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6 Tips on Improving Your Email Open Rates (Based on Data)

6 Tips on Improving Your Email Open Rates

Ever wondered just how many people in the world, across different countries and state lines own a smartphone? 

Roughly 6.29 billion! (Statista

When compared to the 8 billion population (United Nations) that exists in the world, that’s a whole lot of people. That’s about 6.29 billion people who use smartphones to perform various tasks – online shopping, social media browsing, sending pictures to their loved ones, and of course, checking their emails.

Out of that number, about 1.7 billion users check their emails on their mobile phones, in contrast to other devices.

If you break that number down by characteristics and behaviors of different generations, Gen X consumers account for 92% of all email users. Millennials are right behind Gen Xers, with 89% of them emailing, while Gen Z make up the third-largest group, with 85% using the service. (Source – MarketingProfs)

Not only are individuals using email for personal connections, but a substantial 61% of consumers also favor communication from brands via email. This is certainly positive news for your business.

So, if these numbers look so great for an email marketing move, why do email opens flop at all? What’s stopping your customers from reading your awesome product and marketing emails, if they’re regularly spending time on their devices?

What Really Causes Email Bounces?

Email marketing is still an essential part of any successful business strategy. However, it’s not enough to simply blast an email out to your entire email subscriber list and hope for the best. 

And you know what they say, false hope is a terrible thing, if it’s the only thing keeping you alive you’ll be dead by dawn.

Statista data showing US consumers preference of emails as a mean of contact by brands

You need to create emails that grab your audience’s attention from the subject line to the call-to-action.

When considering this, there are a lot of factors in play that can affect email rates. In terms of bounce rates, here are some of the most common causes of email bounce rates:

  • Invalid email addresses: This is the most common cause of hard bounces. It can happen if you have typos in your email list, or if you collect email addresses from unreliable sources.
  • Full inboxes: This is a common cause of soft bounces. If a recipient’s inbox is full, any new emails sent to them will bounce back.
  • Spam filters: Spam filters can sometimes block legitimate emails, especially if they contain certain keywords or phrases.
  • Server issues: If the recipient’s email server is down or unavailable, their emails will bounce back.
  • Blacklisted domains: If your email domain is blacklisted, your emails will be rejected by most email servers.

In addition to these common issues, there are a number of other factors that can affect your email open rates, such as your email list hygiene, your sender reputation, and the type of content you are sending.

All these issues can wreck your hard work and keep your marketing and sales effort in the bin. 

Thankfully, we’re here to help you fix that with these six tips that help improve your email open rates.

Why Should You Care About Email Open Rates 

Why are email open rates important? Well, simply put, if your subscribers aren’t opening your emails, all your hard work crafting those clever subject lines and killer content goes to waste. 

Email open rates are a reflection of your subscribers’ interest and engagement with your brand. Higher open rates mean more eyes on your content, increasing the chances of conversions and ultimately, revenue. On the flip side, low open rates indicate disinterest or that your emails are getting lost in the digital abyss.

It’ll be extremely difficult to drive leads and conversions with email marketing when your emails don’t spark enough interest.

6 Tips To Improve Your Email Open Rates

Catchy Subject Lines. Relevant Content 

The subject line of your email may seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in whether or not your email is opened. 

On an average shoppers spend 138% more when marketed through email, as compared to those who do not receive email offers. A key factor to getting them to take action starts from your subject line.

Emails shown on a desktop sitting on a table

Personalizing your subject line can make your email feel more relevant and interesting to your subscribers. 

Addressing your subscribers as such “Adelaide, here’s a special offer just for you!” in your subject line is a great way to get their attention. 

Who doesn’t love a special offer, made just for them?

Keep it short and sweet, as longer subject lines tend to get cut off on mobile devices. Asking a question can pique curiosity and encourage engagement. 

Also, keep in mind that the language you use in your emails will affect your subscriber’s perception of your business. How do you want your subscribers to feel when they read your emails? Do you want to sound corporate-speaky or friendly?

Using action-oriented language in your subject line and email body urges and compels your subscribers to act on the email. It is essential to avoid spammy words and phrases, such as “buy now” and “limited time offer.” This will not only increase your email open rates but also help you avoid getting your emails flagged as spam.

Use Emojis

Using emojis strategically in email subject lines and content can potentially improve email open rates. 

Different emojis with facial expression

Checking emails on mobile is especially common with younger crowds. 40% of people 18 years old and under will always open an email on their mobile-first.

And what better way to cater to a younger demographic than using emojis, especially when your business caters to a young audience.

Emojis can help make your subject line stand out in a crowded inbox and grab the reader’s attention. They can also add visual interest and convey emotions or tone more effectively than words alone.

Even more so, Econsultancy, states that the friendly snowman symbol is apparently hugely effective at encouraging people to open marketing emails.

However, it’s important to consider your audience and the context of your emails before using emojis. Some demographics may not be as familiar or receptive to emojis, so it’s important to test and analyze the response from your specific audience.

When using emojis, make sure they are relevant to the content of your email and align with your brand’s voice and personality. 

Avoid overusing emojis, as it could come across as unprofessional or spammy. It’s also crucial to test your emails across different devices and email clients to ensure the emojis display correctly for all recipients.

Keep it Mobile-Friendly

Typically, individuals tend to glance at their mobile devices approximately 58 times daily, with nearly 52% of these instances, equivalent to around 30 times per day, happening while they are at work.

You would, proverbially, be shooting yourself in the foot if you failed to recognise the impact of mobile devices in your email marketing strategy, especially in a world where roughly 6.29 billion people own smartphones.

If your email marketing campaigns are not mobile-friendly, you risk losing 42.3% of recipients who may delete your emails, rendering your hard work ineffective.

So, how do you keep your emails mobile friendly?

Firstly, ensure that the email design is responsive and adapts to different screen sizes. Use a single-column layout, keep the font size at a readable level, and avoid using too many images or large files that can slow down load times. 

Additionally, ensure that any clickable elements, such as buttons or links, are big enough to easily tap on a mobile device. 

Testing your emails on both desktop and mobile before sending can help you ensure they look good and are easy to read on different devices.

Automate, Automate, Automate 

Email automation is one of the biggest tools in your arsenal of email marketing strategies.

These email automation tools are a marketer’s best friend. They allow you to set up welcome emails, triggered emails, follow-up emails, win-back emails, and even drip campaigns, ensuring your emails always reach your subscribers at the right ti

82% of marketers use automation to create triggered emails which result in 8 times more opens and greater earnings than typical bulk emails.

On average, 81% of companies use marketing automation.

Automation is like having a personal assistant who takes care of your email marketing tasks while you sip margaritas on a beach (figuratively speaking, of course). 

Setting up triggered emails based on user actions is a smart move. When your subscribers take a specific action (like abandoning their cart or downloading your ebook), you can send them a timely and personalized email

Provide The Sweet Spot In Their Inbox At The Right Time

When it comes to email marketing, timing really is everything. Knowing when to send your emails can make all the difference in whether or not they get opened and read. 

This is mostly important during festive seasons and major holiday periods where customers are hunting for the best deals.

For instance, Black Friday typically falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, which is the fourth Thursday in November. Many retailers start their Black Friday promotions earlier in the week.

So, your enticing offers must be up and running around this time to get the best results. Just like this Nike email for Black Friday

Nike email to customers for black friday

It’s important to keep in mind that consumer behavior may vary based on your target audience.

Call-to-Actions Are A Must-Have

Having clear and compelling CTAs in your emails can encourage recipients to open and learn more about your offers. 

Your call-to-action is the heart of your email marketing campaign. It’s what grabs your readers’ attention and encourages them to take action.

Use strong verbs and stay away from passive language to make your calls to action more powerful. In addition, calls to action (CTAs) should be properly placed in the email to grab the reader’s attention.

Final Thoughts

Email marketing still remains a strong competitor for boosting leads and conversions for businesses. In order to make the best of this veteran marketing tactic, these tips on improving email open rates are essential for businesses.

Idongesit ‘Didi’ Inuk is a Content Marketer at Poptin. She's driven by conversations about technological products and the impact they have on the people they're created for.