6 Tips for Boosting Your Email Open Rate

Animated hand clicking on opening email

Email marketing yields some of the highest ROI’s and engagement levels of any marketing medium, but getting people to open and read your marketing gold is often the hardest part.


Contrary to what some may believe, email marketing is far from obsolete. As a matter of fact, email marketing continues to yield some of the highest ROI’s and engagement levels of any marketing medium — so long as you can get people to open and read them in the first place.


Although an estimated 91 percent of consumers check email on their smartphones every day, not every email that lands in an inbox is going to be read. Therefore, to increase open rates, marketers need to implement targeted and well-researched strategies to make sure their emails convince recipients to open them.


How to Determine Open Rate


The first step to increasing email open rates is to gain a clear understanding of how your current emails and newsletters are performing. Once you have a finger on the pulse of your current open rates, you can set practical and attainable goals for open rates moving forward.


To determine your open rate, use this formula:


# of people who opened your email / # of emails that were successfully delivered (didn’t bounce)


You may want to look at the 2019 Email Marketing Benchmark Report for your industry’s average open rates to help set the level you should be shooting for. Some companies may be surprised by how well they’re doing compared to their peers. 


Once you have a firm grasp on your current standing, you can begin implementing strategies to help increase your email marketing’s open rates and performance.


How to increase email open rates


Give your list some love


Email marketing efforts are worthless without a solid list of contacts. Your email list is a living, breathing entity, and it needs consistent TLC if you want it to continue to work for you. To keep your list fresh, clean, and full of engaged subscribers, you should periodically:


  • Remove inactive subscribers from your list
  • Remove emails that continue to bounce back from your list
  • Remove any obvious name or email misspellings from your list


Keeping your list clean will not only improve open rates, but it will also save you from spending money on subscribers who are not successfully receiving your correspondence.


Segment your list


There is no plug-and-play model when it comes to marketing. Your subscribers are all different from one another, so to deliver real value, you need to know who they are and what resonates with them. Once you do, you can tailor your messages and create emails that each segment of your audience will be excited to receive. 


When segmenting your list, base the segments on the content preferences of your audience. Then send each segment a different version of your newsletter tailored to those interests. 


Reader segments can be based on factors such as:


  • Buyer persona
  • Time on your email list
  • Stage in the buyer’s journey
  • Amount of time since last order


Create thoughtful subject lines


Like a blog or article title, your subject line is the first thing that recipients see and it has a huge impact on whether or not they engage with your email. The subject line should captivate and entice them to open and read the contents of your email. Here are some ideas for creating impactful subject lines:


  • Use a command: “Redeem Your Offer Today!”
  • Use a question: “What are YOU Wearing This Weekend?”
  • Use a teaser: “The Mystery Code You’ve Been Waiting for”
  • Use a list: “Top 5 Ways to Increase Your SEO Score”
  • Use an announcement: “Our Top Selling Shoes Launch Today”


Format for mobile


If your emails don’t display well on mobile devices, then you can say “bye, bye” to the vast majority of your potential audience. About 74 percent of smartphone owners use their phones to check email, and 51 percent of all email opens happen on mobile devices. When your emails display properly on mobile devices, you’ll increase your open rates, your click-through-rate, and enjoy higher engagement levels, too.


Send from a human, not a company


When sifting through emails, users automatically search for messages from people that they know. An email from a company can quickly get categorized as marketing and land in the “read later” file, or worse, in the virtual trash can. An email that looks like it was sent from an actual person within your company is more personal and, therefore, more likely to be opened.


Find the right time to send


When it comes to marketing, timing is crucial. Do your research and find the best times to send your emails given their message, intent, and audience. To find the optimal send times, you can conduct testing or research your industry to figure out what days and times are most likely to yield the highest open rates. 


Using these tips will help improve your email open rate, but email marketing is an evolving art. Don’t’ get discouraged if you don’t see drastic results right away. Experiment, test, analyze, adapt. Happy emailing!

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