20+ Strategies to Increase Email Open Rates

Having high email open rates are important if you want people to actually read your emails. The average email open rate is around 18%, which means more than 80% of your subscribers aren’t reading your emails. Here are 21 strategies I use to increase my email open rates to over 35%!

1. Write multiple subject lines

Writing multiple subject lines will help you brainstorm and just helps bounce some ideas off the wall. Sometimes I’ll write up to 100 subjects for an important email before I narrow them down to just a few.

2. A/B Test

A/B tests allow you to test a few of your favorite subject lines to see which one performs the best. I use Mailchimp to A/B test with 10% of my email list and then I send the winner to the remaining 90%.

3. Don’t Use All Caps

Using all caps can seem unprofessional and has shown in my own testing to not work very well.

A survey by MarketingLand found that 65% of participants thought ALL CAPS SUBJECT LINES were unacceptable.

4. Keep it short and sweet

Keeping your subject line short allows people to digest it quickly and keeps your audience happy. Keeping it short will also ensure it doesn’t get cut off.

5. Ask a question

Asking a question will pique their interest, especially if it’s directed directly at the reader.

Venture Beat’s research study found that by using a punctuation mark the open rate increases by 9%. The question mark increased open rates the most, with 44% more opens than when using an exclamation point.

6. Avoid Using Common Spam Words

Stay out of the spam folder and seem more professional by staying away from these known spam words: 100%, Act Now, Affordable, Amazing, Gift, Offer, Deal, Info, Information, Requested, Obligation, Order, Save

7. Provoke a Sense of Urgency

Provoke a sense of urgency so they know they have to act now or else.

Validity’s subject line study found that keywords posing a sense of urgency increased the open rate by 15%.

8. Ask For A Response

Asking for a response makes it seem more personal and they won’t want to leave you hanging. Try putting “please reply” or something else to communicate the need for a response in the subject line.

9. Make it Personal

Make it personal by using their name, company name, website, city, or other things you might know about them. They’re less likely to think it’s a mass email.

10. Use Emotion to Provoke Controversy

Hit an emotional trigger and you’ll see the highest of open rates. If it piques their interest enough, they’ll open it just to see what you have to say, especially if they disagree!

11. Use a Little Humor

Dry subject lines are boring and dull. By using a witty or funny subject you’ll stand out and draw attention.

12. Keep the Same Tone

Keep the same tone of the subject line in the rest of your email. When you go from funny and witty to corporate and cookie-cutter, it confuses readers.

13. Avoid Using “Cheap” and “Free” in Your Subject Lines

MyCustomer revealed the results of a subject line study by Adestra, which found that the words “cheap” and “free” reduced the open rate by over 24%.

14. Sign Up To Receive Competitors Emails To See How They Do It

Start a new email just to give to your competitors for some next-level competitor research. This will give you an idea of what they are doing and will give you some things to try out for yourself.

15. Create curiosity and pique their interest

By giving readers just enough information to get them curious, they’ll want to click through to continue reading.

16. Don’t Try to Make it Look Like a Reply or Forward

Adestra’s yearly email study identified that the click-through rates on emails using this tactic were astonishingly lower than the average. The reply subject lines had a 42.6% lower click-through rate, and the forward subject lines had a 60.9% lower click-through rate.

17. Don’t Use The Same Tactic Over And Over

If you find something that works, don’t wear it out! Your readers will begin to notice and it’ll lose power. You’ll also be missing out on the people that would’ve clicked on an email using a different tactic. I like to resend emails to people who haven’t opened it with different subject lines just to catch these people.

18. Use A Call To Action

If you don’t have a call to action, how are they supposed to know you want them to do something. People love to be directed as to what they should do and will be compelled to oblige.

19. Use The Words “You” And “Your” To Speak Directly to Subscribers

When you use the words “you” or “your” in the subject line, people instantly feel like you are speaking directly to them.

20. Optimize the Snippet Text Preview that Directly Follows The Subject Line

There are a few brief words that are previewed right after the subject of the email. Use this to enhance your subject line, rather than render it useless. Think of it as a 2nd subject line.

21. Use Numbers & Lists

Numbers and lists make it easier for your brain to process, just like this post! Odd numbers work especially well.

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