Your business can have a huge email list and good email content, but if you can’t get anyone to open and read your email it won’t make any difference. The key is to increase your email open rate.

Open rates measure the percentage of customers who opened your email compared to the number of emails you actually sent.

A good open rate is around 20.94%, according to Hubspot, based on an average of all industries in 2019. Of course, that varies by industry. You can click the link to see open rates by industry.

Open rates are also affected by circumstances beyond your control. COVID-19 for example has caused an increase in online business as well as an increase in email open rates.

Ways to improve open rates

However, while there is no magic formula to increasing your email open rate, there are some tips that can greatly increase the likelihood of your emails being opened.

It is true that customers subscribe to your email, but you still have to give them a reason to want to open it. Typically people feel compelled to open your emails because they want to be:

  1. Entertained
  2. Inspired
  3. Understood
  4. Or because they want what is being offered

This needs to start at the very beginning with your FROM tag and continue through your SUBJECT line and on into your SNIPPET.

Email subject line tips

Clear From Tagline

Your FROM address tagline is important. Unless you are a huge company like Apple or Nike, it is good practice to have your own name along with the business. That helps the recipient connect a real person with the business and create a human connection.

EXAMPLE: Sender Name: J Smith, Pet Care For You and Sender Email Address: jsmith@petcareforyou.com.

Attention Grabbing Subject Line

The next element your customer will read is the SUBJECT line. This should not be an afterthought, but planned with intention and thought. When you start writing your subject line, you need to make it appeal to one of those four triggers listed above.

You need to know and understand your customer so that you are appealing personally to them. It is important to know exactly what is important to them and what they want.

For example, if you own a pet store and are writing about your new organic dog food, you would send that email to dog owners, not to a general population of pet owners. Luckily, email services allow you to segment your emails so that you can tailor your emails to the right customers.

Another way to make your email personal is to use your customer’s name. Their name should appear in the subject line along with a short catchy phrase that lets them know what’s in it for them. 

Their name should also appear in the greeting. Avoid all purpose greetings like Hello Customer or Hi Dog Owner. Again, your email service will allow you to easily insert a first name. That simple trick will increase your open rate. 

EXAMPLE Subject line: Tiffany, nothing is too good for your dog.

Of course, you would know your customer and know you are sending this to a dog loving customer who routinely buys expensive brand dog foods, dog toys, and dog clothing. 

Your subject line should be short – less than 40 characters. You want them to be able to see the main idea when they view the unopened email. That is when they are making a decision whether to open the email or hit delete.

Make sure that your email delivers on the subject line. They want to be intrigued, feel important, or have their needs fulfilled. You are promising to do one of those things.

The email recipient should know what to expect when they open. If you promise a coupon in the subject line but do not include it in email, you will lose future open rates.

Include an Enticing Snippet

Another element that you may be unaware of is a SNIPPET. Gmail, iPhone App, and Outlook all allow a snippet, which is viewable after the subject line and before they open the email. This is the first 40-50 characters of your text. 

Make sure what you write in those first few words contains an interesting synopsis of what is in the email. Snippets should be a continuation of your subject line. If possible, include a Call to Action to entice them to open the email.

EXAMPLE of a Snippet: Tiffany, your dog will beg for more of Dog Organics.

Put together the end result would look like: 

Additional Tips

Here are a few other tips to help improve your open rate. 

  • Avoid using ALL CAPS (in the email world that is shouting). 
  • Avoid excessive punctuation, especially exclamation marks!!! It kills open rates.
  • Avoid trigger words that send emails to spam folders. Some keywords to exclude include: free, urgent, last chance, risk free, and basically anything that mentions money. 
  • Make sure to personalize your closing signature with your name along with the name of your business.
  • Check that your emails are responsive to mobile view. This is where over 40-68% of people (depending on age) open and read their emails. 

Despite what may seem like a low open rate in the 20% range, that still is considered high compared to the viewership of advertising through print and social media. It is also the best direct way to reach your customers

By taking the time to optimize your FROM address, SUBJECT LINE, and SNIPPET with these tips, you can increase your email open rate. 

And don’t forget, you always have the option to hire a professional copywriter to take care of all of that for you. They know all the tricks to increase your open rates.