Your email open rate tells you how many of your subscribers actually open your emails.

This is an important metric because it tells you how many people are interested in your content.

For example, say you have 10,000 subscribers and you get about 4,000 opens on average per email you send out.

That’s a 40% open rate.

That’s not bad, but it could be better.

It means 60% of your subscribers aren’t opening your emails for some reason.

Perhaps some of your emails are going to spam or they’re being ignored.

Knowing your email open rate tells you how well your email marketing campaign is performing at the base level.

After all, email marketing begins with getting people to open your emails.

Any open rate less than 100% means there’s room for improvement, and in this article, you’ll learn 13 ways to increase your open rates.

1. Hire a marketing firm to write your subject lines

Hire a marketing firm to write your subject lines

If your email open rates are low, hire a marketing firm to write your content and subject lines.

Or, you can use OpenAI’s GPT-3 natural language processor to assist.

It’s the fastest way to get effective subject lines without wasting any time or money.

A professional marketing firm will have the expertise needed to optimize your email marketing campaign from the ground up, starting with writing subject lines that get your emails opened.

It’s hard to write great email subject lines

Unless you do it often, writing enticing email subject lines isn’t as easy as it seems.

At first glance, you might think all you need is a good subject line template to generate massive open rates.

If something has been proven to work before, it should work all the time, right?

While good subject line templates do exist, and many have generated results, templated subject lines don’t always work. The reason templates don’t always work is simple: they were written for someone else’s product and designed to reach someone else’s market.

Sometimes certain templated phrases don’t apply to other industries. For instance, “How to Google-Proof Your Mobile Site in 2022” is an excellent headline for business owners with a mobile website, but you can’t use this subject line format to reach an audience interested in pet supplies no matter what words you replace.

The above example is fairly obvious, but there are other examples that aren’t so obvious. For instance, “If You’re Struggling With [common pain point], You’re Not Alone” works well for most industries and products. However, if your content is educational or entertainment, this might not work.

If you’re not sure what kind of subject line templates to use, defer to a marketing company at least to get you started.

2. Split test your subject lines

Part of getting a better open rate requires figuring out which email subject lines get the best responses. This is where split testing, or A/B testing comes in. You can use split testing to test every element inside of your emails, but it’s critical to test your subject lines.

Once you know which subject lines get the most opens, you can tweak your email sequence to use those subject lines for future subscribers and increase your open rates over time.

In addition to testing different versions of your subject lines, test various types of subject lines like humor, curiosity, free offers, and personalized subject lines.

3. Test subject lines as PPC ad headlines

Test subject lines

Although it’s not exactly the same, you can test out email subject lines as PPC landing page headlines to see what captures the most attention. This won’t work with every type of email subject line, but it will work with some.

If you’ve already got a PPC ad campaign running, take a look at your headlines to see which ones perform the best. If you’re using Facebook’s built-in split testing feature, that information will be easy to find.

Once you identify ad headlines that work well, see if you can translate the general themes into email subject lines.

4. Narrow down your target market

Amazing subject lines aren’t worth anything if your emails are reaching the wrong market. People who aren’t interested in your company won’t open your emails no matter how amazing your subject lines are. Narrowing down your target market is a critical component in generating massive email opens; it’s fundamental to your success.

Free downloads can generate the wrong market

It’s easy to get a lot of subscribers by offering a download, but those same people might not be your actual target market. If you’re offering a free download in exchange for an email address, and you’re not qualifying or disqualifying leads, you might be collecting subscribers from the wrong market.

Anytime you offer downloads, ask questions on your web form that will serve to quality and disqualify leads. For instance, if you’re a real estate agent looking for people who have been pre-approved for a loan, use your web form to ask about that and then filter out all leads that haven’t been pre-approved.

5. Segment your email list as much as possible

Lead segmentation is kind of like a secret weapon for getting more email opens. Specific messages speak to people more deeply, and the smaller your segments, the more specific your messages can get.

For example, say you sell athletic shoes. You can create a segment for runners, but you can also go deeper and create a segment for track runners and marathon runners. Each of these groups might want the same shoes, but when they’re segmented, you can reach each group with specific messages.

For instance, “These Shoes Won’t Let You Down on Your Next 5k” is something you can only say to marathon runners – it will be meaningless to track runners.


If you have a large budget for email marketing, try using Infusionsoft for advanced segmentation capabilities. It’s better than MailChimp when you have an intricate email marketing campaign.

Segmenting takes work, but don’t just have one or two segments – create as many segments as possible. Yes, it will take more work to write emails for each segment, but the results of a highly targeted email campaign are worth every ounce of effort.

6. Learn how to avoid triggering spam filters

If you’re not careful, spam filters will make sure your emails never make it to a subscriber’s inbox. This will significantly kill your open rates. The solution is to learn how to avoid triggering spam filters.

Here are some things that will help your emails evade spam filters:

  • Avoid using the word “free” in the subject line. Use alternatives like “complimentary” instead.
  • Don’t use all uppercase in your subject lines.
  • Always include a proper and visible unsubscribe link in every email. This will help you avoid being reported as spam by people who can’t unsubscribe. When you get reported by enough people, email providers will start to flag all of your emails as spam.

You can’t avoid all spam filters all the time, but you can take measures to ensure your emails don’t get unnecessarily flagged as spam.

7. Use emojis (sparingly)

Placing emoijs in your subject lines can be a great way to capture attention and make your emails feel friendly, but they can also deter people and trigger spam filters when used in excess. If you’re going to test out using emojis, use them sparingly and don’t use them in more than one email subject line at a time.

8. Ask people why they’re unsubscribing

People unsubscribe from mailing lists for a reason. Usually, they unsubscribe when emails become annoying or uninteresting.

On your unsubscribe form, ask people why they’re unsubscribing. You can give them a list of options to choose from and also a text box for them to write in more if they want.

If people are losing interest in your emails, it could be because of the content, but they also might be tired of seeing boring subject lines come through. If people say they’re not interested, you might be able to prevent some unsubscribes and get more opens by making your subject lines more interesting.

9. Use people’s first names

People like being addressed by their first name, whether it’s online or in person. Using someone’s name is a sign of respect and acknowledgment, and it just feels good.

Hopefully, you’re asking for a first name when people sign up for your email list. Program your emails to address each subscriber by their first name, for example: “Hello [first name].” Do this in your email and even your subject line to get more opens.

10. Time your email deliveries

The Best Time to Send an Email

The time your emails get delivered will play a huge role in whether or not they get opened. Emails sent at the wrong time will get ignored, even if someone intends to open it later, they might forget as the day goes on.

Studies have shown that the best times to send emails are:

  • On Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • During working hours (9am-5pm)
  • According to Hubspot,10am and 1pm have the highest open rates at around 21% and 22% respectively, and rates spike around 6pm.
  • If your email contains a promotion or sale, sending that email at lunch time can increase open rates and generate more conversions.

There are no set rules regarding what time you should send emails, and sometimes results will vary. The best thing to do is experiment on your own and split test your delivery times along with other elements to find what works best for you.

11. Keep email content focused on subscribers’ interests

People will ignore your emails if they don’t seem interesting. Even if the content of your email is focused on your subscribers’ interests, a bad subject line can ensure your emails never get opened.

Just as you’d write your email content focused on your subscribers’ interests, do the same with your email subject lines. Find a way to capture their interest according to what they like and want. Make your subject lines all about them, not your brand.

12. Proofread your emails

Not proofreading your emails is an easy way to lose subscribers, or worse – make subscribers ignore your emails. Unsubscribes are unwanted, but ignored emails will kill your open rates.

Always proofread your emails after creating them for the first time or making any edits. Your regular subscribers might stop opening future emails if they’re full of typos and formatting errors.

13. Provide amazing value in each email

When your emails have a reputation for being valuable, people will open more of them. Even happy subscribers won’t open every email from every mailing list they’re on. Your job is to make your email content as desirable as possible, and when you achieve that, you’ll get more opens.

Amazing value doesn’t always have to be a freebie, a coupon, or in-depth content. Sometimes the best value is a positive message or a simple communication relevant to what your subscribers want to know. When your emails make people feel good, they’ll look forward to opening and reading the content.

Do you need help setting up your email list? We can help!

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Don’t have a website yet? We’ll build one for you. Already have a site? Whether you already have a website or you just need a redesign, we’ll build the foundation you need to generate a targeted email list.

If you’re ready to take your lead-generating efforts to the next level, get in touch with us today!

Timothy Carter
Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue-generation activities for website design and web development activities. He has helped to scale sales teams with the right mix of hustle and finesse. Based in Seattle, Washington, Tim enjoys spending time in Hawaii with family and playing disc golf.

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