The are numerous theories that abound online on how to increase email open rates. However, the only way that works is to drill down deep into your niche market and analyze it inside and out. There are no shortcuts, and you must be willing to get your “hands dirty” if you want your email marketing efforts to pay off.
It’s a well-known fact among industry experts that the more you know about your niche market, the more you increase your chances of connecting with them and gaining their trust – and trust is money!
Increase Email Open Rates: Know Thy Market!
Another reason why knowing your market is so important, is because each niche has a language all its own. It’s your job to identify this “lingo” and to use it throughout all your email marketing campaigns.
For instance, if you are marketing to content marketers you’ll discover that they use words such as:
- Agile – The ability to move quickly and adapt your content to meet the needs of your niche market.
- Buyer Personas – Buyer personas are little snapshots of your target audience – The who, what, where, why and how.
- Calls-To-Action (CTA) – Calls-to-Action help convert your site traffic into actual subscribers or buyers in your database.
- Evergreen Content – Evergreen content is content that provides value to readers no matter when they come upon it.
- Lifecycle Stages – Lifecycle stages are helpful ways to describe the relationship you have with your audience.
If it were not for the in-depth research, then you wouldn’t know to include these words in your subject lines and in your content. Your words – every single one of them, means something.
As for email subject lines, their sole purpose is to grab your readers attention and get them to click the link. And, it’s been proven to increase email open rates when you use your niche market’s lingo/terminology in your subject lines!
But more importantly, once you’ve gotten them to click the email link to explore the content, you need to keep them tuned in. This is where your opener comes into play and it better be solid, otherwise your emails will quickly make their way to their trash can or spam folder.
For example, “The only way that works is to drill down deep…”, and “You must be willing to ‘get your hands ‘dirty'”.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Treat your subject line like the movie trailer – give a preview so they know what to expect.” quote=”Treat your subject line like the movie trailer – give a preview so they know what to expect.”]
The best subject lines, openers, offers and closes all come from knowing your market. Here’s an example from my own personal experience being a subscriber on someone’s list.
Years ago I was stuck on coming up with content creation ideas for my blog. It seemed like it took me forever to think of what I needed to write and then to get it written. Every night I’d search the web looking for ways to generate content ideas.
It’s not as if I was looking to write “War and Peace” or anything, just a simple 500-700 word blog post 4-5 times each week. So, I subscribed to a couple of “guru” newsletters – figuring that these guys knew a thing or two about content creation, and maybe I’d learn something from them.
It must have been about 6 or 7 newsletters that I subscribed to. However, within a couple of weeks that number had shrunk to just one – and I’m still on that guys list today!
It wasn’t that the other newsletters were so bad, it’s just that they didn’t make a connection with me like the other guy had. So, I opted out of all the other newsletters.
This guy wasn’t going to lose me as a subscriber, because he seemed to know all my “Hot Buttons” and exactly how to push each one. He knew where I was coming from and what I was hoping to find in his emails.
One day his subject line read something like “Struggling With Content Creation Ideas for Your Blog?” … BINGO! Obviously, he hit my need square on the head and I hit that email open button like a greyhound bus!
In the business we call that a “Hook“, like a fish on a hook. I read every word he wrote, because I felt as though it were written specifically for me. That’s what knowing your target audience thoroughly will do for you.
Whether their need is:
- Answers to their questions
- Information on how to do something better, faster
- Products that help them perform a task
- Advice, or
When you become their “go to source” for solutions to their problems, you’ll have a subscriber and a customer for life. So, take the time to really get to know your market.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Bait without a hook is just food – John Hayes ” quote=”Bait without a hook is just food – John Hayes “]
When you are first introducing yourself to a potential subscriber, you need to make it worth their while by giving them something of real value in exchange for their email address. The best way to determine what your subscribers will respond to is by knowing their most desperate desires and needs. Doing so will help you to create a compelling giveaway, such as a special report or an e-book related to their niche, that will lure them in like bears to honey.
So, enjoy exploring, discovering and connecting with your audience. It’s one of the most important preliminary steps to becoming a successful email marketer.
Increase Email Open Rates: How to Get Started
Use Data Mining to Analyze Your Market and Competition – When it comes to knowing your market, it begins by knowing your competition. And this is where Data Mining comes in handy. Not only can you learn from what they are doing successfully, but you will be able to uncover new sources of traffic as well.
Generally, data mining (sometimes called data or knowledge discovery) is the process of analyzing data from different perspectives and summarizing it into useful information – information that can be used to increase revenue, cuts costs, or both. Data mining software is one of a number of analytical tools for analyzing data. It allows users to analyze data from many different dimensions or angles, categorize it, and summarize the relationships identified. Technically, data mining is the process of finding correlations or patterns among dozens of fields in large relational databases. – Wikipedia
Use Sites Such as Alexa and Quantcast – Using sites such as Alexa and Quantcast will allow you to access your competitors sites statistics, such as:
- Traffic Sources and Amounts
- Site Visitor Demographics
- Audience Interests
- Geographic Location
- Time on Site
- Bounce Rates, and
- Much more!
Why are these statistics important? Because they allow you to reverse engineer what your competitors are doing!
Copyblogger is a site that is in the same genre as me, and here is some of what you can find out about them using Alexa and Quantcast:
As you can see from the screenshot above from Alexa, their visitors are more female who have Graduate School education and who spend most of their browsing time on their home computers. Just think of all the possibilities this information could be used to increase email open rates, if used correctly in your campaigns.
Looking at the Alexa screenshot above, you can also discover other sites that are linking to your competitors sites. To the right in the screenshot you’ll see the categories that their searches relate to. How could you use this information in your emails?
Additionally, you may also determine how long a site visitor interacts with your competitors sites, what percentage of their traffic comes from search engines, as well as the keywords that brought their visitors to their site. How could you put this information to work for you?
Look at the screenshot above, it’s from Quantcast. Look to the right with the Black and Blue tabs. You’ll notice that I have the ‘Audience Interests’ tab highlighted. To the left in the grey and white stripes, you’ll discover what their audience’s interest are.
If you were to click on the small dark gray arrow beside each listing (i.e., “Business & Industrial”) you would see even more information specific to that interest. In addition to Audience Interest, you’ll also see in the listing box to the right Summary, Traffic, Demographics, etc.
If we clicked on the ‘Demographics’ tab of that section in Quantcast this is what we’d see in the screenshot above. Just think of how much you could increase email open rates with information like this at your disposal!
In addition to using sites such as Alexa and Quantcast, be sure to join your competitors newsletters, read their blogs and follow their website updates. This is all incredibly helpful, especially if they are authority figures in your niche.
Also, be sure to study their sales funnel, backend system, and follow-ups. What are they offering the same buyers? What are they doing well that is yielding results?
Use Google Alerts – Google Alerts allow you to “spy” on your market and get to know your customer base. Set up keyword based alerts that will send you notifications whenever they appear on websites, blogs, and forums.
In the screenshot above from Google Alerts you’ll see updates based on the word that I entered, in this case “Content Creation”. Not only can I use this information to stay informed of updates on this topic, I could also share these to my social media counts if I should so choose to.
Monitor Social Media Accounts – Join Facebook groups and Twitter Lists related to your niche market and actively participate in the discussions while adding something of value to the group. Get to know them, ask questions, and test out giveaways and incentives.
Join Niche Related Forums – Spending time in forums is a great way to learn what your niche market’s needs are. Look at the questions people are asking in the forum and use their questions as your subject line.
For instance, suppose someone asks the question in a forum “How do I generate content ideas for my blog?” You could use this question in your headline as follows:
“15 Tips For Generating Content For Your Blog”
“How to Never Run Out of Blog Content Ideas Again“.
Warrior Forums, for example, is a great place to seek questions pertaining to your niche. Use what you find their in your subject lines to help you increase email open rates.
While your there in the forums, be sure to jot down product ideas for resale, bonuses, incentives, and giveaways as the ideas come to you. You’ve heard how important that initial giveaway is, and it’s true.
In fact, you should always be testing as you learn. Not only will you become a better email marketer, but you’ll be working towards building your list all at the same time!
[clickToTweet tweet=”The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing – Tom Fishburne” quote=”The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing – Tom Fishburne”]
The best way to increase email open rates essentially comes down to two things:
1. Knowing as much as humanly possible about your target market (i.e., their language, terminology, needs, fears, hopes, dreams, demographics, etc), and
2. Incorporating what you learn about your target audience into your subject lines, the body of your email, your call-to-action and in your PS.
Unfortunately, my experience shows that many marketers just simply do not want to do the amount of research required to be successful at email marketing – or marketing in general. Often times people will jump in with both feet, splash around and make a lot of noise (irritate a lot of people), and then quit when the money doesn’t come rolling in like they were told it would.
It simply does not work the way (or simple as) most “gurus” online say it will.
The fact of the matter is, if you’re serious about wanting to increase email open rates then either a) you are going to invest a lot of time and effort in performing the research yourself, or b) you’re going to pay a professional market researcher to do it for you.
In addition to the resources and information that I’ve provided for you, here are 17 Tools and Resources for Conducting Market Research that I think you will find most helpful.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post on how to increase email open rates. If you did, let us know by commenting and sharing it with others!