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Actionable Steps to Improve Open and Click Rates

1) Focus on Subscriber Quality

Healthy lists will have subscribers who actively want to hear from you, so it’s always a good practice to only send to emails who subscribed to receive your emails. Organically growing your lists with sign up forms also helps your sender reputation. It’s also a good practice to send subscribers a welcome message within 24 hours of them subscribing. In this welcome message, include a call to action to save your from address to their safe sender list. Welcome emails typically have the highest open and click rates, so carefully choose the content for this message.

It’s also important to review and clean your subscriber lists regularly. For example, you can suppress subscribers in your account who haven’t opened a message from you in awhile. Use Critical Impact’s dynamic lists to find the subscribers who haven’t opened a message from you in the past year, or who haven’t clicked on a specific category of link. By suppressing these inactive subscribers in future sends, you can help rid your list of inactive subscribers that could be causing your rates to suffer.

Please note that Critical Impact will automatically unsubscribe any hard bounces that occur when an email address cannot receive email for a permanent reason. This helps automatically clean your list of these bad emails.

2) Create Captivating Email Content

Subscribers typically spend around 3 seconds reading an email. So one of the most important things you can do is keep your content concise. Write content with headers to make the email fast to skim read. Instead of long paragraphs of text, add a read more link for those who want to read the whole article.

Increase click rates by adding a clear call-to-action link, button, or image. For accessibility, make sure that links are underlined and images have Alt text assigned. It can also be helpful to make the call-to-action stand out by changing the color or increasing the font size. It can also be helpful to just have one clear call-to-action per message, so subscribers are not distracted or overwhelmed.

There are a few tips you’ll need to keep in mind when adding images to your messages. Some email clients do not download images by default, so it’s important to provide alt text. This text should be kept short, and will display in place of the image when they’re not downloaded. If the image is hyperlinked, then the user should be able to click on the linked text without downloading the images. The best industry standard practice is to avoid inserting images as background images. Some email clients do not display background image styles. If you must use a background image, make sure that the background color is set to something that will make any text legible if the image does not appear.

3) Test and Improve Sending Practices

Before making any live send, it’s important to thoroughly test your messages. In Critical Impact, you can easily send a test message to your personal email address(es). There’s also an Inbox Preview tool that lets you see a screenshot of how your message will look in all the major email clients, devices, and web browsers. By testing the email first, you can make sure that all your links are working and it will look good in the inbox.

When scheduling the send, select send details that will grab subscribers’ attention. For example, send your emails from a real person instead of an impersonal company address. Create subscribe lines that stand out in the inbox and prepare subscribers for the content they’ll see in the message. Finally, create preview text that will appear in the preview pane of the inbox that will further grab subscriber’s interest.

If you focus on improving your sending practices in each of these 3 areas, you’ll be able to quickly improve your subscriber interaction rates and email performance metrics.

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