The death of email marketing, to borrow a famous quotation, has been greatly exaggerated. There is still tremendous value in growing and cultivating your mailing list.

One of the most important metrics that you can track on your email marketing campaigns is the open rate.

Open rate measures the percentage of people on your list that open (view) a message. If you have 1,000 subscribers and 200 of them open a message, then the open rate for that message would be 20%.

Here are 5 tips that can help you improve the open rate on your email marketing campaigns.

1. Improve Your Email Subject Line

The subject line on your email message will often determine if the email is opened or if it is immediately put in the trash.

You should always make sure that your subject line is descriptive and eye-catching without being spammy.

The email list management service that I use (Mailchimp) did a study of the subject lines of campaigns with the highest and lowest open rates. Here are a few of the subject lines from the campaigns with the lowest open rates.

SALE ends soon – up to 50% off all bras at KaraThe term “percent off” is a flag that this is a promotional email trying to get you to buy something.

Printers World Offers 100% Commission Up Front – 100% Commission? If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

Help Spread The News! – The word “help” often means that somebody wants your time, money, or both. This type of message often ends up in the trash.

Make sure that your subject line gives a clear indication of what is in the content of the email. Your subject line is the first impression that someone will get when your message appears in their inbox.

Your email list management service will allow A/B split testing which gives you the opportunity to test subject lines to see which gets a better open rate. You can use this information to test, tweak, and massage your subject lines to get you the best results.

2. Offer something of value

If all you do is sell, sell, sell, to your mailing list, not only are your open rates going to drop, but you will lose subscribers. Every email that you send should offer something of value.

For example, a Realtor that is well connected with people in the community might send out news about upcoming events along with updates about the local housing market. An entrepreneur in the health and beauty field could send out tips on how to take care of your skin during the harsh Winter months. If your subscribers know they are going to receive value, they will open your messages.

3. Frequency and Consistency

You don’t have to send a message every single day. Consistency is more important than frequency. If your subscribers know that you send out a message once a week, they learn to expect that email from you. If you tell them it will be once a week and you send it once every two weeks, then every three weeks, then four times in a single week, your open rates and unsubscribe rates will suffer.

You should also keep a consistent look, format, and style to your emails. Don’t change the template every week, don’t change the font just for the sake of change. People grow to learn your style, and if you change it too often, it will lead to people being confused about your brand and your message.

4. Quality of Your Content

You don’t have to be a professional writer, but you do need to have decent quality. Make sure the content is relevant, interesting, and not littered with spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. If possible, have a professional proofread anything that you are sending out. If that is not feasible, make sure that you do a good job of cleaning up any errors.

5. Timing

Experiment with the timing of your emails. Try a different time of day to see if your open rates are affected. Timing can also refer to the timing of your email in relation to an event or news item.

If you are promoting something that is happening on Saturday, try sending your related email on Thursday morning. The next time try sending in on Thursday evening. Study the statistics in your email list management system and find out what is working and what isn’t.

These simple tips can improve the open rates of your email campaigns. The key is to test, test, test, and use the results to increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.