January 19, 2010

Ten Ways to Increase Your Email Open Rate


Hostway Team

By Kristie Lorette

You may create the best email marketing pieces, but if the recipients don’t open the emails, the return on your investment isn’t going to be very high. While email marketing is not an exact science, there are some adjustments you can make to your emails to increase the open rate. When you increase the open rate, you also increase your chances of making a sale and more money.

Test Subject Lines

It’s imperative to grab the recipients' attention and motivate them to open your email. Testing subject lines by sending the same emails to the same recipients, using two different subject lines allows you to measure the open rates between the two emails. For example, you may include the name of the recipient in the subject line in one email to see if this affects the open rate.

Segment Your List

Segmenting your list ensures you’re sending the most relevant emails to customers. When you send emails that most relate to the customers, it increases the chance the recipients open the email.

Time Your Email

Test the days and times you send emails to see how it affects the open rate. For example, if your customers are business owners, then sending out emails during business hours is probably going to have better open rates than those sent out after hours.

Avoid the Spam Folder

Certain words trigger the spam filter and send it to the spam folder, where it’s probably going to be deleted. A few of the worst offenders are “free,” “$$$,” “guarantee, “affordable,” “cheap, ” and “apply now.”

Appeal to the Reader

Use words and phrases in your subject line to speak directly to the reader. When you use relevant wording, you increase the chance of the reader opening it. It may require you to change your subject lines for each segment of your list.


The key to successful email marketing is consistently sending your emails from the same email address on a regular schedule, so recipients recognize whom the email is from and are expecting to receive it.

Don’t Always be Selling

Share relevant and useful content, tips, articles advice and industry news alongside or in addition to sales event, coupons and promotions for your business. This positions you as a resource for information as well as a source for your product or service.

Personalize It

Use the recipient’s name in the subject line, at the beginning of the email and somewhere in the body of the email. Even if the email goes out to thousands of people on your list, this helps to personalize the emails so it seems as if you’re speaking directly to them.

Sell ‘em

Mix sales promotions in with other content to soft sell your business by including an “about” section on the company and a direct link to your Web site. This makes it easy for recipients to connect the information with your company, so when they see another email from your company, they’ll open it and read it again.

Ensure Deliverability

The software you use to send your emails can affect the delivery of your emails. Mass emails sent using bulk emailing software or from your email account can delay or prohibit the delivery of the emails. Software specifically designed for mailing to bulk lists ensures delivery of your emails.

No matter how great your emails are, if recipients don’t open them then it’s all for naught. Refine your email techniques to increase your open rates by grabbing their attention and compelling readers to open them.

About the Author

Copywriter and marketing consultant, Kristie Lorette, is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and businesses create copy and marketing pieces that sizzle, motivate and sell. It is through her over 14 years of experience working in various roles of marketing, financial services, real estate and event planning, where Kristie developed her widespread expertise in advanced business and marketing strategies and communications. Kristie earned her BS in marketing and BS in multinational business from Florida State University, and her MBA from Nova Southeastern University.

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