How to Increase an Email Open Rates: An Ultimate Guide

How to Increase an Email Open Rates: An Ultimate Guide

The fortune of your email campaigns depends on email open rate. Follow the guide below to learn what’s considered a good open rate and what’s holding you back from achieving it.

More emails open = more sales.

And, today, you are going to see how to make people open your emails.

Specifically, I’ll show you the mistakes that are killing your email open rates and how you can overcome them.

Let’s dive in.

What are Email Open Rates?

An email open rate is a measure that shows the percentage of opened emails for a specific email marketing campaign.

In other words, email open rate indicates how good were your subject lines to grab your subscriber's attention. And whether it landed in the inbox or in a spam folder.

What is considered excellent open rates?

The best way to find if your open rate is GOOD, compare it with the open rates of other sectors.

Here are the open rates of all industries globally.

Now, you have an average for your sector. You can calculate your email open rates to see how well your email marketing campaign is performing against your industry.

How to calculate your email open rate?

The formula to calculate open rates is simple.

Open rate = the number of opened emails/the number of emails sent (not adding the emails that bounced.)

Remember, the email opened number will count only once, even if the user opens the mail multiple times.

Most email providers show the open rates on their dashboards. So you don’t need to calculate the open rate yourself.

In MailChimp, you can find your email open rates under the campaign dashboard.

And if you are using ConvertKit, click on Broadcasts -> View Report to see the open rates.

Whereas in SumoMe, open rates will be visible under the Email Tab.

I guess now you know how to see the open rates. Now it’s time to improve it (yes, even if your open rate looks pretty awesome.)


See for yourself how a 10% extra open rate can change the game:

As you see, making a little improvement on open rates completely changes the game and increases sales while the subscribers are the same.

Now, it’s time to show you how you can increase your email open rates and boost your sales.

Reasons why your open rates aren’t as great as they should be 

#1. You are not whitelisted

No matter how good your offer is, it is a waste if it doesn’t reach the right audience.

Here’s what I mean…

It is because most marketing emails are stuck in SPAM Filters and never seen by users.

More than that…

Gmail now has a Promotions Tab, which automatically filters marketing messages and keeps them separate from the Inbox.

With automatic filters like this, your marketing emails never land in your target audience’s inbox.

And the horror story does not end here…

There is no way that you can find out if your email reaches the inbox or promotions tab. This is the reason your subscribers never know about your mail because it is either stuck in the spam folder or promotions tab.

So, what’s the solution?

Ask your new subscribers to whitelist your email address.

There are two ways to explain to them how to whitelist email addresses in Gmail.

Add instructions on the Thank You page – When users subscribe to your form, send them to a page where you request them to whitelist your email address.

By using the success pop-up – You can show a pop-up with instructions on how to whitelist your mail id. 

This will motivate your subscribers to whitelist your email address. So you can send them emails directly to their inbox.

#2. You are using the free email address

The number one reason email marketing campaigns fail is not using a professional email address to send emails.

Free email address might be good for personal use but not for an email marketing campaign.

Here is why:

Free email address gets less deliverability – This is the main reason you should avoid using a free email address.

And, most importantly, you can’t send mail to a big list of 10000 subscribers or more because their servers aren't configured for mass mailing.

There are no stats available – Another disadvantage of using free email addresses is you can’t measure your email campaign performance. You’ll never know the number of collected emails that are delivered and bounced.

No customization possibilities – You can’t customize your mail when you are using free email services. You can’t even use personalized tags like ‘First Name’.

Reputation problems – Your IP reputation will be at risk when you are using free emails to send mass emails through Gmail, Outlook, etc.

#3. Your emails are not mobile-friendly

There is no doubt that mobile is a big thing – and that is true for emails as well.

Over 46% of email opens on mobile, whereas 35% of business professionals check emails on mobile devices.

But we are not here to talk about the content.


Because, they are not going to get that if your email isn’t opening on the mobile devices.

Mobile screen sizes are small, and you get very little space to show your creativity. There are two stages of email interaction in mobile devices.

First, the inbox itself includes the subject line, from the name and the first line of the email.

Second, how the mail is opening on the devices that you are using, whether it is mobile optimized or not.

You don’t want the user to scroll left to right to see the content on the mail.

If you want people to read your email, make sure your email is open on all devices.

To increase your email open rates on mobile devices, you need to consider these things:

  • Use a call to action
  • Experiment with different subject lines and try to keep it short
  • Preheader character should be within 100 characters
  • Play with different preheader summaries

However, these things seem small, but you will notice an improvement in your open rates when you apply these tips.

#4. Your emails are coming from a wrong name

Here is why this is important…

The first thing people notice when they see an email is the ‘Name’ who sends the mail. After that, they decide, whether it is a person or a brand.

And, now you are thinking…

Should you use your name or the brand name in the “from” address of your emails?

It completely depends on the nature of your business.

If you are a solopreneur like Neil Patel, Brian Dean or Charles Ngo then you should use your name.

When your subscribers see your name, they feel like a mail from a friend.

On the other hand, if you are representing a brand, then better use your brand name.

Because people don’t recognize your name and they might hit the delete button before even opening it.

If you are working in a company and brand and people know you, then you can use both your name and brand.

As you can see, Onur is the founder or Circleboom, and people know him. So he uses his name when he sends an email.

Make sure your ‘from’ name makes sense.

#5. You don’t entertain your subscribers

Here is the truth:

People don’t care about you; all they care about themselves.

If you are not entertaining them, they will forget you. And, it’s not their fault.

A study of Radicati found that generally, an average person sends and receives 126 emails per day, and that might be increasing in the coming years.

Chances are your email got lost in this crowd. To stand out, you need to give them a hint for the next email.

It will make them wait for your next mail. And, they might even look into the spam and promotions tab for your email.

Even though it seems a small act but it magically will improve your email open rates.

#6. You are not serving them when it’s hot 

Strike while the iron is hot. 

And, it is true for email marketing as well. 

Once you show your subscribers what is coming in the next email start sending them your best content possible. 

The best way to do this is to create an email sequence. 

When you get a new subscriber, he or she wants to hear more from you. 

And, if you can deliver the right content at the right time, chances are high, they become your loyal fans. See how Anil Agarwal doing this: 

Each day his subscribers get new SEO lessons in their inbox after subscribing to his SEO course. 

The best part? 

Email sequence creates curiosity among subscribers and makes them eagerly wait for your next email. And eventually, increase the chances to open your following email. 

#7. You are too formal 

I’d be honest here: 

People love to open their friends and family emails first.

And, if you are not a family nor a friend, then you have to connect with them. 


Make your email like it is from a friend. 

Few markets are expert in this and Charles Ngo is one of them. See yourself the email I got from him. 

You can see from the subject line to the content it feels like he is talking to a person. The email contains everything: curiosity, emotions and most importantly the language as you speak with your friends. 

Your subscribers will accept you as you are, and there is no need to be someone else that you aren’t.

 You can’t make your subscribers fool they can see if you are honest with them or not.

#8. Your subject lines need improvement

Your subject line will decide if your subscribers will open your email or not.

The best way to find if your subject line is working or not is to do A/B testing.

By doing A/B testing, you can find out what types of subject lines are working for you.

The ideal length for a subject line falls somewhere between 6-10 words.

Here are two things you need to keep in mind when writing a subject line.

  • Make sure your subject line is within 33-35 characters more than that will truncate.
  • And, did you convey your message before it truncates?

These questions will help you choose the words carefully when writing a subject line.

But wait, there’s more…

Next thing you need to do is check your email subject line for SPAM filter. To test your email subject can use Send Check It.

Additionally, it scans your subject line for spam words and recommends removing them.

After removing the spam words, you need to re-run the test again. You should keep doing A/B testing with subject lines to find the best subject line.

This small act of email subject testing will surprisingly boost your email open rates.

#9. You are sending emails to the wrong people

One of the reasons your email open rate is low - you are sending emails to the wrong people.

By sending an email to the right audience, you can increase your open rate by 14%.

The question is…

How to find the right audience?

Segment your list.

Here are four simple ways to segment or collect an email list.

Engagement – Send one email to people who open your mail and another one to those who don’t open it.

You can try sending mail to people who skipped your previous mail with different subject lines and preheader text. And, keep those people separate who aren’t opening your mail even if you tried everything.

Past interactions – If someone engaged with your previous mail, chances are they may like similar types of content.

Buyer’s journey – You should know about your customers’ buyer journey. So, you can send them a customized email according to that. A beginner audience might be more interested in informational content whereas an advanced level audience will look for discounts or deals.

Buyer persona – It doesn’t only help in content marketing but also in email marketing. If you are selling a product for the male audience, then avoid sending mail to the female audience.

However, it is a time-consuming process, but worth it. You will see a boost in your email open rates when you will send an email to the segmented list.

#10. You are not using double-opens

In email marketing, you should always have a Plan B.

Here is what I mean…

Let’s say you send a mail to a list of 1000 people and only 600 people open your email.

Now what you can do is – resend the same mail to rest 400 people again, but with the different subject line.

Noha Kagan tested this trick and noticed 11% more open rates for the second mail that made his actual open rate for his email campaign more than 39%.

His first mail:

Second mail:

And the best part – in just 1 minute of work he got 7,028 more opened emails.

You can do the same to increase your email open rates.

Most email providers are now offering features to resend emails to people who didn’t open the mail for the first time.

Start increasing your email open rates today

You want your email marketing campaign to be successful?

Then make more people open your emails.

I already have shown you my best tips to increase your email open rates.

Now I’d like to hear from what you have to say:

Have you tried to increase your open rates before?

Or, maybe you want to try now.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment sections.

Umesh is a co-founder of curiousblogger.com and growwithweb.com. He helps small businesses to start a blog and grow their online business with content marketing.

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