Everything But Subject Lines: Other Factors that Affect Opens

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Subject lines are arguably the most important part of getting that elusive open during your email campaigns.

But subject lines aren’t the only factor. There are a handful of other elements to consider in whether or not your email gets the open you crave.

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URGENCY

Experian found that promotional emails that conveyed a sense of urgency had a 14% higher click-to-open rate.

Urgency partially relates to the subject line but also is a factor in the rest of the email. If your subject line conveys urgency, it better be real urgency. There is nothing more annoying than opening an email that is screaming “Last Chance to Get This One Time Offer” only to find that time is not limited and neither is the offer.

It’s even worse if you do it again and again so that your readers know you’re lying about how the offer is only available for a limited time.

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SUBJECT/BODY COPY AGREEMENT

This is critical. Not only are misleading subject lines illegal, but they also will lower your email open rates in the end. No one likes to open an email that promises something big and flashy, only to find that your email offers none of what your catchy subject line promised.

Don’t go around telling people that they won $1,000 in the subject lines, only to tell them they didn’t actually win anything in the body copy. It’s illegal and will leave a bad taste in the mouths of your readers.

How does that affect opens?

The most common way opens are tracked is when someone clicks, show images, which in turn activates a pixel in an email which then records it as an open. Having a subject line agree with your body copy makes someone more likely to hit “show images” and give you a trackable open.

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TIMING

Timing is a funny thing because as soon as one influencer recommends a specific time to send out emails, everyone starts to do it. Then your subscribers receive your emails around the same time as they receive everyone else’s, reducing the likelihood that they will open your email at all.

A lot of people recommend sending emails during off times, but often sending emails too early in the morning will result in them being buried in the morning “rush hour”. Some people say to try to send emails after lunch and see if they will open it before diving into more serious work.

All that being said, you need to experiment with the day and time you send emails to your list. If you send your emails at 3 p.m. and find that your open rate is very low, then switch to sending them in the morning. Experimenting is the only way that you’ll find out what works and what doesn’t. Don’t just blindly accept what a self-proclaimed expert on the internet recommends, find out for yourself. There is no one-time-fits-all approach to timing your email send.

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SPAM FILTER TRAPS

If your email looks or feels spammy, it is likely that a spam filter will pick up on it. There are specific phrases that will instantly get hooked by any spam filter worth its weight. Something like “Once in a lifetime opportunity!” will get slung instantly into the spam bin. Use too much punctuation????? The spam filter will nail you.

What trigger spam filters? Here are some examples:

  • Low ratio of text to images
  • Plain text only emails
  • Spammy words : Extra inches, dear, distribution, act now, call now, click here, don’t delete, bargain, as seen on, etc.
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BODY COPY/EMAIL PREHEADER

A lot of people forget that when they send an email that the top bit of text, also known as an email preheader, will show as a preview in most email viewers. Think catchy for that top bit of text.

You know how when you read a really good online article, usually, it’s because the first few lines were too tantalizing to resist? That’s the key when it comes to writing good email copy. Those first few lines will be featured along with the subject line and sender and play some sort of role in getting the open you want.

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SENDER

Here at HIPB2B, we call the sender name a “friendly from” and we essentially tailor how our sender appears for each campaign we run. This makes the readers of our emails trust our email enough to open it. Sometimes, depending on the campaign, we will create a new sender which allows us to fully customize the reader experience.

These factors all play a role in determining whether someone opens your email or leaves it to rot for eternity in their inbox. You don’t want that. Test each of these factors and figure out what is right for you and your list.

Written by

HIPB2B is a demand gen solution provider, utilizing content, email, and marketing automation to drive outcomes for marketing and technology clients

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