Improving the open rate for your B2B email

We wrote last month about the importance of measuring the effectiveness of various elements of direct mail campaigns. For email direct marketing, one of the key elements is open rate — the percentage of email that reaches the addressees and gets opened.

According to an email user study conducted by Digital Impact and included in’s 2006 case studies, 80 percent of email recipients look at the “from” and the subject lines in their inboxes and then make the decision to open (or delete) the email. These two factors (plus the day and time of day that the email arrives) play a huge role in determining if your offer gets opened and read. Take a look at your most recent B2B email campaign and see how it measures up:

  • Do you identify yourself clearly? Using a “from” address that’s informative and appealing, and using it consistently, encourages recipients to open your email. A good “from” address usually consists of the company name and, for B2B direct marketing, the name of a company representative (for example: Jane Tip: Create a special email address for the direct mail campaign so that replies don’t come back to an employee’s regular mailbox.
  • Is the subject line clear and compelling? Mentioning your brand or company name in the subject line boosts open rates, particularly for B2B, according to a recent Silverpop study. Keep subject lines short and direct, and be sure to test them for effectiveness. (Check out Marigold’s tips for subject lines and testing).
  • Is your timing “business sensitive?” Current wisdom is that weekday delivery is best for B2B direct marketing email, so your message doesn’t get ignored when people skim through messages that piled up over the weekend. Similarly, B2B messages are most likely to be opened if they’re sent early in the day.
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