Week 2 into Open Rate August and we’re ready for the least sexy email hacks you’ve come across.

Last week, we talked about what an email open actually means.

(Reminder: OPEN RATE = # CONTACTS SENT THE EMAIL/# OF UNIQUE OPENS)

Brands tend to have a reactive approach to open rates.

They’re the first line of measurement we look at to figure out what’s going wrong in an email program.

Are people opening our emails?

Well, our open rate is under 15% so that must mean we’re not doing enough to get our list to open.

Write a better subject line!

Get more people on the list!

Sprinkle a few emojis in there!

Don’t get me wrong.

Those are all essential email strategy tactics. They work if deployed well.

But they’re a waste of effort if you’re not looking at the QUALITY of your list.

Ooph. I just brought up something new here.

    LIST QUALITY!

    What does that have to do with open rates?

    Well, kids, gather round for story time.

    I was talking to someone about a lead generation campaign they were running and they weren’t getting very good results. They wanted to know why.

    When I hear this kind of problem, my first question is, Where did your leads come from?

    They bought a list.

    (AH! So many sad tears!!!!!)

    Why do we keep thinking this kind of short cut will work!?!?

    If people have never heard of you before and they get an email in their inbox (if it makes it past the SPAM folder), WHY would they open it?

    And if they open it, why would they engage with it?

    Paid/rented lists are the worst on so many levels.

    Email marketing is the highest revenue-generating marketing channel for a reason.

    People give you permission to send them emails.

    They encountered our brand and said, Yes, I would please like more information.

    If you provide them the opportunity to opt-in and then give them value, they will keep opening over and over.

    BUT I know you aren’t the type of person who would take this kind of short cut.

    SO let’s say all of your contacts have given you permission to email them. (HOORAY! 🎉)

    Does that mean they are opening all or even any of your emails?

    NO.

    Sorry to say this, but people either get bored with your brand, they move on, or they never opened an email to begin with.

    I know you’re churning out the good stuff week after week. To have someone just say they don’t want it anymore is a real bummer.

    Hopefully, they’ll be the grown-up and unsubscribe from your list.

    Most of the time, they just ignore you and keep deleting until it’s New Year’s and they’re ready to do some inbox cleaning because all of the deco-organizing blogs out there are saying CLEAN UP YOUR LIFE AND YOU WILL BE IMMEDIATELY HAPPY.

    So why does it matter if people stop opening your emails and don’t unsubscribe?

    (Ready to come full circle?)

    YOUR OPEN RATES GO DOWN.

    Let me ask you this. When’s the last time you cleaned your list?

    Was it around the same time you scrubbed out the vegetable drawer in your refrigerator?

    (Don’t be embarrassed. We’ve all done it.)

    So here’s the real deal about list cleaning.

    Removing aged contacts will not only take out the dead weight from your email list (and increase your open rates), but it will show that email clients like gmail, outlook, hotmail (does anyone still use hotmail?) will see that you have a higher percentage of open rates which makes them happy.

    They’ll be less likely to serve your emails to the SPAM folder.

    Also, smaller list sizes might keep your contact down enough to avoid a price increase from your email service provider.

    It’s a win Win WIN.

    YOUR HOMEWORK:

    Check your list to see who isn’t opening. Have they ever opened an email from you? Have they not opened an email in the last 3 months?

    Once you find those folks, make the hard choice to unsubscribe.

    Some people hate unsubscribing.

    But every relationship needs boundaries. Set yours now and move on with your big, beautiful open rate.