Improve your email open rates in as little as 2 minutes a day

There’s a reason why email marketing is called the “king” of the marketing world. For every $1 you spent on marketing, it will generate you $40 in clean profits, giving you awesome returns of 4000%.

This is perhaps one of the reasons why email marketing is being used by over 82% of B2B and B2C marketers.

Look at the illustration below that clearly shows how superior email marketing is as per dollar returns, compared with other marketing channels.



The ROI in email marketing world is very good, but just ask yourself: is your business achieving its full potential?

One of the best ways to measure success is looking at the “open rates” of your emails.

Most B2B and B2C companies have consistent open rates for their emails. The open rates could range from 30% to 35%, as shown in the illustration below.

This can be a huge eye opener for your business, too.



Are you achieving these awesome results? Not quite there?

As mentioned earlier, the success of your email marketing can be measured by looking at different factors, including your open rates.

So… if your business is getting a low ROI due to low open rates, then this guide will show you exactly how to increase your email open rates and increase your email marketing ROI.

Here is what we’ll discuss today:

  1. Email Open Rate – What is it?
  2. How to Determine Email Open Rate
  3. What’s the Best Email Open Rate
  4. Average Email Open Rates for Marketing Business
  5. 15 Tactics to Double Your Open Rates

So, let’s do this, shall we?

Email Open Rate – What is it?

Email open rate is the percentage of people who opened or viewed your email.

How to Measure Email Open Rate?

Email open rate is a percentage of emails opened divided by emails delivered (email sent – email bounces).

So, for example, 50% open rate would mean for every 10 emails delivered (email sent – email bounce), 5 were opened by the recipients.

What’s the Good Email Open Rate?

This is the question a lot of marketers ask, which is quite difficult to answer, particularly when they want the answer in exact numbers.

The email open rate, as you’ll see in the next sub-topic, will depend on the industry you’re in.

But other important factors that determine your open rate include:

Your email list size – As your email list size increases, your open rate also decreases… because smaller companies like to maintain a list of contacts whom they have more personal relationships with their customers… while is quite opposite of what bigger companies do.

Niche type – Specific niche has higher open rates than broad niche.

Your timing – As you’ll notice later, the timing of your emails also impacts your open rates.

Your Industry – Some industry have more purchases than others. An e-commerce has more purchases than a marketing consultancy firm, for example.

Trends – E-commerce stores business peak during the holidays, such as black Friday. At this time, the open rates are quite high.

Let us give you a rough estimate:

A lot of people are busy and their inboxes are often full. So, don’t expect 80% open rate, and not even anything above 50%.

Email open rates in the range of 20% to 40% are often awesome.

In fact, the majority of the businesses often experience 20% email open rate, as shown in the image below.



Bottom line:

An average email open rate above 20% is good enough.

Now you know what an average open rate should be and realized you need to improve it.

Here’s what you should do (and how to do) to increase your email open rates, starting today.

15 easy actionable tactics on how to increase your email open rates:

1. Include the sender’s name

In an email behavior study, 64% of respondent said that the sender name was a single reason to open an email.

The image below summarizes this study.



This is because…

  • Most email browsers don’t properly display long subject lines
  • The screen size. Over 55% of emails are opened on a mobile device, and they have smaller screen size than a laptop or desktop computer. Samsung Galaxy S4, which has the largest Smartphone screen, displays only a 33 characters.
  • The average human attention span is short (less than 8 seconds). Within these crucial few seconds, either convince your recipient to open your email, or risk losing them forever.
  1. Have an offer

What is that “one thing” your readers will get after reading your email?

Remember the graph we showed you in tip one?

It shows that 26% of your recipients will open your email simply because there’s an offer.

So… why include offers and incentives?

Here are 3 reasons why offers and incentives are great for your business:

  1. Improve response rate – Business that run incentives and offers boost sales up to by 20% to 25%.
  2. Turn “cold” lead into “hot” leads (returning customers) – According to a survey conducted by Technology Advice, 80% of people decide to do business with a company that offers some form of the incentive program.



  1. It’ll make your company STAND OUT – In a competitive world where everyone is selling the same thing as you are, you need to find ways to be different. Offering incentives and offers is definitely one of them. Two companies may send an email to the same person, but the one with the highest open rate is the one with an exciting offer in the email body.

Do you now clearly see why you need to attach offers and incentive in your emails? Not only will it boost your open rates, but eventually, your sales, too.

So… how do you include offers and incentives in your email?

Here are few ideas to try:

  • Include a free gift
  • Offer promo codes
  • Offer discounts
  • Mention “free shipping” in the subject line

Check out how Memebox does it:


Image Source

As you can see, the company offers a whopping 50% discount to its members. Now, would you not open an email like this?

5. Use Flattery

Flattery persuades many clients to take action, for many reasons, but perhaps because it brightens someone’s mood.

Craig Abbott, Anthony Pratkanis, and their team did an experiment with two groups of people in a shopping area.

For their first test group, they stopped people walking by the mall and complimented them on the item they’re wearing, and asked them to participate in a “stop junk mail” program by sending complaint cards to chronic junk mailers.

With the other test group, they simply asked what time it was.

The result: Using flattery improved compliance by 10% over those who weren’t.

6. Optimize your pre-header text

The pre-header text is a preview of your email body and displayed under the sender name and email subject line in your recipient’s inbox.

Just by looking at this preview, your recipient will either decide to open your email, or simply ignore it.

So… how should you properly optimize your pre-header text to make sure your recipients will actually open and read your email?

The answer is simple: keep your pre-header text as brief (40-45 chars) as possible.

This is because different display device has different average characters they can display. Windows phones, for example, only displays 40 characters, while Yahoo shows up to 45 characters.

From this information, you should now determine the length of your pre-header text and optimize.

  • Use strategic words such as “free for a limited time,” “promo code,” in your pre-header text to entice your recipients to click on your email.
  • Or, you can also include a call-to-action that will make your subscribers click on the email.
  • Run A/B test… to know the determine the length of the pre-header text

7. Segmentize your email list

List quality has a tremendous positive impact on your email open rate.

The four major factors that affect the quality of your list:

  • The quality of your email addresses
  • How you manage inactive subscribers in your list
  • How often you add high-quality subscribers to your list
  • And, whether you improve your email targeting by dividing your list.

So… why segmentation of your email list very important, and how you should conduct it?

Often, your subscribers will have their own different needs and wants. That’s why they fall under different categories… and hence, why you should divide them into different segments… so that you send the most relevant emails to your recipients.

Here’s an example of how you can segment your email list:

Find out…

  • Where they live
  • Their gender
  • Their job type and their job title
  • Their marital status
  • What’s their attitude or behavior towards your business or product?
  • What do they buy?
  • What do they do with your product?
  • Are they frequently buying from you? how often they buy on special occasions?
  • Are you sending offers and incentives to your best customers?
  • Are you looking for new customers?
  • Are they using mobile or desktop to browse your website?
  • When do they like to receive your emails?
  • Did they mark you as “spam” before?
  • Did they try to “unsubscribe” before?

In short, segmenting your email list based on one of these criteria will help you send the most relevant email to your audience, which eventually leads to higher open rate.

Is there any proof of all this?

There is! A recent research conducted by MailChimp clearly shows that segmented lists produce 13.07% higher email open rates than email lists that weren’t segmented.

8. Avoid “spam-trigger” words in your email copy

If your email open rates are low, then one of the reasons could be they’re sent mostly to the spam filter.

Every day, over 100 billion emails are marked as “spam.”

Why should this happen?

Well, one of the common reasons could be the use of “spam-trigger” words in your email copy.

In 2009, Mannix Marketing shared 100 spam trigger words that you MUST avoid using in your email copy at all cost.

Some of them include:

  • Call
  • All natural
  • 4U
  • Call free
  • 100% satisfied
  • Click to remove
  • Cents on the dollar
  • Buy direct
  • Billing address
  • Amazing
  • All new
  • Extra income
  • Form
  • For FREE
  • Free installation
  • Free, Free, Free
  • Free leads

To learn more words, check out this post by Econsultancy.

9. Use double opt-in over single opt-in

There are many reasons to use double opt-in for subscribers over single opt-in:

Double opt-in not only helps you avoid the spam filter but also gives you a dedicated audience, who made an extra conscious effort to subscribe to your emails.

When someone makes a conscious decision to subscribe to your emails, then, they’re more likely to open them.

Double opt-in also prevents your emails from landing in the “spam” folder… because during the double opt-in process, the subscribers is asked to add the email address to their safe contact address list.

Double opt-in helps you build a better quality email list. The fact that people actually log into their email accounts and confirmed their subscriptions means you’ll avoid building an email list that has invalid or non-existent email accounts.

Also, it’s a wonderful opportunity to welcome your new subscribers and even give them one of your first offers.

10. Automated emails are always better

As demonstrated in the figure below, automated email delivers 70.5% higher email open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than “usual business emails.”



There are other reasons too that make automated emails awesome…

CAN-SPAM rules and guidelines prevents emails from having commercial content. Violating this law can attract up to $16,000 per email in fine.

To prevent yourself from this legislative hurdle, you can use automated emails… which is a direct response from a user, and a part of an automation flow… to send highly personalized and relevant content.

Over to you…

Do you have any other tips you’d like to share with us? Have you used them and did you notice any significant impact on your email open rates? Please share with us in the comments below.