January blues: Declining open rates and what to do about them

Are you seeing declining email open rates? Here are a few questions that can get you started in re-engaging your customers.

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It could be that it’s one of the colder months of the year (in the northern hemisphere), or that we’re just coming off the holiday season, but January tends to have people feeling blue.

With your customers feeling low in spirits, you may have also seen a dip in email open rates. This is a good time to re-evaluate your methods and explore new ways to engage your contact list. Here are a few questions to ask before launching new campaigns to cheer your customers up.

Is deliverability the problem?

The first thing to check is deliverability. It could be that your email is landing in the spam folder and aren’t even making it to the front of your customers’ eyes. Your spam rate and number of bounced email addresses are a good indicator of whether your emails are making it into the inbox.

There are a variety of reasons why your email might be landing in spam. Some things to keep in mind are spam-trap words (you want to avoid these), asking your customers to “friend” you by adding your sender email address to their address book and regularly removing any bounced email addresses. For more tips, head over to our deliverability whitepaper.

Has my list size or make up changed recently?

Remember, there is no one-size fits all when it comes to your customer base. Have you seen any new signups or has your client demographic recently expanded? Perhaps you’re seeing lower open rates because you’re messaging without knowing who you’re talking to. If so, you’ll want to re-segment these customers and personalize accordingly. Be sure to regularly think about who your customers are and how they interact with your business as your product grows and evolves.

What about my content?

Going hand in hand with the last point, declining open rates could also indicate a need for new content. After all, what’s within the email plays a greater role in engagement than the subject line does.

More specifically, your customers could be feeling blue about your content, having been overstimulated with promotional heavy emails during the holiday months of November and December. Slowly ease them back into the groove of things by sending informative, non-promotional email campaigns.

Relevant and valuable content builds trust with your customers. In the long run, they will keep an eye out for your content - there won't even be a need to fight your way through all that inbox noise!

Which methods are you thinking of using to help get customers over the hump of January blues? Tell us on Twitter!

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