How I'm Blowing Away My Peers' Email Metrics

How do I increase my email open rates and click rates? That's a common question of marketers and business owners. As a professional copywriter and marketer, I have some ideas I can share that might help.

I'm also the owner and writer of Windy City Weekly, a weekly email newsletter with Chicago news, restaurant recommendations, things to do for the week, and a few other weekly highlights. To date, my open rate hovers around 42%, and my click rate is about 58%-far above the media/publishing industry standards of about 19% and 22%, according to Constant Contact.

How do I do it?

Outside of standard advice (write compelling headlines and content, and provide value), here are five ways I'm getting big open and click rates with email:

1) Write clearly, and concisely. It's a privilege to be invited to the user's inbox. Everyone is busy and distracted online, so it's important to be direct and clear, and to not waste the user's time. Get the message across that you need to, while removing everything that's not absolutely necessary. Over time, your subscribers will be conditioned to know that they can open, read, and click within your email without a big time commitment.

2) Remove distractions. It's a fairly simple formula. The less distractions, the more likely a recipient will click on what you want them to click. Images are a good way to draw attention to a particular link but too many of them, and the recipient will lose focus. Gaudy banners? Forget about it. Varying fonts and type sizes are distracting, too. Keep your content as clean, simple, and consistent as you can so that users can quickly hone in on what you want them to click.

3) Have a personality, and be honest. Email is a personal space for people, so it is essential that you develop a bond with them. If you write your email as if you were writing to a good friend (always with professionalism, of course), subscribers will look forward to hearing from you. Email is a great place to loosen the proverbial tie. Make sure the claims you make in your subject lines and links pay off as expected.

4) Deliver on time, every time. We all like something we can count on, and your email should be one of those things. When you deliver consistently, you are reliable and respectful of your subscriber's time. Not only does this convey your professionalism as a company, but it's also a positive reflection of your email content-you are trustworthy.

5) Grow your list organically. You could buy lists (not recommended), but those are not engaged subscribers. And while advertising can bring in new subscribers, you'll achieve higher open and click rates by growing organically. That means alerting your peers, friends, and acquaintances to your email, and reaching out to others via email, social media, industry events, and even on the street to tell them about your email. When prospective subscribers are personally invested in you, they are more likely to be engaged with your email.

About the Author: Mike Phillips is Senior Copywriter for envisionit media, a Chicago-based digital marketing firm, and the former Senior Editor at Website Magazine.