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6 Ways to Improve Email Response Rates: An Analysis of 26,000 Pitches

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6 Ways to Improve Email Response Rates: An Analysis of 26,000 Pitches

As an inbound marketer, it goes without saying that you’re a content enthusiast. You spend hours a day on the web in search of cool content, becoming the Sherlock Holmes of anything link-worthy, if you will.

This obsession with all things linkable, though, is also a great reminder of how important an influencer outreach strategy is to get your content in front of the right audience. By reaching out to major influencers, your content can spread through their highly-connected network  – amplifying its reach while also increasing brand credibility in the form of retweets and shares.

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes – from an editor at BuzzFeed to someone who runs a mom-and-pop blog – but regardless of who they are, there is one guarantee: Their inbox is flooded daily, specifically by people like yourself who they simply don’t know. And since more than 80% of journalists prefer to be pitched via email, influencers’ overflowing inboxes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

So how can you make sure the next time you click “send” it’s not a complete shot in the dark? My company, Fractl, recently pulled 26,988 of our own pitches to determine what makes an email successful.

Even the most experienced of us can still learn a thing or two about perfecting our emails, so below I’ll walk you through a few ways you can improve two of the most important parts: The subject line and the introduction.

How to Produce Clickable Subject Lines

Influencers are sifting through a crowded inbox daily, which forces them to have tighter schedules and shorter attention spans. You need to be strategic about cutting through the noise, and the easiest place to start is with an amazing subject line.

Prove to Influencers That You Can Show Their Audience Something

We go online because we’re looking for an answer (“Google it” is commonplace for a reason), and influencers understand this about their audience. This keeps them on the lookout for content that can help their followers learn something new or offer a different perspective, and a great subject line highlights how your content can do this for their readers.

“Size,” “image,” and “chart,” for instance, were among the top 15 highest-performing words. Other keywords that proved this thirst for knowledge? “Know,” “ideal,” and “show” – all boasting a success rate greater than 17%.

high-performing-email-subject-lines

Tap Into Your Recipient’s Ego by Referencing Something That Directly Relates to Them

Everyone has some sort of digital footprint nowadays, so before you approach an influencer, try to get to know a little more about them. A few simple ways to do that include the following:

  • Read a few of their recent posts – these often include author bios that highlight personal hobbies
  • Take a look at their social media accounts – you can typically uncover a good deal of information about what they like and where they’re from
  • Figure out whether or not they have a personal website – this usually provides links to everything you’d want to look at, including social accounts and their previous work

Including something in your subject line that directly relates to their interests is a great way to pique an influencer’s curiosity and get them to clickFor example, Twitter offers a way for users to identify their current location. If your content has some sort of geographic element, highlight any data point that directly relates to the influencer’s current location. Subject lines that included the phrase “U.K.,” for instance, boasted more than a 20% success rate.

A caveat? The more specific you can be, the better: Vague words like “state,” for instance, had some of the lowest response rates.

Focus on Insights Instead of How Your Content Is Presented

Although it might seem counterintuitive, if you’ve produced a dynamic asset like a video or GIF, influencers don’t want to see that in their inbox. “Interactive” and “video” were two of the lowest-performing words in subject lines.

overused-email-subject-lines

Remember that one of the biggest factors to influence open rates is your subject line. You want to entice your recipient to find out more, and highlighting an insight that speaks to them directly is a great way to get them to click.

However, getting them to open your email is half the battle. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can encourage someone to read beyond your “hello.”

Three Ways to Elevate Your Introduction

Keep in mind that the email itself is just as important as the content you’re pitching, so you’ll want to craft an introduction that will catch someone’s attention and encourage them to read your entire email.

Make a Personal Connection

No one likes to think they’re on a BCC’d email, so it’s important for your introduction to reveal that you took the time to get to know the influencer – especially if you haven’t worked with them before. Start by reading some of their latest posts and let them know what you liked – “piece” and “article,” for instance, were two of the highest-performing words in introductions.

Another great way to connect with an influencer is through social media. A simple retweet can make your name look familiar in their inbox, and you can even mention a tweet in your intro – “Twitter” actually earned a 16.8% response rate when referenced in the opening of an email.

high-performing-email-introduction-words

Avoid Any Doom and Gloom Language

Your introduction should also make your recipient feel good: Nearly 25% of introductory paragraphs that included the word “happy” were successful. Other positive words that did well include “hope,” “loved,” and “great” – all generating a 16% response rate or higher.

Reference Any Valuable Information – Whether It’s From Their Previous Posts or Your Own Content

As I mentioned earlier, subject lines that let the recipient know they’ll be able to “show” their readers something had a higher response rate – and the same holds true for introductions. “Tips,” “data,” and “study” earned spots four, five, and six, respectively on our top 10 list of highest-performing introductory words.

Remember That You Only Get One Chance to Make a First Impression

As clichéd as it is, one chance at a first impression will always hold true – particularly with emails. Influencers get hundreds of unsolicited emails every day, so they can spot a cut-and-paste job from a mile away.

For your outreach strategy to be successful, give the impression that you took the time to understand their audience and what’s important to them. Subject lines and introductions that stand out in a crowded inbox directly relate to the recipient – proving why their network is the perfect fit for your content.

 

Image Credits
Featured Image: fancycrave1/Pixabay.com
In-post charts: Images by Fractl. Used with permission.

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Andrea Lehr

Andrea Lehr

Brand Relationship Strategist at Fractl

Andrea Lehr is a Brand Relationship Strategist at content marketing agency Fractl where she works alongside a team of creative ... [Read full bio]

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