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Your Complete Guide on How to Increase Email Open Rates



Your Complete Guide on How to Increase Email Open Rates

When was the last time you took a look at your email open rates? I hope the answer is ‘recently’. Your email marketing campaigns can only be so effective if they are actually getting opened in the first place.

How can you measure the success and effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns? One of the best KPIs to take a look at is your open rates. This is the amount of people who are receiving and then opening the emails that you’re sending out.

Some email marketers will only look at their click through rates, the amount of time the link you’ve provided in the email is clicked on by the recipient. But keep in mind, you can’t have one without the other. Sometimes, open rates will get overlooked because CTR seems more desirable, but for a recipient to click the link provided they first need to open the email.

There are a lot of opinions and options about how to increase your email open rates, but we first need to take a look at the facts then come to a conclusion.

Just because 72% of people say they prefer to be contacted via email, doesn’t mean they will open yours.

Let’s get started. Here’s a complete guide to getting better email open rates, and better ROI.

1. Keep Your List Fresh and Up to Date

Quick questions, do your subscribers even want to hear from you? It sounds a bit harsh, but this is a rational question to ask yourself.

You have probably heard that it’s important to email your subscribers on a consistent basis so they don’t forget about you. But even so, over time your subscribers can go stale. Some people may have changed their email address, or aren’t interested in your brand anymore.

So to keep your list fresh and filled with engaged subscribers who actually want to hear from you, it’s a great idea to periodically remove inactive subscribers. It actually benefits you even more in the long run.

As a rule of thumb, an inactive subscriber could be anyone who has not engaged with one of your emails in the past 6 months or so. Do them, and yourself, a favor and take them off your list. BUT, before doing so, there are a couple steps you can take to try and re-engage your recipients.

Try your hand at a win back email campaign.

A win back email marketing campaign consists of a short and sweet message to remind your recipients why they subscribed in the first place. This is like your ‘hail mary’ before removing them from your list.

A smart winback email subject line will (ideally) hook your readers and inspire them to hear you out and check out what’s inside. The best subject lines are those that are personalized and that suggest you’re speaking directly to that customer.  

One way to get a customer’s attention is to offer a discount or include an incentive for buying your product or service again. Try experimenting with the timing of your offer so it has a sense of urgency. Alternatively,  you can focus just on promoting new products or best sellers, also include social proof in order to revive customers to buy from you again. This is also a great place to address any issues that may have happened in the past and how you’ve remedied them, and include a direct line to the customer service.

Keep Your List Clean

Having a fresh and clean list also helps you understand your customers better by looking at specific KPIs , ensures email viability, and helps avoid the dreaded high churn rates. The best way to maintain a clean and viable email list is by running it through Emailable. It’s as simple as importing your lists, verifying your data and analyzing your results in a matter of minutes. This is list cleaning made simple. One of the best ways to increase open rates is by ensuring that your email list is clean. When your lists are sent to proper recipients it improves your chances of being opened as well as your sender reputation score.

2. Segment Your Lists

Start by segmenting your email lists. Segmentation is dividing your email list into specific categories based on your customers.

You can segment your list by looking at the parts of your list that your subscribers don’t engage with, and put them in a different list to receive emails less often. By doing so, you are able to minimize the risk of your subscribers clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ button or ‘mark as spam’. This also increases the likelihood of them opening your emails.

Have you seen a chunk of subscribers who haven’t clicked on your emails in months? You will have more luck reminding them of your product or service by using a re-engagement email campaign (as we mentioned above). If successful, you will have a revitalized email group where they are more likely to engage than the rest of your list. If not, you should consider removing them from your list entirely because they aren’t contributing to your email marketing campaign and provide a bigger threat to your sender reputation.

By segmenting your list you are making sure that the information you are providing your customers is something that they are genuinely interested in. This not only helps improve personalization but also helps form a better foundation of trust. Your customers will then start to notice that your emails provide value to them and will know it’s not a waste of their time to open.

The actual segments that you choose will be based on your company and its products or services and what type of email you’re sending and what the desired action is. Some examples of list segments:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Buyer Persona
  • Area of Interest
  • Product

Segmenting your lists will help further personalize your lists and increase relevance for your recipients. Relevance is one of the most important factors that will help you retain and nurture your existing customers.

Understand the distinct groups of people that make up your list. Segmentation is about understanding the needs of your customers and having an open form of communication with them.

3. Stay Away From Spam Traps

Once an email is marked as spam, there is little to no hope that it’s getting opened. So you need to proceed with caution when writing and sending out your emails, to make sure you avoid the spam trap.

IPS will block unwanted or seemingly spam messages to prevent recipients from receiving unnecessary junk in their inboxes so they can focus on their more important or time-sensitive emails.

The sender reputation score serves as a protective barrier from inboxes becoming cluttered with unwanted emails. This process is carried out by an algorithmic analysis, with zero invasion of an email’s privacy or personal information. After the continuous verification that automatically occurs, the IPS provider sets the sender’s score, and if it happens to be low, then your message may end up in the spam folder.

There a three categories of spam:

  • Recycled Spam Trap: these are email addresses that were valid at one point in time but have been unused for such a long time that they could not have engaged with any email in a long time. Messages sent to these addresses are typically refused (AKA they bounce) by receiving the server for a year or more before they are reactivated as spam trap addresses.  
  • Typo Traps: These are addresses that usually end up on a recipient list because of a mistake. This could happen by typing “[email protected]” instead of “[email protected]”. Similar to recycled spam traps, these addresses will never open or click any of the messages they receive. Some believe that by sending an excessive amount of mail to typo traps, it will result in poor list acquisition and poor list hygiene (which they are right).
  • Pristine Traps: These are the email addresses that have never been used to actively sign up to receive an email. These are most commonly found on mailing lists when senders purchase, rent or scrape addresses.

The best way to avoid spam traps is to make sure you’re in accordance with the CAN SPAM Act, as well as taking into account what the content of your email is saying. When you’re clear from any spam traps, this helps increase your open rates because the emails are actually getting delivered to the right inboxes.

The Grand Finale

The main take away from this article should be that the best way to increase your email open rates is by keeping a fresh and healthy email list, segmenting your email list, and avoiding as many spam traps as possible. As the saying goes, a little goes a long way. When you take these steps into consideration you’re helping the chances of increasing your open rates because you’re sending to the right recipients, you are personalizing their messages, and making sure that your hard work is getting delivered to the desired inboxes.

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How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?



How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?

The very first commercial advertisement was shown on TV in 1941. It was only 10 seconds long and had an audience of 4,000 people. However, it became a strong trigger for rapid advertising development. The second half of the 20th century is known as the golden age of advertising until the Internet came to the forefront and entirely transformed the advertising landscape. The first commercial banner appeared in the mid-90s, then it was followed by pop-ups, pay-by-placement and paid-pay-click ads. Companies also started advertising their brands and adding their business logo designs, which contributes to consumer trust and trustworthiness.

The rise of social media in the mid-2000s opened a new dimension for advertising content to be integrated. The marketers were forced to make the ads less intrusive and more organic to attract younger users. This is how native advertising was born. This approach remains a perfect medium for goods and services promotion. Let’s see why and how native ads can become a win-win strategy for your business.

What is native advertising?

When it comes to digital marketing, every marketer talks about native advertising. What is the difference between traditional and native ones? You will not miss basic ads as they are typically promotional and gimmicky, while native advertising naturally blends into the content. The primary purpose of native ads is to create content that resonates with audience expectations and encourages users to perceive it seamlessly and harmoniously.

Simply put, native advertising is a paid media ad that organically aligns with the visual and operational features of the media format in which it appears. The concept is quite straightforward: while people just look through banner ads, they genuinely engage with native ads and read them. You may find a lot of native ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – they appear in the form of “in-feed” posts that engage users in search for more stories, opinions, goods and services. This unobtrusive approach turns native ads into a powerful booster for any brand.

How does native advertising benefit your business?

An average Internet user comes across around 10,000 ads a day. But even physically, it is impossible to perceive this amount of information in 24 hours. So, most of them use adblockers, nullifying all efforts of markers. Native ads successfully overcome this digital challenge thanks to their authenticity. And this is not the only advantage of native advertising. How else does your business benefit? Here are just a few major benefits that prove the value of native ads:

Better brand awareness. Native ads contribute to the brand’s visibility. They seamlessly blend into educational, emotional, and visual types of content that can easily become viral. While promotional content typically receives limited shares, users readily share valuable or entertaining content. Consequently, while you incur expenses only for the display of native ads, your audience may go the extra mile by sharing your content and organically promoting your brand or SaaS product at no additional cost.

Increased click-through rates. Native ads can generate a thrilling click-through rate (CTR) primarily because they are meticulously content-adaptable. Thus, native ads become an integral part of the user’s journey without disrupting their browsing experience. Regardless of whether your native advertising campaign is designed to build an audience or drive specific actions, compelling content will always entice users to click through.

Cost-efficient campaign performance. Native advertising proves to be cheaper compared to a traditional ad format. It mainly stems from a higher CTR. Thanks to precise targeting and less customer resistance, native ads allow to bring down cost-per-click.

Native ads are continuously evolving, enabling marketers to experiment with different formats and use them for successful multi-channel campaigns and global reach.

Types of native advertising

Any content can become native advertising as there are no strict format restrictions. For example, it can be an article rating the best fitness applications, an equipment review, or a post by an influencer on a microblog. The same refers to the channels – native ads can be placed on regular websites and social media feeds. Still, some forms tend to be most frequently used.

  • In-feed ads. This type of ad appears within the content feed. You have definitely seen such posts on Facebook and Instagram or such videos on TikTok. They look like regular content but are tagged with an advertising label. The user sees these native ads when scrolling the feed on social media platforms.
  • Paid search ads. These are native ads that are displayed on the top and bottom of the search engine results page. They always match user’s queries and aim to capture their attention at the moment of a particular search and generate leads and conversions. This type of ad is effective for big search platforms with substantial traffic.
  • Recommendation widgets. These come in the form of either texts or images and can be found at the end of the page or on a website’s sidebar. Widgets offer related or intriguing content from either the same publisher or similar sources. This type of native ads is great for retargeting campaigns.
  • Sponsored content. This is one of the most popular types of native advertising. Within this format, an advertiser sponsors the creation of an article or content that aligns with the interests and values of the platform’s audience. They can be marked as “sponsored” or “recommended” to help users differentiate them from organic content.
  • Influencer Advertising. In this case, advertisers partner with popular bloggers or celebrities to gain the attention and trust of the audience. Influencers integrate a product, service, or event into their content or create custom content that matches their style and topic.

Each of these formats can bring stunning results if your native ads are relevant and provide value to users. Use a creative automation platform like Creatopy to design effective ads for your business.

How to create a workable native ad?

Consider these 5 steps for creating a successful native advertising campaign:

  • Define your target audienceUsers will always ignore all ads that are not relevant to them. Unwanted ads are frustrating and can even harm your brand. If you run a store for pets, make sure your ads show content that will be interesting for pet owners. Otherwise, the whole campaign will be undermined. Regular market research and data analysis will help you refine your audience and its demographics.
  • Set your goals. Each advertising campaign should have a clear-cut objective. Without well-defined goals, it is a waste of money. It is a must to know what you want to achieve – introduce your brand, boost sales or increase your audience.
  • Select the proper channels. Now, you need to determine how you will reach out to your customers. Consider displaying ads on social media platforms, targeting search engine result pages (SERPs), distributing paid articles, or utilizing in-ad units on different websites. You may even be able to get creative and use email or SMS in a less salesy and more “native”-feeling way—you can find samples of texts online to help give you ideas. Exploring demand side platforms (DSP) can also bring good results.
  • Offer compelling content. Do not underestimate the quality of the content for your native ads. Besides being expertly written, it must ideally match the style and language of the chosen channel,whether you’re promoting professional headshots, pet products, or anything else. The main distinctive feature of native advertising is that it should fit naturally within the natural content.
  • Track your campaign. After the launch of native ads, it is crucial to monitor the progress, evaluating the costs spent and results. Use tools that help you gain insights beyond standard KPIs like CTR and CPC. You should get engagement metrics, customer data, campaign data, and third-party activity data for further campaign management.

Key takeaway

Summing up the above, it is time to embrace native advertising if you haven’t done it yet. Native ads seamlessly blend with organic content across various platforms, yielding superior engagement and conversion rates compared to traditional display ads. Marketers are allocating higher budgets to native ads because this format proves to be more and more effective – content that adds value can successfully deal with ad fatigue. Native advertising is experiencing a surge in popularity, and it is to reach its peak. So, do not miss a chance to grow your business with the power of native ads.or you can do digital marketing course from Digital Vidya.

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OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons



OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons

A week or so ago, the extraordinary drama happening at OpenAI filled news feeds.

No need to get into all the saga’s details, as every publication seems to have covered it. We’re just waiting for someone to put together a video montage scored to the Game of Thrones music.

But as Sam Altman takes back the reigns of the company he helped to found, the existing board begins to disintegrate before your very eyes, and everyone agrees something spooked everybody, a question arises: Should you care?

Does OpenAI’s drama have any demonstrable implications for marketers integrating generative AI into their marketing strategies?

Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain (and give a shoutout to Sutton’s pants rage on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), or keep reading his thoughts:

For those who spent last week figuring out what to put on your holiday table and missed every AI headline, here’s a brief version of what happened. OpenAI – the huge startup and creator of ChatGPT – went through dramatic events. Its board fired the mercurial CEO Sam Altman. Then, the 38-year-old entrepreneur accepted a job at Microsoft but returned to OpenAI a day later.

We won’t give a hot take on what it means for the startup world, board governance, or the tension between AI safety and Silicon Valley capitalism. Rather, we see some interesting things for marketers to put into perspective about how AI should fit into your overall content and marketing plans in the new year.

Robert highlights two takeaways from the OpenAI debacle – a drama that has yet to reach its final chapter: 1. The right structure and governance matters, and 2. Big platforms don’t become antifragile just because they’re big.

Let’s have Robert explain.

The right structure and governance matters

OpenAI’s structure may be key to the drama. OpenAI has a bizarre corporate governance framework. The board of directors controls a nonprofit called OpenAI. That nonprofit created a capped for-profit subsidiary – OpenAI GP LLC. The majority owner of that for-profit is OpenAI Global LLC, another for-profit company. The nonprofit works for the benefit of the world with a for-profit arm.

That seems like an earnest approach, given AI tech’s big and disruptive power. But it provides so many weird governance issues, including that the nonprofit board, which controls everything, has no duty to maximize profit. What could go wrong?

That’s why marketers should know more about the organizations behind the generative AI tools they use or are considering.

First, know your providers of generative AI software and services are all exploring the topics of governance and safety. Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, and others won’t have their internal debates erupt in public fireworks. Still, governance and management of safety over profits remains a big topic for them. You should be aware of how they approach those topics as you license solutions from them.

Second, recognize the productive use of generative AI is a content strategy and governance challenge, not a technology challenge. If you don’t solve the governance and cross-functional uses of the generative AI platforms you buy, you will run into big problems with its cross-functional, cross-siloed use. 

Big platforms do not become antifragile just because they’re big

Nicholas Taleb wrote a wonderful book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. It explores how an antifragile structure doesn’t just withstand a shock; it actually improves because of a disruption or shock. It doesn’t just survive a big disruptive event; it gets stronger because of it.

It’s hard to imagine a company the size and scale of OpenAI could self-correct or even disappear tomorrow. But it can and does happen. And unfortunately, too many businesses build their strategies on that rented land.

In OpenAI’s recent case, the for-profit software won the day. But make no bones about that victory; the event wasn’t good for the company. If it bounces back, it won’t be stronger because of the debacle.

With that win on the for-profit side, hundreds, if not thousands, of generative AI startups breathed an audible sigh of relief. But a few moments later, they screamed “pivot” (in their best imitation of Ross from Friends instructing Chandler and Rachel to move a couch.)

They now realize the fragility of their software because it relies on OpenAI’s existence or willingness to provide the software. Imagine what could have happened if the OpenAI board had won their fight and, in the name of safety, simply killed any paid access to the API or the ability to build business models on top of it.

The last two weeks have done nothing to clear the already muddy waters encountered by companies and their plans to integrate generative AI solutions. Going forward, though, think about the issues when acquiring new generative AI software. Ask about how the vendor’s infrastructure is housed and identify the risks involved. And, if OpenAI expands its enterprise capabilities, consider the implications. What extra features will the off-the-shelf solutions provide? Do you need them? Will OpenAI become the Microsoft Office of your AI infrastructure?

Why you should care

With the voluminous media coverage of Open AI’s drama, you likely will see pushback on generative AI. In my social feeds, many marketers say they’re tired of the corporate soap opera that is irrelevant to their work.

They are half right. What Sam said and how Ilya responded, heart emojis, and how much the Twitch guy got for three days of work are fodder for the Netflix series sure to emerge. (Robert’s money is on Michael Cera starring.)

They’re wrong about its relevance to marketing. They must be experiencing attentional bias – paying more attention to some elements of the big event and ignoring others. OpenAI’s struggle is entertaining, no doubt. You’re glued to the drama. But understanding what happened with the events directly relates to your ability to manage similar ones successfully. That’s the part you need to get right.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader



The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader

Introduce your processes: If you’ve streamlined a particular process, share it. It could be the solution someone else is looking for.

Jump on trends and news: If there’s a hot topic or emerging trend, offer your unique perspective.

Share industry insights: Attended a webinar or podcast that offered valuable insights. Summarize the key takeaways and how they can be applied.

Share your successes: Write about strategies that have worked exceptionally well for you. Your audience will appreciate the proven advice. For example, I shared the process I used to help a former client rank for a keyword with over 2.2 million monthly searches.

Question outdated strategies: If you see a strategy that’s losing steam, suggest alternatives based on your experience and data.

5. Establish communication channels (How)

Once you know who your audience is and what they want to hear, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Here’s how:

Choose the right platforms: You don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform. Pick two platforms where your audience hangs out and create content for that platform. For example, I’m active on LinkedIn and X because my target audience (SEOs, B2B SaaS, and marketers) is active on these platforms.

Repurpose content: Don’t limit yourself to just one type of content. Consider repurposing your content on Quora, Reddit, or even in webinars and podcasts. This increases your reach and reinforces your message.

Follow Your audience: Go where your audience goes. If they’re active on X, that’s where you should be posting. If they frequent industry webinars, consider becoming a guest on these webinars.

Daily vs. In-depth content: Balance is key. Use social media for daily tips and insights, and reserve your blog for more comprehensive guides and articles.

Network with influencers: Your audience is likely following other experts in the field. Engaging with these influencers puts your content in front of a like-minded audience. I try to spend 30 minutes to an hour daily engaging with content on X and LinkedIn. This is the best way to build a relationship so you’re not a complete stranger when you DM privately.

6. Think of thought leadership as part of your content marketing efforts

As with other content efforts, thought leadership doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It thrives when woven into a cohesive content marketing strategy. By aligning individual authority with your brand, you amplify the credibility of both.

Think of it as top-of-the-funnel content to:

  • Build awareness about your brand

  • Highlight the problems you solve

  • Demonstrate expertise by platforming experts within the company who deliver solutions

Consider the user journey. An individual enters at the top through a social media post, podcast, or blog post. Intrigued, they want to learn more about you and either search your name on Google or social media. If they like what they see, they might visit your website, and if the information fits their needs, they move from passive readers to active prospects in your sales pipeline.

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