CTOR rate email click through open rate graphicBefore we get deep into the whatnots of email open rates, do you understand what this terminology means? It’s okay if you have no clue because that is the reason why you came across this piece.

Well, ‘email open rate’ is the percentage of people who open an email out of the total number of people to whom such an email is sent. It is closely linked to Click through open Rate (CTR) which in simple terms refers to the percentage of people who click on a link in your email.

That said, you will agree that this metric ranks among the best metrics to use when you are concerned about how to improve email open rates in your email marketing campaign. One thing to remember is that every email sent out there has got almost the same basic structure in the sense that it will always have a subject line, greetings, the body, and closing remarks.

Increasing email open rates, therefore, requires you to look at how to personalize it apart from making it friendly with targeted needs and carefully chosen words.

Additionally, it is advisable to find out which one is more impactful between the use of a general company email address and that of a specific person’s name. To do this effectively, it is worth looking at the following highlights.

Subject Line

Many people tend to overlook the subject line in favor of the email body though the former is arguably the most important part of any given email. A subject line has got the magic to entice and lead a reader into opening your message. It also sets expectations about what is enclosed in the message.

In contrast, a generic subject line like ‘Hi’ or a subject line that is poorly crafted has got the potential to piss off a reader and end up in the spam folder or worse still, automatically get deleted without any regard. Remember that the catchword here is to pique the interest of your reader and you can effectively score along this line by picking on a personal line which goes like ‘Mr. or Mrs. so and so (a mutual connection) recommended that I get in touch with you’.

Alternatively, you can phrase your wording about something that is of importance to your reader like ‘Ideas for such and such a thing’.

Another way on how to make sure your email is read is to provoke your reader with thoughts about a chosen title or blog post or pose some question about a goal that the reader seemingly has; or about a recent trigger event. Another good way is to activate a thought process in your reader with a line like ‘Have you considered ABCD’.

As a rule of thumb and in order to entice your reader, avoid the use of tired and such ‘spammy’ words like Specials, State of the art, Exciting, Reminder, Help, Discount, Unique, Final, Complimentary, Partner, Sale, Solution and etcetera.

For the opening line of your email, avoid the habit of beginning with such lines as ‘Hi my name is …………….’ . Instead, go for lines that have got more impact as though you were engaging your reader face to face. Good examples here include phrases like ‘I noticed you …………..’, ‘ I loved your post on ……….’, ‘Mr. or Mrs. (a mutual connection) mentioned that ……..’ or ‘Congratulations on ……….’. As a guide, you can take a subset of your potential subscribers and aim to send up to about 100 emails.

Split the list into two sub-groups and send an email to these sub-groups with different subject lines but bearing the same content. Upon collection of results, pick on a subject line that posts a higher open rate to send to the rest of the people on your potential list of subscribers. The use of emoji and symbols in your subject line make emails to look more appealing and also to stand out in the inbox of your reader.

Finally, note that subject lines have got tremendous effects not only on conversions and CTR but also on unsubscribes and hence the more reason as to why it is crucial in the performance of your email CTR. Last but not least, it should be borne in mind that many emails are nowadays opened on mobile devices and so subject lines should be kept as short as possible.

Personalization and the Choice of Email Address

Deciding on the sender’s name to use is very crucial. A survey report from Pinpointe marketing discovered that the use of a specific personal name instead of a company name or a general email address has the potential to increase open rates by as much as 35%.

Another survey by SuperOffice Marketing shows that 89% of email marketing campaigns are sent from company names. HubSpot also reports that slightly over 40% of people check out the sender’s name before deciding on whether to open an email or not. This is because most people receive very many emails such that if they are not sure about the sender of an email, they are likely not to open it.

In view of this reality, there are quite a number of approaches you can adopt to ensure that you are recognized by recipients of your emails. If your brand is fairly popular, it is advisable to use the brand as your sender name.

Alternatively, you can choose to be more personal by combining the name of the sender with the name of the company. Often times, more personal approaches bring about better results comparatively speaking. Also, research by Litmus shows that a sizeable number of people decide on opening an email by looking at the preview text first. This is because a preview text gives a snapshot of an email and is normally pulled from the content.

You can save your readers from the trouble of going through instructions about how to view images or read the email online by editing through the use of some email marketing software. This way, you also save space which can then be utilized to entice readers to open and thus increase your email click-through rate.

Besides, you can add a call to action button which makes people open your email and head straight for the link that you want them to click. Note that Gmail and Apple email accounts support preview texts and this, therefore, is an opportunity worth going for, to boost your email CTR.

Learn about CTOR here

Improving Email Content

using online mailing services to send emails to potential clients

It goes without saying that what makes the recipient of your email keep reading is the content. For your subscribers, therefore, you need to cultivate a craving for your content in your readers so that it acts as a stimulus for your emails every time they hit the inbox of your subscribers. This in itself creates a connection between yourself and readers which is indeed a very important aspect that also leads to increased CTR.

In fact, such a connection is such that your subscribers will always want to open your next email that they receive. There is a varied range of tried and tested things that you can do to make your content more effective. Top on the list is the use of images. Human beings are wired in such a way that they respond to visual stimuli very easily. Therefore emails with images have been recorded to present a higher average open rate.

The use of numbers is another kicker. People are inclined to click through your email in order to learn more if your email contains data. Thirdly, your emails should be seen to be interactive. This is now a growing trend according to a report by Litmus on the state of emails. Readers get their attention captured by videos, Animated GIFs, and video thumbnails.

Content that includes some sort of survey and an offer at the end of the exercise is one of the tools on how to optimize email marketing. Therefore, ask for feedback because readers will always certainly participate; especially if there is an offer that you have put forward. The other way through which to enrich your content is by including subscriber bonuses or some kind of incentive. You can also include social sharing buttons because when the recipients share your email, this boosts the click-through rate of your email too.


It is common knowledge that not all emails that you send out will be of interest to all the recipients. Therefore, it is not wise to send all your emails to everyone on your list. In order to realize increasing email open rates, you are better off when you sent only relevant information to your subscribers. This means that you must segment your audience.

The use of opt-in software comes in handy because it gives you a guide on what information is likely to interest your subscribers. The more relevant your email is, the more likely people are going to take action. Remember, this is not just about the use of people’s names in the subject lines of your emails but it is about using the data which you have got about your subscribers so as to tailor the email marketing experience.

You can as well change your email marketing based on actions that people take on your site by the use of ‘page-level targeting’ so as to deliver offers that are related to the page they are on. When you gather more data, personalization, micro-targeting, and segmentation will become more important in enhancing your email open rate and click-through rate.

Right Timing & Frequency

It is not rocket science to know that people may never get to your email if it arrives when they do not have time to check on it. Research from Spaceship shows that people are more likely to open and click your emails between 8 pm and midnight regardless of location worldwide.

Together with this is the aspect of frequency. If you send too few emails, people are likely to forget who you are whereby there will be no incentive for them to open and even click. The flipside of it is that if you send too many, they are likely to end up in the spam box

Building Trust

One of the factors which determine whether an email shall be opened or not has got something to do with whether the internet service provider of the recipient trusts you or not. This calls for your sender score. When your sender reputation is good, your emails are likely to be delivered.

Other trust factors include the need to use a real email address instead of a generic or a ‘no-reply’ one, the use of social media links at the bottom of the email which is a manifestation that you exist beyond the email. Also, including a sender photo and signing the email from a real person is another thing that enhances trust.


Young team working together on a testing of email projectIn order to know what is working and what is not working with a view to fixing the latter, carry out testing. Therefore, increasing the email open rate also requires that you constantly test messaging, timing, personalization, call to action, the preview text, and subject lines. This is best done by split testing.

Resend Campaigns

It is often said that there is no crime in trying again. Your email open rate could be low because some of the subscribers did not open in the first round. Therefore, send again to give them a second chance and you can even do this by using a different subject line and at a different time of the day too.

Cleaning your List

When you send out an email, there are people who will find your email to be a bother or a nuisance, whereas there are those who don’t see your emails because they go straight to the spam folder. Also, there are those who unsubscribe. You may solve this and probably improve your email open rate by sending re-engagement emails, trying out segmentation and personalization or having the option for people to get fewer emails. If none of these works, remove the unengaged subscribers from your list and that is called cleaning your list.


How to improve email open rates is very crucial to email marketing as a metric. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to keep monitoring and trying out the above recommendations to ensure that you enjoy good results for a successful email marketing campaign.

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