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Three simple things you can do right now to improve your email open rates

Ready to turn your email campaigns into open rate beasts? Awesome, because below we’re going to dive into some simple yet incredibly effective strategies to get those email opens soaring. And guess what? You shouldn’t lose sleep over unsubscribes either. Let’s roll!

Get The Subject Line and Preview Text Right

First things first – your subject line is your email’s ticket to the inbox party. It’s like the bouncer who decides if your email gets in. So, make it epic!

Include phrases that indicate you know who that recipient is beyond an email. Pepper in their industry, job title, pain points, etc. A little curiosity, humor, or a sprinkle of urgency can work wonders. For instance:

  • “Four Things Every Purchasing Agent Does Wrong”
  • “The Two Reports Your Boss Wants Now”
  • “AI Keeping You Up At Night? Fight Back With These Six Tips”

See what we did there? Intrigue and excitement are your best friends here. Speaking directly to your customers and not about yourself is also key. And adding in steps or list numbers also works on the human psyche to pique interest.

Whatever your subject line is, continue the concept and intrigue with your preview text. Treat it as an extension of your subject line—because it is. These two items are your one shot to get your email opened, don’t hold back!

Everything You Know About Spam Filters Is Wrong

Let’s talk about the email equivalent of the dark side – spam filters.

You’re probably twisting yourself into pretzels trying to avoid ending up in your customers’ junk folder. Don’t worry, everything that probably has you worried hasn’t been relevant in 15 years.

That’s right, most spam flags are antiquated and no longer a factor.

  • All caps or exclamation marks in your subject line? GO FOR IT!
  • Want to use emojis? We ❤️ ’em!
  • [Brackets], (parenthesis) and *asterisks* work. They are get attention and opens.
  • Afraid to use the word “free?” It gets a 34% open rate on average.
  • Ellipsis… can get B2B a 21% increase in open rates.
  • Above all test, test, and test some more.

In fact, most spam flags you’ll read about are not really enforced anymore. Your email ending up in a spam folder has more to do with the provider’s sending reputation, if the domain you’re sending from is trusted, how many times the user has engaged with your email in the past, and whether or not you send out an attachment to hundreds or thousands of people at once (don’t do that) among other things.

You want a healthy sending reputation basically, and your subject line has little to do with that.

Don’t believe us? Check out what email guru Jay Schwedelson has had to say on this topic. He’s a genius and we love him.

Unsubscribes Are Not A Crime, Embrace Them!

Dread seeing a dozen unsubscribes on every email send? Don’t sweat it. It’s natural, and more often than not has nothing to do with you or your email.

People unsubscribe for lots of reasons. Maybe they changed jobs (and industries), maybe they’re no longer in the market for what you’re selling, or maybe they’re just having one of those days and unsubscribed from every marketing email that landed in their inbox that day.

It’s okay. Really.

As long as you’re not seeing big spam reports (that’s a whole other story), unsubscribes are actually a good thing. People that aren’t into you right now probably aren’t opening, let alone clicking, anything you’re sending them, and that’s just dragging down your overall open rates. Say goodbye to them for now, and when the time is right they’ll be back on your lists.

Bonus: They have to open your email and click a link (both count!) to unsubscribe, giving you one last metric boost before they ride off into the sunset.

So, make unsubscribing easy. Include a clear ‘unsubscribe’ link, and if they want out, let them go gracefully. It’s better to have a small, engaged list than a massive one with disinterested subscribers.

Relax, You Got This

Of course, it can be a complex series of events when getting a marketing email out the door. Time spent on landing pages, email copy, images, and CTAs, plus list management and segmentation can all add up to a lot of work.

But none of that hard work will matter if your customers don’t open your email. Try some of these tips above to make sure you occupy their inbox and their attention. And be sure to test what works with your audience and what doesn’t.

It can take some time to get it right. Take a deep breathe and dive in. You got this!


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