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How We Increased Our Email Open Rates By 86.3%

By Neal - 12/15/2021

When we were just starting our solitaire game, we remember one incident when we sent out over 5,000 emails. Of that, only 789 people opened it, and not one clicked through.

That was a wake-up call…we realized we had to do something!

We were experimenting with our email marketing strategy during those days, as we were pretty new to marketing. We initially thought that our low clickthrough rate was acceptable given industry standards, but all we needed to do was make a few simple changes that were holding us back. We knew we could get more games played and higher engagement if we improved our emali marketing.

So, let's walk you through the changes we made that increased our average email open rate by 86.3%. This leap was from an average of 0.39% to 3.48%.

First step to improve email open rates: Better subject lines

When we looked at our previous emails, we saw that most of them had average open rates of less than 1%. We decided to improve our subject lines to encourage more people to actually open the email.

We analyzed successful marketing campaigns and realized that no matter the format—be it headlines, subject lines, opening hooks, or Facebook ads—recipients respond to the same language. The bottom line is that the content of the email should be strong and persuasive enough that they make a person click them open.

Based on what we’ve seen work, we launched an email campaign with a subject line encouraging our players to participate in our solitaire game of the day. We recorded a 25% email open rate.

A week later, we sent a re-engagement email to the segment that hadn't opened the first message. This time we changed the subject line and even included information about the prize. Another 22.6% of subscribers opened the second email, resulting in better overall engagement.

We made our emails easy to scan

No one reads an email word by word. They scan them instead, moving their eyes from sentence to sentence, rapidly figuring out whether the content is worth investing their time in. We made it easy for our readers to scan our email. After all, that's what they're going to do anyway.

So, we started incorporating the following to our emails:

  • Bullets points
  • Bold sentences (wherever needed)
  • Numbered lists
  • Shorter paragraphs
  • Conversational tone

As a result, we saw email open and click through rates further improve

Preview text also increases email open rates

The email preview text is the first line of text that appears in a message when the recipient views it in their inbox. The length varies across devices. On average, most emails display about 75 characters; however, Apple displays about 140.

So, why are they important? Preview text involves your recipients, intrigue them, pose questions, and tell them what to expect inside the email.

  • We started personalizing them more.
  • We added CTAs and compelling special offers.
  • We started revealing what else was featured in the email.
  • We added emojis (didn't overdo them, though!)

As a result, by hooking users early, we saw a 31.1% improve in open rate just by implementing this simple strategy.

Got it? Good! Now it's your turn to put it into practice.

Ultimately, our email open rates improved by 86.3% and we increased our games player per user across all our solitaire games.

Email marketing isn’t a lost cause. The truth is that good email campaigns still do perform well – even in today's cluttered inboxes – provided that you take the time to put some thought and effort into them.

Customers want to be treated like individuals, not just money-making opportunities. For us, we focused our email on adding value by nudging our users to take a break and have fun.

Customers know you are in business to make money (we all are), but they pay attention when you help them solve a problem they don't have the skills or knowledge to overcome. Focus on that, and be thoughtful in how you construct your emails, and you’ll find you can improve your email open rate.


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