Email Marketing: 5 Tips for Increasing Open Rates

Email Marketing: 5 Tips for Increasing Open Rates

The chances of your email marketing campaigns succeeding depend on email open rates. If none of your emails are opened, you cannot generate new business or customers via email marketing, and you do not want that.

What is Email Open Rate?

Email open rate is the ratio of the number of subscribers that open a sent email, compared to the total number of subscribers on a mailing list.

However, there are specific requirements that must be met before an email is detected as opened and an email is only counted as opened if either of these events occurs:

  1. If the receiver enables images to be displayed in their emails.
  2. If the receiver clicks on a link in the sent email. 

To calculate email open rate, you should divide the number of subscribers who open your email by the total number of subscribers you have on your mailing list and multiply the result by 100. The answer you get is your email open rate.

For example, if you have 100 subscribers on your mailing list and 45 of them open your emails, your email open rate would be 45%. Here, you have (45 subscribers ÷ 100 subscribers) x 100 = 45%.

The email open rate serves as an indicator for the performance of your email marketing strategies. It lets you know how subscribers are responding to your emails or if they are even responding at all.

Email open rate helps you to detect and decide if an aspect of your email marketing campaign strategy is not effective and areas where it can be improved upon.

Even though subscribers opening your emails is not the goal, getting people to open your emails is the first step towards securing a customer and making a profit.

Many factors affect your email open rates and we shall look at these, along with tips on how to improve your email open rates and grow in your email marketing.

Factors Affecting Email Open Rate

Many factors influence how a subscriber could pick interest in a particular email and also open it. These factors determine whether a subscriber is intrigued or interested enough to open your emails.

These factors include: 

  • The subject of the mail is not relevant to your subscribers: Different subscribers have different areas of interest. Sending emails that do not contain anything of interest to your subscribers will not encourage them to open subsequent emails. People appreciate getting information on topics they’re interested in and can apply in real life. This is why it is important to have segmented or personalized mailing lists, depending on the specified areas of interest of your subscribers.
  • Too many or too few email campaigns: You could be getting low email open rates either because you bombard subscribers on your mailing lists with too many emails, or because you do not send enough emails to catch and hold their attention.
  • Content and quality of your emails: This is another important but frequently overlooked factor affecting your open rates. If you’re constantly sending emails that bore your subscribers or do not pique their interest, you’re bound to get low email open rates. You should structure and design your emails in such a way that they’re both highly informative and entertaining to your subscribers. This stimulates a lot of interest and anticipation in your future emails and encourages people to click your links when you need them to.

Improving on all these aforementioned aspects and putting the following tips to practice can help you to improve greatly on your open rates.

Tips for Increasing Open Rates

Here are some of the best email marketing tips to help you increase your open rates and drive click-throughs so you can get more sales and engagements:

  1. Create and draft welcome campaigns: New email subscribers are usually the most likely to open your emails and go all the way through, so grabbing the opportunity to welcome new subscribers with catchy welcome emails solidifies and increased the chances of these subscribers engaging you in the long-term.

Some studies have found that subscribers who got welcome emails tended to engage brands long-term, with a 33% increase in brand engagement in the long run1

Sending welcome emails with our Sendmunk product makes keeping customers easier with the automated email feature.

  1. Using subject lines that stimulate curiosity: The human mind was designed to be curious. When your subject line stimulates that curiosity, you get your subscribers anticipating consequent emails from you.

Keeping your subscribers curious helps to keep your email open rates high.

The email example below clearly makes you curious to find out about the “secret” the sender is talking about.

  1. Making use of personalized subject lines: Email campaigns with personalized subject lines have been shown to have open rates of up to 50% more than email campaigns with non-personalized subject lines2. According to the study, personalized emails generated higher open rates than non-personalized emails. Emails with personalized subject lines generated more than double the open rate of emails with non-personalized subject lines.

There are many ways to personalize your emails. A few examples are: adding a first name to the subject line, sending sign-up anniversary offers, and creating mailing lists based on the geolocation of your subscribers.

Tailoring your emails off the personal information of your subscribers helps you to build a connection that will prove useful in your email marketing.

  1. Segment your mailing lists: One of the most important factors in determining whether or not a subscriber will open your email is if they find the email relevant to them. The best way to ensure that your emails stay relevant to your subscribers is by segmenting your mailing lists, so you avoid sending emails on a particular topic to subscribers who do not find it relevant or useful to them. 

Sendmunk has a tested mailing list feature that allows you to effortlessly create different mailing lists, depending on the specified interests of your subscribers.

  1. Write like you’re speaking to just one person: When drafting emails, it is only natural to write with the thought of the many people who are going to receive your email. There are several free email automation tools that can help you achieve this.

However, it is more effective to write like you are speaking to just one individual. This helps you to use a personal tone in your message and improve the personalization of your emails. In short, you should write like you are speaking to a friend.

To write in this way, you will need to have an in-depth understanding of your buyers/target market, their problems and what they desire to solve, their likes and dislikes. This will encourage your subscribers to reach out, once they see a message that seems personalized or aimed at them and solving all their problems.

All these listed tips can help your email marketing campaign, and help you to get better and higher open rates.

Email marketing can prove to be quite challenging, so you should not get discouraged if you do not start seeing results immediately. Be consistent and experiment with various email marketing methods and tips to find the one that works best for you and your business. 

With enough patience, doggedness, and hard work, you are bound to reap the dividends of your labor in good time.

Good luck!


1. 5 Steps to the very best customer journey | Emma n.d., accessed 29 November 2021, <>

 2. New Yes Lifecycle Marketing September 11 2017, accessed 29 November 2021, <>

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