• Results Driven Marketing

Email open rates - The complete guide

What are open rates?

An email open rate is a percentage of subscribers who open an email from your total number of subscribers.

People look to their email open rates to see how successful their email marketing strategy is and, while email open rates are important, not one metric should determine your strategy. Instead, you should consider numerous metrics and think about what you want to achieve, with your email marketing.

You should not only judge your email open rate, but you should also look at how your email open rates are improving over time and if not investigate why. This will give you a better understanding of how often people wait for your emails. You’ll also be able to determine what type of content is the most interesting to your audience.

If you aren’t getting the response you require, ask yourself a few questions:

· Am I sending too frequently?

· Or not frequently enough?

· What was my best open rate?

· What was the heading?

Making sure your companies email marketing is sending out high-quality content to the right group of subscribers will improve your email open rates, leading to a more engaged audience that will invest in your business.

How do you get someone to open your email?

It’s not easy even for marketers is the simplest answer.

It is harder now more than ever to get noticed in the inbox of your target audience.

A few questions to ask are, what can we do as marketers, to help get our messages out there? What should we be doing to get emails to be noticed and opened?

5 easy steps to improve the open rates of your next email campaigns.

1. Emails and design

When it comes to email campaigns, you want to stand out but sometimes less is more when it comes to design. Inboxes now are more crowded and competitive than ever before. Some emails may stand out, some emails can be highly visual and others can be simple with plain text, they all have their own benefits depending on the message you want to come across about yourself and your brand.

The design and writing of the email are critical. You don't want your emails to look like an ad or a wall of text.

Personal in Tone:

Write your email as if you were emailing a colleague or friend. Nowadays people take a more personal approach when contacting prospects. Keep in mind no one wants to be "sold" something straight out the blocks. You’re human and so are. They so speak like one.


Its’ been found that roughly 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase when their experience is personalised. That's not saying turn the email to complete personalised text but try and tailor it to whomever you are targeting as much as possible.


68% of email campaigns are being opened on peoples’ phones. If your emails aren’t mobile-friendly, you could be missing an opportunity to engage your subscribers and drive results. Make sure your subject line only contains 25-30 characters. Use a pre-header text this provides more context to encourage them to open your email. Try not to send an image some devices won’t display images. Before you schedule and send your email, make sure you test it across multiple devices to make sure that it looks the way you intended.

2. Days and times for sending emails

Timing can affect whether your subscribers open your emails. There is a discussion on the best time to send your emails to get the best open rates. For example, research has found mornings tend to get the most opens and for the best results to send at 11am.

However, it’s been found 6am is a peak time to send emails followed by late in the evening from 8pm to Midnight. As you can see, it's hard for marketers to know for sure when the best time is to send an email. To find what time works best for your campaigns start split testing.

It may take a while, but by collating the data you will not only be able to spot trends that work with your subscribers and soon get a better understanding of when your emails are being opened and the best times for your future campaigns.

3. Email Subject Lines

Your subject lines are one of the most important factors to consider for open rates. If you are using the same subject lines over again it’s likely your email is going to get lost. To stand out from your competitors you are going to need to be more creative with your subject lines.

Some tips when it comes to subject lines are:


To help with open rates you’ll want to create curiosity within your subject lines. The hard part of this is not coming across as too clever or cryptic. You’ll want to give an idea of why you are emailing in the first place.

Numbers or jokes:

Numbers draw people in. Lists are easier to process and using numbers within our subject lines for content like "5 ways to improve your open rate" can often give people an idea of how long your email might be, making it sound like a quick and easy read.

Humour in subject lines can stick out from the dull and dry email subject lines we are likely to get throughout the day.

4. Components of Your Emails

When it comes to email marketing campaigns it’s all about practice.

A/B testing, or split testing, is a way to see if your campaigns are engaging well with your audience in the best possible way. Nearly everything can be split tested when it comes to your emails from subject lines, time of day, CTA action, all the way to content and image placements.

Testing, asking questions, continuously reviewing, and optimising wherever possible will always be the best of ways to improve your open rates.

5. Get Your Email Marketing Audience Right

Targeting the correct audience allows you to reach businesses and consumers who would be interested in your business, product, or service. The most important thing to get higher open rates is to get the right data, and all the above comes secondary.

Sending emails to massive lists of people can cause your email provider to flag you as a spammer, but you will run the risk of getting blacklisted by inbox providers which will make it difficult to reach your audience even when you cleanse your list.

Would you open an email that you know wasn't written for you? Probably not, so don't make that mistake with your audience.

So, to prevent this break down your data to send the right message to the right people. Consider your content and matched it to your target audience, created an interesting subject line that will attract them to open your email, often you will see that your open rates will be significantly better.

We hope you enjoyed this guide to email open rates and would love to hear from you.

Feel free to drop us a line on 0191 406 6399 or by return email if there is anything we can help you with.

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