How to Increase Email Open Rate – 15 Proven Ideas That Work

How to Increase Email Open Rate

Email marketing is considered the no.1 marketing strategy for almost any business out there. And why not?

If you collect quality leads and run well-planned email campaigns, then you can generate enough revenue to make up to $36 out of every $1 spent as ROI.

However, it’s not all that simple. To get a high result like that, you have to make sure you are preparing your emails with the utmost quality. You must ensure your email is capable of drawing a high open rate and click-through rate.

It’s a simple math. The more people open your email, the higher the chance of hitting the marketing goal with this email.

Today, we will look at how you can increase your email open rate using proven tactics to help you achieve a higher ROI.

After reading this article, you will learn

  • The main concept & importance of tracking email open rate.
  • Proven ways to increase email open rate for maximum ROI.
  • Tips to implement these ideas in the right way.

So, let’s begin.

What Is Email Marketing Open Rate?

Email open rate is a metric used in email marketing to measure the effectiveness of an email campaign.

It is the percentage of the number of emails opened compared to the number of emails delivered.

For instance, let’s say 100 emails were delivered in your last email campaign, but only 20 of them actually opened the email. So, the open rate here is 20%.

The email open rate indicates the quality of the leads, how warm your leads are, and how well you have prepared the email content.

In a later section of this article, we will discuss how each of these scenarios can be optimized for higher email open rates. So keep on reading.

How To Calculate Email Open Rate?

The email open rate is calculated with the following formula:

  • {No. of emails opened/(No. of emails sent – No. of bounced emails)} x 100%
How To Calculate Email Open Rate
How To Calculate Email Open Rate

Let us take an example. Suppose you have 3,000 subscribers, and you just launched a discount email campaign for Halloween. While observing the campaign performance, you noticed that 300 emails bounced and 1000 emails were opened.

Based on this example, let’s put the numbers in the formula:

  • {1000 / (3000 – 300)} x 100% = {1000/2700} x 100% = 37.04%

Most email tools will have this calculated for you, but in case they don’t, you can do it yourself.

What Is A Good Average Email Open Rate?

The average email open rate can vary from business to business depending on several factors, including the industry, the type of email, the quality of the email list, and the most effective email marketing techniques.

Many will claim that the average email open rate across all industries is around 38.49% (HubSpot) while others have found the number of be much lower – 21.33% (MailMunch).

GetResponse went through 7 billion email campaigns and found an average of about 19.66%.

The reason for this anomaly is that some industries, such as e-commerce and retail, may see higher open rates, while others, like financial services, may have lower open rates. Therefore, you have to benchmark your open rates against similar businesses or organizations within your industry for a more accurate comparison.

Plus, you have to track the metrics of all of your email campaigns and compare the open rates of similar campaigns. Then, you may find an average number you think is common for your leads list. If this number is less than what others get in your industry, then it’s probably due to the quality of the leads or the email content.

We believe for software firms that run targeted lead generation campaigns or have long-term users, the average email open rate should range from 20% to 35%. Anything less would mean your email open rate is below average compared to your niche.

Factors Affecting the Email Open Rate

Below are some factors that can affect how high or low your email marketing open rate is.

  • Cold Email Outreach
    When you email someone out of the blue, they may not recognize you and hence might not open your mail. In fact, many may even mark you as spam.
  • Email Subject Line
    A poorly written subject line with cheesy words or exaggerated promises is less likely to be opened. People tend to ignore promotional emails unless they know the company really well.
  • Email Sending Time
    The time of the day matters when it comes to open rate in email marketing. Most people read emails on specific days of the week and on specific hours.

    For example, I like to check most of my additional emails (that are not related to work) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, either early morning or during the last hour, before leaving the office. And if you send an email to me on a Saturday afternoon, I will probably not check it on that day. Then, more and more emails will pile up, and your email will be pushed down.
  • Quality Of Email List
    The quality of your leads will depend on how you collect them. If you collected your leads by using a lead magnet for one niche but decided to promote your new product that resonates with a different niche to the same leads, they are less likely to open your emails. Also, there could be a chance of having invalid emails.
  • Email Spam Score
    Certain words used, too many links in the email body, or other such factors can increase your spam score as per email acceptance. This will mean your email will end up in the spam folder, and people are less likely even to notice it.

Let us look at how you can increase your email open rate using proven ideas.

How To Increase Open Rate in Email Marketing?

If your emails aren’t getting opened as often as you’d like, here are 15 tried-and-true strategies that can boost those open rates.

These methods are versatile and can fit any industry or type of email you’re sending out.

  1. Focus On Generating Quality Leads
  2. Plan A Welcome Series To Connect With Subscribers
  3. Use A Good Email Subject Line
  4. Send Personalized Emails (via Lead Segmentation)
  5. Always Provide Value To Create Anticipation
  6. Send Emails In The Right Time Of The Day
  7. Avoid Sending Cold Sales Emails
  8. Make Sure To Avoid Spam Filters
  9. Do Not Send Emails Too Often
  10. Nurture Your Leads From Time To Time
  11. Identify Yourself Correctly
  12. Use A Email Preview Text That Makes Sense
  13. Issue Re-Engagement Campaigns For Unresponsive Leads
  14. Set Up Automated Resending Of Emails
  15. Stop Sending Emails To Long-term Unresponsive Contacts

Let us look at these in detail.

1. Focus On Generating Quality Leads

Generating quality leads is the key to success for any email campaign. When you have subscribers genuinely interested in what you offer, they’re more likely to open your emails.

To ensure you are getting the most value out of your leads, you first need to try and collect targeted leads. You can do that by offering a lead magnet in exchange for emails. But do make sure the lead magnet is desirable to your target audience.

💡 Tip: If the lead magnet is a downloadable product, rather than letting people download the file after opting in, send them the link to the file via email after subscription. This will help you avoid getting wrong or fake email submissions.

You may also use double opt-in emails, meaning whenever someone subscribes, send him an email to confirm the subscription. This is a way to get permission from users to send them emails in the future. If they don’t want to recevice your emails, they can simply not confirm the subscription.

Another important thing to do is to verify the emails you collect. So, let’s say you didn’t use double opt-in confirmation. You can still use an email verifier to make sure that the email is at least valid.

Remember, if you have an email list that is surely interested in your niche, then your email marketing open rate will be high.

2. Plan A Welcome Series To Connect With Subscribers

When a person subscribes, the lead is warm. You have snatch the opportunity to connect with the person immediately. And you can easily do that using a welcome email series.

Having a personalized welcome email along with a few value-added emails afterward can help to connect with the customer and make them more aware of your brand.

You have to give the impression that you do care about them.

Here’s an example of a welcome series plan:

  • Immediately after sign-up
    Send them a warm welcome email introducing them to your brand or community. Plus, give them instructions on how they can get value out of you or use the product/tool/service they subscribed for effectively..
  • Three days later:
    Share a highlight reel – perhaps a roundup of your most popular content or products. You may also share use cases or case studies in this email.
  • A week after the first email
    Provide them with exclusive tips, discounts, or insights that they wouldn’t find just anywhere.
  • Ten days from sign-up
    Share a behind-the-scenes look at your business or a personal story that relates to your brand’s mission. And invite them to take a look at your service or tool.

**Make sure to add product recommendations below the CTA button.

This welcome email will make the prospect feel valued and will remember your brand during future promotions. Hence, eventually, this will help with higher open rates.

In the welcome email series from Orbit Media Studios, they achieved open rates ranging from 30% to 40%.

3. Use A Good Email Subject Line

One of the most important factors that can reduce open rates is the subject line.

You see, most prospects screen their emails based on the email subject line. If it’s too salesy or monotonous, people may end up ignoring the email or even mark your email as spam.

Hence, you have to make sure you are writing high-quality email subject lines so that your prospects find it more exciting to open the email.

Here is a guide on writing email subject lines like a pro.

Best Email Subject Lines

You may also take help from ChatGPT to write good email subject lines.

Less Effective vs. Highly Effective Email Subject Lines

  1. “We’d like to introduce ourselves” vs. “Meet Smith Builders: Your Dream Home Architects!”
    Why the latter is good: The second line is enticing because it speaks directly to a benefit the reader might want: a dream home.
  2. “We’re a new mechanical contractor” vs. “Introducing Miller Mechanics: Springfield’s Top Efficiency Experts”
    Why the latter is good: Adding the location and highlighting an expertise (efficiency) makes the second line more specific and attractive.
  3. “Contact us for wiring needs” vs. “Wiring woes? Let Thompson Electrics light up your day!”
    Why the latter is good: The second version presents a solution to a potential problem in a playful manner.
  4. “Building Codes Explained” vs. “Tired of Building Code Headaches? We’ve got the remedy!”
    Why the latter is good: Addressing a pain point (headaches) and offering a solution (remedy) makes the second line more relatable.
  5. “We Build Anything” vs. “From skyscrapers to sheds: Discover Johnson Construction’s Magic!”
    Why the latter is good: The second line paints a more vivid picture of versatility and piques curiosity with the word “magic.”
  6. “Need a Contractor?” vs. “Dream Projects Deserve Stellar Contractors: Choose Wilson Works”
    Why the latter is good: The second line flatters the reader’s aspirations while promoting the brand as the ideal choice for such projects.

Do remember to conduct A/B Testing for every email campaign to ensure you are using the right subject lines.

A subject line that speaks directly to your reader offers value, or piques curiosity can increase your email open rate significantly.

4. Send Personalized Emails (via Lead Segmentation)

One of the things that are commonly taught by popular marketers but ignored by many is lead segmentation.

Whenever you collect leads, it is wise to segment them based on demographics, preferences, answers to questions, etc. If you have these, it will be super easy to personalize your emails.

Suppose you run a bakery and you’ve just started offering gluten-free products. Not everyone on your email list might be interested in gluten-free items, right? What you could do is you could send out a survery form for people to design what type of products they would like and gluten-free would one of the options. Set up an automation so that whoever chooses “gluten-free” will be added to a list, let’s sat “Loves Gluten-Free” list.

Later, when you introduce a new gluten-free product or offer a special deal, you can send a emal to these people. Since you will send to a list of poeple who have exclusively shown interest, you could write a email copy on the new product you brought. And the best part, everyone on the list will be interested to some level.

You can also segment people based on their countries or cities. Then, you can celebrate a local holiday with only the people in that country and drive some sales.

Based on these segments, you may add jargon to the subject line and preview text. This will ensure people will feel connected and will open emails from you more often.

5. Always Provide Value To Create Anticipation

Beyond personalization, there’s a need for consistency in providing value that creates anticipation for every email. Getting more people to open your emails can be easier when they’re excited about what’s inside.

To create such case, you need send out valuable content via email to your leads on a regular basis; maybe weekly or bi-weekly.

If you can build that trust that your emails are always valuable, then one or two promotions in between won’t hurt.

And overall, these emails will always have a high open rate.

You could also follow the same approach when launching a new product.

Let’s learn how Apple does it. Before launching a new iPhone, they don’t just suddenly announce it. They send teasers, hinting at groundbreaking features or showing shadowy images of the product via email and advertisements. This strategy gets everyone curious. They open every email from them, waiting to get the announcement. And finally, when the “Introducing the next iPhone” email finally hits their inbox, they are the quickest to take action.

For your brand, this could mean identifying a few common but serious problems, sharing a few available solutions, giving a hint that you have the ultimate solution, revealing bits of a new product, or sharing success stories leading up to a big release.

The main goal here is to make the customers expect that it’s an email they don’t want to miss.

💡 Tip: Curiosity triggers in the email subject line work quite well.

6. Send Emails In The Right Time Of The Day

According to a research, the best time to send emails is between 10am and 1pm.

Why? By this time, most people have already checked their morning emails and are active but not swamped with new messages.

Imagine sending an email at 6am. It might get lost among all the other emails that came in overnight. But if you send it around 1pm, someone returning from their lunch break might see your email right on top.

However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. It’s a good idea to try sending your emails at different times, between 10am and 2pm, and see which time works best for your audience – so again, A/B testing.

7. Avoid Sending Cold Sales Emails

When you send cold emails, you are basically knocking on the door of a complete stranger and expecting him to respond to your marketing pitch with an open mind.

People do not like cold emails. They get enough emails through their subscriptions. Reaching them out of the blue would lead to most of them either ignoring your email or marking your email as spam.

The main issue here is you have either bought your lead list, which may be a bunch of people interested in a completely different niche or collected them online without permission.

Naturally, cold emails have a very low open rate and are not good in terms of ROI. So, it’s best to avoid sending cold emails.

8. Make Sure To Avoid Spam Filters

Almost no one opens emails in their spam folder. Modern spam filters are smart and can easily flagged.

Here’s how you can keep your emails safe from spam filters to boost your open rates:

  • Try not to use words like free, discount, sale, etc., in your subject line.
  • Write your subject line in regular letters, not all in capitals.
  • Make sure your email is set up correctly so it looks legit.
  • Always give people a way to stop getting your emails if they want.
  • Suggest that your readers save your email address so it doesn’t get flagged.
  • Only send emails that align with what you promised in the subscription form.
  • Do not use too many links in your email copy.

If all goes well, you will be able to reach customer inboxes easily.

9. Do Not Send Emails Too Often

Sending the right number of emails is very important. You don’t want to annoy your customers with a flood of emails in a short span of time from the same company. This will, in turn, will urge the prospects to opt-out.

But if you have a healthy interval between every email, this will work like a breeze.

10. Nurture Your Leads From Time To Time

Regularly connecting with your subscribers by offering valuable and interesting information builds trust.

Let’s say you’re a bakery owner. You share mouthwatering recipes, behind-the-scenes stories, and exclusive offers with your email list. Because you consistently offer value, your subscribers eagerly open your emails, expecting to find something they’ll enjoy.

A typical nurture email series consists of 3 to 5 emails with 3-day intervals between each. The copy is not at all about sales or promotion. Rather the intention is branding and offering value to gain authority.

Here is a guide on email lead nurturing.

Lead Nurturing Emails To Convert More Leads

11. Identify Yourself Correctly

Having a clear and recognizable sender name ensures your subscribers instantly recognize and trust the email’s source.

Using a fake sender email will mean the prospect may not know you and ignore your emails.

12. Use An Email Preview Text That Makes Sense

A preview text is usually a supporting text to the email subject line. You have to use it wisely to add extra excitement to open the email.

For example:
Subject line: Boost your productivity with this game-changing solution
Preview text: Experience efficiency like never before and upscale your execution rate by a huge margin.

As you can see, the preview text adds an extra layer of excitement to the email, which will help to increase the email open rate.

13. Set Up Automated Resending Of Emails

Set up automation to resend emails after a certain interval if the email sent on the 1st attempt was not opened yet.

This will ensure that if the email is pushed down the list with other emails, the second one will again put your email on top.

It’s a great way to increase the open rate in email marketing.

14. Issue Re-Engagement Campaigns For Unresponsive Leads

Re-engaging with subscribers who’ve gone quiet can be a smart way to boost your email open rates. Over time, it’s natural for some subscribers to lose interest or for their email habits to change.

You can reignite their interest by specifically targeting these dormant users with tailored, enticing content.

For example, imagine you run an online clothing store and notice that some of your subscribers haven’t opened your emails for the past six months. Instead of letting them fade away, you send a special ‘We Miss You!‘ campaign offering a unique discount.

In this case, you could also mention the discount percentage in the subject line. (Yes, it’s spammy to mention discounts on the subject line but for unresponsive leads, this is the best option.)

This will help to win back a few prospects thanks to your special discount and effort to get them back.

15. Stop Sending Emails To Long-term Unresponsive Contacts

While re-engagement can work wonders, sometimes it’s essential to know when to let go for the betterment of your overall strategy.

Continuously emailing contacts who don’t engage can drag down your open rates and give the impression that you’re not paying attention to your audience’s interest.

Imagine you have a gym, and you’ve been sending weekly newsletters to Jane for over a year, but she hasn’t opened a single one. It’s possible she’s no longer interested, or her email has changed. If you keep sending emails to Jane and others like her, it’s a waste of resources.

In such a case, you may make an attempt for the re-engagement campaign. If that doesn’t work, it’s best to remove them from your email list.

Clearing your email list of these unresponsive leads should be done at least once every 6 months.

Conclusion

As you can see, it’s not so difficult to increase email open rate as long as you have the right instructions. Now, it’s time you start implementing these tactics to boost your email open rate.

But do make sure to track and measure the other metrics – CTR & Bounce Rate – because they, too, are used to determine how successful your email campaigns are.

So go ahead and start improving your email campaign performance.

Cheers!


If you own a WordPress site, then one of the easiest email marketing tools out there right now is Mail Mint. Using this plugin, you may manage and segment leads, send out email campaigns, and run email automation flows easily. So do check it out.

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Sakiba Prima

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Sakiba Prima

Sakiba Prima, the technical content writer at WPFunnels is passionate about making WordPress work wonders for your business. With a flair for simple yet effective sales & marketing tactics and handy tooltips, she turns complex ideas into easy reads.

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