How to Increase Your Email Marketing Open Rates

By Sujan Patel - May 24, 2019
3 mins read time
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You’ve spent a lot of time and money gathering customer email addresses, investing in the perfect email marketing software and crafting interesting marketing messages to send out. But your emails are still getting deleted — or worse, routed right to the spam folder.

Putting all that effort into creating and sending emails that no one is seeing is almost as bad as not sending marketing campaigns at all. So what should you do instead? Here are seven techniques you can implement to help increase your email marketing open rates.

Tip #1. Send from a Person

Any consumer who sees an email from a company or brand immediately identifies it as advertising or marketing — and many of them won’t hesitate to delete it on those grounds alone.

Using your real name humanizes you. Combine this with a personalized and relevant subject line, and your odds of getting an open increase by as much as 35 percent, according to research.

Tip #2. Personalize Your Subject Lines

Your subject line represents your first opportunity to capture the recipient’s attention, whether through curiosity, urgency or anticipation.

Roughly 47 percent of email users decide whether to open an email based on the subject line alone, so make it clear, concise and personalized. A subject line with the recipient’s name is 26 percent more likely to be opened.

Tip #3. Segment Your Email List

People only want to open emails that are actually relevant to them. One of the most effective ways to increase relevancy and your open rate is to segment your list.

Break your list down into smaller groups by interests, location, industry, job title or activity — the smaller, the better. In fact, research found that, “Campaigns sent to 35 subscribers or less, suggesting more personalized content, saw incredible open rates at an average of 55 percent.”

Once your segments are set, it’ll become much clearer which subject lines and messages will entice recipients to open and engage.

Tip #4. Scrub Your List

Over time, it’s inevitable that your email list will deteriorate — by some estimates, around 22.5 percent per year — as contacts abandon email accounts, change jobs or no longer want to hear from you.

Be diligent about scrubbing these addresses from your list. Otherwise, your reputation and sender score, as well as your ability to get your emails to the people you want to, may be negatively impacted.

An email verifying tool can help scrub your list, in addition to keeping your contact information up-to-date and enriched with additional data points that may be useful for segmentation.

Tip #5. Leverage User-Generated Content

You probably already know that user-generated content (UGC) can help brands build trust and increase conversions. But UGC can work wonders for email open rates too, as you can write attention-getting subject lines based around UGC to increase open rates.

For example, what if you used Stackla to identify authentic customer photos and featured them in a monthly email post? Curiosity about the content might make recipients more likely to open your email.

Tip #6. Optimize for Mobile

Most emails are opened on a smartphone these days. In fact, 68 percent of email messages were opened on mobile in 2016, up from 21 percent in 2012. So if your emails aren’t optimized for mobile, don’t count on getting that all-important click.

If you want your emails to be read, you have to meet your prospects where they are and optimize their experience so they can easily and effortlessly view your messages.

For mobile users, keep your subject lines between 25-30 characters so they don’t get cut off on smaller displays. Many mobile email apps will also display the first line of your message, so use this real estate wisely.

Tip #7. Send at the Right Time

When you send your emails can be just as important as what’s in them. According to one study, the best time to send an email is between 8am-10am and 3pm-4pm.

That said, you can look at multiple studies and you’ll find multiple different answers. The best way to find what’s right for your audience is to experiment. Try different days, times and even segments, then track and analyze your results until you find the best send times for your unique company.

Sujan Patel

Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures, and has over 14 years of marketing experience. He has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.

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