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Improve your open rate and email deliverability

Get opens and clicks for your content with these best practices

Damon Foster avatar
Written by Damon Foster
Updated over a week ago

If your emails don’t get delivered and opened, they’ll never be read. Good email deliverability practices are critical to good inbox placement and high open rates.

Measuring engagement

You can see the performance for all sent messages on your Email deliverability report.

On average, emails sent using Intercom see a 42% open rate. If some of your emails are below average, this guide will help.

Targeted campaigns do better

Don't send large, impersonal email blasts. Messages to specific user groups do far better. If readers don't see your content as valuable, they’ll mark your message as spam or simply unsubscribe. Know your audience and make your content relevant and personal. It's the key to their inbox! 😉 

For example, emailing disengaged users will affect your sender reputation, which can in turn prevent you from delivering email at all. It's best practice to only send messages to engaged users, though a targeted re-engagement campaign can also help retain customers who are slipping away. Target customers who were "Last Seen" and "Last Heard From" in your app recently, for example.

If you don’t have an integration to see user activity, you can use email specific filters such as “last opened email” and “last clicked email”. We recommend only messaging users who have opened or clicked an email within 6 months. If you target users who are inactive for longer than that, you’ll see high bounce and spam complaint rates.

Use trigger-based messages

You can use Intercom Events in your app to target your messages. For example, if you send an event for users who visit your Pro pricing page, they might be the perfect audience for your conversion campaign. 

Personalise your content

Nobody likes to receive an email starting with “Dear customer”. Let’s make web business personal! You can use any of your custom data attributes or event data in the body of your messages to make them more personal.

Keep subject lines short and engaging

Long subject lines will be cut short in an email client, particularly on a mobile device. So, instead of writing long subject lines that are slow at getting to the point, intrigue your customers with a short, compelling subject line. For example, instead of "Find out more about our new sharing feature", try "Sharing just got awesome". If you’re unsure about your subject lines or having difficulty deciding, why not A/B test them?

We did some research about subject lines and discovered a golden rule for subject lines – make sure the subject line describes the subject of your email. Can the reader tell from the subject line what you’re writing about without going further? If not, why are you insisting that they guess?

Templates and formatting

If you send marketing emails with HTML templates, you might see your emails getting filtered to Gmail’s “Promotions” folder. Google apply sophisticated filtering to inbound email based on content and other recipients' reaction and engagement with your messages. The “Promotions” folder is a place for deals, offers and marketing content.

HTML emails can often be filtered to the Promotions folder since they are not personal one to one messages. In our opinion it’s best to embrace Google’s categorisation, unless of course it’s inaccurate!

Email providers will raise a flag if there is no text in your messages. If all the content of your message is contained within an image, you might see poor inbox placement for that message. Try to maintain a good text to image ratio.

It's also a good idea to include your company's physical address in the footer of your email alongside an unsubscribe link.

Schedule your messages suitably

Infrequent, impersonal message blasts don’t get good engagement. Subscribers should know when to expect messages from you. Send your newsletters on a regular schedule to avoid any surprises for your subscribers, as a message delivered at the wrong time could mean someone will unsubscribe, or worse mark your message as spam!

Experiment with different send schedules for your users. Do you think subscribers are more likely to want to read about your content over a morning coffee or on a weekend afternoon? If you want your messages delivered at specific times, schedule your message or employ delivery windows to deliver within certain hours on particular days. This is particularly useful if you have users in multiple regions.

Don’t overload your users

In your Customer engagement overview, you can see if you are over-messaging your users. Consider using “last contacted more than 3 days ago” on your messages, to prevent overloading your users with too much content too quickly.

What is an average open rate?

Emails sent using Intercom have an average open rate of 42%, however that doesn’t mean that should be your target or your upper limit. Intercom gives you the tools to make relevant, engaging content and share it to very targeted audiences in a personal way.

These tips should help you reach your customers inbox. For more information why not check out our Email marketing best practices?


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