The Secret to Improving Your Email Open Rates

By Kimmy Maclang on December 06, 2017
Kimmy Maclang

When it comes to marketing channels, brands are always on the lookout for optimization practices that drive higher returns. Studies show that email marketing still provides the best ROI when compared to other digital channels. But, how do you reap the 3800% ROI that top marketers experience? First, you need to get your emails opened.

No matter how accurate your targeting is and how convincing your email content is, if your emails aren’t getting opened, then your compelling brand message is going to waste. Average open rates across all industries is somewhere around 25%, so if you’re not surpassing that, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy.

But, what’s the secret?

There are a bunch of proven strategies you can try, but the holistic secret to improving your email open rates is actually pretty simple – humanize your strategy. Behind every email opened is a human being whose curiosity you piqued, whose interest you captured.

Is it really that simple? Just be human? Well, it can be. Here are some tips you can follow to “humanize” your email marketing campaign and rise above the noisy environment that is a recipients inbox:

  1. Pick the Optimum Time and Day to Send your Emails

Send your emails on the day and time that your target recipients normally check and read their emails. If your recipients are mostly professionals and executives who work at a regular 9-to-5 office, then you may want to send it in the morning when they normally go through their emails.

However, you may also need to consider how most professionals will only open and read the most important emails at the start of the week, so there’s a chance that they’ll skip your marketing email and forget about it for the rest of the week. As such, Tuesday after 10:00 AM may be the most opportune time.

A/B test your email delivery times to determine the optimum day and time to send your emails to help you study and understand your recipients.

  1. Send from a Person, Not a Company

A recent study showed that 64% of email recipients read an email because of who it’s from. According to a Litmus survey, the sender name is the first thing recipients look at before opening an email.

An email from a company name can get marked as advertising email immediately. But, if it’s from a person, a reader would think twice before deleting an email and passing it off as marketing email.

If an email is from a person who works in your company, you’re making it seem more personal, and it’s more likely to get opened. Include a signature at the end of the email that gives the recipient an idea about who that person is and their role in your organization. 

  1. Write to One Person, Not Your Entire List

Your email is a personal channel where your colleagues, friends, and family members reach you. The same goes for your recipients.

Since their email address is private and personal, getting emails that are clearly written for hundreds or thousands of people can give them the impression that it’s spam.

Writing to one person not only breeds familiarity, but also shows your email recipient that you have carefully considered whether the specific message is for them. Personalization will go a long way towards improving your email open rate.

Don’t hesitate to use their first name. An Experian Marketing Services study found that using the recipient’s first name in the email subject line can increase email open rates by 29.3% on average. The improvement is even more significant in the travel and consumer products market at 40.8% and 41.8%, respectively.

  1. Create a Compelling Subject Line

Your subject lines can greatly influence your email open rate. Just think about how you read your emails. After checking who it’s from, you read the email subject line. If it’s something you think is important or interesting, you open the email and read them.

Make sure that your email subject line stands out! You don’t want to be regarded as white noise by your email recipients. Write a compelling subject line that piques your recipient’s curiosity. A great way to do this would be to tell them exactly what the benefit of opening your email is.

  1. Showcase Your Personality

People’s inboxes get cluttered with a multitude of content and promotional messaging on a daily basis. So, it’s normal for recipients to scan through their emails looking for something that’s either highly-relevant or unique. One of the best ways to grab a user’s attention is to inject a little personality into the mix.

Most marketing subject lines use stale, generic language that does the opposite of humanize the message. If you’re going against the grain by speaking to them like a human being with a personality, that’s going to differentiate your message and make it stand out.

So, don’t be afraid to use humor, tell a story, or even use emojis to showcase your brand’s human side. In a world gone automated, it’s always nice to know that you’re talking to someone real.

The Secret’s Out!

Once again, the secret to improving your email open rate is to humanize your campaign. Think like a user and put yourself in your recipient’s shoes. Of course, you need to understand them well, so it’s important that you effectively research your buyer personas to determine what motivates them. This will help you segment your list to tailor your message to each segment and further individualize your emails.

The bottom line is that you need to show there’s a human being behind every email sent and received. Write from a person to another person and not like some sales-hungry company urging them to buy their products. The idea is to build a relationship before trying to “make a sale”.

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Topics: Email Marketing

Kimmy Maclang

About Kimmy Maclang

Kimmy Maclang is a Content Marketing Writer that helps businesses improve their online presence and increase Google rankings. When she’s not writing, she spends time outdoors with her dogs or crochets. Her love for the arts and crafts led her to creating an e-commerce site for crochet and knitting supplies. Check out her newly launched website at

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