In the past, it was easy to increase your open rates. You would select one of the popular email marketing services and get benefit of their infrastructure. It was simple and easy to reach your high open rates and inbox delivery on your emails. A well maintained and a well setup infrastructure would mean high open rates and high email inbox rate. However, things have changed since last year.

All major email services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo pay a big attention to the relationship between you and your recipients. The email marketing service infrastructure still plays an important role, however the relationship between you and your recipients plays a bigger role on your email marketing success.

Priority Inbox

Email services monitor every single activity your recipients do. For instance, do users open your email newsletters, do they click any link inside your email newsletters, do they archive without opening, do they delete, do they report as spam, do they unsubscribe and more. Based on a recipient behavior, email services start to classify your emails as “priority”, “normal”, “junk” or “spam”. This classification is done for each recipient you are sending to. Therefore, your email may be delivered into “inbox” for recipient A, on the other hand; it may be in “junk” folder for recipient B.

Email services call this technology as “Priority Inbox” (Gmail), “Smarter Inbox” (Yahoo). Recipients can “sweep” emails in Hotmail and then Hotmail will not be displaying emails from the same sender on the inbox any more.

Focus on your Recipients

Therefore, it’s time to change your email marketing strategy and focus on relationship with your recipients. You need to optimize your email subject to give a better idea about what’s in it for your recipients. You must always use the same “from” name and email address in your email campaigns. You must make your email content “recipient friendly” which means lightweight, targeted and personalized. You must make the unsubscription visible and easy-to-notice. Stay away from emails with unsubscription links at the bottom that means scrolling down. You must include sender information, which means detailed contact information of the sender and why this email has been sent to the recipient.

Image only Emails and Subject Lines

Stay away from “image-only” HTML email newsletters. Stay away from long email subjects, which means nothing. Try to write an effective email subject line instead. Try different email subjects and email content layouts to maximize your open rates. Keep your emails short, relevant, personalized and easy to opt-out. Keep your email subjects short and personalized. Make your emails mobile-device friendly.

Email Frequency

Never send email campaigns frequently or rarely. Find the right balance in between. Sending email campaigns frequently may cause higher spam complaints and unsubscriptions which means bad delivery reputation for you. Sending email campaigns rarely may cause your branding to be forgotten which will cause higher spam complaints and unsubscriptions again.

Starting from your next email campaign, and change your strategy. Focus on your recipients’ needs and think like you’re one of them.  Put yourself in customers’ shoes. Build a better email campaign content and always measure the performance of your campaign.