Boost your email engagement: proven strategies for higher CTOR and CTR
12 min read
12 min read
by Aleksandra Stamatović
Are your email marketing campaigns falling short of your expectations? Don’t despair! We’ve got the solution to boost your click-to-open rate (CTOR) and click-through rate (CTR). Don’t miss out on these tips and tricks for improving the success of your email marketing strategy. Keep reading to learn more!
Before diving into the ways to improve your email marketing strategy, let’s first understand the key metrics we’ll be focusing on. The click-through rate (CTR) reflects the success of your subject line and content at getting people to open your email and click on links. On the other hand, the click-to-open rate (CTOR) measures how well the content in your email resonated with the reader and how effective it was at driving them to take action. Both CTR and CTOR provide valuable insights into the performance of your campaigns and can help you identify areas for improvement. Now, let’s explore ways to optimize these metrics and increase the success of your email marketing efforts.
You may wonder why we are discussing click-through rates (CTR) and click-to-open rates (CTOR), but ditching the open rates. While open rates are often considered a key metric in evaluating email marketing success, they can be influenced by various factors and don’t always provide a complete picture. Open rates in the range of 17-28% are generally considered satisfactory, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that your email campaign was effective. CTR and CTOR, on the other hand, provide more insights into the quality of your email content and the actions taken by recipients. So, let’s dive into strategies for improving CTR and CTOR in your email campaigns.
What is the biggest challenge facing email marketers today? It’s not getting emails delivered or increasing open rates. It’s getting people to take action and click on links in your email campaigns once they’ve read your message. This is known as the click-through rate (CTR). The challenge is significant – according to Ascend2, 53% of email marketing professionals struggle with low CTR.
CTR is a measure of the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign, calculated by the number of subscribers who clicked on at least one link in your email. To determine CTR, divide the number of clicks by the number of emails sent, and multiply the result by 100 to express it as a percentage.
For example, if you send an email campaign to 100 people and 10 people click on links within the email, your CTR is 10%.
CTR is a key metric for email marketing success, with 73% of marketers tracking it to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, according to Ascend2.
A high click-through rate (CTR) indicates that your email campaign is relevant and engaging, while a low CTR suggests room for improvement. But what is a healthy CTR? To get a sense of how you’re doing, it’s helpful to compare your data to industry averages. On average, people receive 121 emails daily (up from 88 emails per day two years ago). While this increase in promotional emails might lead you to expect a decrease in email engagement, the average CTR has actually risen to a record 7% in 2021. If your CTR is higher than 7%, congratulations! If it’s lower, consider ways to increase engagement.
The device used to read your email campaigns can significantly impact their effectiveness. Don’t let poor formatting ruin your chances with mobile email recipients! Studies show that over 70% of emails with formatting issues are deleted within three seconds. Furthermore, up to 15% of users may even unsubscribe rather than keep scrolling through a poorly formatted email. To avoid this fate, make sure to optimize your emails for mobile devices. This includes using responsive templates, steering clear of oversized or misaligned images, breaking up text into easily digestible sections, and including alt text for when signals are weak. Additionally, try using buttons for calls to action instead of links, as links can be tough to tap on small screens and often require zooming in. Testing your email template beforehand can also help ensure that it looks great and functions properly on mobile devices.
According to Smart Insight, readers who open your email on their desktop are 3 times more likely to click on your campaign than on mobile. This is bad news because over 60% of emails are opened on mobile devices. That is why it’s crucial to optimize your campaigns for these devices. By doing so, you’ll see an increase in engagement and receive up to 15% higher click-through rates compared to non-optimized emails. That’s why 80% of brands always send optimized emails for mobile – it pays off! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to improve your email performance and reach a wider audience.
CTOR is a metric that measures the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign by calculating the number of clicks on links within an email divided by the number of unique opens of that email. The result is expressed as a percentage.
CTOR is important because it helps you understand how well your emails are performing and how engaged your audience is. A high CTOR indicates that people are interested in the content of your emails and are taking action by clicking on the links within them. On the other hand, a low CTOR may indicate that your emails are not relevant or engaging to your audience. By tracking your CTOR, you can identify areas for improvement in your email marketing strategy and make adjustments as needed to increase engagement and drive better results.
Want to know your click-to-open rate (CTOR)? Here’s a quick and easy way to find out:
(Number of clicks / unique opens) x 100 = Your CTOR
But what’s considered a good CTOR? It really depends on your industry and how often you send emails. According to a recent survey, the average CTOR can range from 11% to 30%. This is supported by an industry report from CampaignMonitor, which found that the average click-to-open rate falls between 20-30%. So, aim for a CTOR within this range to ensure that your emails are performing well and engaging your audience.
Want to boost your click-to-open rate (CTOR) and click-through rate (CTR)? Here are a few strategies to try:
Start by aligning your subject line, email copy, and call to action (CTA). This helps create a cohesive and clear message for your audience.
It’s important to include relevant and engaging elements in your email, but it’s equally important to avoid confusing your subscribers. If you stray too far from the main message or include too many tangents, your audience may lose interest and not take any action at all.
“The most effective way to improve your click-to-open rate is to align the subject, content, and call to action,” advises Brendan Hufford of ActiveCampaign. “The subject should entice the reader to open the email, the content should keep them engaged, and the CTA should encourage them to take action. All of these elements should be connected and work together, rather than being analyzed in isolation. A great CTA can be undermined by a random, attention-grabbing subject line that doesn’t align with the rest of the email.”
The subject line and preview text of your email are crucial elements that should not be overlooked. They can make the difference between an email being opened or marked as spam.
“To improve your click-to-open rate, your subject line needs to be spot-on,” says Mia Green of findthisbest. “It’s the most important factor for CTOR. Many people mark emails as spam before even opening them, just based on the subject line. Make your subject line curious and informative, and use symbols, emojis, and short phrases to grab attention. These tactics work especially well on smartphones.”
However, it’s important to avoid using clickbait subject lines, as they may lead to a short-term increase in opens but may ultimately decrease long-term engagement. Jacob Landis-Eigsti suggests, “Instead of relying on clickbait, we focus on telling emotional and engaging stories that all lead to the click. Right before the link, we highlight the most compelling reason for the reader to open it, and we feature the link one last time at the end of the email. By avoiding clickbait, our open rate may be lower, but our click-through rate and click-to-open rate have nearly doubled.”
To make your subject line effective, it’s best to keep it short and use all lowercase letters. A shorter subject line is easier to scan quickly, allowing the recipient to understand the contents of your email without having to read or think too much.
To grab the attention of busy people who are checking their emails on their phones and in-between meetings, it’s important to make your emails scannable and easy to read. That’s why we highly recommend using short paragraphs, bullets and lists, bold keywords, headlines, and hyperlinks to keep your emails organized and improve your click-through rate. Also, you should know that the structure of your email is crucial. Most people receive many marketing emails and know that they are being sold something, so they won’t spend much time reading your email. To make their experience easier, structure your email with hooks that catch their attention and make them want to learn more. Make sure these hooks are visible at a glance.
And let’s tackle the CTA story, too – less is more! Be strategic with your calls to action (CTAs) to boost your email response rates! Too many options can lead to confusion and cause readers to stray from your desired path. Instead, guide them down a clear and specific route for the best results.
Email segmentation is the process of dividing your email list into smaller groups based on shared characteristics such as location, interests, behavior, or demographics. By sending targeted and personalized emails to these smaller segments, you can increase the relevance and usefulness of your messages, which can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates.
For example, if you are a clothing retailer, you might segment your email list based on the recipient’s location and send them emails featuring items that are most popular in their region. Or, if you are a B2B company, you might segment your list based on the recipient’s job title or industry and send them emails with content that is most relevant to their role or industry.
Overall, email segmentation helps you deliver more relevant and valuable content to your subscribers, which can increase their engagement and lead to a higher click-through rate (CTR).
Personalizing your email campaigns can have a big impact on their effectiveness. One way to do this is to include personalized subject lines, which can grab the reader’s attention and make them more likely to open your email. If you don’t have enough information to personalize the subject line, you can still make it short and intriguing to give your readers the impression that you value their time and will only provide valuable content in your email.
In addition to the subject line, you can also personalize the body of your email by using the recipient’s name, mentioning their specific interests or needs, or referencing their previous interactions with your company. Personalization can help you create a more personal and engaging experience for your readers, which can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates.
To create visually appealing and effective emails, it’s important to use high-quality images and gifs that look good on both computers and smartphones. Avoid using cheap stock images and instead, try to create unique visuals like charts and designs. Optimize your visuals to ensure that they load quickly on smaller screens. To add an extra touch of persuasion to your emails, consider including a strong call to action and social proof, such as client quotes, subscriber counts, and social media following numbers, in the footer of your emails.
Including alt text on your images and gifs is not only a best practice for accessibility, but it can also be helpful for anyone with an Internet connection. Since many email clients disable images by default, alt text ensures that the message of your images is still conveyed to the reader. Alt text should be descriptive and add context to your story. Most email marketing services make it easy to add alt text to your images.
State of Email Marketing | Ascend2
Stats to rethink mobile email | Campaign Monitor
Desktop vs. Mobile | Smart Insights
Mobile email usage stats | emailmonday
What are good email metrics? | Campaign Monitor
What is CTOR and how to improve it | databox
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