This post has been updated on March 26, 2020.
Email campaigns are very popular these days. All my inboxes are full of various offers, discounts, and calls to action. Some I open, some I delete and if they are really irrelevant or sound moronic (like “You can lose ten pounds every day if you eat these five foods”) I carefully look for the unsubscribe button and in a more colorful language than I can write here, tell my device that “yes, I am very very sure that I want out”. That’s how most internet users do it.
If you are a marketer looking to promote your course, you’d want me and the rest of the recipients to take a closer look at what you are offering. In online marketing terms, that translates to ‘increasing your open rates’ and below you’ll find some helpful tips about how to do it.
1. Adapt to various devices
It’s a mistake to generalize and believe that everybody in the recipient list uses the same type of device. If the email you send can only be properly displayed on the big screen of a laptop or a desktop, all those who access it using a smartphone or tablet will delete it without a second thought and then ignore whatever follow-up you might send for the same reason.
Today over 61% of all emails are opened using mobile phones and yet a lot of them are not optimized.
Even if you do most of your work via laptop, it’s best to take the time and fashion your promotional email in a way that will look accessible and appealing on a small screen, without having to move arrows and refit everything in order to get an idea of what’s the point of it all.
Knowing your customer means being aware of how they prefer to read information. Some marketers send the ‘extended version’ and offer the option of clicking on a certain link if their message is not displayed properly. It shows some consideration for user experience but it still may feel a little time consuming and potential customers could give up.
2. Find the right time to send
The right place and the right time are always important in a story. In movies, it is called a “meet-cute” – that memorable moment when two characters first get acquainted. A lot of times this moment is presented in a way that shows the viewer just how easily it could have been missed – for dramatic build-up, of course.
Well, sending your email at an inappropriate hour could just be dramatic enough that you miss a rendezvous that would change your customer’s life and increase your profit.
Weekends are not a great time to start promoting – you might think that it’s when people have more time but keep in mind that they might want to do something else with it.
Since you are most probably targeting active people with an interest in self-development, the safe way is to send your promotional email during the first part of the day and try to avoid Mondays – it’s when most working individuals are swamped with work emails and will neglect all others.
3. Mind the sender and the subject line
These are the two essential factors that determine whether your promotional email will be opened or sent to the virtual bin. When it comes to the sender name, you might be inclined to believe that using a company name will make your email sound more official and trustworthy.
However, research suggests that by using a personal name, rather than a general email address or company name, you can increase open rates by as much as 35%. If you are selling a course that you made, employing your name will make it easier for potential learners to find you online and get an idea of who you are.
The subject line is as important as the content of your email – mainly because nobody will get to the latter if they aren’t convinced it’s worthwhile. The optimal subject line is made up of eight words as it can bring a 21% opening rate.
Other tricks that have proven to work are using the recipient’s name for making it personal or famous movie titles or song lyrics for making it catchy. As far as ‘magic words’ go, Dan Zarella found that subject lines containing the terms secrets, e-sales and awesome bring higher open rates. He also noted that the use of question marks and hashtags prevents recipients from opening emails.
All in all
Email marketing should be a part of your strategy of getting people to know you and your online courses. The most important thing is to know your audience, be considerate of their time, and build a relationship based on trust and commitment.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.