Here are some proven tactics that are guaranteed to increase your open rates and provide more relevant leads for your business. Understanding the effectiveness of these key elements of an email can set you on the path to more productive email marketing campaigns and customer engagement.

Subject Lines: A strong, intriguing subject line is the key to higher open rates. Many experts say that you should limit yourself to 50 characters however the most important guideline is to write a compelling one. Try turning a statement into a question…relate a sense of urgency by including the expiration date of the offer…try using humor or even being outrageous. But always keep it tied into your message. Do not mislead your audience for the sake of a good subject line or they will never open another email from you. Would you?

Test: Challenge yourself to do what savvy marketers and creative agencies do to increase campaign results—test, test and test again. If you’re prospecting for new business, test an introductory offer against list price. How would your business model change if you discovered that offering a discount on a particular product did not increase the number of units that you sold?There are several ways to split your list: Randomly split the total audience in half (A/B split) so that one half is the test portion and the other half is the control (your standard offer/copy/color). If you need to reduce the risk of testing A/B splits, for example, when price testing, you should:

#1: Take a representative sample from the total mailing
#2: Randomly split that sample in half (test leg vs control leg)
#3: Leave the balance of your mailing audience (the majority) intact to receive your standard message (the control.)
Example:
You have a list of 1,000 email addresses. Select a random 400 addresses and split in two halves: A test leg of 200 (label A); and a control leg of 200 (label B). The balance of your list—600 addresses

It is very important to adhere to this one rule when testing: Only test one element of the campaign at a time. If you test both the subject line and the offer to your list, you will never know which element worked. In the example above in which you are testing the offer, all segments of the email audience should receive the same subject line.

Other elements to test:
–From: Should the email carry your company name in the From area or your name? Test it.
–Personalization: WVF does not recommend wasting your time and effort testing whether personalization brings in higher open rates. It does. However, what you should test is where that personalization appears: in the subject line vs. the salutation in the body of the email.
Which day of the week to email? There is a lot of information—and opinion—on when to send email.
Most seem to be in agreement that there’s much more flexibility in business-to-consumer email than there is in business-to-business. It’s indisputable that open rates are lower on Mondays and Fridays but testing an email sent early Tuesday morning vs. Tuesday afternoon may result in slightly higher open rates. For B2C email, try sending different times on the weekend. That’s when consumers not only have more time to engage in email, but they are actively searching for info on products and things to do. Here is an informative report on timing of emails: [link to come]
Campaign statistics:
With your first few emails you will have a benchmark of results against which to measure all subsequent emails.  Of course, the open rate is the critical measure. Most email software packages (Constant Contact, Vertical Response and Mail Chimp, for example) provide the name and contact information of the people who opened and clicked on your message. Move on this information and create a follow-up email or phone call to these good leads.
Click through rate:
Depending on the content of your message, this can be a very important statistic. It can tell you about the engagement level of your content. How many people watched your video…how many read your testimonial page…or viewed your lookbook? Use this statistic to improve the types of content for both your website and your email campaigns.
Don’t rest on your laurels!
There is always room for improvement which is why testing is critical. Review your message content: Are you constantly going after sales or do you vary it with messages that inform your customers about your industry? Remember that you are building relationships first and foremost—the sale will follow. Your communications with customers (and prospects) should vary from the hard sale pitch to the kind of message that reinforces what you want them to know about you—that you are an expert in your field.