Members today are overloaded with information, and it’s easy for emails to end up in the digital trash. That’s a problem. You can’t deliver meaningful content to members if they don’t open your e-mails.

“The subject line is the first impression and should be compelling enough for a member to want to open it,” says Tara Pawlak, director of customer marketing, YourMembership (YM; St. Petersburg, FL). “Organizations spend a lot of time gathering content, designing and proofing emails, but if no one sees it, it’s a lot of wasted time and resources.”

Pawlak’s focus is digital marketing, content marketing and results-driven strategy development. She says it is essential for organizations to track open rates on their emails.

“Open rates are a telling metric to analyze to see if your campaigns are important in the eyes of your members,” says Pawlak. “This is where you can then find which opportunities to improve and place your focus.”

What’s more, if you know a particular email gets a high open rate, then it offers you a better chance of getting your content seen.

You can then test to see which brings the highest rate of success.

Pawlak suggests focusing on three primary areas to increase open rates: the friendly from, pre-header and subject line.

1. Friendly From: “The friendly from is a pretty straightforward one. Do your members respond to email ‘from’ an executive at your organization or a brand-related name? Example: ‘Tara Pawlak’ or ‘The YourMembership Team.’”

2. Pre-Header: “An element which can be easily underutilized is the pre-header. The pre-header is crucial and key real estate for developing an effective email campaign. It should be kept to under 100 characters. Upbeat and positive words encourage scrolling, driving eyes down to where the real content is.”

3. Subject Line: “Subject line open rates tend to soar when personalization is included. The more direct and concise you can be, the better. Less is always more in subject line writing and, when in doubt, always test!” Keep it at 50 characters for PCs and 30 for mobile devices.

“Be clear, direct and consistent in testing and, above all, be creative! If testing is a concern, persistent non-openers are a great segment to pull for email testing, as there is a low risk because they haven’t been opening emails anyway.”

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