Email Open Rates: A Comprehensive Guide to How to Improve Them




  • — July 22, 2019

    One of the most crucial aspects of determining the performance of an email campaign is email open rate. It depicts the percentage of subscribers who open the emails. Let’s say your email open rate is 32%. This means that if you have sent emails to 100 subscribers, 32 would have opened it.

    Are you wondering if that’s a good open rate?

    Well that actually depends on the industry and type of business you are in.

    An open rate ranging from 15-25% is said to be “good”.

    If you want to dive deeper into it, you should compare the open rates on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.

    Here’s a chart that shows the comparison of open rate of various industries and diverse devices like mobile, tablet, and desktop.

    Email Open Rates: A Comprehensive Guide to How to Improve Them

    Factors Influencing Email Open Rate

    Your email open rate relies on a number of factors, as enlisted below:

    1. Relevance of the subject line

    The first thing that catches the subscribers’ attention in the inbox is the email subject line. Emails with irrelevant or boring subject lines will not help you garner open rates.

    2. From name

    If the subscribers are familiar with the sender, they are more likely to open the email. You can consider including the CEO or founder’s name in the From name. Some companies even add the brand name in the sender email address. You must test the sender information for the emails and determine what appeals the most to the subscribers.

    3. Timing of the email

    Sending the emails at the wrong time might be the reason why your open rates are dwindling. Carry out A/B testing and figure out the right time when your target audience is most likely to open your emails.

    4. Email list segmentation

    Not segmenting the subscriber list might make your emails irrelevant for your prospects and they might ignore your emails. Segment your email list based on the demographics, geographical location, past purchases, resources downloaded, etc. to make your emails more useful for the recipient.

    Now that you know the parameters that affect email open rate, let’s delve deeper into how to improve it and make your campaigns more rewarding.

    How to Improve Email Open Rates?

    i. Have a clean subscriber list

    Unless you have a quality email list, you would not be able to generate optimum open rate for your email campaigns. Build an email list organically by following a double opt-in method and sending a verification email to the subscribers.

    Here’s an example of a confirmation email from Template.net.

    Email Open Rates: A Comprehensive Guide to How to Improve Them

    It will help you qualify the subscribers and achieve that goal of shaping up an engaged email list. Shorter list with genuinely interested subscribers always goes a long way in comparison to a huge list with people who hardly care about what you have got to offer.

    ii. Craft a compelling subject line

    Usually, the onus of bringing a higher email open rate lies with the subject lines.

    • Your subject line must arouse the readers’ curiosity and entice them to open the email.
    • Avoid writing a clickbait subject line as it might trigger the spam filters and impede the email deliverability.
    • Do not mislead the subscribers into opening your email as it may backfire and lead to spam complaints or unsubscribes.
    • Use numbers to enhance the subscriber engagement.
    • Try playing with relevant emojis to stand out in the inbox.
    • Ask a question that would simulate a conversation with the subscriber.
    • Tap on the emotional pulse of the subscriber by instilling a sense of humor, joy, love, etc. in the subject line.
    • Create a sense of urgency by highlighting a limited time offer to yield instant open rates.
    • Aim to draft a subject line with 50 characters, putting all the important words in the beginning.
    • Tell a story with your subject line and email copy.

    Take a look at the subject line examples shown below.

    Email Open Rates: A Comprehensive Guide to How to Improve Them

    iii. Have a recognizable sender name

    The From name informs the subscribers about the sender of the email. Often, subscribers refrain from opening the emails where they do not know the sender. They might even mark the email as spam. To avoid such instances, you must always have a recognizable sender name that they are familiar with. It is a good way to build your brand’s credibility.

    We have shared some sender name options below.

    Email Open Rates: A Comprehensive Guide to How to Improve Them

    iv. Learn more about your audience (and segment them)

    Knowing the interests of your audience will make a significant contribution to creating better emails. Based on the information provided by the subscribers, segment them into different lists. Demographics, geographical location, past purchases, and resources downloaded are some of the segmentation parameters that you can consider.

    v. A/B test your email subject lines

    A/B testing is the key to determine what’s working for your emails and what is not. When it comes to subject lines, you can A/B test its length, inclusion of emojis, type of offer underscored, etc. The results can give you an idea about what kind of subject lines bring the best open rates.

    vi. Work on a relevant preheader text

    Preheader text elaborates on the subject line and lets you convey additional stuff that you are unable to add in the subject line. It should shed light on what the email is about and why the subscriber should open it.

    vii. Figure out the right timing

    Sending the emails at the right time make a huge difference in the open rate. Take a trial and error approach and determine the best timing to send your emails. You can keep track of the time when you get the highest visits on the website and send the emails at that time; that could be the time when your prospects are most active on the Internet.

    Influence of Open Rate on ESPs

    While choosing an ESP, you should take note of the parameters they consider while tracking different metrics. For example: If you are using Campaign Monitor as an ESP, you should keep in mind the following points.

    • When you send an email through Campaign Monitor, it includes a hidden image. When the subscriber downloads the image, it will notify the sender that the email is opened.
    • Albeit, text-only emails would not have an open rate as they count images for tracking opens.
    • Subscribers who open an email with images turned off in the email client will not be considered in the open rate.
    • The preview of certain email clients downloads images automatically. In such cases, it will contribute to the open rate even if the recipient has not opened the email.

    Wrapping Up

    To sum it up, open rates depend largely on how human your emails look like. Strive to overcome the competitive bottleneck in the inbox and create a unique user experience. You might not have another chance to do so.

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    Author: Kevin George

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