How to Increase Your Email Open Rates

Are your marketing emails becoming stale? 

Most companies claim they’re too busy to shake things up. You might as well stick with what seems to be working, right? Wrong. Take a look at your email campaign statistics. Have your open rates and click-through rates remained consistent? Well, hate to break it to you, but in this case, consistency does not equal success. 

With a little effort, you can increase your open rates—which will lead to more engaged subscribers, and hopefully, more business. 


Here are five proven ways to do that. 

1. Clean Your Lists

You need to get into the habit of cleaning your email lists a few times per year (tip: if you do it more often, it becomes less of a chore). People retire, change jobs, update their email addresses, and unsubscribe often. Cleaning these outdated emails out of your list will give you a more accurate representation of who you’re really marketing to. You’ll also notice that it will reduce your bounce rates and spam reports—which, in turn, will boost your sender reputation (meaning those active email addresses will have a better chance of seeing your email...which is kind of the whole point of what you’re doing). 

This task does take time and effort but the results make it well worth it.


2. Segment Your Lists

Segmented emails typically outperform generic ones because they can be designed to be more relevant to the intended audience. Targeted emails get more engagement which means that segmenting your email lists should be a priority. 


According to Pathwire, segmenting your lists can increase your open rates by 203%. And, more noteworthy, they mention that marketers who use segmentation claim up to a 760% increase in their revenue.


Here are some tips on how to segment your lists: 

  • Job title
  • What stage they are in in the sales cycle
  • Company size
  • Location
  • Average order value

3. Spend Time Perfecting Your Subject Line

Your subject line is vital to the success of your email campaign, so you need to spend the time and effort needed to make it impactful. There’s no better way to figure out what type of subject lines work best for your audience(s) than A/B testing. You can test variables such as length (are shorter subject lines more effective?), the use of emojis and personalization, and using sales-type verbiage like “free shipping” or “save now”. 

Our recommendation: test, test, test! Never stop testing and never stop making improvements.


4. The Email Preheader is There to Help You—Use it Wisely!

Think of the email preheader as your second (and last) chance to reel (entice NOT trick) them in! You should use this space to complement (not repeat) your subject line. What else do they need to know? Why should they open this email—and what’s in it for them? 

Be strategic and truly think this out for every email you send out. This isn’t optional. 


5. Create Valuable Content

In order to foster good relationships with your subscribers, you need to follow through with your promises. You shouldn’t be tricking them into opening your email with false information. If your subject line mentions learning how to create strong subject lines, you need to deliver on that promise and give them some helpful tips and tangible takeaways. 

Think: what will resonate with my audience? How can I provide something valuable and relevant to them with this email? 

If you know your audience, you can always find an angle that will connect/resonate with them. Tip: adding a little humor (when appropriate) can also go a long way.


Don’t be afraid to test different ideas and variables—that’s the only way you’re going to be able to keep things fresh and continue to engage your audience. That’s also what marketing is all about, so enjoy the ride (it’ll be bumpy). 

Don’t feel like you have the time? Reach out today. It’s what we do.