• 10 Ways to Increase Email Open Rate

How to Improve Email Open Rate

How many emails do you think flood the inboxes of your valued prospects and loyal customers each day? Just like you, there are tens of thousands of brands all vying for the attention of the consumer market, and emails are one of their biggest weapons. With so much incoming mail, it’s easy for your marketing email to get buried and never see the light of day if it’s not constructed in a thoughtful, effective manner. In this article, we’re going to share some tips and tricks that you can use to significantly boost your email open rate.

How to Improve Email Open Rate
What is Email Open Rate?

Email open rate is simply the number of people who open your email divided by the number of people that receive it. As easy as it sounds, getting your email opened involves a lot of moving parts that all have to align. Below are some of the factors that affect open rate:

● Subject line
● Who the email is coming from (person or a company)
● What device the email is received on
● Reader’s history of engaging with the brand
● Frequency of emails sent
● Quality of your past marketing emails

The Importance of Email Open Rate

Even though email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience, if it’s not done correctly, you won’t get the results you’re looking for. It takes a lot of thought and carefully planned out strategies to ensure readers are engaging with your brand.

Of all the metrics that are useful for measuring the success of your marketing campaigns, email open rate is one of the most important. The bottom line is, if people aren’t opening your emails, you’re not going to have metrics to measure, effectively keeping you in the dark about what’s working and what’s not.


What is the Average Marketing Email Open Rate?

Average email open rate is a tough number to pinpoint, as results vary by industry, audience, device, and the size of the companies being measured. That being said, existing studies have yielded average open rates ranging from as low as 17% to as high as 27%.

It’s fine to use that range as a reference point, but you’ll become better acquainted with your brand’s open rate over time so you have a benchmark to compare against.

How to Improve Email Open Rate

Now it’s time to get into the strategies you can put into place to get more customers to willingly open your emails.

1. Take One Approach With Your Headline

Your headline needs to be concise, yet catchy while conveying the contents of the email. Sound difficult? The easiest way to craft an effective headline is by knowing who you’re targeting and mentioning the specific benefits your email is bringing them. Our post on effective marketing emails provides a more in-depth explanation of headlines and best practices.

2. Test the Sender Line

Depending on your target audience, different senders may be more effective than others. Using the company name is common practice that can help readers quickly identify who the email is from, but it also runs the risk of feeling impersonal and getting passed over.

On the other hand, you could use your name which can grab the reader’s attention and draw them to the preheader text for further inspection. For the best of both worlds, you can use “name at company” to make emails easily recognizable while still feeling personal.

3. Provoke Readers to Open the Email

Your readers get bombarded with emails, so in order to stand out, you have to give them a reason open the email and invest their time. Do this by using a phrase like “what you’re missing” to raise curiosity and make the contents of the email more enticing.

If targeting B2B customers, use the words “your competitors”. Every business wants to know what their competitors are doing so they can stay ahead. Lastly, avoid using common buzzwords like “free”, “percent off”, or “reminder”, which are a great way to get red flagged and unopened.

4. Give Readers a Reason to Open the Email

It’s a bit of a catch-22: in order to get recipients to open your emails, they need to know you send great emails, but in order to know you send great emails, they have to open them! You can’t be sure who has opened your previous emails, or when someone will just decide one day to open one. Make sure that every email you send is useful, high in quality, and offers a pleasant user experience. This experience will undoubtedly impact whether they open future emails.

5. Send to the Right List

This may sound like a no brainer, but if you cast a wide email net instead of narrowing it down, your open rate is going to suffer. The more specific your target audience for each email, the better your open rate is going to be. Segment by key demographics and different sales funnel stages (prospect, customer, loyalty).

6. Build High-Quality Lists

The quality of the emails you collect is going to determine your open rate. You want to get subscribers that are hungry for content rather than just coupons. To do this, include email collection prompts on your most relevant content.

Once you’ve got your list, further break them down into multiple groups depending on where they are in your sales funnel. This will help prevent you from stuffing your emails with dozens of links and topics that can quickly overwhelm readers. Having specific lists will help you to optimize the impact of your lead nurturing.

7. Create a Good First Impression

When someone signs up for your email list, take the time to let them know you appreciate their time and that they will be rewarded for it. This is one of the best ways to quickly wash away any lingering uncertainties they may have about giving you their email and prepare them for the value-packed, informational newsletters to come.

8. Optimize the Email Itself

Just because a reader opens the email doesn’t mean they’re going to read it. The body of the email needs to be easy to read, not too long, not too salesy, and offer plenty of value. Give them a return on their time investment because they’re only going to open subsequent emails if they liked the prior ones.

Check out our post about best email practices to get an idea of the structure you should use.

9. Be Consistent

Just as it’s important to develop your brand image and voice, the same is true with email marketing. It can take a little bit of trial and error to develop the tone you’re going for, but once you find what works, stick with it. You may find that readers look forward to your emails just because of the way they’re written.

10. Use Preheader Text

Preheader text is the preview you see in your inbox before you open the email. Use this space to give the reader a quick snapshot of what’s inside and use a catchy hook that piques interest and gets them to open it up. If you don’t specify the preheader text, your email will pull the first line which may not convey the message as effectively.

Step into Your Reader’s Shoes

Step out from behind the driver’s seat for a moment and really ask yourself, what would you want to see in your inbox? What would get you to open an email and spend the time reading its contents? The better your understand your audience, the better you’ll be able to cater your marketing emails to them.

Kristen McCormick
Kristen McCormick
Kristen is the Content Marketing Manager for ThriveHive, where she geeks out daily over SEO, organic traffic, and A/B testing. When she's not equipping business owners and marketers to get their name out there through effective content, she's out pedaling the streets of Boston on her beloved bike.

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