10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Email Open Rate

01 Oct 2020 | vividreal
10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Email Open Rate

If you’re running a brand or business, email marketing campaigns is that facet of digital marketing strategy that cannot be omitted. You need it to engage with your prospects, persuade them to take action, generate leads & sales, and more.

Dropping email open rates is one prime reason for poor email marketing campaigns. Email open rate is a metric that indicates the percentage of opened emails for a specific email marketing campaign. It explains how well your emails were able to catch your subscribers’ attention through the campaign. 

In case you’re in need of professional help to effectively create, monitor, and optimize email marketing campaigns for your business, our team of digital marketing experts would be glad to help you out!

If you are someone struggling with your email marketing campaigns, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll be discussing 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Email Open Rate. 

1. Regularly Update the Email List & Segment it

The content that you send to the people on your list should make sense to them, and prove relevant to their interests. You can ensure this by updating your email recipients list regularly. Over time, email recipients on your list might lose interest in your brand or may have changed their email accounts. Any subscriber who remained inactive or didn’t engage for more than  6 months has to be identified and removed from your list.

Another approach to keep your list fresh is by reaching out to them regularly (at a frequency that doesn’t annoy them) and asking if they would like to update their information and their preferences. This also urges them to take control of how they want to engage with you. In most cases, this may not happen with ease, so attempt to take information from them through a survey by providing them with a tempting deal such as a free gift card along with this. 

Like mentioned before, the relevancy of the email content to its recipient decides whether they chose to open it or not. Check your existing email list and segment them into different groups to improve relevancy. You can segment them by grouping them based on their purchase behavior. There could be people who buy only when a discount sale is up; categorize them and send them offer-based emails. You can send personalized messages or thank you notes for VIP customers. Or you can categorize the generic list based on time by sending special offers for subscribers you’ve known for a while.

2. Adding Value Should be the Priority

You need to give something to get something! Your subscribers would choose you only if you have something valuable to provide them every time they open your email. Draft your emails considering your customers’ perspective, focus, and highlight the features that they could benefit from. Derive insights from their buyer personas and then identify what is meaningful to them and use them. 

Concentrate on improving customer satisfaction, conduct regular surveys to evaluate customers’ contentment, and their preferences. You can use popular survey tools like  Survey Monkey, KwikSurveys, and SurveyPlanet for carrying out survey campaigns, manage unlimited responses, and create an action plan based on the results. 

Develop a memorable customer experience. This will eventually benefit as word-of-mouth referrals, positive online reviews, and higher retention rates.  To make the most out of it, consider all touchpoints of your business, from initial lead capture to post-purchase communication. 

And finally, never underestimate the value of free resources. Use free guides, printable PDF, company branded calendar, free resources, or anything of that sort to create added value and showcase your brand’s ability to offer something “extra” to customers.

3. Watch Email Timing & Frequency

One prime aspect that influences your email open rate is the timing. You could send emails on a festive season or on a special day or during the peak hours of a day. 

Generally, emails delivered on weekdays(preferably in the morning in the recipients’ own time zone.) tend to be opened or noticed promptly than the ones delivered on weekends. You can improve open rates to a great extent following this trend. Although general trends exist, you can carry out A/B testing to identify the timeframes that perform well for your emails and further explore those in future campaigns. 

The kind of people who open your email varies based on their location, age, and occupation other than the type of content. People who work tend to open emails related to a non-hobby product/brand during their working hours, and mostly, they would prefer the time before starting the work for checking emails related to hobby content.

The frequency at which the email is sent is a crucial factor that reflects on your email open rate. Piling up your subscriber’s mailbox with your emails without giving enough time to read the email makes them sick of your brand. They could ignore all your emails just because you are not giving them time to read at least one of them. So, decide on an optimum frequency at which you plan to send the emails to the people on your list without annoying them. 

Once a person opted in, send the first email within the first 48 hours. And the content you send them should also complement the situation; a three-part welcome series is ideal for a newly signed subscriber. Likewise, write content that suits the recipient considering the buyer persona and where they stand in the sales funnel.

4. Catchy Subject Line

The subject line is that element which your email recipients notice at first sight about the email you’ve sent them. It is a crucial element that decides the email open rate and thus crafting a subject line that stands out is a necessity. Using the same age-old subject line formulas won’t improve the open rate, in fact, it will decrease the rate over time.

You need to come up with a creative subject line to make your email stand out on the recipient’s inbox. Think of the things your subscribers would want you to tell them, offers, coupon codes, free shipment, and more. You can immediately lure them to open the email using such offers. Try to awake curiosity in their minds, but without confusing them. At the same time, be funny, joke within the limits, and use a conversational tone. Personalize the subject line to catch the recipient’s attention instantly. You could add numbers and emojis to the subject and test it. And, most importantly, remember to keep it short and simple.

Avoid using terms like sale, free, rich, or deal in your subject line. Emails with these terms on their subject lines often end up in the spam folder under the influence of spam filters.  

Conduct A/B testing regularly to keep your subject line formulas up-to-date. Use a small part of your email list for testing two variants of subject lines. Once you find the winner out of them, send emails to the rest of your list with it. 

5. Personalized Email

Imagine interacting with a person on a digital medium about your brand/business and doing the same in person. Like everyone, you know that nothing can replace real-time and direct interaction. A plain email is futile in influencing your prospects and customers. But a personalized email can take the place of real-time interactions and work wonders more than any kind of approach. 

You can start personalizing the email by calling them by their names. Add their first names in the subject lines, as well as in the content. Using their first names in the subject lines considerably increases the chances of them opening your email. You could geo-target your emails promoting seasonal offers based on the weather in their region. You could offer them coupon codes that match the circumstances, for example, an online apparel store can send a 50% winter offer email with coupon code “WINTER50”.

Amaze your subscribers with an anniversary offer picking up the day they opted-in. Setting up automated emails that celebrate the anniversary of your relationship with your subscriber is another way of personalizing emails. You can also send them emails on their birthdays or on any special days that matter to them like their wedding anniversary.

Above all, consider your client/subscriber’s problems, interests, values, likes, and dislikes while you draft emails for them. You can collect such data by asking them to answer quick surveys occasionally.

6. Striking Content

There is nothing that could beat a high-quality striking content. Interesting, engaging & informative emails have always reached its audience and its open rates have never dipped. Blank promotions or any sort of information that they already have access to wouldn’t entice your email recipient to open it, instead will end up in their trash bins. 

Be consistent with the quality of content that you provide through your emails. Their quality is a key aspect that determines if they’ll open your email in the future. Keep providing them with value so that a point comes when they even begin to eagerly anticipate your emails. 

Talk about content that concerns your subscribers in the email. Personalize it, use emojis and numbers, inject humor, throw them a compelling offer that they can’t refuse every time, and more. You could share valuable resources like free eBooks, blog posts, or webinars. These are just some ways to come up with striking content. You can customize the emails based on your brand, purpose, and creativity. 

7. Mobile Users are a Priority

Like in most cases, mobile phone users dominate over desktop users when it comes to checking emails. This means that your emails should be drafted considering mobile phone users. Mobile screens are smaller and accommodating long subject lines on the mobile screens makes it look unpleasant. So, turn it mobile-friendly using responsive formatting and loadable media. 

Use concise subject lines that fit into the mobile screens,  larger fonts that are readable, and smaller sized images to reduce load time in your emails. Adopt single-column wide formatting whose width is under 6000px. Since images take time to load, arrange the email contents in such that it looks good even without them, just in case if it doesn’t load. Be careful while placing two links next to each other, since the user could tap on the wrong one by accident. And, finally, use a large call-to-action button placed at a position easily accessible to tap with a thumb. 

8. Start with a Welcome Series

Start engaging with your new subscribers right away and send regular content to them. This is because the newest email subscribers are most likely to open your emails and take action. So, start with a welcome series of emails.

Subscribers who receive welcome emails tend to be more engaged with the brand. And this engagement with subscribers improves your email open rate. Set your goals, create a simple series, and identify what works best for your emails. 

You could start by asking the subscriber preferences. Later provide them with additional resources to engage them and get them to come back to your website/brand. Another way to build trust and deepen the relationship with the subscriber is to send a personal welcome email from a team member or senior executive along with a photo. Next, start with an action-oriented email, provide them with a discount code to make them purchase from you. 

Use the welcome series to nurture new leads, trigger leads to set up a sales call, encourage the subscribers to provide more information about themselves in a preference center, or motivate new subscribers, who may have abandoned cart to make a purchase.

9. Launch Re-engage Campaigns

While segmenting and updating your email list, you would have probably decided to chuck out some of the emails. But, hold on, see if you can win them back one last time. Start a win-back campaign to reconnect with your inactive subscribers. 

Decide on a timeframe and create a list of subscribers who haven’t opened your emails during that period. Now, depending on the timeframe, say three months, six months, or a year, attempt to re-engage with them by asking what’s up with them, or if they’re breaking up with you. If they used to make purchases during the discount sale, send them a special offer to win them back. Also, ensure that you include a  confirmation link to confirm they still want to be a part of your email list and hear from you.

If they don’t respond or open one or two win-back messages, then, mark them as inactive and remove them from your email list. 

10. Be straight with your Subscribers

Be responsible, and straight with your audience. Once they’ve opted in, tell them how often they’ll get to hear from you,  the kind of information you’ll communicate with them (product offers, news, tips, etc), the value/benefit they’ll possibly gain out of it, how you’ll use the information provided by them, and more. After you’ve set the expectations, finally, meet each of them. 


Your email marketing campaigns can be turned into a highly rewarding marketing technique. Consider the above-mentioned suggestions and implement them one at a time so that you know what works best for your campaign. 

Try to maintain your subscribers by keeping up with their expectations. Make approximations about your subscriber’s routine, a day in the life of your subscriber, how does their workday look like, are they night owls or an early bird. Now, decide the best time to send your emails from this and connect with them. 

Personalize it, be friendly, keep it non-creepy and human. This style of writing really appeals to your subscribers and gets them to open your emails instead of directly deleting it. 

Do not buy leads. It goes without saying that fake leads yield no conversions from your email campaigns. They are clearly ineffective if you want to improve your email open rates.  

The quality matters the most over quantity. Do not send emails to your clients just for the sake of sending it. The value you provide through each email builds loyal customers (Remember, features, products, and descriptions of your company aren’t of value to your subscribers). In fact, sending high-quality emails less frequently works wonders in email marketing campaigns. 

If you have trouble starting out, use professionally-designed & mobile responsive premade templates for your newsletters, promo, or offer emails. 

Still, confused? We’ve got you covered. Feel free to connect with our team of digital marketing experts and expand your business right now!

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