Natalie Ashes Team : Web Production Tags : Technology Web Development Online Trends Email Marketing Featured

How to get higher open rates from your emails.

Natalie Ashes Team : Web Production Tags : Technology Web Development Online Trends Email Marketing Featured

I read somewhere that of Obama's 30 person digital team, 24 of them were focused on email. Now that shows commitment to email so why not take some of their learnings and adapt them to your email campaign.


I write a lot about A/B testing and email marketing however I have not explored A/B testing emails which would seem an obvious and cheap place to start. Obamas email campaigns were focused around bringing in fundraising money and interestingly the disparity between a good and a bad subject line cost him in excess of 2 million dollars. It is for this reason that Obamas team A/B tested everything, starting with simple language changes.



If you have the data why not use it. Dropping in lines such as "thanks for donating last time, dig deep and donate again" significantly increased the amount of second donations. It is estimated that personalisation of email content increased donation amounts overall by $200million.

Don't trust your gut

This is my favorite piece of advice. You are not your audience so you do not know better. What was once a best practice may not be today. Obamas team often tried to predict what would be top performing practice and more than often got it wrong.


Ugly vs Pretty designs

Pretty designs do not always guarantee a higher conversion rate, in fact it is often the opposite. Yes you may win a beautiful design award however your conversion rate may be significantly less and conversion equals $$. Obamas team, in an effort to increase conversions, make the emails templates "prettier", the "ugly" email templates always outranked the "pretty" ones. Most designers I know would cringe at an email going out with yellow highlighted writing however it converted better so why not do it.


Keep a testing calendar

Make sure you keep a calendar of when you have done your last tests. This is important to ensure that the lists are mixed up and there are enough test cases going out.


Be human

Customers don't want to read an email that lacks personal flare, Obama found that emails with a subject line that contained the word "hey" consistently proved to be more successful. In general shorter and less formal email lines received a higher open rate.