How to Boost Your Email Open Rates

Do you want to boost your email open rate? Your email marketing campaign won’t be effective if your emails aren’t getting opened.

Typically, better emails translate to better open rates. It’s that simple!

However, every day billions of emails are sent.

So, if your emails are never opened and are lost in the sea of unread mail, you’re losing out on massive opportunities.

To get better click-through and conversions rates, you need people to open your emails.

But how do you get people to open your email?

Here are 7 easy ways that can help you improve your email open rate.

But first…

What Is Email Open Rate?

How to Boost Your Email Open Rates

An email is counted as opened if the following happens:

  1. The recipient enables images in your email to display in the preview pane or in the full view of the email.
  2. The reader clicks on links in the email.

That’s easy enough. However, how do you calculate the email open rate?

Email Service providers (ESPs) calculate the open rate by dividing the number of people who open the email with the number of emails sent that didn’t bounce.

For example, if you send 200 emails, and 40 of those bounces; that means 160 emails are delivered. Of the 160 emails, let’s say 25 are opened. This means your email campaign open rate is 15.6% (25 emails opened from 160 delivered).

To determine if your open rate is “good,” compare your open rate to the open rate of the other businesses in your industry.

According to MailChimp, the average open rate across 45 industries is 21.33%.

7 Ways to Improve Email Open Rates

1.    Use Subject Lines that Stand Out

Your subject line is everything when it comes to email open rate. Thus, your job is to create subject lines that stand out and capture your subscribers’ attention.

One of the common mistakes most marketers make often is copying the same subject line formula. As a result, these common subject lines are filtered out as white noise. To stand out from the competition, get creative with your subject lines.

Here are some tips to create eye-catching subject lines:

  • Evoke curiosity but don’t be too clever. The goal is to make your subscribers curious enough to open your emails without being too cryptic that the subscriber doesn’t have a clue what your message is about.
  •  Use numbers. Numbers draw the eye.
  • Use a conversational or fun tone.
  • Use the language and style your subscribers use themselves, especially when they’re talking with their friends.

2.    Segment Your Email List

How to Boost Your Email Open Rates

Relevancy is king when it comes to email. And segmented emails perform better than generic ones.

A study by the DMA shows that segmented and targeted emails drive 58% of all revenue. Thus, it’s time to segment your emails because the more relevant and targeted your emails are, the more likely subscribers will be to engage with them.

Segmenting your email campaigns doesn’t require much. Simple tweaks to generic emails could be all you need to improve the relevancy of your emails and boost open rates.

For instance, you can segment your emails by:

  • Role or job title
  • Stage in the sales journey
  • Business size
  • Average order value
  • Time on the email list

Pomelo Travel, for example, leverages segmentation to send flight deals from subscribers’ home cities:

3.    Update Your Email List

Putting a ton of effort and energy into improving your open rates will amount to nothing if you’re mailing to outdated email addresses.

Every year, you probably lose about 20% of your email subscribers because people change jobs, unsubscribe, and switch to new email addresses. Thus, cleaning your email list can help you focus your marketing efforts on warm leads—people whom you can convert into subscribers. This might improve your open and click-through rates.

Also, cleaning your email list reduces bounces and spam complaints, which ultimately improves your sender reputation. This makes active subscribers—who are likely to purchase your products or services, see your emails.

So, if you haven’t cleaned your email list recently, now is the time. You should scrub your email list several times a year.

Here’s how to clean your email list and maintain a healthy list:

  • Verify older email lists. Using third-party services, such as Briteverify and Kickbox, allows you to scrub out inactive or erroneous addresses before sending out your email campaigns. The cost of maintaining a healthy email list is preferable to damaging your sender’s reputation because it improves opens and clicks.
  • Monitor hard and soft bounces. Hard bounces are emails that don’t get to your subscribers because of permanent reasons, such as invalid addresses or domain. Your ESP should remove hard bounces from your lists automatically so that you can maintain a healthy sender reputation. Soft bounces are temporary delivery failures that occur when a recipient’s mailbox if full or if the receiving server sees the email as too larger. Monitoring soft bounces protects your sender reputation with ISPs, which ultimately improves your open rates. So, you should make sure your bounce rate isn’t above the 2% industry standard.
  • Don’t ignore new subscribers. Communicate with new subscribers the right way by sending out regular content to grow your list. Dormant lists experience declining returns in terms of engagement, which may reduce your opens to apathy.

4.    Optimize Your Email for Mobile

How to Boost Your Email Open Rates

Optimizing your emails for mobile is a must because 46% of emails are opened on a mobile screen. Also, 35% of business professionals check emails on mobile devices. Apple phone accounts for 29% of all email opens on mobile devices.

However, I’m not talking about optimizing your email content because your subscribers won’t get to that part if they’re not opening your emails.

Instead, I’m talking about what your subscribers see before they open your email campaigns.

Start by optimizing your “from” name.

Regardless, if you use your name or your company’s name as your “from” name, you need to consider character length.

Next, you should pay attention to your pre-header text. This is one or two sentences email preview following your subject line—the perfect place to place a teaser.

Take advantage of this amazing lead-in by:

  • Using a call to action
  • Supporting your subject line—don’t reiterate it.
  • Making sure your pre-header text is below 100 characters.
  • Cutting to the chase.
  • Testing different pre-header summaries to see what performs better.

Once you make these slight changes, you should see a noticeable boost in your open rates.

Final Thoughts

These four tips can help any email campaign get better open rates; however, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see an improvement right away. Email marketing is an art, so give yourself some wiggle room to experiment and find what works best for your subscribers and your business.

Are you satisfied with your email open rates? What tactics are using to boost your open rates? Let me know in the comments!

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