Email marketing isn’t an exact science and continuously testing how to best capture the interest of our readers is a common practice. We’re always looking for ways to improve copy, design, headlines, etc. But sometimes, recipients will delete an email before they even open it! Why? Below are three reasons an email may never get opened:

1. Committing a subject line faux pas – You only get one chance to make a first impression, as the saying goes, and it’s certainly true with emails. The subject line is the key to getting recipients to open. Clever or intriguing subject lines are often useful, but informative or straight-forward subject lines work just as well.

However, subject lines that are too long or too broad will often be ignored. It’s obviously okay to use words like “Sale” or “Free” as long as you give specifics about the sale and don’t over use or repeat them in the same subject line. Similarly, you don’t want to use the same subject line for multiple emails. This subject line generator can also help you create email subject lines for your next campaign. Check out the worst subject lines, ever in this post.

2. Sending at the wrong time – Depending on your campaign, your audience and your content, varying your timing can lead to better open rates. For example, if your audience is made up primarily of individuals with 9-5 desk jobs, you may find better open rates in the mid-morning or late afternoon when most people are either just settling in to, or taking a break at the end of the day. If, however, your audience is primarily people with outdoor jobs who are on the move most of the day, who don’t check their emails as often, then the early morning or evening may prove better for your open rates.

The point is, testing your send times is very important. Try some A/B testing with your next email campaign. Send out the same email at four different times to an even random sample of your audience and see which open rate is the highest, between early-morning, mid-morning or noon, afternoon and evening. Run the test a few times in order to gauge which of those times is most effective. Then you’ll know when your audience is most receptive to your content.

3. Landing in spam – Spam filters work by determining an individual emails “spam score”. The spam score that sends an email to the spam box varies based on the email client and the individual users spam settings, but there are some practices that will almost always send your email to spam box purgatory. According to Ashley Zeckman of the four biggest mistakes include:

  • Spammy phrases such as “Once in a lifetime opportunity!”
  • Using too many exclamation points!!!!!
  • Sloppy HTML with too many broken links or broken images

Learn how to stay out of spam, with our handy webinar: How to Avoid the Spam Folder.

Use the above tips in conjunction with testing and you may see an increase in your open rates. The more variables you test and change the more likely you are to hit upon that key style or aspect of your emails that draws in your readers, increases your opens and grows your business.

Want more marketing tips and tactics? Sign up for the free VR Buzz and get started with your email marketing using VerticalResponse for free!

© 2014, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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