Tips To Improve Your Email Open Rates: 10 Easy Changes

Are you suffering from low-open rates? I mean, you won’t ever be able to run an effective email marketing campaign if no one actually opens the content in the first place.

Let’s go over 10 quick changes you can make to increase email open rates and keep your audience reading…

1. Make The Subject Line Pop

You’ve heard it many times before, so this might not be new news but subject lines are everything. 

Companies have been using email marketing since 1978, and have tried pretty much every subject line under the sun. To break away from the competition, you’ll have to get creative.

An effective subject line will…

  • Build curiosity but don’t be so clever no one has a clue what you’re talking about.
  • Use a fun, joking, or conversational title/intro.
  • Learn the language and jargon of the target audience and use it to your advantage.
  • Insert numbers/percentages from case studies or research. They draw the reader’s eye.

2. Write For One

Either you’re writing for just one or you’re writing for no one.

Don’t think of the hundreds/thousands of people who are about to receive it. Speaking to an individual person, with a personal subject line, and a personal message is far more effective than addressing the masses.

In order to write this way, you’ll have to know your subscribers inside and out. Study their problems, desires, values, likes, and dislikes.

If you really have no idea what to write, create and send a survey email to ask what your subscriber’s needs are and how they think. You can even request to speak to one of your followers/subscribers privately.

3. Write For One Like A Friend

If you’re going to write like a robot, you might as well just start sending out coupons and discount codes because no one is going to “read” your material.

You need to take off he professional mask for a bit to get real with your subscribers. No one wants to be spoken of indirectly in a subject line, “Customers can save big!” isn’t going to cut it.

Think about what you’d say to a friend or family member if you wanted them to read/watch something. Shoot for something more like, “you should really check out this deal…”

It seems a lot more personal, creates a little curiosity, and makes it less likely that your subscriber sends your efforts straight into the trash (or spam list which is even worse).

4. Avoiding The Spam Filter

Spam filters are increasing in complexity every year, but they’re still not perfect. Even your best emails can end up in the spam folder, never to see the inbox.

In order to maximize the reach of your emails, you need to do everything in your power to avoid being flagged as spam:

  • Make sure all recipients have opted-in to receiving your emails.
  • Keep any codes you use in the email “clean.”
  • Send your email from a good IP address – one that hasn’t sent “spam” in the past.
  • Avoid excessive “sales” talk that hit spam triggers (buy, clearance, discount, cash, etc).
  • Include your location (doesn’t need to be exact).
  • Don’t use a deceptive subject line unrelated to content.
  • Allow an opt-out option in your emails.
  • Tell your subscribers to whitelist your emails, and ask them to add you to their address book.
  • Use merge tags to produce the “To:” field of your email campaigns.

5. Organizing Your List(s)

One of the main factors on whether or not a subscriber opens an email is if it’s relevant to them, and the best way to increase the relevancy of your emails by segmenting your list.

A study found that 39% of marketers who segment their lists experience higher open rates, lower unsubscribe rates, and greater revenue.

Segmenting your list all depends on who your email platform is hosted by. If you choose a platform like Gumroad, you can automatically segment your list by customers of specific offers (which I absolutely love). However, on other email platforms (Mailchimp or ConvertKit) you can add tags to your subscribers based on behaviors.

You can segment your lists based on demographics, interests, purchases, or specific/special topics. Once you have segments set up, it’s much easier to know what subjects to write on and who to send them to.

6. Keeping Your List Clean

Most of your subscribers want to actively hear from you, but over time, the list can go stale. People create new email accounts, change their focus, or become uninterested.

Keep your list fresh and filled with active subscribers by removing inactive subscribers. Now, you shouldn’t be getting rid of all of them without sending them a last-ditch-effort email trying to re-engage them.

Try using subject lines like, “Do I bore you?”, “Is the love gone?”, “Do you hate me?”, or something else that makes it seem like you’re about to go through a terrible break-up.

If you’re trying to revive a cold list you haven’t talked to in a few months, try conducting a survey on what they’d like to receive via email first and offering a free gift for completion. This solves two problems with one action by getting them to engage and provide you with the information you need to create new, relevant content.

7. Writing A Masterpiece Every Time

If they’re opening the email, it’s a win, right?

Not completely…

The actual content of your email is just as important as the open rate. Subscribers that are happy with the value your content provides will be more likely to open emails in the future. Anticipating when you will send your next work of art.

Writing a masterpiece every time doesn’t mean that you actually need to “write” amazing content every single time. You can use links to blog posts and other resources to entertain and bring knowledge to your subscribers.

Better, higher-quality emails lead to loyal subscribers which then leads to increased open rates.

8. Add A Little Humor

Humor can create an instant connection with your readers because it’s personal, entertaining, and it stands out from average/normal emails.

It’s not easy for everyone to be clever or humorous, but luckily, you don’t have to be a comedian to pull off a humorous email. If you know your community’s likes and dislikes it should be pretty easy to make a joke or tongue-in-cheek reference.

Inserting a relatable image or funny animated GIF to make a point can add all the humor you need.

9. Perfect Timing

Timing is everything when it comes to open and engagement rates, so think carefully about what time of day and what day of the year you’re sending out your emails.

Performing A/B tests and taking note of the timestamps on your highest performing emails will give you an idea of when you should do your email blasting.

Mailchimp data suggests that the highest open rates happen between Monday and mid-day Friday between 7AM and 10PM. They decided to look deeper and found out that the type of content being sent, location, age, and occupation all played a part in peak times.

Experian’s Email Benchmark report found that the best time for sending emails is weekdays from 8-12AM.

Combining both reports seems to confirm that the best is mid-day during the week.

10. Don’t Neglect Mobile

Mobile email opens can range between 15-70% of all opens, so knowing your audience here is the key. If you email your subscribers are interested in making money using their phone, there’s a high chance they’ll be using their phone more than an email list focused on getting a promotion at their office job.

Don’t ignore mobile users and the obvious solution is to make sure your emails are mobile-friendly with a responsive format. A few other tips are:

  • Keep the format simple and under 600px wide.
  • Use smaller images or lower-quality to reduce load time.
  • Use a larger font as smaller ones may be difficult to read.
  • Don’t assume images are being displayed – some email programs turn off images by default.
  • Use a large call-to-action button – they’re easier to tap.
  • Don’t place links next to or on top of one another.


All of these tips should help you improve your email open rates and even lead to better click-through rates. Email marketing is both an art and a science, so give yourself time to learn and experiment to find what strategies work best for you and your subscribers.

Don’t have an email list large enough to send updates regularly? Use one of these 77 lead magnet ideas to start gaining new subscribers.

Leave a Reply