How to Increase Your Email Open Rates

Is nobody reading your emails? Frustrated with low open and click rates? We've got your answer with some simple methods to start using today.

11/19/20235 min read

white and orange open LED signage turned on
white and orange open LED signage turned on

Improving email open rates is a critical goal for any email marketing campaign. After all, if your subscribers aren't opening your emails, they won't see your message or take the desired action. In this article, we'll explore some of the best strategies to improve email open rates and maximize the success of your email marketing efforts.

1. Craft compelling subject lines

The subject line is often the first thing your subscribers see in their inbox, so it's essential to make it compelling and intriguing. A strong subject line should be concise, clear, and relevant to the content of your email. Consider using personalization, asking a question, or creating a sense of urgency to grab your subscribers' attention. Experiment with different subject lines and A/B test them to see which ones generate higher open rates.

Here are 10 examples of subject lines that can help boost email open rates:

  1. "Limited Time Offer: Don't Miss Out!"

  2. "Exclusive Invitation: Join Us for a Special Event"

  3. "Breaking News: Exciting Updates Inside!"

  4. "Your [Brand Name] Account: Action Required"

  5. "Save 50% Off - Today Only!"

  6. "Get Inspired: Discover New Trends and Ideas"

  7. "Last Chance: Limited Stock Remaining"

  8. "Unlock Your Full Potential: Join Our Webinar"

  9. "You've Won! Claim Your Prize Now"

  10. "Important Update: Changes that Impact You"

Remember, the key to crafting compelling subject lines is to create a sense of urgency, curiosity, or value. Use action verbs, numbers, personalization, or appealing offers to entice the recipients to open the email. Additionally, segmenting your email list and tailoring subject lines to specific audiences can lead to higher open rates as well.

2. Segment your email list

Segmenting your email list is crucial for sending targeted and relevant content to your subscribers. By dividing your list into different segments based on interests, demographics, or behaviors, you can tailor your email campaigns to meet the specific needs and preferences of each segment. When subscribers receive content that is personalized and relevant to them, they are more likely to open your emails.

According to Campaign Monitor, segmented email campaigns experience a 14.31% higher open rate than non-segmented campaigns. By tailoring your content to specific audience segments, you're more likely to capture their attention and compel them to open your emails.

Take Airbnb, for instance. By segmenting their list based on traveler preferences, they saw a staggering 300% increase in open rates. Another notable example is Sephora, who saw a 77% increase in open rates by segmenting their list according to customer loyalty levels. Segmentation works wonders – try it for yourself!

3. Send from a recognizable sender name

Practice the 50 / 500 Rule

We can't emphasize the importance of this point enough. Using a recognizable sender name helps build trust and credibility with your subscribers. Instead of using a generic 'no reply' or an unfamiliar name, consider using your brand name or the name of a known individual within your organization. This helps establish a personal connection and makes your emails more likely to be opened.

Unrecognized or new email domains have resulted (personally) in over 19,000 people unsubscribing to one email. It was a tough and important lesson to learn early. If you're email domain is new or seldom used, warm it up. This means send to small groups of NO MORE than 500 people per day. If your email CRM allows you to space the sending, select a maximum of 50 per hour. Slow and steady is best for a 4-6 weeks until your domain is recognized not only by the audience, but also by email filters.

4. Optimize email preview text

Many email clients provide a preview text that appears alongside the subject line in the inbox. This preview text allows you to provide a brief summary or teaser of the content within the email. Use this opportunity to pique your subscribers' curiosity and give them a reason to open the email. Keep the preview text concise and engaging, and consider featuring a call-to-action that encourages subscribers to open the email to learn more.

Here are five examples of email preview text that can help increase open rates:

  1. "Discover the secrets to [desired outcome]"

  2. "Get ready for amazing [product/service] deals"

  3. "Limited time offer - Don't miss out!"

  4. "Find out how [brand name] can transform your [problem]"

  5. "Exciting news inside - Open now for a surprise"

These examples highlight the value, urgency, and curiosity factors that can catch the attention of recipients and motivate them to open the email. It's important to keep the preview text concise (around 35-50 characters) and aligned with the subject line to create a cohesive message that compels the reader to take action and open the email. Experiment with different variations to see which ones resonate best with your target audience and lead to higher open rates.

5. Test different send times

The timing of your email plays a significant role in whether it gets opened or ignored. Experiment with different send times to determine when your subscribers are most likely to engage with your emails. Consider factors such as time zone, industry, and target audience characteristics. Analyze your email analytics to identify patterns and trends in open rates based on different send times.

Brands like Hootsuite and CoSchedule have seen success by experimenting with different sending times, optimizing for their target audience's time zones. By analyzing your audience's behavior and testing out different send times, you can increase the chances of your email being opened at the right moment – resulting in improved engagement and conversion rates.

6. Optimize for mobile devices

More and more people are accessing their emails on mobile devices, so it's essential to ensure that your emails are mobile-friendly. Use responsive design to ensure that your email content looks good and functions well on various screen sizes. Make sure the font size is legible, images are appropriately sized, and buttons are easy to click on mobile devices. If your emails aren't mobile-friendly, subscribers are less likely to open and engage with them.

7. Personalize your emails

Personalization is a powerful tool to increase email open rates. Use your subscribers' names in the subject line or introduction to create a sense of familiarity and establish a connection. All major email CRM's offer Merge Tags you can insert in your subject lines or email to add personal information (first name, company or job title for example). Additionally, leverage the data you have about your subscribers to provide customized recommendations, content, or offers that are relevant to their interests and preferences.

8. Clean and maintain your email list

Regularly clean and maintain your email list to ensure that you're only sending emails to active and engaged subscribers. Remove any inactive or unengaged subscribers to maintain a healthier sender reputation and improve your overall deliverability. This ensures that your emails reach the right people who are more likely to open and engage with them.

9. Provide valuable and engaging content

Ultimately, the key to improving email open rates is to provide your subscribers with valuable and engaging content. Make sure that every email you send offers something of interest or value to your subscribers. This could be educational content, exclusive offers, or personalized recommendations. When subscribers know that your emails consistently provide value, they'll be more inclined to open and engage with them.

In conclusion, improving email open rates requires a combination of compelling subject lines, targeted segmentation, recognizable sender names, optimized preview text, strategic timing, mobile-friendly design, personalized content, list maintenance, and valuable offerings. By implementing these strategies, you can increase the likelihood of your subscribers opening your emails, leading to higher engagement, conversions, and overall success in your email marketing efforts.

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