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How to Increase Your Open Rate for Email Marketing Campaigns


Ninety-nine percent of email users check their inbox every day, with 58% of them checking it first thing in the morning. Seventy-eight percent of Baby Boomers, 72% of Gen Xers, 64% of Millennials, and 60% of Gen Zers believe that email is the most personal means of communication from brands that they follow. It’s also worth noting that there has been a 78% increase in email engagement over the last year.

Given the wide interest in email communications, businesses that want to grow revenue and establish brand loyalty should pay attention to email marketing. Here are some ways you can increase your email open rates and ensure the success of your marketing campaign.

Get Creative with Subject Lines

More often than not, low open rates are due to subject lines that aren’t interesting or relevant enough to the recipients. Because subject lines serve as the headlines of your email communications, consider these ways of making them more effective.

  • Give proper context; avoid clickbait-y or spammy subject lines
  • Avoid language or strategy repetition in succeeding emails
  • Limit your character count; 35 to 45 characters are ideal

It’s also important to personalize your subject lines. For example, you can automate each subscriber’s first name so they’ll feel valued and more compelled to open the email. You may also refer to previous purchase behaviors or unresolved product engagement to keep the sales funnel flowing.

If you’re wondering whether you can add emojis and other special characters in your subject lines, that depends on whether emojis match your brand identity and email list. You also have to consider how they will appear on different devices and platforms. If not, it’s best to avoid them.

Optimize Your Preheader Text

If subject lines are the headlines of emails, your preheader text serves as the unsung hero of open rates. If your subject line is the pilot, then the preheader text acts as the co-pilot of your email.

The preview length varies depending on the device that the email is shown on, so optimize the character count based on which devices the people on your email list are likely to use when checking their inbox.

More importantly, make sure the preheader text includes the most important information in your email. Present it in a way that would make recipients feel inclined to click on the email and keep reading.

You can make it more interesting by…

  • …adding context to whatever is written in the email subject line.
  • …making the preheader text answer a question asked by the subject line.
  • …using the preheader to enhance the subject line but not giving the full story yet

Conduct Random Split Tests

Split tests work for all aspects of your email marketing strategy. They help you answer various questions, including the following.

  1. Should you take a casual approach to subject lines, or do people respond to urgency more?
  2. Are people more inclined to open their inboxes in the morning, or should you send emails at night?
  3. Should you send each email to the entire email list, or should you conduct further segmentation?
  4. What type of content are readers more inclined to read? What pushes them to respond to your CTA?
  5. How often should you be sending emails before readers find them spammy?

In addition to split tests, you should also consider getting email campaign feedback. This way, you directly hear from readers and subscribers about what they want to see and read from your emails.

Update Your Email List

Your email list slightly declines every year despite your efforts of emailing them regularly because, as much as businesses don’t want to hear it, some customers are simply ready to move on from your brand. On the bright side, this means you can focus on cultivating loyal patrons and engaging with new leads.

Don’t feel bad about removing subscribers that are unresponsive and no longer interested in your content. You might consider sending follow-up or win-back emails to inactive subscribers, but don’t make your campaign revolve around these messages. Instead, focus on segmenting your entire list.

After you’ve successfully filtered the inactive subscribers, you can further segment your email list and send targeted messages based on each one. For example, you might have a different approach to customers who regularly purchase products compared to those who’ve only purchased once or twice. By addressing each segment based on their interests and buying behavior, you’re more likely to convert leads into sales.

Why Your Email Open Rate Matters!

Sure, email marketing is relatively inexpensive, but if your subscribers aren’t opening your emails, then you’re just wasting your money! That’s why open rate is so important.

If you’re going to dive into email marketing, make sure you have attractive templates and engaging copy. More importantly, make sure you have a strong subject line and preheader text to keep people interested. Otherwise, you will keep dealing with low open rates.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of email open rates, you can use it to get signals about which marketing approach — including tone, content, and the time and frequency you send emails — is performing well. It helps you determine which approach has the desired effect.

Grow Your Email List and Boost Your Open Rates Today

One of the best things about email marketing is that you won’t be fighting against competitors on search engine results or on social media. Your email list is made up of contacts who willingly subscribed to you. However, while you don’t have to worry about the competition, you have to think of ways to get people to click on the emails you send. You have to get creative with how you can keep your subscribers engaged.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of email marketing? Check out this blog post we wrote for more information!


Paige Faris is an Email Marketing Strategist at RSM Marketing. She graduated with an Integrated Marketing Communications degree from Wichita State University. Outside of work, Paige likes to lift weights, play with her five pet rats, cuddle with her two dogs, go to concerts, and watch scary movies with her husband.

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