UPDATED: December 21, 2017

We stopped using Mailchimp about a year ago for a more robust marketing automation system. The concepts within this blog post are still valid for email marketing tips and Mailchimp – just want to be transparent. Learn more about marketing campaign automation.

These are two really simple, tried and true methods of improving your email campaign open rates. The first is available with most email marketing systems – split testing your campaign subject line. My preference for email marketing is MailChimp but I also like Pardot (quite a bit more expensive). MailChimp makes it super easy. Once you’ve begun a new campaign, MailChimp will ask you to declare what type:


You’ll obviously choose “A/B Split Campaign”. Next, MailChimp will ask you what type of A/B split test you’d like to perform:


All of these are worthy tests, but I’ve found subject lines to be the most effective for increasing open rates. That’s probably why it is the default selection. Next, MailChimp will ask you to determine the percentage of your list that will be tested before determining a winning subject.


I would select 20% unless you have more than 1,000 people in the list. And finally, MailChimp will ask you how the winning subject should be determined.


You can choose Open Rate or Click Rate, but just as before, I would go with Open Rate. The first goal of a subject line is to encourage the recipient to open the email. Now, if you’re planning on tricking them with a bogus promise the close rate will suffer. But if you’re subject lines are descriptive of the campaign’s content and promise, the focus should be on the Open Rate.

That’s it! What you’ve effectively done is put the best of two reasonable subject lines in front of at least 90% of your list. This should be contrasted to potentially 100% receiving the lessor of two subject lines had you not tested first.

So, whatever you’ve done, you will get a certain percent of the list to open your campaign. If you want to increase that number further, apply the second simple technique – resend the email to those who did not open the first time. This is an extremely effective method for increasing your aggregate open rate by 30% to 70%. And, it takes minimal effort. You will not need to craft a new email. You’ll just need a new subject line (btw I’d A/B split test this round as well). I would let the list rest for a week or so before resending.

Anyone opening your email on the second round is added to your initial opens thereby increasing your open rate. If you’re feeling bold, wait another 7 to 10 days and email to the remaining non-openers one more time.

We set these campaigns up all the time, if you’d like assistance – check out our email marketing services or give us a call (888) 689-6188.

If you need help implementing the concepts discussed within this blog post – as always you can reach out to us at marketing@aidantaylor.com. The SEO keyword for this post is: Email Marketing.
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Increase Email Campaign Open Rates: Combine Subject Split Testing & Send Twice by John-Scott Dixon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.