Open rate is the simplest and one of the most important email marketing metrics to understand how well your subscribers are receiving your email.
However, this same KPI is difficult to predict because various things can affect when your contacts are checking their email.
Not only that, but it’s also not easy to get a sense of an acceptable open rate for a certain outreach.
Having a non-compelling subject line, wrong time of delivery, use of a public domain with a bad reputation, not updating your Senders Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and having an outdated email list are only some of the reasons why you seem to be consistently seeing a drop in open rate.
If your email outreach keeps missing the mark, consider these 7 clever tactics to improve your email open rates!
In this article
- 1. Identify the right recipients
- 2. Write an Effective Email Preview Text
- 3. Send Relevant Content
- 4. Build and Maintain a Strong Sender Reputation
- 5. Keep it Short and Observe the “F” Pattern
- 6. Be Personable
- 7. Avoid Spam Filters
- Email Open Rate Benchmarks for All Industries (2021)
- Other Factors Affecting Open Rates
- You Can Survive the Inbox Congestion!
1. Identify the right recipients
Nearly 50% of your prospects are bad fits for what you sell. And if you are in the world of sales doing email outreach, you know that there’s no time to waste.
Reaching the right audience is vital to meeting sales goals, a healthy sales pipeline, and your company revenue.
So, the first and most important step to improve your email open rate is by identifying the right target.
Consider creating a record that outlines your target demographic by gender, age, location, and employment (include the industry, responsibilities, and job title too!).
Don’t make the mistake of just scattering your email into as many inboxes because it’s not a time-saving technique.
Instead, dedicate your time preparing. Know who your ideal target is, whether it’s a consumer, a customer, a client, or a collaborator.
As you define your ideal customer and create a customer profile, it will help you identify their purchasing behaviors and other attributes to make your email outreach campaign successful.
2. Write an Effective Email Preview Text
For sure by now you’re already aware that subject lines affect open rates, but recipients look at email preview text too when deciding whether to open an email.
That’s why having an enticing preview text will help make your email stand out in your recipient inboxes and it will also compel them to open it instead of just deleting it.
Avoid making your subject line as your pre-header too. It doesn’t persuade your subscriber to open the email.
Instead, you should create an attention-grabbing email preview text. It could be something intriguing or straightforward.
Likewise, you can use the pre-header as a space to write something different that entices them to read the content, like telling a joke where the punchline is in the email.
For example, you’re a pet product brand. You can use the phrase, “Who let the dogs out?” in your pre-header and use emojis to stand out.
Just make sure you are aware of the length and character limit. Generally, the display limit is between 35 and 90 characters.
Consider also mobile users, meaning makes the preview text formatted correctly and short enough to be visible on mobile devices.
3. Send Relevant Content
Deliver high-quality and engaging content and your email open rate will increase.
Conversely, if you’re sending your subscriber with the information they can just find anywhere else, or worse you’re just sending advertisements, there’s a chance that your next emails will land in the trash bin or spam folder.
Another way to make your content more relevant every time is to use dynamic content.
It is a type of content that allows you to send personalized and unique content to each of your subscribers based on the information you stored about them.
If, for instance, you are a clothing brand, dynamic content allows you to display women’s clothing only to female subscribers.
That way, the email is relevant to their buying habits and specific needs, making them more likely to take action.
4. Build and Maintain a Strong Sender Reputation
About 20% of commercial emails worldwide don’t reach their intended target’s inboxes.
To ensure that your emails don’t get diverted to junk folders to get blocked, you have to build and maintain a strong sender reputation that goes hand-in-hand with IP reputation.
This involves keeping spam complaints low, including opt-out forms in your email, maintaining strong engagement, and avoiding sending too many emails too often.
Another tip to maintain a strong sender reputation is to maintain a clean list (high-quality marketing database).
Having an engagement score is likewise helpful to help you identify contacts that are actively engaging with your campaigns and those whose behavior shows that email is not their preferred channel. Instead, you can reach them in other ways, like social channels.
5. Keep it Short and Observe the “F” Pattern
If your newsletter is too long, readers will tune out before they even reach the call to action. Remember that great sales emails are often shorter than you probably think.
In fact, research on 40 million emails shows that between 50 and 125 words are the best length for sales emails.
Aside from observing the ideal email length for your outreach, consider also the F-shaped reading pattern in your email design. “F” stands for fast.
The Nielsen Norman Group identified this reading pattern in their eye-tracking study, which involved over 200 users who looked at thousands of web pages.
They observed that the dominant reading pattern looks like an “F,” wherein people usually read in a horizontal movement from the upper part of the content area (F’s top bar).
Then, they will move their eyes down the page a bit in a second horizontal movement.
Finally, people scan the content down the left-hand side in a vertical movement that makes the final shape of the F’s stem.
It’s important to remember, however, that this dominant reading pattern is not a fool-proof layout in email design. It’s just a generalized outline, but not a perfect “F” shape.
F-shaped pattern for email outreach campaigns
Applying this in your email outreach campaigns, you can consider these points:
- Begin new blocks of text and paragraphs with enticing words.
- Cover only one purpose or idea in each block of content and utilize bullet points to make your email scannable.
- Readers will always focus on the most dominant element in the email before reading it as a whole. That is why it is best to give more weight to these important elements. Consider using a different color in your call-to-action buttons or use bold formatting if you want to highlight something.
6. Be Personable
Most marketers know when it’s appropriate to draft emails in a formal or informal tone.
However, when doing outreach, emails are not meant to mirror the tone you’d take in a five-paragraph, double-spaced college research paper.
Of course, it’s also not an excuse for you to write with “uhs,” “ums,” and “LOL.” What you can do instead is to write like a friend.
A corporate phrase may come off stuffy and distant, but a more friendly manner of reaching out makes it less likely that the recipient would delete the email.
Make your email more conversational by avoiding long and uncommon words if your intention is just to appear sophisticated. You can also practice writing in an active voice and that it’s okay to use contractions.
There you go. Remember to slow down before you hit the send button and to think of the overall tone you’re using.
7. Avoid Spam Filters
In the past several years, spam filters have become more sophisticated. While its purpose is good, which is to detect unsolicited, virus-infected, and unwanted emails (called spam), this process of email filtering is not perfect.
Even your best emails can still get caught and tossed in a junk folder. If you want to maximize your email outreach, make sure to do everything possible to avoid being flagged as spam.
Some of the best practices including keeping any code clean, sending through verified domains, making sure all your recipients have opted-in to receive your email, show your subscribers tips on how to whitelist your email, and ask their permission to add you in their address book, include your location, and place an opt-out option in our emails.
Email Open Rate Benchmarks for All Industries (2021)
Now that you know some ways to improve your email outreach open rates, your next step is to know the email marketing benchmarks to know how your campaign is performing.
Note: The industry open rate benchmarks averages may differ from rates every year.
|Advertising & Marketing Agencies||18.50%|
|Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting||23.20%|
|Consumer Packaged Goods||18.10%|
|Food & Beverages||15.20%|
|Government & Politics||26.70%|
|IT/ Tech/ Software Services||19.50%|
|Logistics & Wholesale||22.70%|
|Media, Entertainment, & Publishing||20.80%|
|Real Estate, Design, & Construction Activities||19.70%|
|Travel, Hospitality & Leisure||17.70%|
|Wellness & Fitness||21.60%|
Other Factors Affecting Open Rates
The next step after knowing the email marketing benchmarks is to understand other factors that affect email open rate. This includes:
The brand’s ability to be immediately recognized by its recipients from their inbox influences message openings. This leverages the reputation, safety, and trust that the brand builds in relation to its audience.
Strengthening your brand identity and making your brand recognizable can even result in more than just an increase in open rate. It also brings benefits in terms of company transparency, deliverability optimization, decreased spam reports, and greater loyalty from subscribers.
Many emails are triggered by events, like someone signing up on a website or placing an order. Surprisingly, these triggered emails are four times more likely to be opened than newsletters because the receiver understands why they’re receiving them.
Your list is growing may make you pumped, but focusing on quantity over quality won’t do you good as a marketer.
The quality of your email list will play a major role that affects your email open rate. That’s why the more relevant your list is to your business or organization, the more likely you are to increase your email open rate.
Time of Day
While most people access email any time of the day (thanks to smartphones), timing is still important when it comes to open rates. And to know when you should send your outreach emails, you have to understand your audience.
Let’s say you’re selling software. Then, most of your subscribers will be enjoying their family time on Sundays. That means sending them an email that day will lead to a few opens.
Generally, emails received during weekends tend to get shorter replies than emails received on weekdays. Most afternoon emails likewise received shorter replies. That is why the general optimal time would be to send it during a weekday morning, particularly Tuesday (which has the highest open rate).
Subject Line Relevance
You most probably know by now that most inboxes are congested. They are filled to the brim of uninteresting emails. And we know you don’t want your emails to be easily drowned out in the overflowing inboxes across the globe.
That is why writing an appealing subject line will help you stand out. Some email subject lines that lead to more opens use power words (emotional, sensory trigger words that attract attention), numbers (yes, because digital stops wandering eyes), points out mistakes (because nobody wants to be regarded as silly), and piques curiosity.
You Can Survive the Inbox Congestion!
Email outreach is a great marketing tool that allows businesses and organizations to build brand awareness, forge relationships with like-minded firms and individuals, and keep their digital audience informed on service, product updates, special offers, announcements, and more!
There are other creative ways to improve your email outreach rates, but the tips we gave you are general ideas of what’s acceptable. They are sure tickets to boost your open rates!