5 tips to increase email open rate Email marketing is one of the most effective platforms for a business to engage with customers. This is true for clothing companies hoping to lure subscribers to a blowout sales on their website, and for event organizers hoping to sell more tickets to their next event, meetup or conference. At Bizzabo our all-in-one event planning platform helps thousands of event organizers to promote their events and conferences using our email marketing tools. As a result, we’ve come to understand what email marketing tactics are most effective. Each of our five tips can be used by all readers to improve email open rates and overall engagement. Before you get started on a new campaign, check the open rates for your industry or business type. That way you can keep your expectations in sync with what is realistic. For example, as we reported in our presentation on email marketing “the events industry averages an email open rate of 20.9% and a click through rate (CTR) of 2.51%.” Now that you know the open rates average, it’s time to exceed them!

  1. Make Email Feel Like They’re Coming From Another Person

Pay attention to “who” is sending the message. Readers are more likely to open an email that seems to come from a person rather than a company. In the case of an event, enlist the help of a keynote speaker if possible. If that is out of the question, at least send the email so that it appears it is from you, or a member of your event staff.   For a real world example, consider the emails that Barack Obama’s campaign sends to his subscribers. Like him or hate him, his organization sends very compelling emails. Part of the email’s success, is that each one appears to come from a real person. In some cases, it looks like President Obama is sending recipients the email himself. Jing_Buzzabo While recipients likely understand that they are not receiving a message directly from the President, it none-the-less provides recipients with a personal touch that motivates them to open the email.

  1. Create Mobile Optimized Emails
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According to one report, 45% of emails are opened on mobile devices. Other analytics companies rate email opens on mobile even higher – 49% says Litmus (”Email Analytics” June 2015), 67.2% says BlueHornet (“Customer Views of email marketing 2015”). So make sure your emails and all of their content, including image and graphics, are optimized for mobile devices.

  1. Write Killer Subject Lines

Seductive subject lines are one of the best ways to make a good first impression and ensure a reader gets interested enough to open an email. When writing a email marketing subject line that you hope attendees will respond to, keep these best-practices in mind:  

  • Avoid using of words like “free”, “help” and “reminder”
  • Use local references such as the name of a city
  • Keep the subject line short, under 50 characters
  • Mention the recipients name in the subject line
  1. Optimize The Time You Send Emails

Deciding what time of day to deliver your message requires common sense and a bit of research about the individuals on your email list. Test and track event email open rates for highly targeted audiences, instead of sending one email to your general audiences. Six A.M. may be too early for most, but 7:30 A.M. might be just right time for professionals getting an early start to their day. The only way to know what time is best to email your event contacts, is by testing it via a split test, or A/B test. Send the same message to two segmented groups on  your email list, and track the open rates. Moving forward, you can create additional split test to see if the time the one previously sent is still better than a new time. Gradually, you’ll be able to build a better picture of how your event contacts consume email. You can use this reality to send better event marketing emails.

  1. Learn How To Avoid Spam Filters
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No one wants his or her invite or message to end up in the spam folder. To avoid sending a marketing email that gets collected by spam filters, avoid using things like exclamation marks, all caps, spammy phrasing such as “deal of a lifetime!” or “event of the century”. Also, be sure to maintain your email list. Remove people who have unsubscribed from your email, and refrain from sending emails to address that are incorrect or do not work. Note that email accounts that are considered “spammy” will find it increasingly difficult to actually reach intended recipients. Conclusion: How To Send Event Emails Your Recipients Will Open Event organizers who create personalized emails, with short, mobile optimized subject lines will be ahead of the pack when it comes to sending promotional emails. Those who split test emails to see what the best time is to communicate with recipients, and who create killer subject lines, while following the rules to avoid spam filters will find out perform the vast majority of organizers. For even more event emailing tips, download a free email marketing presentation, created specifically for event professionals. Click here to get a copy, on the house.

Written by Kathleen Smith
Kathleen Smith is a Toronto-based writer, editor and filmmaker who has been producing film festivals and other cultural events in Canada and Europe for more than 20 years.

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