Image of a person with a question mark on a chalkboardI recently received this question from a reader in South Africa:

Just a quick question.... Do you have any resources or help that can ensure that we get more people to read our mails? We have an extremely low rate of about 11% at the moment.

My answer: Getting more people to open your email

The best way to get effective with email is to: test, test, test. The industry calls it a "split test," sending one message to 1/2 your list, another to the other 1/2.

I wouldn't make them two dramatically different emails. If you change the entire email, it's hard to isolate the tweaks that your particular readers respond well to. So send each half substantially the same email and just test little changes to see what works best.

Since getting people to open your emails seems to be an issue, try tweakingthe subject line. Send some with the current subject; send others with a question or "Did you know [something of interest]?"

Once you get more opens, you can test "calls to action" to see which links people click on.

For a fairly recent study on open rates and click rates in emails, check out this post on MarketingProfs.com.

What say you?

If you'd been asked this question, what would you have said?

Tell us in the comments!

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