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Beyond the Subject Line: Factors That Affect Your Email Open Rates

How do you get more parents to open your emails?
Many people assume the answer is better subject lines.
Sure, subject lines matter.
But we think the best way to get more parents to open your emails is to fill your emails with content they consider relevant and interesting.
In other words, you’ll get more parents to open your email next week if they liked what they saw in the email last week, the week before that, and so on.
So in this post, we’re going to focus not on how to write better subject lines, but rather on how to deliver more relevant content.
If you earn the reputation of delivering emails that are interesting, informative, relevant and entertaining, those who open your emails will look forward to the next one and open it again. Those who don’t open your emails will hear from others about what they’re missing.
Here are some tips to make this happen:

Segment Your Lists

Many schools and districts send everything to everybody in their lists, regardless of recipients’ profiles and interests. Parents of second-graders don’t need to hear the details on the Homecoming Dance or the finals schedule.

You don’t need to tell the soccer mom about the marching band practice schedule. Save that for the band dad.

Segment Your Content

Once you have segmented your lists you can choose which content goes to which lists. MarketVolt makes it simple for you to show or hide content in a single email depending on list segmentation. For example, in the same email, you can include information about the soccer team and designate that only soccer moms (or dads) should see that. In the same email, you can include information about band practice and designate that only band parents see it.

That ensures that recipients see content they want and don’t have to wade through content they don’t.

Improve Your Preheaders

A preheader is the first set of text in your email — the part that your recipients’ email applications will display as a one- or two-line preview in the inbox, following the subject line. Preheaders often say something like “View this email in a browser.” That doesn’t inspire someone to open your email. Try adding compelling text before the “view in browser” message – something that expands on your subject line and inspires readers to open the email. Here’s a post in which we cover this topic in detail.

Avoid “Spammy” Content

Filters scan your content for certain words or design practices commonly used by spammers. Even if you’ve followed permission-marketing best-practices, your email may hit the spam folder if you use “spammy” words, use ALL CAPS or send image-only emails (spammers used this practice so filters couldn’t read the offending words in their emails). Google “words that trigger spam filters” for more guidance.

Deliver Your Emails at the Right Time

This is tricky because optimal delivery times vary by industry and audience, and studies about best delivery times often conflict. Split your list in two and test different delivery times. That’s easy to do with MarketVolt. With some testing and patience, you’ll discover delivery times that work best for your list.

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