6 Tips to Ensure Your Emails are Read

“Email is the original social media” according to social media scientist, Dan Zarella. Zarella, on behalf of Hubspot, presented findings from an analysis of 9.5 billion Mail Chimp emails, survey responses, and focus group information in a webinar that we participated in last week. We’d like to share the top six takeaways with you. Try using some of this advice on your next email campaign and give us feedback on the results.

1. Send emails in the morning
Email users report reading emails most in the morning. Click-through rates are highest 5:00-6:00 a.m.; subsequently so are unsubscribe rates. This indicates that a significant number of users studied are opening emails before they begin work for the day. Both click-through rates and unsubscribe rates dip in the afternoon and evening hours, with an uptick of activity in the late evening when users are giving their inboxes one more look before going to bed. Most mass email tools offer the option to schedule delivery of messages. Try scheduling your next mailing to arrive at 5:00 a.m. EST to increase that early-morning readership.

2. Send emails on the weekends
Data indicated that the highest click-through rates occurred on Saturdays and Sundays, proving users are reading emails on the weekends. Information on when the emails were actually sent was not presented. The same datasets indicate that unsubscribe rates were highest on Tuesdays. The combination of these two conclusions are compelling reasons to schedule email campaigns for the end of the week or over the weekend.

3. Make email archive-able
How many emails are in your inbox or personal folders? A majority of users reported that they keep information they find valuable in their email so they can refer back to it when necessary. The key to making your email archive-able is to include valuable reference information recipients can use. Include statistics, links to reference sites, or upcoming event information to keep your readers referencing the email. Providing your audience with information they can use will encourage them to receive and use your messaging.

4. Use catchy subject line words
The best information may go unread if you can’t catch your reader’s attention in the subject line. There’s no need to get too flashy; just be practical and give an accurate description of what you are offering your audience. The top 15 clicked-through subject line words researchers found were:

If you are regularly sending emails, serialize them in the subject line. Or to ensure that they are referred to again let readers know you are offering valuable information (like tips and news) where they can see it at first glance in the inbox or archive folder. The most common subject line words used in emails that were reported for abuse were:

5. Optimize emails for mobile
80 percent of users surveyed reported reading emails on mobile devices. To ensure your emails are read by recipients that are on the go, optimize emails for mobile. HTML-based emails and websites can be difficult for mobile users to navigate. Odd page breaks and text resizing will cause frustration and incline users to navigate away, unsubscribe, or just delete the message. If sending a custom designed template email, use a mobile stylesheet. If using Outlook or another desktop-based email system, keep the graphics to a minimum so your content can be viewed immediately.

6. Include several links
Click-through rates are higher when there are several links throughout an email. Mail Chimp statistics indicated that the more links there were in an email, the higher the click-through rate was per message. Data also indicated that the more links there were in a message, the lower the unsubscribe rate was as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to send your recipients all over the web to get your message. Simply offer them more options than the unsubscribe link. Hyperlink several key words in various locations throughout your message so the user can jump to your intended destination at any time during the process of reading the email. The user may not have enough information or be ready to click-through at the beginning of the email but will be more willing to buy or browse on a landing page once more information is processed.

Contrary to what some very progressive marketers are saying, email is not dead. In fact it is very much alive and well as evidenced in the 9.5 billion samples available for researchers to analyze. While we as marketers are always looking to the next technologically advanced tool or toy, we must remember that our audiences aren’t always doing the same thing. We must employ the smartest strategies to make our information available on the media our audiences are using today. These tips on how to improve your email readership may help. Please let us know if you can attribute improved readership to implementing any or all of these tips.

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