The Battle in the Inbox: Round 1 – Getting the Email Opened

The Battle in the Inbox: Round 1 – Getting the Email Opened

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Ben Lewis
Published: 7th November 2013

battle of the inbox - part one

Hopefully you’ve now had chance to take a good look at the infogram I posted last week, highlighting the plight of two companies promoting the same service in two very different ways. If you missed it here’s a link to my previous post.

Today I want to look closer at how each company fared after round 1 – getting the email opened by teachers. How did Company B achieve an open rate of 36% while Company A managed just 20%? Below I’ve highlighted the 4 variables that may account for the difference:

1. The Send Time

Company B sent their email at 9am on Monday morning, the exact time we’ve been advising clients for some time now will get the best open rates.

There’s still a perception among many businesses who sell to schools that Mondays and Fridays are bad days to send. In reality, our extensive analysis of thousands of email campaigns shows conclusively that Monday morning is the best time to send your email, closely followed by Friday at 11am.

2. The From Name

The ‘from name’ is the field that appears first in most email clients and is the first indication teachers have of who the email is coming from. This can be either the name of the company or the name of an individual at that company.

The content of Company A’s email was very formal in tone and they opted to use the name of the company. In contrast, the tone of Company B’s email was very informal and personable so they chose the name of an individual in order to give their email the personal, human touch.

At Sprint we advise our clients that, unless you have a brand that is going to be instantly recognisable to teachers, you choose the name of an individual as your ‘from name’. Sending from ‘The Company’ immediately marks your email as a piece of marketing, and in our experience you’re far more likely to get your email opened if you choose a human being to be the face of your campaign.

3. The Send List

Both emails were targeting Head Teachers, Bursars and Premises Managers – the ‘holy trinity’ when it comes to the school premises sector.

However Company B also included Deputy Heads in their Send List. Most Deputy Heads aspire to be Head Teachers and, as such, are often looking for school improvement projects that they can distinguish themselves with. If you’re offering a service that can improve the school in some way, the Deputy Head is an excellent person to send your email to.

4. The Subject Line

The subject line is often a bit of an afterthought for some companies, but it is the single biggest contributing factor determining your email’s open rate.

The subject line of Company B’s email was great because it utilised personalisation of the school name (%%school%%) to ensure that it sounded less like a blanket email being sent to all UK schools, and more like a very tangible request for a visit to that teacher’s school.

As a result the ‘site survey’ advertised by Company B’s email would have felt very relevant and real to the teachers that saw it, where-as Company A’s ‘free consultation’ would have been dismissed by many teachers as just another promotion from a faceless sales company.

The cumulative effect of these 4 factors resulted in a 16% improved open rate for company B; that’s a huge number of extra teachers that got to read about the details of their offer. In my next post I’ll analyse which company fared better in round 2 – getting engagement from teachers.

Marketing to Schools Email Teachers Email Landing Pages How to Sell to Schools Email Head Teachers School Premises Emailing Bursars

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