Boosting email open rates for your fantasy sports business

February 3, 2016

 

 

The typical fantasy sports player’s inbox is jam-packed - from projections and lineup advice to player news, software updates and contest solicitations. And even though the manta “email is dead” was prevalent a couple of years ago, that sentiment has subsided tremendously. Why? Email marketing continues to work. According to a report written by McKinsey & Company, email remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media – nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined. That’s because nearly 91 percent of all U.S. consumers still use email daily.

 

What becomes difficult is your ability to compete with all the clutter of a person’s inbox, and in turn, evaluate the ROI of any given campaign. Not all emails achieve optimal results, but there are some benchmarks you can evaluate. And considering 84 percent of all emails are labeled as spam or immediately deleted from an inbox, the best place to start in evaluating the effectiveness of your email campaign should be the open rate. That is, the measure of how many people on an email list open (or view) a particular email campaign, normally expressed as a percentage.

 

A number of factors contribute to a good open rate, namely the quality of your email list, subject lines, and time of sending. As a starting point, a 17 percent open rate for an email sent in the gaming industry would be considered “average,” according to MailChimp’s Email Marketing Benchmarks. So how do you boost the open rates of your fantasy sports business’ email campaigns?

 

Send times matter

 

We see a lot of debate about the best time to post on social media to obtain the best engagement possible. But there’s not a lot of discussion about the best time to deploy email campaigns. But guess what? Email sending times definitely matter.

 

Most B2C marketers stress the importance of sending email campaigns first thing in the morning. And why not? It guarantees that the message will be top-of-mind in a subscriber’s inbox, right? For fantasy sports businesses, however, that trend should be derailed. You shouldn’t be competing in the inbox with the NetFlixes, Hotels.coms or Food Networks of the world. You should hit your subscribers when they’re most interested in your content – most likely, late morning/early afternoon.  Of course, this time could fluctuate based on the goal of the message. If you’re offering a one-day discount on your lineup optimizer, or soliciting entries into an early contest, then sending first thing in the morning is unavoidable. But for all other emails, waiting until later in the day will give you the best chance for engagement.

 

Watch those subject lines

 

When people go through their inbox, it’s pretty regimented: open email platform, look for new emails, glance at subject lines, open emails that catch interest, delete/overlook the rest. So if you don’t capture their interest with your chosen subject lines, they’ll never open your emails. So in regards to your subject lines, enforce these tactics:

  • Be careful of spam words. There are certain words that trigger spam filters. Words such as buy, money, $ or $$, free, cash, million, chance, #1, and bonus will flag your email as spam. (For a decent list of spam-trigger words, check out HubSpot’s comprehensive list.) Obviously, these words are a challenge not to use in our industry. You should still try to avoid them in the subject line, and use them sparingly within the body of the email.

  • Don’t be too urgent. In other words, all caps are a no-no. And never use the word URGENT. You can come up with more clever ways of saying there’s a limited time offer to take advantage of.

  • Play with emotion. There’s no need to be serious all the time. Use humor in your subject lines. Use conversational language. Latch on to your subscribers’ competitive spirit (“Don’t be a loser again this week”).

  • Personalize. Here’s a notorious Catch-22 for you. Personalizing subject lines often yield higher open rates in the gaming industry. Yet, personalized subject lines often get flagged as spam. So bottom line, use this tactic sparingly and strategically – perhaps in the subject line of a welcome email. But for all other emails, personalize in the salutation of the body of the email.

Examine your sources

 

It goes without saying: a clean, quality list will always yield higher open rates. Make sure you’re removing subscribers that are not engaging with your emails. If they haven’t opened an email within the last 10 sends, it’s time to remove them from your list.

 

In addition, if you’ve followed best practices for optimizing your open rates, yet you’re still not seeing improvement, you might have an issue with your sending platform. If you’re currently using an in-house option (i.e. Outlook or a webmail program), immediately look at signing on with a reputable ESP (email service provider).

 

Need help with optimizing open rates on your email marketing campaigns? Contact FantasyMeter today at info@fantasymeter.com or (817) 729-8771.

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