Retail Insight: How to Improve Your Email Open Rates

by admin

Emails are only beneficial if you can get your recipient to open them, plain and simple. If they never see your offer, they certainly cannot respond to it! For restaurants and retailers that want to increase sales through targeted email campaigns, a good email subject line could be the key to getting customers to open your next email (and make a purchase). But what is considered a good email open rate? For restaurants and retailers, a respectable open rate hovers around the 15-16% range. And if your subject line is not compelling enough, then you could be looking at a measly 2-4% open rate, or worse. Consumers are constantly bombarded by thousands of email messages daily, so how do you get your emails to stand out and get opened?  It’s all about that bass , er, the subject line.


1. Create a sense of urgency.

You can easily create a sense of urgency by referencing a date or deadline in your subject line. Your customers, who may be otherwise engaged in something else when they receive their email, will suddenly take notice whenever a deadline appears. No one wants to miss out on a great deal, right? These examples below demonstrate how urgency is the star of these subject lines.

2. Use personalization in the subject line.

According to Experian, emails with personalization in the subject line result in a 19.4% open rate compared to a 15.4% open rate without. You can bump this open rate further by using customer data to personalize beyond a first name or geographic location. Take into consideration their browsing behavior or transaction history to determine what type of incentive appeals to them – at the individual level. Is it free shipping? Have they recently browsed a specific product category? Or have they been absent from shopping and need a great incentive to woo them back? The more personalized you can be, the more likely your customer will open your email – and take action!

3. Say more with less.

According to a March 2014 Retention Science study, subject lines with six to 10 words perform best, generating a 21% open rate. If you don’t think that is enough to communicate your message, then consider this – your pre-header can extend your message. The pre-header, which performs like the subject line on mobile devices, can extend to 80 characters, allowing you more freedom in creating your message. And since 62% of emails are opened on mobile devices, your message is likely to be received.

4. Use words that will generate a click.

There is much debate about which words work and which words don’t, but here are the words that seem to be a safe bet for retail…

Words that work: Free delivery/shipping, exclusive, first, secret, complimentary, new, sale, last chance, email-only offer

Words that don’t work: Urgent, alert, save, buy, and “!!”

emailsubjects3-2Writing compelling email subject lines can be challenging, but something that, as a marketer, I always do is try to stand in my customers’ shoes. After I write my email subject line, I stand back and say “would I want to open it?” And if you still cannot decide, ask a co-worker – a blunt one, who will tell you their honest opinion. Improving your email open rates can mean a big difference in the bottom line, especially during your slow season, or when you are trying to generate some additional business fast.



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