Email marketing is not going anywhere, so you better master it.
To put this into context, you have almost 65% of the world’s population ready to view your emails. But how do you ensure they actually open your messages? Let’s find out!
How to calculate and analyze email open rates
Before we dive into how you can skyrocket your email open rate, it’s important to understand how to calculate and analyze this key email marketing metric.
Your email open rate is the percentage of recipients who open your email. You can calculate it by tracking your emails and dividing the number of people who opened them by the number of people who received them.
For example, if you sent an email to 1,000 people and 200 of them opened it, your open rate would be 20%.
Email Open Rate = (Number of Email Opens / Number of Emails Delivered) x 100
However, make sure that you count only the “unique opens” for a given campaign. This metric excludes people who open your email more than once.
Some companies exclude bounced emails from their open rate calculation. However, we recommend that you include them. The reason is that a bounced email could still be delivered at a later time, given that it’s a soft bounce.
Now that you know how to calculate your email open rate, it’s time to look at the average for different industries.
As you can see, there is considerable variation in the open rates of different industries with around 20% being the average. We recommend that you benchmark your company’s open rate against the average for your specific industry.
How to skyrocket email open rates
Many factors affect your email open rate. Some of them you can control. Others, you can’t.
In this section, we’ll focus on the things you CAN do to increase your open rates.
1. Verify your list
Verifying your contact base should be your first step. If you’re sending emails to invalid addresses, they’ll never get opened, skewing your open rate. So before you take any steps to improve your open rate, you must ensure that your email list is clean and free of errors.
To verify your list, you can use an email verification tool. These tools often charge for verification per email, so you don’t have to pay extra or buy a monthly subscription.
Once you’re sure all emails on your list are valid, you can be confident in your open rate calculation and take meaningful steps to increase it.
2. Warm up before going in
If you have a list of 100,000 emails and you’ve never sent an email to them before, it’s not a good idea to send out 100,000 emails on the first day of your campaign.
The reason is that ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) can flag you as a spammer if too many people mark your emails as such.
To avoid this, you need to “warm up” your domain. Start by sending 100 or 1000 emails per day and gradually increase the number as time goes on. This will tell the ISPs that you’re a legitimate sender and not a spammer.
Some email marketing tools like Encharge have a built-in warming-up mechanism that would do this for you.
Here, it’s also important to mention that you should build your list organically. Warming up your domain will be a quicker process when you send emails to people who’ve opted in to receive them.
3. Verify your domain
Most email marketing platforms will ask you to verify your domain. Domain verification is essential because it ensures that only you can send emails from your domain.
It also helps improve your deliverability rate because ISPs will see that you’re a legitimate sender.
The process usually involves your email marketing platform sending you a verification email on your domain.
4. Segment your list
If there is one tip you take away from this article, it should be this. Segmenting your list is the key to increasing your open rates.
In an experiment by SuperOffice, a segmented email campaign achieved a 94% open rate vs a non-segmented campaign, which had a 42% open rate. This means email segmentation can double your open rate if done right.
The reason is that when you segment your list, you can send relevant emails to your audience. And when your emails are relevant, people are more likely to open them.
There are many different ways to segment your list. Some common ways are:
- Income level
- Behavior on your website (for example, you can group the people who check out a certain product)
However, the best way to segment your list is to consider your business and audience.
For example, if you’re in the clothing business, you might segment your list by gender, season, or product type. On the other hand, if you’re in the travel industry, you might segment your list by travel destination or the time of year. The success of any project depends on how well you organize and keep track of your milestones. Tools like Monday or Wrike will help you streamline communication between team members and offer progress transparency.
You’ll find many more ways to segment your list on Encharge. But the important thing is to make sure that the segmentation is relevant to your business.
5. Send an email from a human being
People are more likely to open emails from a person instead of a company. That’s why you should always send your emails from a person instead of a robotic company email address or a no-reply email address.
The best way to do this is to use what’s called an “alias.” An alias is simply an email address that’s different from your primary email address.
You can set up an alias in most email marketing platforms, and it’s a good idea to look up the instructions for your specific tool online.
Another way to “humanize” your emails is to use the sender’s name effectively. Instead of having the company name as the sender’s name, you can include an employee’s name and their title in the company.
For example, “John Smith, Digital Marketer at Example Company” would work well.
6. Send emails at the right time
When you send your email is just as important as what you say in it.
The reason is that people are more likely to open an email when it’s convenient for them.
For example, people are more likely to check their email first thing in the morning or during their lunch break. They’re also more likely to check their email on their phone while they’re commuting.
On the other hand, people are less likely to check their email in the middle of the night or right after they get home from work.
Experimenting is the best way to find out when your audience is checking their email. You can do this by sending an email at different times and then measuring the open rates.
Around 50% of marketers believe that there’s no one-size-fits-all perfect timing for sending emails, but to quickly reach the ideal time for your emails, it’s best to experiment with the following times first:
- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days for sending emails. That’s because most people (and businesses) are swamped with work on Mondays. Things become relaxed from Tuesday onwards but start to get busy once again as the weekend approaches.
- Scheduling your emails to be sent in the morning (between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.) is a good practice. That’s because people are more likely to check their email first thing in the morning. To get more specific, sending your email at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday is often the best time to send an email.
Now, this might be different for your list, so if you don’t get a good open rate with these times, you will have to experiment to find the best one.
7. Optimize your subject line
Your subject line is the most important part of your email. That’s because it’s the first thing people see when they open their email inbox.
And if your subject line isn’t interesting, people will simply delete your email without even opening it.
That’s why it’s so important to spend time on creating an effective subject line. Here are some tips:
- Keep it short and to the point. The ideal length for a subject line is between 6 and 10 words. Also, don’t forget to send a test email to yourself and open it on a mobile phone to see if the subject line fits the screen.
- Make it specific. Vague subject lines like “Hey” or “Check this out” are more likely to be ignored.
- Use power words. Power words are words that evoke an emotional response. Words like “amazing,” “best,” and “free” are a few examples.
- Use numbers and symbols. Numbers and symbols can make your subject line stand out in a crowded inbox. For example, you could use “Get 10% off your next purchase!”
- Personalize it. Personalized subject lines are more likely to be opened than generic ones. You can personalize your subject line by including the recipient’s name or a relevant piece of information about them. Emails with personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened.
- Make it urgent. Urgent subject lines may help improve your open rate. You can make your subject line urgent by including words like “now,” “today,” and “last chance.”
The best way to come up with an effective subject line is to divide your email list into small groups to A/B test different ones and see which one performs the best. This is another feature that Encharge offers, so make sure to utilize it.
If you are struggling with subject line ideas, you can always check our Free AI-powered Subject Line Generator.
8. Keep your emails text-based
Email providers know that promotional emails contain images. That’s why they often block images from being displayed by default or worse, send your email to the promotions folder.
So instead of relying on images to get your message across, you should keep your emails text-based. This will also make your emails more mobile-friendly, which is important since more and more people are checking their email on their phones.
If you want to use images in your email, you should do so sparingly and ensure that they’re relevant and add value to your message.
Bonus tip: Re-send your email with a different subject line
One of the easiest ways to increase the open rate of your email campaigns is to send the same email with a different subject line to all un-opens. We’ve covered the easiest and most flexible way to do this In our in-depth guide on resending emails.
Now you can hopefully improve your email open rates!
Email is still one of the most effective marketing channels. But to get the most out of it, you need to make sure that your emails are opened and read.
The tips in this article will help you do just that. But remember, the only way to find out what works best for your list is to experiment and measure the results of your campaigns.
So don’t be afraid to try new things and see what happens. The worst that can happen is that your open rates don’t improve. But if you find something that works, you could see a significant increase in your open rates.