How We Increased Our Email Response Rate from ~8% to 34%
As opposed to their predecessors, today’s savvy post-digital users value personalization, customization, and participation.
Our hypothesis was as follows: If we can craft an email user experience that improves upon these three values, our reply rate will spike.
The results: Too hot to handle
3 successful tests later, our reply rate has gone from 8% all the way up to 34%.
And our guest blog content queue is piling up faster than the lines at the mall the night before Black Friday.
In three tests we addressed those three values: personalization, customization, and participation. Each new test brought a spike in reply rate.
How did we do it? Don’t worry, I’ll tell you how.
3 reply rate tests (& a mini test) and what we learned
We started by stepping into the user’s shoes. Everyone knows that receiving random outreach emails from strangers can be jarring. Even if you’re in the industry, it can at least be annoying.
So how do you solve that problem? The only way you can: delight.
How we approached creating a more delightful and comfortable email experience took testing. This is what we learned.
Test #1 – The personalized introduction (8%–16%)
The first feature of our email we tackled was the introduction. This included the subject line of the email, as well as how we introduced ourselves and the company.
Here’s what it looked like:
As you can see, while the subject line packs some serious authority, it’s not very personable. And if you look at the in-email introduction, you’d see a similar problem.
Plenty of professional context, but hardly a personalized first impression. This user-experience screams BLOGGER TRYING TO GET GUEST BLOG OPPORTUNITY.
Now let’s look at the variant we tested:
Big difference, huh?
While all the same authoritative references are still there, this is already far more personal.
A few noteworthy differences in user-experience:
- Subject line: Natural, single sentence (almost seems like the email could have been forwarded by a co-worker).
- Name and title: The letterhead not only replaces a useless sentence, it supplies a smiling face the user can match the name/title with.
- Creative/disruptive branding: The creative letterhead is a real disrupter when you compare it to any old email. It also gets our logo above the fold in the email, and actually saves space all together.
Packing all the context of the email into a single, creative, and delightful image for the user was a huge step.
In fact, this first test alone saw our biggest jump in reply rate.
The results? Our reply rate doubled, jumping all the way from 8% to 16% — above the industry benchmark!
Mini test: The psychology behind “Because” (16%–20%)
If that wasn’t a big enough jump to please us, we added on one more addition after the initial test.
If you don’t know who Brian Dean is, I’ll leave his bio for you to read another time. For now, all you need to know is that his “because” tactic for increasing reply rates works.
Trust me. He tested it. We tested it. It works.
The tactic is simple: