It’s an age-old question: Should you open your email marketing messages with a bang (i.e., an offer or discount) or a whimper (i.e., an alert about your product or service)?
Consider these opening lines:
“Would you like to learn how to become a successful real estate agent? Here’s your chance! Just click on the link and you’ll be taken to a website with all the information you need.”
“Looking for the best organic coconut oil available? You’ve come to the right place! Just click here to visit our website and get some delicious organic coconut oil that will change your life forever.”
“Hey, if you’re looking to buy a new phone, you can get a good deal from a reputable company that has a big sale every month! Just click here to get started.”
All three of those emails are from various companies seeking to sell you something. But, they would all like you to take some action – to visit their websites, make a purchase, or click a link. Why? Because they want to get your attention. And the key to getting someone’s attention is making them act quickly.
So, should you greet your audience with an offer or an alert? More importantly, what is the best way to achieve a high open rate in your email marketing?
The Open Rate Myth
Often times, we’re told that our open rate – the percentage of people who open our emails – is low, and we need to do something about it. But is this really the case?
When we look at the numbers, we often discover that our open rates aren’t as low as we think they are. For example, if you send out a marketing email with a 1 click affiliate link to a product you’re promoting, the average click-through rate (i.e., the percentage of people who actually click the link and make a purchase) is around 5%. So, if we assume that 25% of the people who receive that email will click on the affiliate link and make a purchase, the email’s true open rate would be around 12.5%.
In other words, if you think that your email’s open rate is 10%, it is actually closer to 12.5%. That’s good news!
The reason that we think that our open rates are low is because we compare them to other emails that we’ve sent out. So, if you look at one of your email marketing tools and compare it to another, you’ll probably discover that your open rate is actually higher than you think. For example, if you look at a Google Analytics report and see that your email opens with a click-through rate of 10% compared to the industry average of 3% or 4%, you might assume that your email has a low open rate.
But when we compare apples to apples – i.e., we compare our own email to our own email – we often discover that our open rate is higher than we think. This is because the number of people who actually open our emails is higher than the number of people who click on a link or offer in our emails. In other words, a handful of people are actually making a purchase even though the email’s click-through rate is low. So, when we compare our own emails to our own brand, we often discover that our open rates are in fact, quite high. This brings us to our next point.
Why Do You Open Your Marketing Emails?
If you’re curious about why your email opens, you can use a tool like the ones mentioned above to track opens and clicks. And, when you discover that your email is getting opened but not acted upon, it can be a great indication that there’s something wrong.
For example, if you’re using MailChimp and you notice that everyone who receives your email subscribes to your list, opens it, but then doesn’t take any further action, you might want to consider whether or not you should send this type of email again. Perhaps you should consider sending it as a short email, perhaps even a drip campaign to capture the attention of your audience more effectively.
Similarly, if you’re using Marketo and you notice that a large percentage of your email subscribers never open any of your emails, you might want to think about whether or not this is the type of content that your target audience really wants to see.
There are many reasons why someone would open your email but not take further action. Perhaps they’re reading it and don’t feel like purchasing your product or service at the moment, or maybe they’re just not that interested in what you have to say.
In any case, if you want to improve your open rate, you can use techniques like split testing and A/B testing to find out what works best.
What Is the Best Formula for a B2B Email Marketing Open Rates?
So, you want to know what is the best formula for a B2B email marketing open rate?
Just use common sense and apply what you know: If someone emails you and expresses an interest in your product, you can be pretty sure that they’re not going to purchase the product right away. That’s why it’s important to take the time to understand what type of content will keep their attention and make them act quickly.
In our experience, longer emails often don’t work as well as short emails. Why? Because most people aren’t going to read a long email – regardless of how good it is. Moreover, if you use a tool like MailChimp to send your emails and you track opens and clicks, you’ll see that people are often less likely to take an action after reading a long email.
On the other hand, short emails often encourage your audience to take action. Why? Because they want to get the information as soon as possible – in the hope that it will be useful or interesting.
In terms of a formula for a B2B email marketing open rate, here’s what we recommend:
Try Short And Snappy
If you’re new to email marketing, we recommend trying out short and snappy emails. If you’re using an email marketing platform like Marketo, HubSpot, or Pardot, you can take advantage of their built-in templates that encourage short and snappy emails. Or, if you’re doing this all manually, there are a variety of tools like Drip and Unbounce that can help you create short and snappy emails.
These types of emails usually contain a mix of high-quality content and compelling offers. For example, you might want to try something like this:
Subject Line: High-Quality Content & A Compelling Offers
The subject line of your email should always be relevant to your email’s content. In that way, it will make it easier for people to find the content that they’re looking for. However, it’s also important to keep the subject line short and sweet. Typically, around 60 characters or less. However, this can vary depending on the email app that you use.
Here, we’re using MailChimp and the line is 63 characters long. This is pretty much the ideal amount of space. Let’s see how it did.
First off, we have a very short subject line. It’s only 3 characters. But, even then, it’s a bit longer than most subject lines. But that’s probably because there’s a lot more going on in the email. So, in terms of keeping the subject line short, it’s getting the job done. Very effective.
Next, we have a mix of high-quality content and a compelling offer. This is always a good formula. Especially for a B2B email marketing open rate. We mentioned above that longer emails often don’t do as well as short emails. This is because people are generally less interested in reading a longer email – no matter how good it is. Moreover, the longer the email, the less likely people are to read it.
The offer in this email is to provide a free sample of their product. However, they’re going to give you a unique token – which you can use to get your free sample.