Double Your Response Rate by Asking Yourself These 12 Crucial Questions

Your email response rate is important. Really important. In fact, as an email marketer you may find that of all the metrics you track—and you should be tracking as many as possible—your response rate is the one that really determines the success of your campaigns. So how do you not only improve, but double your response rate?

To help you improve your response rates, we’ve put together a list of twelve questions to ask yourself before you create your next campaign. We’ll cover everything from audience, to delivery, and following up.

Feeling ready? Let’s begin at the beginning by asking ourselves…

1. who am i targeting?

Successful marketing campaigns start by having a clear idea of their audience. It’s absolutely crucial that you spend some time thinking about who is receiving your emails. Stop for a minute and see if you can picture your ideal customer (you can close your eyes if it helps):

  • Who are they?
  • How old are they?
  • Are they male or female?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • Where do they live?
  • What languages do they speak?
  • What are their long term goals?
  • What drives them crazy?
  • What makes them smile?

The more specific you can get with these descriptions (also known as buyer personas) the better. This will make it easier to provide your readers with relevant offers— meaning they’ll be more likely to respond!

It also means you’ll be able to segment your offer. What does that mean? Well, what a good question, let’s find out…

2. how should I segment my list?

Often you’ll find that your audience is not made of a single personality type. For example, let’s say you own an eCommerce store that sells fabulous fashion at fabulous prices and you want to tell your readers about an upcoming promotion (a fabulous one). If you have an international audience, you’ll find that campaigns for fabulous winter clothing is not going to go over very well when Australia is in the middle of summer. You’ll also find that fabulous bikini pricing is not particularly interesting to your American readers.

The solution? Segmentation (learn more). You can offer the same discount to each audience, but use different imagery and language when you address each group. Studies show that the more you segment, the more likely your readers are to respond to your offer. However, before you segment, you should probably ask yourself…

3. How clean is my list?

If you’re looking for a better email response rate from your content marketing campaigns, a good first step is to clean your current list. Sometimes, especially if you’re offering some kind of lead magnet, subscribers will join your list using a disposable email address. These guys aren’t going to respond. Remove them from your list so you’re getting real data. Sendlane also has systems in place to ensure that bounced or invalid email addresses are added into your suppression list for easy list cleaning and deliverability improvement.

4. who needs a helping hand?

While cleaning your list of useless email addresses, you may notice that some of your subscribers have valid information, but are simply not very engaged with your campaigns. One way to drastically improve your email marketing response rate is to target these folks specifically with a warm up campaign.

Use segmentation tools to split these addresses into their own category. Then, think about how you can target those leads and get them re-engaged with your campaign.

5. when does my audience open email?

You’d be surprised how many times we’ve seen email marketing campaigns go out without any kind of purposeful schedule. Don’t make this mistake. Look at your open rates over time and try and recognize patterns in your audience’s behavior. Chances are, you’ll notice that they’re more responsive at specific times and days. Time your emails to take advantage of these trends and use email scheduling tools to get your campaign delivered at the right moment.

Sendlane tip: Try the optimized timing feature to track the open patterns and habits of each subscriber in your list and deliver your campaigns at the most optimal time for them to open!

6. how does it look?

Designing a beautiful email can encourage your readers to spend more time reading through your offer. Assuming you’ve put together some fantastic copy, this extra time can easily result in higher response rates for your campaign. Read through our guide to better email design and make sure you’re following best practices.

Oh, and be sure to pay attention to your email’s design across different devices too. An email that looks great on desktop, might be unreadable on mobile. This could quickly alienate your readers who use their phone for the majority of their web browsing. Use testing tools like Litmus to make sure your email looks great in different browsers and devices.

7. have i written an effective subject line?

Your subject line is one of the most important components of any email. Writing a great one takes work, but consider it time well spent. After all, the subject line is the first thing your audience will see when they receive your campaign. Make sure you’re capturing their attention and encouraging them to click through to your offer.

8. is my call to action clear & simle?

As you work on your campaign, it’s easy to overcomplicate your core offer. You may find yourself cluttering your emails with too many calls to action— and losing your reader’s attention in the process.

Try to follow the golden rule: one call to action per email. In other words, if you want people to like your Facebook page, ask for that in a single email. Don’t ask for it in the same email as one announcing your summer sale or pushing people to your Instagram page. Keeping your CTAs clear and undiluted will give you better data, and will help your readers decide—immediately—if you’re offering something they want.

Speaking of offering what people want…

9. am i offering enough value?

The short answer: probably not. It’s OK, most marketers are guilty of this. We’re so excited about our upcoming sale or our new products that we forget why most people joined our list in the first place: value.

Make sure you’re offering your readers enough valuable information, entertainment, or shareable content that they stick around. Email fatigue is real. Bombard your readers with too many marketing messages and not only will your response rate plummet— your unsubscribe rate may begin a depressing rise as well!

Be of value. Offer great content. And when the time is right, make your offer. 

10. can i keep the conversation going?

If at all possible, try to end your email with a question. Doing so keeps the conversation human and can open a real line of communication between you and your customers. Try asking for advice on a recent blog article, their thoughts on your product, or what they use your services for. By keeping an open dialog with your customers, you may find it easier to close a sale in your follow up emails.

Which brings us to…

11. what information should i follow up with?

Following up after your marketing message goes out is a crucially important piece of the response rate puzzle. Often, a prospect won’t respond until the third or fourth email. Make sure you’re planning for this by coming up with a smart follow up sequence. Ideally, your offer should be reworded so that you’re highlighting a different benefit and dispelling different objection each time.

12. who missed out?

Here’s one of the most under appreciated tips in the email marketing world: if your readers haven’t opened your campaign… send it again. After all, it’s not like you’re being repetitive. They haven’t even read the first email, they won’t know that they’ve received the same information twice. This is an easy way to give a major boost your response rates.

What’s more, by sending the same campaign again, to the same audience, you can easily figure out what time your readers are most likely to respond. Just send the same email, at a different time of day, to a segment of users who didn’t open the initial email blast. This way you’ll be able to quickly figure out the optimal send times for those users. You’ll then be able to segment them in the future and guarantee a better response rate for your campaign.

Final Thoughts

As you go through the above list to help you double your response rate, remember that your primary goal is to motivate your readers into action. Build your campaigns with this in mind, and try to think about it from their perspective, what will it feel like to receive your campaign?

Will your readers feel like they’re being contacted by a faceless marketing department employee? Or will they feel like they’ve been reached out to personally, with a great offer that speaks to their interests and personality? Ideally, you want more of the second, and less of the first. Care about your audience, and they’ll repay you with better open rates, engagement, and—your new favorite metric—responses.

What did we miss? Have you tried anything wild and crazy that’s helped to skyrocket your email marketing response rates? Let us know in the comments! 

Caitlin Haines

Caitlin Haines

Social Media & Content Manager at Sendlane
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in San Diego, California, Caitlin has a passion for developing creative marketing content and is primarily responsible for overseeing development, execution and delivery of digital content across all of Sendlane’s channels. After putting in years of work experience in the marketing world of luxury real estate, Caitlin decided it was time for a change and that’s when she found her “home” at Sendlane! She has enjoyed being a part of a powerhouse team where she has had the opportunity to wear a variety of hats and take her knowledge and creativity to the next level. When not focusing on increasing Sendlane's online presence you'll find Caitlin playing music or spending time with her Fiancé.
Caitlin Haines