To succeed in your email marketing campaign, you must ensure that your email reaches your subscribers’ inboxes and has them open it. It’s a no-brainer, right? Not to mention, it will increase your email open rates.
After all, you can craft the best email marketing campaign. Still, it would be useless if your audience never opens your message. Remember: getting the target audience to click your email is already half the battle.
But how do you make 100% sure that your audience will open your email? There are plenty of tips and tricks, though they would ultimately differ from industry to industry. And you’ll find what improves your open rate best in time.
To shorten the learning curve, 30 experts share their top advice to businesses and organizations embarking on email marketing campaigns.
We hope that with these 30 tactics, you’ll improve your email open rates and have more clicks and revenue!
Let’s get started!
30 Expert Tips to Increase Email Open Rates
1. Authenticate your email domain
Ori BenShalom, Founder of SelfMade.Today, noted the importance of authenticating your email domain to prove that your email is legit and comes from you or your business.
“[This] means enabling SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail). [This process] verifies your identity to the ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.), BenShalom said.
True enough, this technical solution is vital in improving your email open rate as ISPs have been refining the way messages are shown in the inbox.
For instance, Gmail introduced the “tabbed inbox” in 2013. It also recently displayed a question mark next to the sender’s name in emails that cannot be authenticated using SPF or DKIM.
Other ISPs are likewise changing the way messages are displayed in the inbox. Office 365, Hotmail, or Outlook placed the “trusted sender icon” in their emails to easily and quickly differentiate wanted and unwanted messages without opening the email.
Meanwhile, Yahoo has corporate logos displayed in authenticated messages.
2. Ensure there’s a 60:40 ratio for text and image
Himanshu Shrivastava, Marketing Manager of DesignBro, said,
“Before worrying about the open rate, marketers should worry about it landing in the mailbox instead of the spam folder. [To make it happen,] the most crucial part is the design and “HTMLization” process. What marketers can do is to ensure there’s a 60:40 ratio for text [and] image. The text should be hardcoded so it’s crawlable instead of hyperlinking the entire image…
All major service providers have filtration parameters set in place. For example, the percentage of text [and] images in the email, keywords such as ‘FREE,’ ‘BUY NOW,’ etc. will not pass through. So, if their system can’t crawl through the emailer, they’ll flag it as spam.
HTML email design: Does it really matter?
What Shrivastava shared about HTML email design does matter. Plain text emails have nearly 100% deliverability. However, emails with images have higher click-through rates than plain text emails. Plus, too much text on email, particularly promotional, can trigger spam filters.
Read this article to go deeper into How to Avoid the Spam Folder.
3. Use ALT text in HTML email
Regarding HTML email design, BidFortune Founder Sandeepan Jindal shared the importance of using alternative text or alt descriptions.
“In case you use images, make sure you add the “Alt-text” tag to describe the images so that they can make sense in case the images are disabled,” Jindal said.
To utilize alt text to its fullest capabilities, make the text short so that it’s easier for the readers to digest.
Email clients, such as Yahoo! Mail, Apple Mail, Gmail, iPhone, and Windows Live Mail, throw away long alternative text.
4. Use the pattern interrupt technique in the subject line
Human attention spans are now shorter than that of a goldfish, which can focus on an object or task for nine seconds.
That’s why Matt Spiegel, Founder & CEO of Lawmatics, recommends using the pattern interrupt technique.
“It’s as simple as putting an unusual and attention-grabbing word in the email subject line, such as ‘T rex’ with an accompanying dinosaur emoji.
Doing this unusual technique can make your receivers open their emails because I am sure it will stand out among other boring emails. I mean, whose attention wouldn’t be caught with a random ‘T rex emoji’ in their inbox?”
5. Add some color
Just like Spiegel, Verl Allen, CEO of Claravine, believes in the power of using symbols with colors in your email subject lines. “People will be drawn to the color in your subject lines and will be more intrigued to see what’s inside,” the CEO said.
But wait. Using colorful emojis improves the email open rate, click-through rate, and click-to-open rate. Some brands even use multiple emojis to complement their message.
Are you still confused with these email marketing metrics? Click-through rate (CTR) measures the number of people who have clicked on the CTA, image, or hyperlink in an email.
Meanwhile, the click-to-open rate is the percentage of subscribers who clicked on the email concerning the number of those who opened it.
6. Choose words that are associated with a positive response
Agnieszka Cejrowska, SEO Content Expert of Profesjonalne-Pozycjonowanie, believes that “words can evoke different associations.” As such, some words can skyrocket your email open rates.
“When you have a choice of emotionally charged words, choose those that are associated with a positive response. Avoid advertising phrases, and remove terms such as:
- Definitely, probably, hopefully, etc.
- Free, money, buy,
- Offer, proposal,
- Now, already, before it’s too late, only today.
[However,] don’t overdo it by making people aware of how bad their problems are, as it will not help you deliver your message.”
7. Make use of personalized introductions
Karyl Miranda, Digital Marketing Specialist of Skill Success, shares, “What helped increase email open rates in my experience are personalized introductions.
Whenever we email a contact, we research any article they’ve recently written or roles they’ve taken over in the last few months and talk about that in the introduction of our emails. It works because people receive so many unsolicited emails every day, and we found that emails that feel personal can really stand out.”
8. Use personalized subject lines
While personalized introductions appear in the email preview text, subject lines are the first texts that appear after the sender’s name.
In short, email subject lines will serve as the gatekeepers to your emails. They’re the first thing that recipients will notice in their inboxes. This is also the number one tip of Madison Tong, the Email Marketing Expert of My Supplement Store, to increase email open rates.
“When I say personal, I mean using the person’s name in the subject line and interacting or connecting with them that way to make it seem like you know your customers and who you are sending the email to.”
9. Warm up your inbox
Email warmup is an important component to increase email open rates as it influences your email deliverability and sending reputation big time. Michael Benson, Founder of Warm Up Inbox, said, “By constantly keeping your inbox warmed up, you never need to worry about a lack of positive engagements keeping your inbox alive.”
The warmup process may include sending emails from a new account, where you begin sending to a smaller number of people and gradually increase it each day. Ideally, you can accomplish maximum deliverability in eight to 12 weeks.
10. Choose your links wisely
Links in email marketing campaigns increase your email open rate and click-through rate. They allow readers to save time when reading an email and select which detail or offer they want to read more about or understand better.
However, this does not necessarily mean you must put too many links in one newsletter. If your goal is to increase email open rates and improve click-through rates, you have to “choose your links wisely,” according to Kenneth of Perfect Captain.
“From my own experience, inserting over two links within the email body can significantly increase the spam rate (based on tests I performed through different spam test software),” the entrepreneur added.
11. Send at the right time
Time relates to effort when it comes to email campaigns. But what exactly is the best day and time to send an email? Chris Vaughn, CEO of Saucey, said it should be a time that suits your target audience.
He noted, “You [can] track the opening rate of your emails based on times and locations. So, utilize that information! What time do your consumers typically open emails?”
Email marketing statistics have also shown that Tuesday is the best day to send email campaigns. However, if you send two emails weekly, schedule it on Thursday for your second day to increase your email open rates.
12. Offer an incentive
People love getting something more and extra. No wonder incentive email works beyond just increasing your email open rates. Tim Brown, Lead Strategist of Hook Agency, can attest to the astonishing power of this email marketing strategy.
He shares, “I thought our mailing list was garbage until we recently sent out a free social media course – and a ton of people signed up. Maybe our list wasn’t as dead [as I] thought; we just needed a better offer and a better headline announcing that offer.”
13. Craft content that aligns with your recipients’ interests
Stephen Taylor, Director of Communications of WISER Systems, Inc., believes that creating email content your recipients care about will make your email worthy of a spot in the inbox.
“The more the content in each email aligns with a recipient’s interests, the more trust your emails will garner over time. It validates to subscribers that your content is reliable – whatever niche or topic or content you’re supplying,” Taylor discussed.
14. Mention a common contact
The previous tip highlights how people ignore emails that are not tailored to them. As such, it is best to personalize your message, and one way to do that is by mentioning a common contact.
“I check them out on LinkedIn and tell them in the email that ‘I see we also have # connections in common’ to make me seem more familiar. Then, I explain why I would like to connect to bridge the intro and suggest we set up a call at their convenience,” Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls, shares.
15. Hit your customers’ pain point
Uncovering your customers’ pain points is necessary to position your service or product as the solution in both marketing and sales. However, no customer is the same. That is why you must figure out your prospects’ pain points and tailor your pitch.
According to Christine Parizo, President of Christine Parizo Communications, “Hitting on a pain point resonates with the customer.” So, his advice is to highlight this in the email subject line. “For example, ‘Why you’re not getting a 25% email open rate’ (or whatever the industry-standard open rate is, since it varies.)”
Email open rate differs across all industries. However, the average email marketing benchmark (open rate) is 18.0%, based on data provided by Campaign Monitor.
16. Make your emails mobile-responsive
Email marketing is constantly changing, and marketers must keep up with the changes. One of the most important developments in email marketing is the use of responsive emails. This is where it uses special coding so that the message or segmented campaigns can be displayed well across different devices.
“Failing to optimize your email layout would lead to lower open rates. If they do manage to open them, [but] your email layout is all over the place due to incompatibility with mobile devices, readers would delete them without getting to read your message,” Ed Cravo, Co-founder and Head of Marketing of Groundbreaker, told InboxAlly,
Cravo is on point with this email strategy, as many mobile gadgets now account for 60% of email engagement.
17. Use feedback in email campaigns
Another logical step is to gauge how well your target audience receives your emails.
“Creating surveys that will allow them to share their feedback on your current email marketing strategies will help you make improvements and strengthen your email marketing strategy,” says Simon Elkjær, the Chief Marketing Officer of avXperten.
You may also leave your readers the opportunity to submit open-ended feedback or gauge customer satisfaction or loyalty by asking: “How likely would you recommend us to a friend? All you have to do is click on a number.” Then, provide numbers one to 10 as an example.
18. Have an unsubscribe link in all your emails
Some marketers don’t like putting unsubscribe links, but they can help with your email deliverability. Madhav Goenka, Head of Email Marketing of FrazileMedia, even stated, “This process will help you increase your sender reputation, and ESPs are more likely to trust the emails you send.”
Besides having a clean list, having an unsubscribe link in your emails will also avoid customer frustration. When that happens, your spam complaints are kept to a minimum.
19. Regularly clean your email list
And speaking of keeping your spam complaints within the acceptable threshold (less or equal to 0.08%), having a clean email list is important.
Cleaning your email keeps your mailing list efficient, eventually impacting your email deliverability. That is why the best email marketing strategy offered by Alicia Blessing of OuterBox is to clean your email list at least every six months.
She stated, “By sending to a healthy list of your most engaged contacts, you’ll be less likely to land in spam, and email service providers, like Gmail, will see that users are actually engaging with your message.”
To scrub your email list, you need to segment your list, re-engage your newly cleaned segment, remove bad addresses from your email list, and check the automated responses of your campaigns.
20. Increase subscriber engagement
For Francesca Nicasio, Content Marketer of Payment Depot, a deeper engagement level to the subscribers is the way to go. “Email service providers look at engagement levels and recipient behavior to decide if your emails are inbox-worthy or doomed to the spam folder,” she said.
So, if you want to connect with your audiences personally and drive customer conversion, you can do segmented campaigns. Some marketers segment their lists by user behavior. These include the benefits sought by the subscribers, the occasion, usage rate, user status, buyer readiness stage, and brand loyalty status.
21. Segment your list by both buyer persona and journey stage
Joshua Feinberg, CEO of SP Home Run Inc., shared,
“Segment your email lists by both:
- buyer persona (who the recipient is and what they care about)
- buyer’s journey stage (where the recipient is in their research and decision-making process)
22. Find your industry’s ideal send frequency
Bogdan Krstic, Owner of RepairSprout, discussed the importance of email frequency. “Every relationship requires a balance between together-time and me-time,” and this applies in email marketing, too!
The ideal frequency should be enough to get a response but not so much that your subscribers would get annoyed or stop paying attention. Your industry average and your audience are two factors you can use to find how often you should email your subscribers.
Krstic recommends finding the “sweet spot with A/B testing. Consider splitting your database into two segments and adjusting the sending frequency in one segment. Don’t change the frequency of the other segment. Look at the email open and click rates after a while. Does it make a difference?”
23. A/B testing is a must
In the context of email marketing, A/B testing sends one variation of your email campaign to a group of subscribers and another to another.
Ron Evan, Digital Marketing Specialist of Thrive Agency, opined that this can help improve your campaigns. “Look at what your data is telling you. For example, if certain content areas are getting higher clicks than others, look at what they have in common: is it a style of writing, use of image, or the color of your CTA’s?
If people have shown an interest in a particular product/service, keep emailing them about that but drop the other stuff [and just] reintroduce it at a later date. [Simply focus] on what you know they’re interested in…. Test, test, and test again.”
24. Write emails that are both professional and friendly
Meanwhile, Yusuf Onabekun of TechSavvy, considers the sound of your email most important. “When you come in from the angle of non-selling and just being friendly, it will boost [your] inbox rate.”
However, avoid being too casual because some recipients may feel a potential disrespect. Another tip is to think of the person reading the email first before you write and keep your message clear and concise.
25. Keep it short and sweet
Interest in your email content diminishes as the words extend below the fold. So, Abby Herman, Director of Strategy at Snap Agency, highlighted the importance of keeping your email campaign simple.
“Sending a long email filled with all sorts of information is going to confuse your customers as well as probably be flagged as spam. [That’s why you should] keep your email marketing brief, sleek and refined.”
26. Add immediate value to the person receiving your email
Ann Young, CEO of Fix The Photo, considers email content that adds value to the recipient as most important. “Focus on subscriber’s interests and offer something which adds value to their life rather than just pushing your marketing message into their inbox,” she recommends.
Simply put, you can share fashion tips if you’re on a fashion site. If you’re in the technology sector, you can share an interesting feature of software or best practices.
27. Use humor in your email marketing campaign
Although sending useful emails should be a priority, you can also find ways to tap into the emotional human side of your readers. And what better way to stand out in the flooded inbox than by putting a huge smile on your readers’ faces?
This is what Jason Butcher, CEO of CoinPayments, believes in. “Using puns will drastically improve your email open rates and give you a better chance of having your email read promptly. [So,] have fun with it, get creative, and watch your email open rates increase,” he said.
28. Lead the readers into a story loop
Story loops catch the readers’ attention. For most people, it’s also called a nail-biter or a cliffhanger. You get the point. It’s a concept in storytelling that drives the readers to seek a conclusion.
Marketers can also use this Hollywood storytelling technique in their emails to keep their subscribers interested. Simply put, you have to create an anticipation of what’s to come.
Brad Johnson, Founder and songwriter of Song Production Pros, even considers this a winning strategy in email marketing. “I’ve discovered that including a relevant question in your subject line helps lead a reader into a story loop. Thus, creating that itch that they now have to scratch,” he shared.
Aside from an email campaign, you can also use an open loop. You can use this when creating a blog post, social media post, video, website content, webinar, podcast, or product launch.
29. Use ALL CAPS sparingly
WHEN YOU USE ALL CAPS IN YOUR EMAIL, IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING.
Yes, because uppercase letters indicate strong feelings. So, use it sparingly.
“The vast majority of people nowadays tend to have an internal radar that automatically tunes out advertising. Using all lowercase breaks this pattern and causes people to pay attention to your subject line subconsciously,” explained Tony DeRoia, Director of Content Marketing and SEO of Witmer Group.
30. Use a reputable ESP
Lastly, to reach the average email open rate and improve other email marketing benchmarks, you need to use a reputable Email Service Provider (ESP). Jonathan Saeidian, Founder and CEO of Brenton Way, couldn’t agree more.
“To prevent [emails from being spammed], I recommend utilizing a reputable email provider such as Gmail or Outlook and to also improve email open rates [and] get into prospect’s main inbox,” he told InboxAlly.
Use These Pro Email Marketing Tips to Increase Your Open Rates!
A low email open rate will pick your pocket every day. Fortunately, you can put these expert tips into practice to increase your odds of success in email marketing.
These strategies can lead to better ROI and turn leads into customers, connect subscribers on a deeper level, and build brand identity. Additionally, it will promote new services or products and create a memorable customer experience!
So, what are you waiting for? Rescue your dying email open rate today before it’s too late.
Do you need a professional team to help you achieve better email deliverability? Give us a call.