One of the most common questions we hear from customers is, “How can I increase my email open rates?”

It’s human nature—we always want more—and the same goes for our email marketing efforts.  We want more people to subscribe, more people to open, and now with social media, we want more people to share.

Recently, we did a study with Boston-based research firm, Chadwick Martin Bailey, about why and how consumers connect with brands online. We found that the top reason people unsubscribe from an email list is because the content is irrelevant to them. It makes perfect sense!

What do you do when you get an email from a business about something you’re not interested in? You don’t open it, you delete it, or you unsubscribe in order to prevent this horrible tragedy from ever happening again, right?

Well, here are some tips to help you avoid this scenario and get people to open your emails and potentially share them with their friends and colleagues.

Make your email content relevant

One of the most effective ways to increase open rates is to send more relevant emails. This means you need more information about your subscribers allowing you to segment your list and send more targeted mailings.

But here’s the problem: you need more information, which means more fields in your email sign-up form, and that’s no good. Long sign-up forms can be a huge barrier to getting new subscribers.

A recent study showed that sign-ups increased nearly 50 percent just by reducing the number of form fields from four to three (your best bet is to stick to the essentials: first name, last name, email address).

So how do you solve this dilemma? Keep reading!

Use a survey to segment your mailing list

Sending out a survey is one of the best ways to avoid the dreaded super-long sign-up form and still get the information necessary to segment your mailing list. After sending out your survey, you can then save contact respondents who selected the same answers into a new contact list for future mailings. Here are a couple areas you might base your survey questions around:

1. Product or service preferences

If you can find out which of your products or services your subscribers are interested in, you’ll be able to send them content relevant to these interests.

For example, a resort might segment their list by those who like to ski and those who are more interested in cocktails and spa treatments. Whereas a real estate broker might segment their list by those subscribers who are looking to rent and those who are in the market to buy.

2. Information type

Ask your subscribers what they want to hear about. Some people might only be interested in sales and special promotions, while others might want to hear about hints and tips or local events.

You know your customers the best and by asking them the appropriate survey questions, you’ll get to know them even better. This new knowledge will help you segment your mailing list so you can provide more relevant content in your communications to your customers. The more relevant you can be, the higher your open rates will be, and the more effective you’ll be at reaching your customers with email marketing.

Want to take the next step toward segmenting your email list? Sign up to try our online survey tool today for FREE!