It has been a part of the filtering mix for quite a while. ISPs including Yahoo! (Xtra) Hotmail and Gmail are adding clicks, opens and other measures of user engagement to the long list of other engagement metrics that have been in use for a while. All these metrics try to do the same thing — figure out which messages are truly wanted by subscribers.

ISPs are measuring engagement and using it to decide who gets to the inbox, and who goes to the junk folder. In simple terms, the ISP is basically looking at whether or not your subscribers open, click, and in general, “interact” with you. If you send an email that mistakenly goes to the junk folder, then the subscriber moves it back out, you scored some engagement points. If your subscriber clicks your links or hits “reply” to send you a message, you get some engagement points.

Returnpath’s George Bilbrey says to senders:

“Treat inactive subscribers differently: This is probably the biggest change that most marketers need to think about. Mailing to a lot of inactive accounts may actually make your reputation look worse at some ISPs. Segment out inactive users and run a win-back campaign. If you cannot win back these subscribers, you may simply want to stop mailing them altogether.”

Over at Clickz, Jeanne Jennings had this to say about inactive members of your list:

“If these folks really aren’t that into you, they may take the next step and report you as spam. It’s like that shunned suitor who just won’t go away; eventually the victim will consider him a stalker and get a restraining order. Keeping inactive names on your list can open you up to blacklisting and deliverability issues.”

There is an art to deciding who is engaged and who is not.  This will depend on your buying cycle and the types of emails you send. It is good to use an email expert to help you make a matrix for your own business but there are some things you can consider:

Do you have strong calls to action in your emails – so that there is something to click?

Do you have a genuinely relevant and  interesting email stream, sent at least bi-monthly (6 per year)?

If you have a frequent email (weekly or more) do you allow people to control the frequency and type of emails they get using a Preference Centre?

  • From time to time you should dissect your email list to identify who have never opened, clicked or bought something from you. We call them ‘zombies’.  They bring all your metrics down, they impact your engagement measures and they don’t pay their way.  Try to get them to wake up – or kill them off.
  • Next look for who is in a coma – used to engage and now don’t.  Talk to them differently too.
  • Who is on their way out?
  • Who are you best responders?  Make them feel special, use them to spread your word, and keep up the good work!

There is much to this and a good agency can help you do this and come out the other side with a more profitable program.

And worst case is you get to kill a few zombies!




Seeing as the most searched for topic on our blog is ‘welcome emails’ you might also want to read our ‘welcome 101 master class post,  and then you can view email welcome examples in our top-rated post on ‘8 outstanding welcome email examples’ to get you started.

In this post, we’ve broken down the word “Welcome” as an acronym to provide a little inspiration in bite size chunks on the topic of welcome emails.  We picked the words below to highlight what we think are some of the more important components of a good welcome email strategy. Now, you might have your own words for some of these, and that’s fine. In fact, we’d love for you to add your suggestions in the comments!

W – Why
Why are you sending the email? What are you welcoming them for? This will determine the style of the email, when you need to send the email, and what you require your subscribers to do once they receive the email.

E – Engaging
This is potentially the first email they will have ever received from you – make it great! Make it so wonderfully enticing your recipients open it, and make sure it represents your brand, so that when they get your emails in the future they will know it’s you and they will open it.

L –Love your subscribers
Show them the love! Don’t just send an email saying ‘Thanks for signing up’ – where’s the joy in that? If they have just subscribed, or just signed up to something with you, or just purchased something in store, tell them you appreciate it, say thanks, offer them something.

C – Clickthroughs
Is there a call to action required from this welcome email? (You will get this from the questions in the ‘WHY’ section) Would you like recipients to clickthrough to a voucher, or your website for example? Have a good call to action that makes this obvious.

O – Opens
Good design and good copy is key. Make it relevant, timely, attention grabbing and appealing. That way you will ensure new customers or new subscribers will open your welcome email and get the information they need from you instead of mistaking it for more junk and deleting it and missing that vital new customer 50% off voucher!

M – Mandatory
We say mandatory because we believe welcome emails are that important and that effective. And if you don’t already have a welcome email campaign set up, contact and our design team can put some concepts together for you.

E – Ever and Ever
First impressions count right? If you want this recipient to keep coming back and showing you the love for ever and ever impress them off the bat and you’re more likely to hold on to them as a subscriber.

S – Series
Plural ‘welcomes’ to us means ‘welcome series’! Welcome series are great for when people visit your website, and generally they have limited time to get the gist of what it is you are great at.  So you use a welcome series to extend the education period. For example you could say ‘Sign up to our monthly news updates and we will welcome you with 5 ways to get the most from us’ then, you can use triggers in SmartMail PRO to deploy a series of emails at set times– perhaps weekly, or twice in the first week then one a fortnight.  Or even better, use the series as your sign up incentive – you could say “Sign up for our newsletter and we will send you our ‘3 ways to save money when you shop.’” How enticing is that?


You are welcome!