A new Litmus study analyzed more than 400,000 emails in early 2015, finding that the more targeted an email was, the more likely it was to generate a higher open rate and get forwarded along to someone else.
According to the study results, “Among the more than 200 emails we examined from among the top 1 percent of most viral commercial emails, we were able to unmistakably identify 13 percent of them as segmented and another 16 percent as triggered—for a total of 29 percent. These emails generated 16,504 opens on average, placing them well within the small audience group of messages with fewer than 50,000 opens that exhibited much higher forward-to-open rates when compared to larger sends.”
The study referred to the top performing emails as “viral emails.”
Another aspect of segmentation that got results was some type of personalization: either in the subject line, the body of the email, or both. Almost 9 percent of the top performing emails in the study utilized a recipient’s name.
Email campaigns about webinars and events had the highest forward rate, as these topics have set dates and times. However, if your email campaigns don’t concern set dates, consider adding more news and helpful content to your campaign strategy (as this was the second most popular topic of highly viral emails in the study).
Calls to Action
The results show that including calls-to-action in your emails also makes a major difference to the likelihood it will be forwarded or shared on social media. The study found that a top performing email was 13 times more likely to have some type of call-to-action in terms of social sharing. These often were large social sharing buttons at the bottom of the email, encouraging the recipient to share the email’s content with their social networks or via email to a friend or colleague.
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