For any organization hoping to get involved with customer retention marketing, there are a few different tools that you will need to familiarize yourself with. Two tools that can be incredible powerful when it comes to reducing churn are email and SMS marketing. However, according to Mailchimp, with low open rate statistics and an oversaturation of digital marketing channels, creating a powerful campaign can be difficult.

This is why we have put together 5 strategies designed to help you improve the open rate of both email and SMS campaigns. Although open rates are historically high for SMS, these tactics can still be used to improve both of these tools for greater success. On top of that, when combined, they are far more potent than when they are done separately. Let’s begin by taking a look at the state of email and SMS in 2018.

The state of email and SMS in 2018

The first thing that you should know about both email and SMS is that they have been around for a while, both for personal and professional use. This familiarity can be huge when it comes to reach customers, as they already understand the platform and how to communicate. In fact, the 98% open rate of SMS often comes from users always being near their phones. Whereas, the ubiquitous nature of email has led to a steady decline of open rate stats over time.

Now, in 2018, with a variety of new and innovative communication platforms, most customers still prefer the tried and true methods of email and SMS. That being said, customers are also much more interested in receiving a good customer experience when they are interacting with a company. This is why best practices must be put into place in order to get the most out of these tools.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at these 5 strategies to help you increase the open rate of your messages and better serve your audience.

1. Boring subject lines

Yep, that’s right. Our first strategy is going to sound ludicrous, but according to a report based on over 200 million emails, Mailchimp discovered that boring, straight-to-the-point email subject lines are actually better than showy or flashy alternatives. In order for customers to want to click through to read your email (and hopefully convert), they need to know what they are going to be reading.

A good best practice here is to state the title of the article you are sharing or pretend you are writing a title if the email doesn’t include a link. Something that informs users without telling the whole story is the balance you will be looking for.

SMS subject lines

You might be thinking, “Wait, SMS doesn’t have subject lines,” which is accurate. However, with more smartphones on the market than ever before, MMS or Multimedia Messaging is becoming more popular and allows for marketers to include a subject line. Although this may not be necessary for every message, there will be times where an extra flair will go a long way, in which case MMS is recommended.

2. 80/20

The next strategy for optimizing your open rate and getting the most out of your campaign is known as the rule of 80/20. Under this rule, you want to dedicate about 80% or 4 out of 5 messages to being insightful and helpful to your customers, while only actually selling the other 20% of the time. Along with providing a better experience to your customers, it will also make your emails and SMS messages with sales content more powerful.

Now, even though you won’t be selling with each message, another way to increase open rate and conversion rate is by including a call-to-action with each SMS or email. Especially with the immediacy of text marketing, having a clear next step for customers to take will make them look forward to your messaging and help your open rate.

3. Optimize, optimize, optimize

As you start to build out your campaigns, you will start to see areas that can be improved along the way. Our advice is to optimize everywhere you can along the way, whether it is optimizing emails for mobile devices or maximizing your SMS, making these subtle changes will only further improve your open rate.

Although this doesn’t seem that revolutionary of a strategy, as customers begin to become familiar with marketing automation and other techniques for increase customer engagement they will want a better experience. Automating and optimizing wherever possible in the process will help you continuously improve your performance.

4. Understand the delivery method

We mentioned earlier that both SMS and email work best, both in regards to the power of the campaign and open rate, when working together. However, there will be times when you will need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of both avenues along with which is best used to meet your goals.

For example, there are plenty of occasions where an SMS message should be used, due to the speed and ease of use. That being said, the same efficiency can work against you in other scenarios with less timely info, in which case an email will be more appropriate. As you plan out your campaigns, make sure you understand the delivery methods you will be using and that they are the best option for what you hope to accomplish.

5. Track, tweak, repeat.

The last strategy for improving the open rate of your email and SMS campaigns is to track everything, tweak what needs fixing, and do it all over again. Again, this may seem simple, and we recommend doing this with all of your marketing, but it will greatly improve the performance of your campaign if you are always performing maintenance and making sure you are putting your best foot forward.

In the case of email and SMS, this looks like changing subject lines, trying new formats and keywords, as well as asking your audience for feedback on how you can improve. Each time you approach the campaign, you should be considering how it will improve your customer’s experience and do whatever you can to help it. As long as you keep this in mind, you will have nothing to worry about in regard to retention or open rates!