Standing out in your user's inbox and getting them to open your emails is a challenging task many email marketers struggle with.
Whether a weekly newsletter or a holiday promotional email, getting them to open your email is the first step toward conversions. They'll never get to read a compelling copy you wrote if they don't open it.
So, to help you out, we will discuss 11 effective ways to increase your email open rates.
Table of contents
- How to increase email open rate
- 1. Keep your email list clean and updated
- 2. Segment your email list
- 3. Use double opt-in
- 4. Write a compelling subject line
- 5. Write an enticing preheader text
- 6. Build brand recognition with BIMI
- 7. Optimize subject line for mobile users
- 8. Decide the best time to send an email
- 9. Keep an eye out for spam filters
- 10. A/B test your subject line and preheader text
- 11. Be relevant and always provide value
How to increase email open rate
Marketers use email open rates to gauge their email campaigns' performance, as readers won't engage and convert without opening the email. But, increasing the open rate has been difficult as many factors influence the reader's decision, such as the sender's name, email frequency, the relevance of the subject line, email send timings, etc.
You need to optimize many of such factors to get your open rates up, and some of the most effective tactics we have discussed below:
1. Keep your email list clean and updated
It's often advised that you create your email list but keeping that list updated is also crucial.
Over time, your subscribers' behavior is bound to change - they might get a new email id, stop engaging with your emails or shift their interests and preferences.
Ensure that you periodically filter out such inactive and invalid addresses and keep only the most active and relevant subscribers.
Get this pre-send checklist to hit send with confidence
An interactive checklist to send error-free emails
2. Segment your email list
So, you have cleaned out your inactive subscribers but let's not stop there. Analyze your subscriber's data and figure out the best way to create segments out of your email list.
Some of the common ways to segment your email subscribers are:
Demographic: Age, gender, ethnicity, occupation
Geography: Country, city, Pincode
Psychographic: values, hobbies, interests
Behavioral: Past interactions and engagement
Lifecycle stage: New customers, existing customers, loyal customers
Funnel stage: Top, Middle, or bottom
Once you segment the list, you can tailor your email subject line and preheader that resonate with that particular segment.
To know in detail, you can read our email list segmentation guide.
3. Use double opt-in
Verifying email addresses by asking them to confirm their email address is a helpful tactic to maintain a good quality contact list. It will also help you segment users based on who confirmed their email address and who didn't.
With double opt-in, you can ensure that only the most interested people are becoming a part of your email marketing journey as they will be prompted to check out your emails and get you higher opens.
4. Write a compelling subject line
The subject line is your ticket to create a great first impression and compel the reader to click on your email. In a crowded inbox, your subject line is what will make you stand out and connect with your audience.
A good subject line is relevant and compelling and gives the reader a strong reason to open an email.
Here's great advice from Chase Dimond on writing subject lines to get higher opens:
3. Be specific— Chase Dimond | Email Marketing Nerd 📧 (@ecomchasedimond) March 10, 2022
Vague subject lines are boring, spammy, and often ignored.
Specific subject lines on the other hand:
>> Catch the eye
>> Build intrigue
>> Reinforce authenticity
All of them are important if you want people to open your emails.
Here are a few more best practices to create a compelling subject line:
- Keep it within the standard character limit for both desktop and mobile.
- Make it personal by adding the recipient's name, date of birth, or other relevant information.
- Keep it descriptive and clear. Avoid being clever.
- Use emojis to showcase creativity and say more using fewer words.
- Add numbers to break through the common pattern.
- Use jokes or humor to hook the reader.
- Leverage trending topics and incorporate them into an intriguing subject line.
- Avoid any inappropriate or offensive words.
- Avoid spam trigger words like Cheap, 100% sale, Hurry Up, etc.
5. Write an enticing preheader text
Preheader text is your ally to get you a higher open along with the subject line. The preheader text is the right place to give a little sneak peek into your email content and encourage them to click.
Here are some best practices for the preheader text you should follow:
- Write a brief line or add a question that would arouse the reader's curiosity
- Personalize it using the recipient's name, date of birth, mentioning past activity, etc.
- Use emojis to create an enticing story.
- Create a sense of urgency like a limited-time offer, coupon deals, etc.
Related guide: An Ultimate Guide to Creating Personalized Emails
6. Build brand recognition with BIMI
Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) is a standard that adds a little photo of the brand or sender next to the sender's name.
Here's an example of what BIMI looks like in the recipient's inbox 👇🏼
Adding a logo helps the recipient instantly associate the email with your brand, even before they read the subject line. It's a great way to stand out in users' crowded inboxes. It helps build brand recognition and trust and gets the recipient to open the email.
Read our BIMI guide to know all about it.
7. Optimize subject line for mobile users
Mobile email will account for 26 to 78% of email opens, depending on your target audience, product, and email type. - eMailmonday, 2021.
But, you should also analyze your data to figure out which devices your subscribers are using to open and interact with your emails.
As mobile screens are smaller, the character display count is also less than desktop devices. Mailchimp recommends using no more than 9 words and 60 characters to make the subject line look compelling on mobile devices.
8. Decide the best time to send an email
Timing is a significant factor that can have a huge impact on your email open rates.
The best time to send an email is usually decided by several factors, including geography & demography of your target audience, holidays, type of emails, etc.
For example, if your target audience is students, the best time would be in the evening or weekend as these people are most active during that time. Getting familiar with their timezone is essential if your target users are across different countries.
There are different ways to find the timings, and one of the most common is to A/B test your timings. Send an email at different timings over some time and analyze the results for each version.
Besides, you can also look into your subscriber's past behavior using analytics and assess the activity level on different days and times.
To find the optimal send timings, you can check out our best time to send emails guide.
9. Keep an eye out for spam filters
Mailboxes are getting more strict with their spam filtering operations and will hurt your open rates if your emails are caught in these deadly spam filters.
Once your email gets hit by spam filters, they get landed in spam folders impacting your IP's reputation and thus, lowering your email deliverability. Lower email deliverability is directly proportional to lower open rates.
So, you should follow these practices to avoid these filters:
- Use a clear and recognizable sender name.
- Don't use deceptive email subject lines.
- Send emails only to those who have opted-in.
- Verify the sender domain before sending emails.
- Avoid spam trigger words like Cheap, jackpot, 100% free, and profits in your email subject line, preheader, and email copy.
Read how SBNRI improved their email deliverability with Mailmodo, leading to a 16% increase in open rates.
10. A/B test your subject line and preheader text
You can make all the optimization by following the right practices but still don't get the desired open rates. It's disheartening to see your investment and time go in vain.
A great way to resolve such drawbacks is to test your emails via A/B testing. A/B testing helps you eliminate the guesswork, and you can get data backed up results to make the changes.
Here's how it works: Create two emails with slightly different subject lines; one will be version A and the other version B. Then, send them to two different segments at the same time. Run the test until you get enough data to draw insights.
This approach will help you identify which subject line resonates most with your audience and can use it to send future campaigns.
Apart from the subject line, you can test different variables:
Preheader text copy
Day and time of sending email
Check out our comprehensive guide on email A/B testing and learn how to conduct your first A/B test.
11. Be relevant and always provide value
For building long-term relationships with your customers, you need to provide value so that the customer can connect with your brand and become your loyal customers.
In some scenarios, your subscribers might not buy the product themselves, but they can recommend your product to their family and friends, which will result in the growth of your business in the long run.
Every subject line and preheader text your write must offer value and give a strong reason why your email is worth their time.
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Getting higher open rates is difficult, but you can achieve it by following the right practice and tactics discussed above.
But, after Apple's MPP launch in September 2021, marketers claimed open rates to be a vanity metric. They urged email marketers to look beyond it to measure the effectiveness of their email campaigns. If you want to know more about it, you should check out our guide on the Impacts of Apple Mail's privacy protection.