Poor email open rate - any advice?

36 replies
Hi,

I recently moved my email campaigns from doing them manually to MailChimp. As most of you probably know, they give stats for the amount of emails opened.

One week after my first email I'm horrified to discover only 5.9% have been opened (22 out of 388). These people are all opt-ins to updates on my site from the past 4 months. I think I avoided all the spam filter traps; no 'free' and similar words, or graphics.

I understand the industry standard is around 30% opens. Where might I be going wrong?

Thanks,

Brian.
#advice #email #open #poor #rate
  • Profile picture of the author MakeMoneyKid
    Headlines matter! Those are the ones that are going to grab the attention. Else nothing is going to draw them at the start
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    • Profile picture of the author StingGB
      I thought I wrote a pretty interesting one.
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      • Profile picture of the author MakeMoneyKid
        Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

        I thought I wrote a pretty interesting one.
        Can I have a sample?
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  • Profile picture of the author WeavingThoughts
    I don't think 30% is the norm. Based on the quality of your list and your subject, the average could be 10-25% for double opt ins. Anything more than 25% should be very good.

    Even 10% isn't too bad, just not the best. But ya, sub 10% for double opt in is a bit on the lower side.
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    • Profile picture of the author StingGB
      WeavingThoughts, you seem to have answered my question.

      You say 10% isn't bad for double opt-ins. These aren't. I collected them by offering them updates on my website, and they sent their email addresses directly to my personal email box.

      I've only just transferred them to MailChimp, they haven't been through their 'are you sure you want...' process. I'm going to set this up, and perhaps if these opens crawl up to nearer 10%, I haven't done too bad with them.

      Its horrible to realize though that even at 25% you need to get four people to actively subscribe to something for one to be of any use.

      Updated to say: 1 complaint and a few opt-outs. New subscriber though, and one updated details. All opens clicked the link, and I got one sale.

      Just a thought - I have the names of my subscribers as well as their email addresses, how does 'Personal message for (Joe Bloggs)' or something similar work in the subject line?

      Brian
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      • Profile picture of the author WeavingThoughts
        Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

        WeavingThoughts, you seem to have answered my question.

        You say 10% isn't bad for double opt-ins. These aren't. I collected them by offering them updates on my website, and they sent their email addresses directly to my personal email box.

        I've only just transferred them to MailChimp, they haven't been through their 'are you sure you want...' process. I'm going to set this up, and perhaps if these opens crawl up to nearer 10%, I haven't done too bad with them.

        Its horrible to realize though that even at 25% you need to get four people to actively subscribe to something for one to be of any use.

        Updated to say: 1 complaint and a few opt-outs. New subscriber though, and one updated details. All opens clicked the link, and I got one sale.

        Brian
        For double opt is you should expect a 2-4 times the open rate compared to the method you used, maybe even 3-5+ times.

        For non double opt in anything beyond 5% isn't that bad, in fact 10% is nearly unrealistic as an average, only possible on occasion.

        Besides, the chances of click through rate will be just one tenth or so of what a double opt in list could provide.

        IMO for most people a 0.1-0.5% click through rate might be possible with double opt in assuming an average of 10-15%+ actually open the email.

        However for non double opt in a 5% open rate and sub 0.05-0.2% click through rate is pretty much what you can even think of I guess.

        I do have some experience with both types of lists, though I don't claim to be any expert on this.

        Just my 2 cents
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        • Profile picture of the author StingGB
          It seems I haven't done too badly then with one sale from 22 opens, and I'm setting up MailChimp to take the emails next week so hopefully a much higher open rate in future. Oh, and I just need to get my list up to 10k+

          Thanks everybody, your input has been brilliant as usual.

          Regards, Brian
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      • Profile picture of the author fin
        I always think the first email is the most important one.

        If people don't want to read your messages after reading the first one you're pretty much screwed.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
          Banned
          Originally Posted by fin View Post

          I always think the first email is the most important one.

          If people don't want to read your messages after reading the first one you're pretty much screwed.
          This.

          The first one, and whatever you give them for opting in: those are where you set their expectations, which is what the whole thing's about.
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          • Profile picture of the author fin
            Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

            This.

            The first one, and whatever you give them for opting in: those are where you set their expectations, which is what the whole thing's about.
            But something tells me this guy isn't going to go back to the beginning and fix the problem. I'd imagine he might play about with headings then work his ass off to get 5X the traffic to make up for it.
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            • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
              Banned
              Originally Posted by fin View Post

              But something tells me this guy isn't going to go back to the beginning and fix the problem. I'd imagine he might play about with headings then work his ass off to get 5X the traffic to make up for it.
              I hear you.

              This is what people sometimes do. It's a regularly repeating conversation here.

              They have an awful open-rate, post here about it, get replies from other people (who also have awful open-rates!) telling them "that's normal" and then assume that the way to fix it is to get five times the traffic to start with, rather than setting people's expectations differently and building different relationships with them in the first place.

              Oh well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Franklin
    You don't want your subject line to be TOO outrageous as many people have become jaded to the "over the top" headlines!

    Definitely share what you've used so you can get some feedback....
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Most of the factors affecting the open-rate of email series are determined by issues dealt with before and while people opt-in, and by the extent to which the "freebie" you give them in exchange for their email address is specifically designed to be part of your continuity process and to mazimize the subsequent open-rates (which should, after all, be its primary purpose, from the marketer's perspective).

      Not by the email subject-lines. They can generally make only small differences.

      An open rate below 6% (even though the true figure may well really be a bit higher than your autoresponder's feedback is recording) indicates that something's gone very wrong at an earlier stage.

      http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post6941120

      http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post6123982
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      • Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        Most of the factors affecting the open-rate of email series are determined by issues dealt with before and while people opt-in, and by the extent to which the "freebie" you give them in exchange for their email address is specifically designed to be part of your continuity process and to mazimize the subsequent open-rates (which should, after all, be its primary purpose, from the marketer's perspective).

        Not by the email subject-lines. They can generally make only small differences.

        An open rate below 6% (even though the true figure may well really be a bit higher than your autoresponder's feedback is recording) indicates that something's gone very wrong at an earlier stage.
        Alexa knows her sh!t. Usually when there is a problem it happened in the stage BEFORE the problem occurred.

        The SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR in open rates is WHO the email is from.

        Offer more value. Be someone they WANT to hear from.
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  • Profile picture of the author AGP
    Re-send the same email with a different Title - something more enticing
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  • Profile picture of the author sk8tavou
    Can i ask you if you have any complaints? I moved to mailchimp before 1 month and i got some complaints (3 on a 350 list) and i dont know if is normal or not!
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  • Profile picture of the author tylerjaysen
    30% open rate for industry standards....? What? Where did you hear that?

    ...dude....your open rate is pretty good actually...and are you talking just about those folks who are opening the email....or clicking on links within the emails?

    ....but some things that you can do to help with open rates....granted your emails have to be good and you have to have subscribers that like you and your stuff...

    .....but play around with the subject lines....like a headline really....this is the most important factor in open rates...

    ...try using some profanity..cause some emotion...cause some controversy....basically...you're trying to make a subject line that screams...."open me"....after that it is up to you to provide good content.
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  • Profile picture of the author brentb
    Your rates are fine. Nobody seemed to mention this but not ever person will open ever email all the time. So you may get about 50 people who open your email this time, next time you will get 25 of the same people and 25 new people... some of the original openers will not open the second but people who didn't open the first will open the second.

    Just because someone didn't open your email this time doesn't make them worthless. I have seen people sit on a list for even like a year of me actively emailing them and finally open an email one day and convert.

    I highly suggest not using double opt in but I believe MailChimp requires it? I forget, I have not used them in a long time.

    3 Factors That Can Hurt Your Open Rate:

    - Deliverability
    - Opt In Methods (source of traffic, ad copy, etc when signing up)
    - Subject Line

    MailChimp has good deliverability so it all comes down to how you are getting these people to opt in (source,ad copy etc) and of course Subject.
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  • Profile picture of the author dadhere
    I can get low open rates like that as well. maybe too many swaps with every other day mails sent out. Now I just send out once a week or so, have a good freebie in it, and the rates increase a little.
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  • Profile picture of the author marketwarrior06
    Banned
    1 sell from 22 openings. its kind of good dude
    I think the rate of opening of mails depends on many things. and its not necessary that every time you will get the same rate. try out other campaigning I think you will see better result.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarevok
    It could just be an old list.

    Try different subject lines, see if you can wake them up.

    There's no magic to it really, try DIFFERENT subject lines.

    Ultimately, you may have to remove the duds (they just cost you money)

    :/
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  • I think email marketing has lost it's appeal. Most of the people does not want to open a mail sent from an unknown person because of increasing number of phishing and email hacking.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrandonLee
    I don't look at subject lines, and most people I know don't look at subject lines anymore. People look at who it's from, period. And so the content you provide every single time you decide to intrude in someone's life by sending them an email matters now more than ever.

    People who are still telling you subject lines are what really matters are not looking at current data - period.
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    • Profile picture of the author brentb
      Originally Posted by BrandonLee View Post

      I don't look at subject lines, and most people I know don't look at subject lines anymore. People look at who it's from, period. And so the content you provide every single time you decide to intrude in someone's life by sending them an email matters now more than ever.

      People who are still telling you subject lines are what really matters are not looking at current data - period.
      So if you are Joe SEO Guru, emailing about Joe's SEO Tips, you cannot change who is doing the emailing lol... so yes its important but in most cases like this it cannot be changed... so lets talk about the next most important thing once your list is built... subject lines.

      The only way to really change the responsiveness of your list is change where people are signing up. If your list sucks, maybe you are doing low quality co-reg, buying lists, or relying on sign ups from incentivization (aka Join my list, get my ebook). Try getting traffic from PPC or higher quality co-reg where its much more targeted, people want to sign up because THEY WANT to sign up.
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      • Profile picture of the author BrandonLee
        I'm not going to argue with you about this all day, but no, the subject line probably is not "the next most important thing" because people either trust you or they don't.

        In most well developed markets (and I'd assume in others too) they either trust you and know you or they don't -and if they don't they are not opening your stuff - if they do they are.

        This is actually an important point, and one that a lot of people get screwed up on, which is why I'm wasting my time to respond to you about this. Your simply wrong.


        Originally Posted by brentb View Post

        So if you are Joe SEO Guru, emailing about Joe's SEO Tips, you cannot change who is doing the emailing lol... so yes its important but in most cases like this it cannot be changed... so lets talk about the next most important thing once your list is built... subject lines.

        The only way to really change the responsiveness of your list is change where people are signing up. If your list sucks, maybe you are doing low quality co-reg, buying lists, or relying on sign ups from incentivization (aka Join my list, get my ebook). Try getting traffic from PPC or higher quality co-reg where its much more targeted, people want to sign up because THEY WANT to sign up.
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  • Profile picture of the author brentb
    Sure, you do want them to trust you but after one or two emails they aren't going to overly trust you or not, either way. The best you can do is offer targeted information relevant to why they signed up for your list. The better it matches, the better the response.

    But they will never know what you are trying to tell them if the subject isn't compelling/relavent enough to open the email.
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  • Profile picture of the author jdkesler
    IIRC the code embedded in your email that allows MailChimp or other email services to track open rates can sometimes be blocked by the ISP. So, there is always the chance that some of your email list is opening the email but MailChimp won't know because the receiving ISP or the mail handler program blocks/stripped the code that allows tracking out.
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  • Profile picture of the author TerranceCharles
    That is a pretty decent open rate and conversion

    They're couple factors to look at also... And here is one tip that I've personally
    tested. Email your list more OFTEN. We have to remember, they're people that are
    on so many different list and it may not be just your subject lines, they may not be
    seeing your email at at all.

    Don't forget to email your "un-opens" that haven't opened. I found that doing this, you
    will get a higher open rate and conversion, but use a different headline for this group.

    Also, try using a different subject line approach. Everyone get's the same headlines all
    day long, so you want to use some that stick out. I'll give you couple of examples that
    have helped my open rate.

    Use headlines that are out of the ordinary, and then lead in with a story that is related
    to your offer. For example... I may use headlines like, WOWZER... KA-CHING BABY!...
    BINGO... The RUMOR was True... What Sunday taught me... Still on for TONIGHT? ...
    GET ER Done... I found that these headlines drive curiosity sky high and people want
    to know what it's all about. You could lead in with something like this to make it personal.

    BOOM SHAKA LAKA LAKA...

    [[firstname]] What a lazy Sunday! But, the highlight of my day. The Cowboys WON!

    But I also found something else that is winning also, ====> relate it to your product.

    That's just couple of ideas I know will change your open and click-through rate. Try to
    be as personal as possible. We heard it millions of times, but talk to your subscribers as
    if you were sitting at the bar with them just having a real conversation
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarevok
    Show us your squeeze? Also, what type of offers / information do you provide to your list?

    Make sure you provide something that they will actually like
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  • Profile picture of the author FirstSocialApps
    This is just a thought here, but I would say that perhaps your list is to small to get a good measure anyway. I mean 388 is a tiny list. If you had 25,000 people on your list and were only getting a 5.9% open rate that would be an indication that something is wrong. However with the small sample you have you cant be sure.

    Also you say these people are all opt ins from up to 4 months ago. Have you emailed them at all besides this time in the last 4 months. People who opted in 100 days ago might have just forgotten about you by now.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    I believe you could still earn alot of money from your list - depending on the content and style of your emails... and a strong sales letter or strong product description page.
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  • Profile picture of the author jaiganeshv
    Before complaining the open rate, why are risking with free email service provider like Mailchimp (I suppose its free?) move to a paid pro account where you can question the providers to clarify things are safe/fine at your end...


    Thanks..
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  • Profile picture of the author QuantumDon
    Best advice stop email marketing its the worse marketing anyone can do, I cant stand any company that does it and I avoid them on purpose for that reason!

    There is to many ways out there to make sales and leads then to resort to email marketing, its pointless unless its a very select niche that does well because I know some Niche email marketing does work in but most it does not and not for me it dose not
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    Quantum Don Owner and Manager of Pro Plans

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    • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
      Banned
      Originally Posted by QuantumDon View Post

      Best advice stop email marketing its the worse marketing anyone can do, I cant stand any company that does it and I avoid them on purpose for that reason!

      There is to many ways out there to make sales and leads then to resort to email marketing, its pointless unless its a very select niche that does well because I know some Niche email marketing does work in but most it does not and not for me it dose not
      If that's your best advice, I'd REALLY hate to see your worst advice.

      By the way, OP, I hope you're not promoting affiliate stuff with your Mailchimp account. Unless something has changed, affiliate marketing isn't allowed. Wouldn't want you to lose your account over it.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrandonLee
    Posting that to stop email marketing is the best thing you can do is just proof that anyone can post on these forums, and anyone often does.
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  • Profile picture of the author JerrickYeoh
    Open rates usually influence by few factors.

    Subject of the emails always come number one.
    They open emails base on subject they read which related or important to them or not.

    That is why always think of creative and catchy subject and try to bring recipient open your email. Try on subject which touch with their daily life will get better open rates.

    Beside that try to avoid too much hard sales or send too much email in the short times. Try to share more free information , knowledge , solution with them only come in with your products.

    Use slow file in email like small attach file , or less media to reduce of taking your mail in spam filter risk.
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