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8 Time-tested Tips to Get High Open Rates and Click-through Rates with Salesforce Marketing Cloud

8 Time-tested Tips to Get High Open Rates and Click-through Rates with Salesforce Marketing Cloud

It is possible to boost low email open and click-through rates with the right strategies. We show you some proven strategies to do this with SFMC...

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage with audiences, deliver value and build brand equity…if done right!

According to Ascend2, 55% and 48% of marketing professionals believe that click-through rates (CTR) and open rates are the most effective metrics for gauging email strategy success. And yet, many brands struggle to realize high rates for their campaigns.

According to Campaign Monitor, the average email open and click-through rates are 18% and 2.7%, respectively, with variations among industries.

And what if your metrics are below your industry’s average? It can happen even if you use a powerful email marketing platform like Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC). If you are an email marketing manager or a Salesforce Marketing Cloud email specialist, here are some tips to get high open and click-throughs with SFMC!

Part 1: How to Boost your Email Open Rates

Your email open rates can give you a good idea of how your campaigns are performing with your target audience. Here are 5 ways to boost open rates for your SFMC email campaigns.

i. Segment your audience

Before you do anything else – creating a strategy, selecting Salesforce email templates, writing copy, designing the layout, setting up automation – segment your audience.

Segmented campaigns get 14.37% more opens and 64.78% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.

Think about your subscribers and what kind of information they are likely to find most useful. If everyone in your audience receives the same campaign, they may find your content irrelevant and even stop opening your emails.

With segmentation, you increase the probability that your recipients will find your messages interesting and relevant. This practice can keep them engaged for longer and build trustworthy relationships with them.

Your subscribers all have different profiles, interests, and needs, so you must segment them. Here are some ways:

  • Demographics
  • Personal interests
  • Behavioral or historical data
  • Position in the sales funnel
  • Email client data

SFMC offers many user-friendly tools, a rich data model, and powerful insights to help you segment your audience. Create data filters or SQL queries in Email Studio, or create filters across data extensions, and create more precise segments using Audience Studio.

ii. Test your subject lines

A good subject line can convince a reader that your email is worth opening. Take out time to craft an intriguing subject line. Make it unique and concise. Draft different subject lines and perform A/B testing to see what works best.

Changing the subject line of an email you have already sent and then resending it to subscribers can also increase open rates.

You can also experiment with emojis or incentives, which can increase open rates by 4.2% and as much as 50%, respectively. Just make sure that you don’t overwhelm readers and that incentives are backed by a warm, human-sounding copy in the email body.

SFMC Einstein Copy Insights help you analyze the text from your subject lines to uncover language insights related to originality, character count, emotional tone, etc. Thus, you can quickly craft subject lines that your audience responds to the most, eventually driving more opens.

iii. Change your send frequency

The “best” time to send email campaigns to ensure high open rates? There’s nothing like that. If your open rate is low but you’re using well-tested subject lines and segmenting your audience, test your send times and frequency.

With SFMC’s Einstein Send Time Optimization (STO) in Journey Builder, you can predict when each contact is most likely to engage with an email within the next 24 hours and automatically determine the best time to email them.

You can also use Send Throttle in Email Studio to spread out email sends during a specified period, thus ensuring that subscribers are not overwhelmed, and therefore more likely to open your emails.

iv. Cut out spammy words and warm up your IP

Between April and September 2020, nearly 50% of all emails were spam.

Don’t be a spammer, or your email open rates will suffer!

Make sure that your emails – starting with your subject line, which is usually the first thing your subscribers see – are free from spammy words. Words like $$$, MLM, Money at home, naughty, enlarge, Earn $, hardcore, make $, etc. may trigger an email client’s junk mail filter. Review and remove them with SFMC Content Detective.

Also, establish a good reputation with ISPs as legitimate email sender. Otherwise, your emails may end up in your recipients’ spam folders, negatively impacting your open rates and even deliverability. Your subscribers are likely to open your emails if they feel a human has written them, so use a human “from” name like rather than 

You can also improve open rates by asking subscribers to opt-in explicitly. If you buy an email list and send emails to those who have not opted in, they may not open your emails and even mark your emails as spam.

v. Personalize your emails

82% of marketers say email personalization increases open rates.

Connecting with subscribers at a personal level – that’s one of the most potent ways to improve open rates. And you can include personalization right from the get-go – in your subject lines!

Some ways to include personalization to boost opens:

  • Address them by their first name
  • Create a bespoke copy with a unique value proposition
  • Send birthday/ anniversary emails

Here’s another way you can boost email open rates- include real-time content with tailored product recommendations, bundles, or promotions. You can also:

  • Place the CTA where it’s prominent
  • Include a few additional links
  • Create mobile-optimized, HTML, and text versions
Mobile Optimized Email
(As seen on iPhone X)
  • Insert preheader text
  • Make sure the copy is well-organized and easy to read
  • Add social sharing buttons

For a more detailed guide on email open rates, click here

Part 2: How to Boost your Email Click-through Rates

Your email click-through rates tell you how many of your readers find your content helpful and voluntarily click on links. Here are 3 ways to boost it:

i. Use links effectively

It’s critical to get your links’ text and placement right. Avoid using generic “click here” text, make the text descriptive and concise, and point the URL to the most relevant information or landing page.

Nail the CTA with clear text that gives readers one thing to do. Place it where it is clearly visible, include whitespace around it, and use contrasting, on-brand colors.

You can also include multiple links to the same content, particularly helpful when you have a single CTA, such as asking for donations or encouraging newsletter sign-ups. Either use the exact text or vary it to minimize monotony and maximize the chances of clicks.

Also, include social media links or buttons at the bottom of the email. They can boost click rates by 158%.

ii. Pique their interest with valuable content

Once readers open your email, the content will keep them reading and lead them to click on links – or not. Create content to attract them, and make them feel like they will miss out on something valuable if they don’t click through. Try these ideas with SFMC and Email Studio:

  • Use images with ALT text to complement the copy
  • Ask for feedback through polls and surveys
  • Include bonuses, incentives, and special offers
  • Use interactive elements like GIFs, countdown timers, videos, and image carousels
  • Maintain brand consistency

Pay attention to email formatting. Use a responsive email design and Salesforce email templates. Make it readable with well-organized SFMC content blocks, a focused F-layout, headings, and subheadings.

Personalization and relevance are also important. Use the data you already have about readers to tailor the entire email marketing experience.

iii. Resend campaigns and clean your email list

Resend emails to give subscribers a second chance to click on links. Experiment with different subject lines, send time and link text.

It’s also important to review your email list and find the unsubscribes, spam complaints, and people who don’t see your emails because they are landing in the spam folder. Try these ideas to update your list and improve the chances that people will click on your emails:

  • Provide an “opt-down” option to receive fewer emails
  • Segment (or re-segment) your list
  • Send re-engagement emails

If these ideas don’t work, remove unengaged subscribers. Those who remain are more likely to click and thus boost your click-through rates.

You can also increase click-through rates by sending specific, relevant, and personalized content to a smaller, segmented audience. Other ideas like mobile optimization, send-time optimization, building trustworthiness with ISPs, and A/B testing are equally applicable.

Wrap Up

So now you know how to improve your open and click-through rates with SFMC. It’s worth spending some time and effort on these ideas to enhance the performance of your emails.

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Chintan Doshi

Chintan is the Sr. Manager Email Marketing & CRM at Email Uplers. He loves email marketing and has been in the industry from last seven years. His track record of email marketing success covers building email programs from scratch and using data-driven strategies to turn around underperforming accounts.



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