How to Increase Email Open Rates for Marketing Emails

By Raubi Perilli

      Apr 2, 2022     Solutions    

One of the most frustrating things about email marketing can be looking at your metrics and finding that people aren’t opening your emails. When people don’t open your email, they don’t read your email, and they don’t convert on your offers or further engage with your brand.  

But, there are things you can do to change that.  

Let’s look at how to increase open rates for marketing emails so you can find ways to boost audience engagement with your business and offerings.

How to Measure Email Open Rates?

An email open rate is the percentage of people who received your email and then opened it. To find open rate, divide the number of opens by the number of people who received the email and then multiply it by 100.  

You typically won’t need to manually measure email open rates. Most email marketing platforms track data on open rates (as well as click-through rates, bounce rates, etc.) each time you send an email marketing campaign.

Average Open Rate for Email Marketing

Email marketing benchmarks can help you find the average open rates for email marketing. Consider both the average email open rate across all industries and the average email open rate for your industry when looking for accurate benchmarks.  

Here are a few open rate averages reported in our email marketing benchmarks guide.  

  • HubSpot: 20.94%
  • GetResponse: 18.13%
  • MailChimp: 21.5%
  • Campaign Monitor: 21.33%

What Affects Email Open Rates?

When you know what can increase or decrease open rates, it will be easier to identify ways to make adjustments to improve. So before we look at ways to increase email open rates, let’s first consider the factors that impact email open rate. Email open rates are affected by:

  • Email list quality
  • Audience interest
  • Content quality and value
  • Timing
  • Subject lines
  • Health of email list

Related: 45 Email Marketing Ideas to Inspire Your Next Campaign

11 Ways to Increase Email Open Rates

Now, let’s look at 11 ways to increase email open rates.  

#1) Send a welcome email when someone joins your list.

An engaged email list is more likely to open your emails. So don’t let too much time pass from the time someone joins your list to when they receive their first email. Send a welcome email to new subscribers that welcomes them, reintroduces your brand, and shares what recipients can expect to receive while on your list.  

#2) Share information your audience wants and needs.

The content of your first few emails will help audiences decide whether or not they want to open future emails when they land in their inbox. Focus on providing the most useful, relevant, and valuable content for your audience to get them to not only open future emails -- but look forward to receiving them.  

#3) Survey your audience.

If you aren’t sure what content your audience wants and needs, ask them. Regularly survey your audience to get insights about what they would like to get out of your emails. Ask them questions like:  

  • What content do they find most useful?
  • How often do they want to hear from you?
  • If they unsubscribed, why did they do so?

#4) Use email segmentation.

Another way to make emails more interesting and relevant for your audience is by using segmentation. You want your email messaging to be as targeted as possible. So instead of sending gernetic emails to your entire list, use segmentation to send content to the audience that will be interested in it most.  

Related: Audience Segmentation: What It Is and Why It’s Not Just for Big Box Brands  

#5) Write more engaging subject lines.

A subject line is one of the most important factors to consider if you want to increase email open rates. A subject line is bait you toss to your audience to encourage them to click and open your email. The better the subject line, the more likely it will be that your audience will open your email.  

  • Personalize the subject line.
  • Trigger curiosity.
  • Use eye-catching formatting and emojis.
  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Use the preheader to add bonus information to the subject line.

For more tips on writing subject lines, check our Your Guide to Writing Subject Lines for Marketing Emails.  

#6) Send emails at the right time.

Depending on the day and time, your email is more or less likely to be opened. Open rates can range based on the time and day they are sent. Review research that shows the most optimal times to send emails and start sending at those times. Then, try out some other times and compare your data to see what is the ideal time for your unique audience.  

#7) Be mindful of email frequency.

Also, consider how often you send your emails. Even if you find the right day and time to send emails, you may still turn off audiences by sending too often -- or not often enough. Consider what type of sending schedule is best for your brand, content, and audience.  

#8) Run A/B tests.

There is no exact formula that works for all email marketing campaigns. You will need to test to find out what is right for you. Run A/B test for individual emails. For example, send two different versions of subject lines and email copy. Also, run tests on delivery days and times and compare past campaigns to see what produces the best results.  

#9) Resend opened emails.

If you spent a lot of time crafting an email, don’t let it go to waste. Take a second chance to see if you can get recipients to open it by resending the email with a different subject line. Many email marketing tools provide a simple set up to resend unopened emails. (Just remember to be mindful about sending too many emails in a row.)  

#10) Avoid spam filters.

An email that ends up in the spam folder is very unlikely to get opened. Do what you can to stop email providers from tagging your email as spam. To prevent emails from going to spam or your account getting flagged:  

  • Only send emails to people you have permission to email.
  • Make your brand name clear so audiences remember you and don’t mark your email as spam.
  • Don’t use misleading subject lines.
  • Use accurate “from” information.
  • Include your physical address at the bottom of the email.
  • Don’t use spam trigger words.

#11) Remove inactive subscribers.

Finally, if you want to increase open rates for your marketing emails, clean up your list. Your list size doesn’t matter. The number of people who open and engage with your emails matters. Don’t keep people on your list because you want a large list number. Remove subscribers who never open your emails. Also, consider sending a “last chance” email to invite your audience to stay connected or be removed if they don’t take action to stay on your list. 

Related: How to Create a Restaurant Email Marketing Strategy

Get Better Results from Your Email Marketing

Email marketing is a powerful way to stay top-of-mind with customers and drive them toward working with or visiting your business. But to get email marketing to work, you need to get people to open your emails.

Use these tips to increase email open rates, and if you need more specific advice for your business, let’s talk.

MyArea Network has a team of local marketing experts who know how to craft messaging that drives local customers to local businesses. See how we can help. Schedule your free call with our team today.