How do you deal with declining email open rates?

18 replies
Hello, everyone We recently started to use mailchimp to send out emails to customers. For the first email we got 80% open rate and the second email we only got 15% and it has been decreasing since. Weird part is that we sent our first email on 5AM on Tuesday and 2PM on Thursday for the second one. According to the several researches, second should get more attention than the first one. Would you please share your experience with sending out emails to customers? Thank you


First and foremost, you have to foster your relationships with customers, if the customer likes you/your employees as people, and enjoys dealing with them, then the customer is likely to open and read the email. You want a dialogue, or at least want to induce the feeling the there could be a dialogue if the customer were to want one. When you start spreading your emails with a shotgun approach or yelling through a megaphone, you might not lose customers, but you definitely can't expect to win over their hearts.
@arseniyw thanks for the reply. When we are talking performance marketing, what are the good ways to approach to have that "dialogue" with customers? thanks for the help
@archisketch_support That very much depends on your product. In broad strokes, you want your clients to know that you are not just trying to push something on them and then be done with it; that your emails are only being sent to them to sell more. You want your emails & calls to say that you are there as a support network/community which will fix glitches for them / accept returns for goods that weren't ideal, essentially that you care about your client's wellbeing (not in a life-insurance kind of way). You'll know you're doing it right when a call/email from a client sounds like an email from an old friend.
Olga Trykush
what is 1st email about? maybe the problem is that users don't like it or it was uninformative for them and they will ignore all the next emails from you. You need to check all of the details because the difference in open rates is huge
@olha_trykush well my first email was about welcome message and the second email was about the actual information about our product.
Katya Veremeichik
Some ideas: 1. Review your email content. Might just be that your audience is more responsive to the information from your first letter. It might have had more value to them. 2. Analyze your audience a bit deeper. Might be that your target audience was chosen without considering the geography factor - time zones of your audience matters, as well as their online activity hours. Those stats are easy to get from your analytics. 3. Try to rewrite your email title and preview. Maybe make it less "ad-like" and more personal, start a dialogue with your customers. Communicate your unique proposal through the title of your email. 4. See if your emails database is relevant enough to your niche. Maybe some of that will be helpful to you:)
Eliana Cameira
A few things I've done in the past that have worked: - A/B test subject lines: you can quickly test with a few users which headlines drive higher open rates before sending it to your entire subscriber base. You can test your subject line with a question, emojis, 'How-to's, and/or a teaser of your email content. What works best usually varies by industry, based on your audience profile. - Clean out your email subscriber list: always worth reviewing your email list, as it probably has some 'dead weight' (email addresses that are no longer valid/with typos/bouncing and/or unengaged users. This way, you are left with a list of emails that are active and receptive. - Segment your email list by audience behavior and send them targeted content. - Write 'personally': craft out your email as if you were writing to a friend, with natural and casual language that helps build a more personal relationship with your customer. - Optimize your emails for mobile web! Hope this helps you get started :)
Melody Soptaka
The fact that customers decided to open your first email shows that they are interested in you, more or less. Now, if you keep using the same format for the next email, they might not be equally interested. 1. Evidently, the rate has dropped significantly. So, I would suggest reviewing your first email content (subject, design, text, images etc), preferably by someone outside your company. 2. Experiment with different contents. You can start with something as simple as the subject of emails. Do an A/B test with different subjects and audiences. Compare their open rates. (e.g. run a campaign with "Get your 10% today!" and "Spend less, enjoy more!" side by side and see how each of them perform, of course with different halves of the audience) 3. If you are not willing to do split tests, run linear ones with tweaking some content (subject, design, text, images, etc). Document your experiment and their perfomances somewhere. In this era of synchronous marketing platforms, email marketing is quite a challenge. But, if done correctly this can be a powerful tool I believe. You just have to keep patience and be eager to learn and test.
Barry Smith
First and foremost, even a 15% open rate is great. Most companies are looking at 3% or less. Rule 1: The max you should be sending emails out is once per week Rule 2: Only send out emails when you have something of true value to your customers. People only care about stuff that makes their lives better, not yours. Rule 3: Short and sweet. No one wants to read anything anymore. Cut to the chase in as few words as possible with engaging visuals. Rule 4: Have a good CTA (Call to Action). Let them know what you want them to do. "Learn More," "Shop Now," "Download the White Paper,"... Of course, I don't know your product or service so I can speak to your particulars, but these are the general rules I use with my clients. Cheers
Saro Gunaseelan
Have you checked if your customers blocked your initial email? It's very possible that they opened the 1st email, they didn't like the content and decided to put it in the spam folder or decided to unsubscribe? Additionally, measuring "open rate" is a vanity metric and doesn't tell you much. I suggest you look for click rates or measure incoming traffic to your website (from email links) via Analytics. Happy to help further - if you can share more info about your product.
Ikenna Paschal
@saravanan_gunaseelan The rate of 80% to just 15% in the second email made me believe it wasn't customer unsubscribing or blocking the content. It usually take multiple emails to get users to take such action. That is assuming the emails are not unsolicited.
Saro Gunaseelan
@archisketch_support I see, thanks for the clarification. Email open/click rates are more like a speedometer reading in a car - it shows how fast/slow we are going. The real question is where are we going? So, what's the end goal here? It cannot be about emails, right. I would suggest to give some time for experimentation with email titles (A/B testing) and see if the messaging works better. Also, starting with the goal in mind - I am assuming you are looking at a sale or some kind of website conversion (?) - so try to send targeted emails to folks that opened the email the 2nd time to see if you are seeing the necessary actions being performed by the actual customer. I am really not sure what the product is - I am assuming everything discussed here is about leading to product validation?
Ikenna Paschal
There are lots of factors that affect open rate. I believe the most would be the email title. Study what you did right in the first email. In your case, two things could have caused it. First, you provided no value in the first email. Which made your subscribers assume subsequent emails will be just like the first. This is less likely to be the case though considering it went from 80% to 15%. I don't think 65% would process the "this isn't value" so fast, just after the first email. Second, it could mean that you need to work on your tactics and study ways to crafts non-misleading email titles to get them to click.
Sajmal Yousef
That steep decline indicates your first email content did'nt go down well with the customers. They've mostly perceived it as spam I guess. Try to put yourself in their shoes, if you were to read that mail would you be interested in it. There's a lot of creative content out there, try to bring that into your content. I understand that the first one was a welcome email. Now unless I can relate to your product I won't be interested in it. Try making it relatable in some form. - Don't forget an impressive subject, something that would tempt people to open . - Try sending different types of mails to different set of users and find out what worked well. Remember, the world works on WIIM 'Whats in it for me?'
@sajmal_yousef thanks for the comment. The second solution is about ab testing right? somehow I didn't separate users into different categories, which is why I'm having difficulties with testing.