One of our clients has a high-performing email list that’s become the cornerstone of her booming business. But this summer, she had a problem.
As the weather was getting warmer, we noticed that her open and click-through rates were falling off. Now, we were seeing more “out-of-office” responses than normal, so we figured it was due in part to summer holidays. But we still wanted to bring her numbers back up.
This led us to an experiment. And that experiment led to a 34% increase in her click through rate. 34% more visits to her website. 34% more people she could really reach.
(Yeah, we said the same thing.)
We’ll explain what we did in just a minute. But first you should understand how to build a high-quality email list of your own, because the technique we used works best when your list is absolutely in love with you.
But assuming you do have a high-quality email list, why might people not open your emails in the first place?
Why Don’t People Open Your Emails?
There are plenty of potential reasons, like…
- Your subject line is boring
- Your content just isn’t interesting to your readers
- Your last email was just too long
- It’s spammy
- A spam filter thinks it’s spammy
But the biggest reason people don’t open your emails, assuming you have a permission-based list and you’re not spamming, is simply because they were busy at the moment the email showed up.
Think about yourself. Let’s say you actually want to read an email from somebody you admire and learn from. You value what she has to say. You asked for her emails.
You wanted this.
But you’re also busy.
So an email comes in while you’re in a meeting and you ignore it. You’ll get back to it soon. But you never do.
Now it’s three days later. That email is completely buried. You never read it.
Or maybe you see it lingering in your inbox for so long that you delete it just to save yourself the guilt.
If People Are So Busy, How Do You Break Through?
Now let’s get back to the experiment we ran with our client. Here’s exactly what we did:
We simply resent every email a few days after the initial blast, adding “ICYMI” to the beginning of the subject line. We made no other changes to the email.
The Results of Our Experiment
I’ve already revealed that this resulted in an average increase in clicks of 34%. But how did the numbers break down?
The blue lines show each message’s original click-through rate. The red lines show how much the click through rate increased by sending a second email.
For example, when we sent email #6, 17.2% of the audience clicked on a link in the email. But by sending the email again a few days later, that number went up to 24.2% of the total audience.
That’s a 41% increase in clicks to our client’s website, just by following up. Incredible!
Won’t a Second Email Annoy Your Subscribers?
We were concerned about this too. So we paid very close attention to unsubscribe rates. If we started to see increases in unsubscribes, that would be a sign that people did not like getting an email twice.
The truth is, every single time we send an email to a list of any size, we get a few unsubscribes. That’s life. Traditionally, this client gets very few.
It turned out that, on average, the second email did result in slightly more unsubscribes on average, but this was mostly due to a single outlier (one re-sent email resulted in a lot of unsubscribes.) In fact, for 3 of the 7 emails in the test, the second email resulted in fewer unsubscribes. (Wild, right?)
Looking at who unsubscribed was also revealing. In almost all cases, the “unsubscriber” was somebody who rarely ever opened our client’s emails in the first place. And you actually want people like that to unsubscribe, because it boosts your overall open rate when the people who stay on your list are the people who want to be there.
- Sending an email to your list a second time can result in a significant increase in click through rate.
- This works because the top reason people don’t click on your first email is because you caught them at the wrong time, not because they don’t want to read what you wrote.
- If you have a high-quality list of people who want to be there, you won’t see your subscribers running for the hills by unsubscribing. In fact, they may appreciate your diligent dedication to providing them with valuable information.
As with everything in digital marketing, your mileage may vary. Test, test, test to see what works well for you. Measure everything you do. Analyze your results. Learn, tweak, repeat.
If you want to discuss how your organization can build its email list into one that’s as effective as this client’s, let us know. We can help.