How Do I Increase My Email Open Rate?

We’ve all been there–you have 5000 subscribers to an opt-in email marketing list, so why aren’t they opening it?

Like all things in marketing, readership is certainly not a give-in. With consumers being constantly inundated with emails from mass market retail, blogs, even political figures, it’s hard to stand out in what is for some people a sea of dozens of emails received per day. Beyond that, most email engines have built-in filters to further section those out. If you’re emailing about a promotion, sale, or exclusive event, it might seem almost impossible to get your message seen unless your client is reading their “Promotions” folder very carefully… let’s not even get into the “junk” mail situation.

Here at Cactus, we’ve been doing email marketing for a very long time. Our content collaborators and email sequencing experts have put together some tips and general rules to help you stand out from the crowd, be that B2B, B2C, whatever is on your plate at the time.


What are SMART Goals?

One of the governing rules of marketing is SMART goals. While this can be applied to many things in life, email marketing campaigns bear no exception.

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Time-Bound goals matter specifically in regards to email marketing. It’s important to hold yourself to a standard that is not only realistic, but still bears improvement in mind.

Lately, the common standard metric for email open rates is anywhere from 25-35%. To us, this seems low. For opt-in email lists, 25-35% is the bare minimum, and certainly not something that should be a lofty goal to set your sights on. When we work with clients who expect, or are even struggling to make a 25% open rate, some background work often reveals negligence on their part, or on their previous firm’s part, in updating DNS records, spam words and consistent deliverability checks. Easy optimization can be done when deliverability is below 50% to booster your open rate, and ultimately improve many other aspects of your email campaigns, including click rate, and click-to-open rate

It is once again back to those marketing basics, but we shouldn’t have to say this twice: keep your content short, precise, and always employ an easy to understand call-to-action (CTA). While some people reading this might say they always do that, it’s a good rule of thumb to scan your email once, twice, three times once you’re sure of the content, and remove any unwanted or redundant wording.

This applies to your call to action, your headline, your tagline, and your content itself. Statistically, emails with less text perform better as they are easier for your client to scan. Attention spans are short–keep this in mind when writing your headline and subheading as well. Don’t forget to employ the ever-effection “fear of missing out” when you’re writing your hook; the average consumer is exposed to 247 marketing messages a day (Fluid Driven Media, 2012), so yours has to stand out.

How do I ensure email deliverability?

You know the saying “different strokes for different folks”? This is something to keep in mind when considering options for members of the EU versus North American email subscribers. Be sure to adhere to national, international, and regional policy and laws in regards to how clients can sign up to your email list, how your disburse your emails, and how you handle their private information.

Our best tip is to keep separate email lists, if you need to, for different regions, or different engines altogether. Most email marketing software keeps track of these things for you, but ultimately you don’t want something to slip in between the cracks. Many softwares offer an overview of CAN-SPAM (United States), CASL (Canada), and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations of 2003 (Europe and the UK), but it’s important to know as much as you can offhand and keep on top of these restrictions so you’re in compliance with these rules.

Ultimately, there are many more things you can consider in order to increase your open rates. Revising your content often, and being mindful of the intended consumer, is always a good idea. If you’re still struggling to make use of the $42 billion dollar email marketing industry, you can always contact us to set your company up for success.