How to Increase the Open Rate of your Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective online marketing techniques because it connects you with your target audience. By having a newsletter signup on your website, you give users an opportunity to stay in touch with you. However, you want to engage your readers and encourage them to read your emails, and keep them connected with you.

One way of measuring the success of your email marketing campaign is by examining the open rate or your emails. This refers to the number of people who open your emails as a percentage based on the total number of emails sent. The higher your open rate transcends into the success of your email marketing campaign. But to entice people to open your emails you have to make them appealing to your recipients!

The Right Subject Line

Your email’s subject line can be the determining factor as to whether your email is opened or deleted. It is the first thing your recipients see in their inbox. Think about it. How many times have you deleted an email based on its subject line?

You have a reason for sending emails, so tell your recipients why they would want to open the email. Tell them what they will benefit by reading your email, but be short and to the point. Remember, the subject line seen in a user’s inbox will only show about 50 characters, so be sure to get your message across within those characters (this includes spaces and punctuation). You should experiment with different short subject lines to ensure you use the most effective ones for your target market. In creating your subject line, there are also words to avoid. Forbes lists the most commons words in spam email as:

  1. shipping!
  2. today!
  3. here!
  4. available
  5. fingertips!
  6. online!1

Avoiding words like these can keep your email from the spam folder, but you must also ensure you use the right words that will interest your recipients and avoid your email being sent to the trash.

When to Send Your Email

Depending on the time of the day, your contacts will be more or less available to check their emails. With most emails opened within the first hour of the email being sent, it is important to pick the right time to send them,\ in order to achieve the highest open rate possible. Researchers have shown that most emails are being sent between 6am and noon, and the time people are actually checking their inboxes is between 8am and 9am, or during the afternoon between 3pm and 8pm. While on the other end, the lower email open rate happens between 12am and 6am!
DON’T FORGET your international contacts! It might be the night for them so adapt your sending schedule upon their time zone.


Ensure that all your emails offer something different from your competition and something different each time! If you are known for writing eye-catching and professional emails, people will not get tired from receiving them. You should keep all your emails interesting but remember to not fill the newsletter with sales pitches. Write articles, tell stories, and report testimonials; in other words, create different content each time. Personalize the emails and talk to the recipients as if you know them already. This will make them feel special and make you interesting to them. This way they will be more willing to keep receiving your email instead of unsubscribing from your email list.

Shorter is better

It is better that you have short, frequent emails rather than long emails sent over a long period of time. This way, your recipients will remember you and will be able to read your message at a glance and on the go. With 44% of emails read from a mobile device2, you have to think about mobile users. Readers do not want to scroll through tons of content on their phone, and if this is the case, your email will most likely be deleted. Although this sounds counterintuitive, it actually works. People only spend a few seconds on an email and you should, therefore, ensure that they can get what each email says within those few seconds.

Optimization for Mobile

Another essential aspect of email marketing that a lot of people tend to forget (only 11.84% of newsletters use responsive design techniques to optimize their layouts for mobile devices.3) is email optimization for mobile. With 80% of smartphone users sending/checking email with their device weekly4, optimizing the layout of your email for mobile is a must if you send newsletters on a regular basis. If your recipients cannot read your emails smoothly and without any trouble on a mobile device, they will begin deleting your emails before opening and possibly opt out of your email list.

Update your list of contacts

Make sure you don’t send your emails to addresses that are not being used anymore or to people who already responded to you and are doing business with you. You should keep your prospect and client lists up-to-date and compare them. You can also use different tools to find out who did not open your previous emails and send them another series of email! Having different interest lists within your email marketing system is also necessary, so that you can filter which emails are sent to whom, and get the right information in front of the right audience!

Your purpose when creating your emails is to captivate your readers’ attention, this way they will be more willing to open them. To do this, ensure that your subject line is enticing and the content is useful and informative. You should consider writing emails as part of a series explaining something or educating the readers on a subject. This way, the readers will already be looking forward to your next email.


1 Source: Forbes – “The Most Common Words In Spam Email”
2 Source: Litmus (June 2013)
3 Source: Equinux (June 2013)
4 Source: Litmus (February 2013)

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