In the ever-changing digital marketing landscape and search engine algorithms, email has remained a core marketing strategy for companies of all sizes and industries.
Email marketing is popular and powerful because it can be used for various purposes, has a high ROI, and converts.
- According to Statista, approximately 306 billion emails were sent and received globally in 2020. This percentage is expected to grow to 376 billion emails daily by 2025.
- Research shows that for every dollar a brand invests in email marketing, they receive $42 in return.
Even with the popularity of social media for staying connected with customers, email remains the quickest way to reach current and new customers.
Although social media and search engines can also provide a means to connect, there is a company standing between you and your visitor, be it Google, Facebook, or Twitter.
Email Marketing Metrics and Open Rates
Marketing metrics provide valuable insights into actionable steps for informed strategic and tactical business decisions.
There are numerous metrics email marketers track to assess the success of their campaigns, such as:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- List growth rate
- Conversion rate
However, if your subscribers are not opening your emails, nothing else matters. For this article’s purposes, we will focus on the best methods to increase email open rates.
Simply stated, the open rate refers to how many recipients view your email for any given campaign.
In general, conversion rates are calculated by dividing the number of people that converted based on your criteria versus the total number of people who had the option to do so.
For email marketing, conversion rates are based on the total number of unique opens divided by the number of emails sent, minus the emails that bounced.
Five factors affect email messaging success:
- Name of the sender
- Subject lines
- Pre-header text
- Body of the email
- Call to action
The first three are key factors in open rates, while the last two affect clickthrough rates. Success is dependent upon both open rates and clicks.
However, as we have already stated, getting people to open your emails starts the entire process. So, what can you do to increase email open rates? Use trigger words that entice readers to open your email.
Humans are emotional beings. We react to how things make us feel. When writing email subject lines, include power words that will trigger a psychological or emotional response.
Well-chosen trigger words can elicit an emotional response before someone even reads your email.
1. Arouse Their Curiosity
Humans are by nature curious. We do not like it when something is left open-ended. For example, if you are like me, when someone starts to tell you something and then stops and says: “never mind”, it can drive you nuts.
Not only are you curious about what the person was going to tell you, but it can also become a huge motivating factor in bugging them to finish their sentence.
The same concept applies to email marketing. Subject lines that are unusual , strange, or even absurd, can entice a reader to open your email to find out.
For example, the brand Allbirds sells sustainable apparel for men and women. A headline on their website would make an outstanding example of a curiosity-arousing email subject line:
“Newsflash: Your outfit is killing the planet.”
Most people would wonder what the heck they are talking about and read the email to find out more.
Other trigger words that arouse curiosity include:
- Sneak preview
- Breaking news
When using headlines that include trigger words to induce curiosity, the implicit promise that motivates the recipient is that the reader will learn something exciting or new.
2. Address Pain Points
For any marketing initiative to be successful, brands must understand their buyers’ pain points. By using trigger words that address the pain point, subscribers are more likely to open your emails.
OptinMonster cites examples of brands that use money concerns as pain points to increase their email open rates:
- Uber: “Since we can’t all win the lottery“
- Pizza Hut: “Feed your guests without breaking the bank.“
- HP: “Stop wasting money on ink.“
Use trigger words in email subject lines that not only address pain points but also offer a solution.
3. Offer Encouragement and Make People Feel Better
We are surrounded by bad news every time we turn on the television or listen to the radio. The world is in turmoil, and many are tired, depressed, or bored.
Below are several trigger words that are likely to increase open rates:
Position your brand as the source of positivity and encouragement by using email subject lines that are a much-needed break from negativity.
4. Make Them Laugh
You have approximately three seconds to grab a subscriber’s attention before they hit delete. Using humor can increase the chances of getting people to open your emails.
Adding funny trigger words or humor to your email marketing subject lines shows your brand’s personality and helps you stand out.
Laughter is the world’s best medicine, and people like funny brands. If your subject line causes people to laugh, they are highly likely to open it.
When using humor, be sure to avoid anything that might be deemed controversial and ensure that it matches your brand identity.
Some brands have a huge advantage over others when it comes to using humor. BarkBox is a great example of a company whose offerings can easily be funny and cute.
Regardless of what they are promoting, BarkBox consistently uses humor in their emails and other marketing initiatives.
5. Establishing Credibility
Using evidence-based trigger words in your email subject lines will help establish trust and credibility for your brand.
Of course, you need to know what you are talking about, validate your claims, and make sure your email copy follows up on the headline’s promise.
Trigger words such as “proven” work exceptionally well. Examples include:
- 4 proven ways to increase your focus at work.
- 30 “Proven” Ways to Make Money Online Blogging with WordPress
- 10 Proven Online Businesses in 2021 (That You Can Start Today)
When you consistently provide valuable information to your subscribers, they are more likely to open your emails.
6. Add Some Shock Value or Ask Provocative Questions
Sometimes controversy sells, and it almost always grabs peoples’ attention. However, you should be extremely careful that you thoroughly understand your target audience.
Although you want people to open your emails, you do not want to lose them as a customer. Knowing their perceptions and tastes will reduce the chances of insulting them.
Examples of email subject lines that might shock some, but not your audience, can be rather blunt, such as:
- Your videos suck: Find out why.
- Why a two-year-old knows more about social media than most CEOs.
- Are you ready for when the economy crashes?
Other examples of trigger words that have shock value or are provocative include:
A great way to grab a reader’s attention is by stating the unexpected. Controversy does grab attention.
7. Appeal to Their Frustration or Anger
Unfortunately, a lot of people today are angry and frustrated. Empathizing with your subscribers can be engaging and powerful.
You are not trying to provoke anger. It is already there. In other words, you can use trigger words in your subject line to grab their attention because they can relate.
But then provide information or content in the body of your email by identifying answers or solutions that move readers in a more positive direction.
Some trigger words that angry people can relate to including:
By tapping into your audiences’ frustration, you can offer relevant and valuable actionable solutions.
8. Create a Sense of Urgency
To inspire your email recipients to take immediate action, you need to elicit a sense of urgency in your email subject lines.
Examples of trigger words that reflect urgency include:
- Limited (time only)
- Seize (the opportunity)
- Deadline (act before the deadline)
- Before you forget (take this action)
The emotional response aligned with a sense of urgency ranges from enthusiasm to a fear of loss.
Test, Test, and Test Again
Figuring out which trigger words work better for your email subject lines can only be achieved by testing.
Rather than guessing, which is a useless waste of time, use split A/B testing to see which versions of your email subject lines provide the highest ROI.
Businesses use numerous programs and applications in addition to their email marketing tools. Some of them include CRMs, productivity apps, accounting software, marketing automation, and time management applications.
Being able to integrate other business applications with email providers makes it easier to split test transactional email subject lines to see which increase open rates.
Knowing which versions of email subject lines appeal more to your subscribers is the best way to increase your email open rate.
The Power of Using the Right Trigger Words
There are no one-size-fits-all magic bullet solutions. The most crucial goal of all companies is to increase sales.
Try out and test different variations of subject lines and trigger words to get the highest open rate, more clicks, and increased conversions.
The difference between using the best trigger words and ones that do not perform as well depends upon how subscribers relate to the words and the emotions they elicit.
Trigger the right emotions with your email subject lines and see more people open and read your emails.