10 Foolproof Strategies for Higher Email Open Rates

With online channels like social media on the rise, you might have asked yourself at some point: “Is email marketing still useful?” The short answer is yes. While some...

Anissa Maligat
Anissa Maligat June 14, 2021

With online channels like social media on the rise, you might have asked yourself at some point: “Is email marketing still useful?”

The short answer is yes. While some marketers have turned to newer digital marketing strategies nowadays, email marketing is still an effective online marketing tool. It lets you reach out to your audience in the most personal way and put your brand out there, leading to more conversions and visibility. More than that, email marketing is a measurable and cost-effective tool that can help you hit your targets.

But you might also wonder, “How can I get the best results from email marketing?”

Optimal results can come when you successfully convince your subscribers to read your emails. However, there’s a chance that your email campaigns will go unnoticed. That said, we’ve listed a few strategies that you can use to optimize your email open rates.

But first, you’ll need to know what a good email open rate is. That way, it’ll be much easier to determine how many email campaigns you should send out during a given period without your messages ending up in the spam folder.

What is a Good Email Open Rate?

Reputable email marketing providers have shared different figures for email open rates. For instance, Campaign Monitor suggests that an email campaign’s average open rate should fall between 15% to 25%. 

Meanwhile, an average open rate of 20.94% is HubSpot’s standard for a good email open rate. But to get (or even surpass) that figure, the following factors will come into play:

Speaking of email open rates by industry, Mailchimp’s latest statistics on the subject shows a 28.77% average open rate for government emails. The hobbies niche came in second at 27.74%, and the religious sector got third place with a 27.62% average email open rate.

For a more comprehensive view, you can check out Mailchimp’s full list of average email campaign stats of their customers by industry.

How Many Email Campaigns Should You Send?

Before we start, let’s define what an email is. 

Email campaigns refer to targeted emails that are sent to a specific list of email addresses. They are different from “email blasts,” which are emails that are sent to everyone on a list or database.

HubSpot’s database study indicates that sending 16 to 30 email campaigns in a month can raise your median open rate to 32.4%, leading to a click rate of 6.5%. These figures are higher than companies that send out only two or less emails a month. 

Surprisingly, those who send 30 or more email campaigns in a span of 30 days end up having fewer click rates, as well.

Keep these statistics in mind to ensure that your email marketing campaigns hit the sweet spot in terms of sending frequency. You can also improve email open rates by incorporating these ten highly effective strategies:

10 Ways to Improve Email Open Rates

1. Personalize your email.

People are generally more hesitant to open emails with unfamiliar senders. They might even think of them as spam. So make sure to edit the “From” field of your campaigns and let them know who you are. Moreover, don’t forget to address your recipient by their first name as well in the subject line.

As for your email content, conversational emails are the way to go. These emails often have a personal subject line and a message to help you connect with your subscribers. But how exactly can you craft conversational emails?

Digging deep into your buyer persona is key. Look at your ideal customer’s problems, desires, values, likes, and dislikes, and use these details to write personalized emails. If you’re having trouble making it sound personal, give your subscriber a quick call. Make sure you prepare relevant questions before the chat. 

By getting in touch with your customers, you can deliver the right message and offer great products and services.

2. Create attention-grabbing subject lines.

Subscribers judge your emails by their subject line, so make it count. Email subject lines get cut off if they’re too long, especially when viewed on mobile. So try to keep these under 50 characters so it doesn’t get truncated.

Subject lines should be attention-grabbing to encourage recipients to open your email. Here are some tips you can follow when crafting your subject lines:

3. Get past spam filters.

Despite recent improvements to spam filters, these programs are still far from perfect. Spam filters can direct your email campaigns to spam folders, leaving them unnoticed. 

With that said, it’s best to pour all your efforts into avoiding that spam label. Here’s how you can get your email campaigns past those pesky filters:

4. Test & optimize your preview text.

Aside from the subject line, subscribers also consider the preview text before opening the email. This is the short copy underneath the sender name and subject line that provides a preview of the email’s body. Your recipients will see if your emails are worth opening, so pick your preview text carefully. Try sending out your campaigns with different texts to single out the perfect text to use for higher open rates.

If you’re looking for a suitable preview text, consider including any of the following in your email previews:

Don’t forget to optimize your preview text, too. Keep the copy as short as possible so it can be read across all devices. To create brief, engaging preview texts, get insights on your audience’s preferred software and devices from your email marketing statistics. Keep that information in mind as you write your preview text. Lastly, make sure your copy is well within 40 characters.

5. Time your emails.

Subscribers view and read emails during certain times or days. According to MailerLite’s research, email campaigns tend to get relatively similar open and click rates on the following days:

The company also notes that people might open or ignore emails on weekends.

But what about the best time to send email campaigns? If you’re rolling out emails on weekdays, MailerLite suggests doing so at 11 AM. As for weekends, timings may vary. You can choose to send your campaigns at any of these times:

However, it’s worth noting that the following factors play a huge role in whether recipients open emails during specific times or not.

These factors can even dictate which emails your subscribers will open. If you’re in the hobbies niche, for example, you could expect your recipients to read your emails before work.

6. Segment your list.

People want to see emails that are relevant to them. When you segment your list, you can filter your contacts based on specific information and conditions, so that the people on each list will receive emails that they actually care about.

Segmenting can be done differently. You can group recipients by location, interests, purchase behavior, and more. Mailchimp, for example, provides a wide array of segmenting options you can choose from. With your chosen segments, you can easily craft convincing subject lines and messages.

7. Update your list periodically.

There are some subscribers who may not engage with your content and may remain that way for months. Some of them may have switched to another email address or lost all interest in your brand. Whatever the reason may be, clean up your lists by removing inactive subscribers. By doing so, you minimize the bounce rate of your email campaigns and can target active subscribers who engage more with your content.

But before letting your inactive subscribers go, we suggest enticing those people with win-back emails. These emails can help you get disengaged recipients back into your corner.

Like the typical email campaign, win-back emails are timed and targeted so your subscribers can re-engage with you. If you’re rolling out this type of campaign, sending four to five emails can help you win inactive recipients over once again. Your win-back email series should also include the following elements:

You can even write your win-back emails with any of these subject lines:

But if you want a more personal approach, you can also ask your recipients if they’d like to update their information and preferences. Send this email from time to time so your subscribers will know that they can choose to engage with you or not. This way, you’ll always have a fresh mailing list.

8. Craft awesome content.

People who find your email content great are more likely to open (and even wait for) your next emails. Otherwise, they might ignore and opt-out of your email campaign. That’s why content is essential to your email open rates.

If you want your message to live up to people’s satisfaction, it’s best to deliver amazing content. You can do so by providing your subscribers with high-value resources in your emails. Get recipients to read a free eBook, include a link to a well-crafted blog post, or invite them to join a webinar. Whichever resource you choose, be sure it’s one that your readers will find useful.

More importantly, always send emails with a purpose. Make sure you’re delivering valuable content as you reach out to your recipients. High-value emails translate to even more dedicated subscribers and higher open rates.

9. Make your subscribers look forward to your emails.

Anticipation is powerful. Let’s say you’re offering a highly coveted product — people will want that item more when you build anticipation for it. This idea can apply to email campaigns as well.

Most of the time, email marketers aim for higher open and click rates with anticipation-building campaigns. But you can also give your subscribers a little sneak peek at your next email if you’re after more opens. Test this out in an upcoming email to see whether your recipients will take the bait.

10. Send mobile-friendly email campaigns.

Statistics from eMailmonday show that 26 to 78% of email opens will come from mobile email platforms. That being said, connecting with mobile users is also imperative.

There are several strategies you can use to entice mobile email recipients. Of course, ensuring mobile-friendly emails is always a good idea. However, you should also remember that mobile devices won’t show long subject lines because they have smaller screens. Craft short but sweet subject lines so mobile users can easily see them when they open your emails.

You can also follow these tips to increase email opens from mobile recipients:

Test to See What Works

Make sure you understand that successful email strategies require testing to see what works best. Track the time and day you send out your email campaigns, along with the dates, and see what works and what doesn’t. You can test out subject lines using split A/B testing, which is a feature that Mailchimp and other email marketing service platforms offer.

Increasing your email open rate doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply pay close attention to your campaign’s timing, content, and the needs of the people on your list, and you’ll have an email that subscribers are more likely to open.

Looking for more actionable digital marketing tips? Check out the Growth Rocket blog today.

More From Growth Rocket