My Email Open Rate is Low – What Can I Do?

— April 13, 2017

How Can I Improve My Email Open Rate? | Emailcenter

This is a question we hear a lot from our clients. By optimising your email campaigns in different areas you can get your customers clicking and engaged with your brand. Here are 5 things to look into (and one bonus tip) for boosting your open rate.

Firstly, you should spend time looking into the data collected on engagement and doing some cleansing. You want to make sure you’re sending emails to active email addresses before looking at who you’re targeting and optimising the setup and content of your campaigns.

1. Stop Sending Emails to Non Openers – Now!

If you continue to send to those who are consistently not opening your emails then this can damage your sender reputation, as well as your open rate.

There may be a number of reasons why people are not opening your emails. For example, your subject lines aren’t catching their eye or they’ve moved jobs and they’re no longer using that email address.

Start by removing the non-openers from your main email list and put them aside ready to run a re-engagement campaign. The results from this campaign will tell you if they’re still interested (if they start opening your emails) or need to be unsubscribed (if they still don’t open your emails).

Those email addresses that have bounced or previously unsubscribed should be removed from your master email list already by your email service provider.

2. Use a Double Opt-In Subscription Process

Choose quality over quantity when it comes to building your master email list. When people are signing up, trigger an email to double check that they are who they say they are and that they have input their details correctly. If they respond confirming their subscription then they’ve just proved they’re happy to open and click on your emails.

3. Segment Your List Carefully – Know Your Audience!

You need to make sure the content of your email is relevant to your active subscribers and their interests. You want to build a relationship with your customers and get them to open your emails more frequently. Use the data you have on each of your subscribers to build smaller segments from your master email list, tailor your campaigns and learn from their behaviour.

4. Rework Various Elements of Your Campaign

Sender Name

Something as simple as the sender’s details might discourage people from opening your email. Make sure you’re recognisable – include your brand name, try featuring a person’s name to make it more personal and a location to remind people of where you are.

Subject Line & Preview Text

Keep your subject lines short and to the point and try a different approach to entice people into opening your emails, but don’t be tricksy. Try adding personalisation, using numbers instead of text and rewording to create urgency – especially if you’re promoting deals.

Make full use of the preview text to elaborate on the subject line and provide further information to what the recipient can expect from your email.

Good Subject Line and Preview Text Example | Emailcenter
Example sender name, subject line and preview text

Review the Send Time & Frequency

Your customers are busy people – are you sending your emails at a convenient time? There are lots of studies around what days and times are best to send emails, but you’ll only know what’s right for your business and customers if you research this yourself.


If they’ve opened your email and viewing the content then the job is done, right? – Wrong! You may have enticed them into opening your email but impressing them is another matter. You need to present engaging content for them to want to open your emails again and again.

Have you thought about adding personalisation to your subject line or content of your email? Maybe something as simple as adjusting the layout, changing the colour and font size of titles, or moving the call to action will have an impact on engagement?

Take a look at our article on eye tracking for tips and tricks on how to improve the layout and overall effectiveness of your emails, and look into using dynamic content to tailor your message to the recipient!

5. Don’t Forget the Mobile Viewer

How many people have their email linked up to their smartphones and tablets these days? The answer is a lot, so making sure your emails are mobile responsive is highly important.

Always test how your email renders on a mobile device before sending. If your email contains a lot of text then the mobile viewer might be put off by this, so adjusting the content is important.

BONUS TIP – Keep Testing to See What Works!

How do you know what subject line will tempt recipients to open your email, or what call to action will lead them to your website?

Split testing allows you to test different versions of one variant to see which gets the best response. Start by testing different from names, subject lines and preview text with a small segment of subscribers to determine which one should be used to boost open rates.

You can then go on to test things within the body of your campaign to work on improving click-through rates once they have opened your email.

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