How to increase email open rates in your campaigns

One of the basic metrics we can use to measure the success of any email marketing campaign is open rates. Email open rates are the percentage of people who actually open and read your emails, so it makes for a good overall summary of how successful your campaign is at capturing readers’ attention, and whether or not you’re reaching the customers you hope to with your message. Improving your email open rates, therefore, is a major goal of AB campaign testing  and optimization with ActiveTrail.

 email open rates

There are four main components that influence your email’s opening rates – subject line, value history, send time and targeting.

Subject line

Your subject line must be compelling, grabbing the interest of the recipient and making them want to learn more. Consider putting your company name in the subject line (research shows this increases open rates), and ensure that the subject line is relevant to the group’s interests. Some ways to increase open rates include:

Create curiosity by leaving out the whole message:

·         Warren Buffet had one thing to say about investing in 2015…

·         It’ll all be over by January 1st…

·         Who’s coming to Chicago this week? No way!

Suggest urgency by using “urgent”, “important”, “alert” or similar words in the subject line.

·         Hurry! 50% off sale tomorrow!

·         Important: Your free subscription is running out. Don’t miss out!

·         $199 Lenovo Netbook (48 HOURS ONLY!)

·         John Hanover – Your membership details are enclosed

·         Best of Illinois: Pacific Mall deals and more

·         Exclusive! Call of Duty on Xbox 360 at 75% off! Go!

Personalize the subject line

using a customer’s first and last name in the subject line has been shown to increase open rates by almost 300%. But personalizing can be more than this if you know other details such as previous purchases and customer location:

Value history

If you have a history of sending your customer high-value emails, then they’re more likely to open them. This means putting every effort into every single email you send to your customer, as each high-value email that they enjoyed reading increases the open rate of your next one.

Now that email services like Gmail actively try to filter users’ emails into ‘important’ and ‘unimportant’, there’s increased pressure to ensure that every email you send the customer is opened by them.

Send time

It’s not just about what you’re sending your reader, it’s when you send it. Oodles of research has been done on when is the best time to send email newsletters. For example, the highest number of emails are sent on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so typically you’d want to avoid these days as they have more competition for your readers’ attention. Most people don’t want to read a business email on a Sunday either, so it’s usually best to avoid weekends.

BUT – every readership is different, and you’ll need to think about your customers and when the best time for them to receive your emails is. Test it out using ActiveTrail’s advanced email delivery reporting tools.


There’s no point in sending an email about a sale in Atlanta to customers in Tokyo. One key to increasing email opening rates is to ensure your emails are going to the right people. Make this as segmented as possible, splitting your mailing list into new customers, opt-in leads and existing customers. The closer you can align your email content to the interests of the reader -the higher your email opening rates will become.

It’s time to improve your email marketing campaign open rates using ActiveTrail.