So, you’ve worked hard to build a list. You’re stuck. People aren’t opening up your emails. All hope is not lost. Email marketers old and new alike all face this same exact problem. The answer to this problem is what we’re going to talk about here. Quite often people do the wrong thing in this situation.

We’ll help you avoid the most common mistakes, while making sure your emails land in the subscriber’s inbox. This task isn’t easy, but it’s certainly doable.

Typical email open rates are 10-15%:

What are your open rates? Less than 10-15%? If so, now is not the time to panic. Always remember this is something that can be improved. Even if your open rate hovers around 20%, there’s room for improvement. Your ability to get people to open emails will grow over time. Someone new to email marketing shouldn’t get frustrated with single digit percentages.

Instead, see it as a learning opportunity to improve. You’re already successful enough to run an email list and have subscribers. That in itself is worth a pat on the back.

Should I Clean Up My Email List:

The first response everyone has to a low open rate is to clean their email list. This is generally a waste of time and effort. You should only do this if your email list has grown so large, that it’s become costly to send out messages. You can lower your cost by deleting inactive accounts. But, this is only the case if you have a huge number of inactive subscribers.

The average person reading this won’t benefit much at all from cleaning their list. This is one of those tactics that looks great on paper. It may even increase your open rate a little. It won’t matter the slightest in the long run.

But if you have a modest small email list you should never clean any of your email list, but if you want to save money when you have a huge email list you should clean up the email list, cause a good email automation tool cost quiet a bit of money every month.

Keep the Subject Short, Sweet and Personal:

When writing an email make sure your email creates curiosity, but not click bait friendly or false. Keep it short and make it compelling that makes people curious. Once someone find something interesting, he or she will take time to open and read the email.

Also, make the subject line personal. You can do that by calling out the subscribers by their first name. That you they will feel the email was sent to them personally. Lot of marketers says that does not work, yet the biggest marketers still do it.

How Free Email Providers Identify Spam and Promotions:

This is something we’re going to talk about in more detail. Years ago everyone used email provided to them by their Internet Service Provider or ISP. You would use an email client like Outlook or Thunderbird to get your emails. Some people still use this method and it works.

A huge and growing segment of internet users have moved to web based email. Providers like Yahoo, Gmail, and others make it easier to use the same email account across many devices. Those who use Outlook more than likely only read emails on their computer. While web based emails users can send and receive email using almost any internet connected device. This matters because people check their mail on a variety of devices.

It’s not uncommon for people to check their email using a smartphone. Having the ability to read and to reply email even when away from the computer has changed the way email marketing must be done.

If you use a free email provider then you’re probably familiar with how the inbox looks. Gmail for example, sorts emails into categories. There’s a category for spam and promotions. Your emails can easily end up in one of these two folders. You’re messages aren’t spam. But, Gmail is an imperfect system.

We’ll talk about how you can move your messages from either of these two folders directly into the inbox. It’s important to note that these two folders do in fact exist. They can be the reason why your emails have a low open rate. How often do you check your spam folder? Probably once a week at the most. Some people never ever check the spam folder.

They assume it’s spam and not even worth checking out.

The reason your emails are landing in the promotion or spam folders is because Gmail’s algorithm thinks it’s one of those two things. Part of the reason for that is a lack of interaction with the email from other users. The open rates of the subscribers on your list who use their service determine where the email goes. If few people open your email, then to Gmail it’s either spam or a promotion.

The same is true with how other free email providers categorize messages. Now you can see why it’s important to increase your open rates. Doing so will make more of your emails land in the inboxes of subscribers. This is a factor that quite a few overlook and it’s an important one when understanding how Gmail processes emails.

Ask Your Subscribers a Question They’ll Answer:

This is the key to increasing not just your open rates, it’ll also increase the amount of messages people see in their Gmail inbox. Interaction is key to getting inside their precious inbox. The way you do this is by asking a very simple question in the subject line. Don’t overcomplicate it.

But, you also don’t want to wait until the end of the email to ask the question. The question you ask should be front and center in the email. The sole purpose for this is to get a reaction. No reaction means it was useless. You don’t just want them to open the email.

It’s vital that they respond to it as well. The algorithms of the free email providers will see this interaction. They’ll understand that your email isn’t spam or just another promotion that no one wants to see.

How often should you ask your subscribers a question? Maybe once or twice a month. Keep in mind that it’s going to take time for you to write back to them. Yes, you’re going to want to write back. The subscriber will eventually get fed up with your desire to talk if you constantly do it.

The average person doesn’t have time to spend all day long talking to people via email. But, once or twice a month isn’t a big deal. Just be prepared to write back to each and every person who contacts you. That’s what we’re going to talk about next.

You can use tool like ClickFunnels , Survey Monkey or  Google Forms to survey your subscribers and find out what your list is looking for and how you can be a great help to your listing.

Act On a Friendly Manner When Sending Email:

You want your subscriber to open your email? Don’t you. You want the free email service provider to see you as a real person and not just as a marketer.

Let’s just be honest for a second. You do want your emails to get into the subscriber’s inbox? There’s no other way of doing it other than to make the email provider see you as a human and not as automated spam. There is that aspect to it all. So, yes, you’re just doing this to please the machine. But, there’s also another aspect to it as well.

You want interaction between you and the subscriber. Just for a second think about social media. What good is a tweet if no one interacts with it? That tweet becomes useless. It’s just another bunch of words in a sea of absolute garbage.

Twitter will show your tweets to more users if they are interacted with. Interaction is vital for your business to grow. It also shows your effectiveness in engaging with the end user. If your content is not getting any sort of engagement, then it’s worthless.

You should want people to respond to your emails. Not just the ones that have a question in the subject line. Engagement means people are actually interacting and digesting your content. This is vital for long term growth.

Work Hard to Develop a Relationship Between You and the Subscriber:

You’re not going to be best pals with each and every person who subscribes to your list. You shouldn’t even try to be. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out to them. Don’t be just another marketer who only cares about money.

Be friendly and try to build a relationship between the two of you. By far this is the most important thing you can do across the board. It will result in more of your messages getting into subscribers inboxes. It’ll also help you turn subscribers into customers.

This isn’t something that has to be done directly by you. It’s possible to hand this task off to someone else. You only want to do this if you’re marketing something that’s not yourself.

There’s no reason why even a virtual assistant couldn’t answer emails if they are familiar with your product or service. Just make sure that all emails are answered in a timely manner. Don’t ask a question and respond to it a week later. The subscriber will have forgotten all about why they contacted you in the first place.

Use simplest most human way to reach out to your subscribers and provide them a lot of value so they will com back to you time and time again.

The Importance of Open Rates Can’t be Overstated:

If no one reads your emails, then they can’t act upon them. It’s vital that you understand how today’s free email services work. What goes into the user’s inbox is dictated by how other subscribers interact with your emails. The email providers collect data on all of their users. They use this data to determine which messages are spam and promotions.

There is no way around this. You must take this into consideration when crafting your email messages. The free email providers don’t have the capacity to judge messages for each individual user. This is why they categorize emails in such a sweeping broad manner.

It’s a good idea to interact with your subscribes in general. It draws them closer to you and your message. While there are undeniable benefits for doing so when it comes to subscribers who use free emails, this is something that’s important across the board.

Someone who interacts with your emails is more than likely to open them in the future. Cementing a personal relationship with them will go a long ways in making them become a customer. You’re no longer just an automated machine sending them emails. Now you’re a real life person who they know it’s possible to contact.

Business doesn’t have to be the cold sterile place people make it out to be. Never settle for an open rate of less than 40%. That may not seem doable depending on where you are at now. It is if you follow the above steps. No one ever said marketing is easy. You need to focus your energy on appealing to the human side of your subscribers. Add a question in the subject line. Follow through with it in the first paragraph of the email. The entire email should be just to get a response from them. Don’t burry the question or make them read hundreds of words to know what it is.

The end goal is to get a response and to end up in the inbox of more subscribers who use free email accounts. If you achieve those two things, you’re open rate will climb and 30% won’t seem like such a pipe dream any more.