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How can I increase email open rates?

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As vital as email is, it can be difficult for salespeople to compete against the sheer number of messages that their prospects and customers receive. Based on recent research (we studied email behavior of more than 6,000 of Yesware's anonymous users from Dec. 8-23), we found some interesting statistics on ways to increase open rates as well as the probability your messages will be read. Here are some tips:
  • Send emails on Friday afternoon and late at night. Our study showed that email open rates over the weekend are slightly higher, so feel free to send those important notes on Friday afternoon.
  • Don't wait for a reply. After one hour, open rates dramatically decline. After 24 hours, your message likely goes to the email graveyard. Be proactive, and don't wait for a reply if a response hasn't been received after a day or two.
  • Only 12% of emails are forwarded. Understanding and analyzing which emails are the most compelling, and which prospects are forwarding your emails, can improve targeting sales and marketing efforts.
  • Use short subject lines that add value. Subject lines with more than three words have a lower than average open rate. The shorter the subject line—along with some type of promise to add value, such as “Boot Camp Marketing Ideas”—the more likely the email will get opened.
Email open rates are one of the most accurate ways of measuring the progress of your sales team. Not only do they provide data on engagement, they also provide salespeople with a catalyst for following up and converting a prospect to a customer. From a managerial standpoint, open rates for the team provide insight on how the overall team is progressing and what activities need to be changed to attract the attention of more potential customers. Everyone is looking for better, more efficient ways to communicate. By employing methods to increase email-open rates and tracking individual and sales team progress, you can fine-tune your efforts and ensure more successful communication with your prospects. Matthew Bellows is CEO of Yesware Inc. (www.yesware.com), an email service provider.

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