5 ways to improve email response rates: Learnings from feedback requests

Response rate: it’s the best way to measure the effectiveness of any email campaign. Open rate is great but ultimately, you want your audience to take action. After all, isn’t that the point of email marketing?

Feedback requests

As the UK’s leading invite-only provider of ratings and reviews (meaning we only invite customers who have made a purchase to leave a review on behalf of our fantastic clients), the effectiveness of our email feedback requests is of paramount importance to us. Response rate is key!

So how can we take the learnings that we’ve made about improving feedback response rates (now at an industry leading 16%), and use that to universally help your business improve its response rate?

business hand pushing customer reviews on virtual screen


The challenge

Getting readers to take action. The 3-5-7 rule of email marketing tells us that we don’t have long to capture the attention of our readers, and then importantly get them to take actions. You have:

  • 3 seconds to get someone’s attention
  • 5 seconds to draw them in
  • 7 seconds to compel them

Therefore, the challenge of improving response rates lies in the entire customer journey. And by ‘response rate’ we mean any action made by the reader. In this context, response rate can also be referred to as conversion rate, action rate etc. The challenge for businesses is to improve the number of readers to take action, whether that’s to buy, click through, convert or respond.

The answer

  1. One message

Whatever you want your audience to do, make sure your message is clear and succinct. This needs to be consistent in the subject line, body and call-to-action. When communicating this in the email body, be sure to state your objective in the first line – and then provide context thereafter.

  1. Design

Everyone scan reads. And based on the 3-5-7 principle, we don’t spend too long doing it either. Emails designed to draw in scan readers, and focus their attention on key elements of a campaign, are the most successful at seeing improved response rates. The inverted pyramid, or inverted U design, does exactly that. It structures the key elements of an email (header, imagery, call-to-actions) to draw in readers, deliver a message, and get them to take action.

Businessman With His Smartphone

Take into consideration that many people now read emails on mobile devices

  1. Timing is everything

We have found that commuting times, such as 8am or 4pm, to be the most effective to get a better response rate. Additionally, the timing of the email in relation to a specific customer interaction or engagement is key. For example, feedback requests are sent depending on when the customer has made their purchase. Think about any engagement the customer has had in store, or in relation to a recent purchase – and send your email communication at a time to suit.

  1. Set up reminders

Don’t overdo it. If you’ve not had a response first time round, send a follow up – and consider changing the language to include something like “you may have missed the email first time round”. We suggest a follow-up around 3 days after the original email to see if you can catch them a second time around.

  1. Test

The beauty of working in digital: you can track and test everything. From checking that your email works on specific devices, to A/B testing specific campaigns or elements of a campaign (e.g. subject lines, imagery, call-to-actions), you should check and test, before during and after sending an email.

This guest post was written by James Perrin, Digital Communications Specialist at ratings and reviews provider, Feefo. Images purchased from Fotolia.

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