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5 Ways To Increase Your Email Open Rates

business tips digital marketing agency email marketing marketing strategy small business Feb 06, 2023
A picture of a person's Google Gmail inbox

One of the best things you can invest in if you want your business to substantially and continually grow over the years is an email list.  Even though email marketing has been around for 20 years, it STILL boasts the best ROI for business owners and is still the best way to sell your products and services.

However, most business owners get emails completely wrong.  They either end up hearing crickets when they send emails and get low open rates, or they sell too much and end up seeing people unsubscribe as quickly as they subscribed.

In today’s blog, I want to give you 5 specific ways that you can increase your open rates on your email marketing and ultimately, how many sales you make as a result.

Use Shorter Subject Lines/Emails

The first step when it comes to improving your email marketing is your subject line.  People get on average over 100 emails a day, which means that your email needs to stand out and get them to open it based on the only thing they can see, which is that subject line.

The easiest way to get someone’s attention with your email subject line is to:

  • Make it enticing
  • Make sure it gets your point across
  • Make it short

That last point especially is important.  Not only do long subject lines give your emails a chance at ending up in spam, but most people won’t read them.  You have anywhere from 1-3 seconds to get someone’s attention, which means that your subject line needs to be short enough for them to read in that amount of time.

When you’re creating a subject line, you want to give them a hint as to what the email is about, but also highlight the pain point/benefit they’d get if they were to open and read your email.  If it doesn’t stick out to them, they won’t open, and if they don’t open, you’re more likely you are to eventually end up in the spam folder.

Always Fill Out Your Preview Text

A common objection I get to the last point that was made usually goes something like this: “Well Michael, if I use a really short subject line, how will they know what my email is about?  How will they know to open it?”

This is why using your subject line AND preview text together to create intrigue is the BEST possible way to get your emails opened.  Here is the recipe that we use when crafting our emails:

Short, catchy subject line + pain point/benefit preview text = increased open rate

If you use more than 50 characters in your subject line, you have a chance of ending up in spam.  That’s why using the preview text to hook people in is so important.  Use this text as a layer on top of your subject line to build intrigue and force people to your emails!

Segment Your List

This is really important, especially if you talk about multiple topics (content pillars), you have multiple free resources, and/or you sell multiple products/services.  Because if you do, this means that people are opting into your email list for different reasons.

I’ll use our business as an example.  Say person A opt’s into a free resource about how to grow their social media, while person B opts into a free resource about tips on improving their website.

Obviously, these two people have opted in to receive very different information, and while they MIGHT be interested in learning about the other topic, it’s not a guarantee.  They wanted specific information, which means if I want them to continue to consume my content (which, in this case, is opening emails), then I need to make sure they continue to get the help they need.

This is why having separate lists, separate free resources, and separate offers is so important for increasing your sales and scaling your business.  Research shows that people are 60% more likely to open an email that has to do with why they opted into your list in the first place.

It obviously takes more work to have separate lists, but the return that you get from taking the extra time to craft these emails can pay off massively for your business.  The best way to do this is to focus on one topic, one tip, and keep the emails short.  This will allow you to create multiple emails in a relatively short amount of time.

Find Your Optimum Time For Delivering Emails

If you read 100 different blogs about email marketing, you’d probably find 100 different tips about when you should be sending your emails.  The truth is, everyone is just giving their best information based on what they’ve seen has worked the best for them.

Just like I could tell you that the best time I’ve found for sending emails for us is Fridays at 3 pm.  Over the past three years, I’ve tried dozens of different email formats, days, and times.  After all of that testing, this is what I have found to work the best for us.

However, you could try the same format and it completely tanks.  The thing you have to do is continually test.  Send an email once a week at the same time, same day for a month, and see how they do.  Then the next month, change the time and day.  Then repeat.

Once you’re done testing the specific days and times you want to test, pull all of your analytics together and see once and for all what is the best time for you.  Some people say early in the morning is best.  Some say during people’s lunch break when they’re checking their phones.  Other people say it’s when they’re off work and have time to actually check their email.

The truth is you’ll never know till you experiment.  The goal should always be to get at least a 20% email open rate, but the higher percentage, the better.  Right now, our is at 51% and I can tell you it’s because we were willing to take the time and test this for ourselves.

Create A Consistent Email Marketing Plan

The biggest issue I see with business owners and their email marketing is that they simply don’t have a plan for how they’re going to run their email marketing and convert their traffic into revenue.

Most business owners either don’t email their subscribers on a consistent basis, or they struggle to figure out what to email, so they end up just sending emails about random topics, then go to sell and wonder why it doesn’t convert.

When it comes to creating an email marketing plan, you want to figure out what people have opted in for, what offers you have, and what type of content you can offer them in your emails that makes sense to bridge the two.

I always suggest planning your email topics 1-3 months ahead of time, that way you never have to sit down the night before and wonder what to send.  A good rule of thumb is for every 3-4 emails you send adding value, the next email you send can be a promotional one, aimed at selling a product or service.

I would say that this tip is the most important out of any that we have talked about thus far, because if you don’t have a plan, then your email marketing won’t make sense in the eyes of your leads, and a confused mind never buys.


There’s a reason that email marketing has been around for over 20 years: it works.  And if you make sure that you work it correctly, it will take care of you and your business for years to come.

Make 2023 the year that you prioritize your email marketing and take that next step in your business.  If you need help and guidance on how to optimize your email marketing, then click HERE, book a free call with us and we’ll see how we can help you scale your email marketing!