High Response e-Mail Marketing

Basic ways to improve open, click-through rates

Not all e-mail campaigns are created equal. And simply sending something to your customer list is not enough.

In fact, a poor campaign could hurt your business more than not sending anything at all.


Customers have built-in expectations when they provide their e-mail address. They believe it is a privilege they have bestowed upon your business. And any time they feel that privilege has been mishandled or abused, they are quick to revoke your right to use their e-mail address.

For instance, poorly designed e-mail blasts can turn customers off. Text that is difficult to read, artwork that takes forever to open and display, incomprehensible offers, content unrelated to their interests all of these things can cause a negative response and trigger an "opt out" reply.

All e-mail campaigns should contain some basic elements that give your customers a reason to open them and stay on your list. Your customer is expecting to receive something of value.

What are some of the basic elements that should be contained in every e-mail campaign:

  • Provide value. Your customer needs something more than just a sales message. For instance, auto dealers can include an article about maintaining the value of their cars. Or a home furnishing retailer can give tips about interior design.
  • Optimize design. If your e-mail takes too long to load or if graphics don't load at all, customers may simply opt out or flag your e-mail as spam.
  • Include compelling offers. Just like in traditional direct mail, a good offer dramatically increases open rates and customers who remain "opted in."
  • Use interesting subject lines. Creative subject lines draw attention while misleading ones cause them to opt out. The line isn't always clear.

For instance, a Kihon Media customer offer MINI Cooper accessories with a subject line that read, "Fall in love again." The successful campaign generated open rates of more than 40% and a large volume of sales inquiries.

Give your customers a reason to allow your messages to reach the "inbox" and they will reward you with their loyalty.