How To Get Better Email Open Rates


Did you know that 306 BILLION emails are sent every day!

That is a huge amount of ‘email’ noise that you’re trying to be heard in right. It’s a huge number.

But...do you know the one number you need to concern yourself with when it comes to your email marketing? It’s not the number of people on your list or even the number of emails you’ve sent to them. It’s the open rate of your emails.

The success of past (and future) email campaigns can be gauged by the number of people who are opening your emails. The more people who read your campaigns, the more chances of getting your offer in front of people...because they need to open your email to see that offer right!

Sounds simple in theory...but not so much in practice. 

Getting an open rate to be proud of is no easy feat...but there are a few key things to pay attention to, to get those emails opened by your audience. 

Subject Line

The first element of your campaign someone is going to see is the subject line...so this is prime real estate. If it doesn’t resonate, pique interest or compel them to open it, it’s likely to end up in the ‘trash’. 

Here are some tips for great subject lines:

  • Personalisation works a treat
  • Short and Sweet is much better than longwinded
  • Let them know what’s inside
  • Create urgency or a sense of importance
  • Numbers are great 
  • Pose a compelling question

Not sure if your subject line is great? There are a few things to help you with this.

Coschedule Subject Line Tester is a brilliant took to give you a score for how your subject line rates.

If your email platform gives you the option, try A/B Split Testing your subject lines.

Email Timing

The time you send your email out is going to have a lot to do with it being opened. Knowing when is the best time to send an email means knowing your audience.

Fortunately, though, Mailchimp has done a lot of work in this area and have come up with a few recommendations:

Generally, emails are opened more between 2 pm and 5 pm, and generally more during the workweek. Tuesdays and Thursdays are particularly good days for email opens.

As with the subject line, a great way to determine what works best for your audience is to split test.

Segment your list

One of the biggest factors that will contribute to whether or not someone will open your email is whether they find that it’s relevant to them.

This is why it’s important to ‘segment’ your audience.

So how can you segment your audience? Initially you can start segmenting based on their subscription behaviour. Did they opt-in to your list through a freebie? Did they get there via a purchase? This behaviour will tell you more about what they’re interested in, and you can send them information that is relevant to that interest.

These segments will also assist in writing relevant and intriguing subject lines.

Avoid Spam Filters

A huge disappointment in the world of email marketing is to spend hours writing a specially crafted email for your audience only to find that the spam filters send it to the dreaded spam folder… so it never sees the light of day.

Avoiding the dreaded spam filter is a big deal and there a few key things to note to avoid being flagged as spam:

  • Subscribers have opted into your list
  • Emails are sent from a verified domain
  • Send from a good IP address
  • Unsubscribe link is clearly available and the process to unsubscribe is easy
  • Avoid salesy, spammy language (that’s prime fodder for spam folders)
  • Encourage subscribers to ‘white list’ your emails

Cleanse your list

You can spend time trying to improve the open rates of your emails, but if your email a list of outdated email addresses you won’t see any improvement.

Just like it’s a great idea to ‘spring clean’ your house (a few times a year), the same thing can be said for your email list.

Give it a good cleanse…

Cleansing your email list will reduce hard and soft bounces and potential spam complaints. It will also improve your sender reputation and get your emails seen by your active subscribers.

Here are a few ways to cleanse your list:

  • Remove inactive subscribers. An inactive subscriber could be someone who hasn’t engaged with an email in about 6 months.
  • Before you remove them though, you might want to try a re-engagement campaign. Here are some great example emails for re-engagement by Hubspot.
  • Check-in with your subscribers from time to time to see if they need to update their information.
  • Keep an eye on your hard and soft bounces. Remove these from your list...particularly the hard bounces.

Set some expectations

For the most part, people like to know what they can expect from someone they’re engaging with...so if you set the scene early on, your subscribers are more likely to open your emails because they’re expecting them to pop into their inbox.

From the time someone first subscribes to your list, let them know how often they can expect to hear from you, what sort of content you’ll be sharing with them...let them know what’s in it for them.

Ready to stand out in a crowd of 306 billion :) put these tips into action to improve your email open rates and your visibility with your subscribers.


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