Email Marketing

Top 5 Tactics Working in Emails (Right Now)

Omi Diaz-Cooper – CEO, Speaker on Oct 14, 2021

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Improve your open rates today using the top data-backed tactics that are working right now.

The last few months have shown us that the old rules of email marketing are no longer valid. While email marketing and automation remains effective in reaching your target market, recent changes in online behavior and issues like iOS 15 restricting tracking have challenged the status quo. Anything goes nowadays as brands and marketers test new tactics to improve their email open rates.

At INBOUND2021 this week, Jay Schwedelson, President and CEO of Worldata shared some astonishing data-backed findings. In a recent study, the team analyzed hundreds of thousands of emails over the last 3 months and these tactics are working for major brands and small businesses alike right now.

Hurry up and get testing as most of these tactics will be stale and will likely no longer work in another 3-6 months.

A word of warning before we start: You should never never be sending spam! The emails you send should be helpful content that provides value to your audience. Let’s start with two tactics to avoid:

  1. Be Careful with Real Names in “From” Field”
    This one is a true double-edge sword. Be careful about using real names in the “from” field when sending your campaigns versus a brand name. The good news is using a real human’s name can significantly increase your open rates (up 38% for B2B and up 27% for B2C.) But the bad news: this tactic can jack up your “Unsubscribes” dramatically: 68% for B2B and 52% for B2C. So this tactic is better used to clean up your database.

  2. Never Use the Fake “RE:” or “FW:”
    This has unfortunately been increasingly popular with cold sales outreach (especially from those pesky sales people on LinkedIn.) It’s basically an attempt to pretend that you’ve had a previous interaction with the email sender. Don’t do it! It’s spammy, inauthentic, annoying and will definitely earn you an Unsubscribe - this tactic has a huge 135% unsubscribe rate.

Now, for the good stuff: The Top 5 Data-Backed Email Tips

Here are the top five tactics you should be using or at least testing as soon as you can:

  1. Using () and * in Your Subject Lines
    Hard to believe that by simply adding some punctuation marks to your subject line, you can improve your open rates. But the data shows it’s true. Brands are testing lines like: “Special Sale (Don’t Miss Out) Today” or “Hey *Bob* here is your White Paper” and seeing an uptick in open rates:
    • B2B up 22% 
    • B2C up 25%

  2. Admitting Your Mistakes (or Theirs)
    Everyone makes mistakes - even huge brands have to send out apologies for a faux pas such as a non-working link. Because of this, many of us are conditioned to open emails that use “Oops,” “Uh-Oh,” “Oh No” and “Yikes” in the subject line. And this tactic is proving to be super effective right now. Whether the mistake is real, such as a promo code not working or potential such as “Oops, You Almost Missed this Sale” using these phrases in your subject line can significantly increase opens:
    • B2B up 29%
    • B2C up 37%

  3. The Pregnant Pause...
    When texting someone, what is it about those 3 blinking dots in our messaging app that make us rapt with attention? It’s the sense of anticipation. The use of the humble ellipsis (...) creates the same effect in your email subject line. For example: “The Sales Starts in …” or “The Top Trends in the Industry are…” The results speak for themselves, marketers using the ellipsis saw these increases in opens:
    • B2B up 31%
    • B2C up 28%

  4. Bookend Emojis
    I know what you’re thinking: I don’t even use one emoji, let alone two in my emails because my brand is "serious" or B2B. I’m here to tell you, no matter what your brand, you should test this one. I’m not talking about inappropriate emojis (peach anyone?), even serious brands can use stars, checkmarks, arrows or other more subtle special characters for a positive effect. B2B brands like Salesforce regularly use emojis and are seeing results like a 31% increase in open rates. Take a look at these results:

Screen Shot 2021-10-14 at 8.15.41 AM

  1. Lists, lists lists
    This is my favorite tip. Why? First, everyone loves lists. And second because you don’t have to create any new content to use this tactic. Just create a list out of what you already have on hand. For example, you can feature “6 Reasons Why People Use XYZ” or “The 5 Top Selling Products The Season.” Make lists out of existing content or inventory and watch your open rates go up dramatically:
    • B2B up 34%
    • B2C up 39%

Jay covered a whole lot more in his presentation including how to deal with the iOS15 mess and the best days to send emails, but incorporating even a few of these tactics could earn you more opens and clicks. Test these out now before they get stale and start losing effectiveness.

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Omi Diaz-Cooper – CEO, Speaker

Omi Diaz-Cooper – CEO, Speaker

Omi is what happens when you’re addicted to people, travel and your iPad. Which might also explain why she has a BA in Anthropology along with her degree in advertising. As the CEO of Diaz & Cooper she helps shape campaigns that resonate with customers and prompt meaningful, measurable action. When she’s not speaking at industry conferences like INBOUND, she’s jetting off places with lots of history, like Pompeii.

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