Relevancy - the key to increasing email open rates

By: Michael Linthorst

Date: 15 April 2013

Relevancy - the key to increasing email open rates/email trash{{}}Owning an email inbox can, at times, feel like a game of guard the castle, where you have to defend it from unsolicited – and sometimes solicited – emails you have no interest in reading.

According to research conducted by Smarter Tools, an average email account receives about 65 emails a day. Common sense tells us that we can safely assume that a lot of those emails are moved to the trash can without getting so much as even a glance.

So how do you ensure that your emails are not the ones that are being thrown away unread? Or to put it in other words: how do you make sure your emails get the open rate they deserve? By being relevant, that’s how.

Determining relevancy

The first thing you need in order to send relevant emails is a database where you store information about your clients, prospects or recipients. What products are they interested in? Which kind of emails have worked best for them in the past?

Assuming you only recruit opt-ins that have interest in the product you’re selling, or at least have some affinity with the industry you operate in, this shouldn’t be too hard.

Divide and conquer

Using the information in your database, you can start sending your recipients relevant information. Centuries ago the Romans built an empire by adopting the “divide and conquer” strategy, and now it’s your turn to conquer your customers’ attention using the same technique.

By segmenting your database you are able to approach recipients personally, providing them with relevant content. And one of the best ways to do so is by sending event-driven emails.

What are event-driven emails?

An event-driven email, as the name suggests, is an email that is sent after an event takes place. For instance, when you email someone a user manual for the product they purchased in your webshop yesterday. Because of their relevancy, event-driven emails not only help you increase your open rate, they also give your conversion rates a boost.

Take the abandoned shopping cart email for example, reminding your customers of a purchase they didn’t finish. Research suggests that up 75% of online shoppers abandon their shopping cart during the purchase process. However, up to 20% of these shoppers can be won back if you use abandoned shopping carts.

What it comes down to

The last thing your recipients want is for you to contribute to the endless stream of useless emails they are swamped with every day. 

Don’t send your customers an email with an iPhone5 offer a week after they already bought a new mobile phone in your webshop. Not only will it annoy them, it’s also a waste of your time and effort.

Your energy can be spent better on creating relevant emails your recipients are interested in.  

Michael Linthorst is an internet entrepreneur and CEO of Copernica Marketing Software.