Email marketing 101: How to improve your open rate

Published on November 16, 2022


What is an open rate?

The open rate is an email marketing metric that is used to understand “how many successfully delivered campaigns were opened by subscribers” (Mailchimp).

Essentially, it tells marketers and business owners whether their emails are being viewed or not.

There are many reasons as to why subscribers don’t open emails. Sometimes they’re accidentally marked as spam, redirected to a ‘promotional’ or ‘social’ inbox, missed, or a subscriber just deletes them if they feel it’s not relevant to them at that time.

There are many different tactics for improving your open rate that will lend a hand to your email marketing efforts.

In this blog, we’ll cover the importance of your open rate and how you can boost your metrics.

Why is it important?

You may be thinking ‘I give up on email marketing, no one opens my emails anyways’, we’re here to tell you, stay optimistic! Email marketing is a strategic game with all kinds of learning curves.

It is critical for your business to utilize email as a marketing tool: the more opens your emails get, the more eyes on your content which means higher chances of conversions.

Email flows and campaigns are so versatile that they can fit almost every business in every industry. Finding what engages your subscribers is the key to increasing your open rate.


Top 3 factors that influence your open rate:

There are many tactics you can use to improve your open rate. We’re going to cover the three that are the more ‘foundational’, as they can make the biggest difference.


A big reason your emails may not be getting opened is because they are not going to the right audience.

Segmentation is the process of grouping subscribers into certain ‘segments’ based on defined data.

You could create a segment and target subscribers between a certain age range, subscribers who previously purchased a specific product, subscribers who spent more than $100, etc. You can get creative with your segments based on the collected data you have on your users!

Your numbers may appear smaller because you’re not sending emails to your entire subscribed list, but you will have a higher open rate because it’s going to the right list.

Learn the nitty gritty behind segments here.

Subject lines

Your open rate relies heavily on your subject line because it sets the tone for your email.

If your subject line doesn’t draw subscribers in and intrigue them, you have very little chance of them opening your email to begin with.

Subject lines need to evoke emotion in order to create action by the user. A unique and specific subject line provides the user with just enough information on the contents of the email without giving it all away.

Learn more about writing subject lines here.

Frequency of campaigns

Finding the Goldilocks in email marketing is tricky but not totally impossible. How many emails is just enough? How many is too many? The thresholds can vary for every business, even within the same industry.

Sending too many emails can overwhelm your audience and create an attitude of indifference. The next time you send them an email, they’ll write you off and not bother to open it because they’re sick of seeing your name in their inbox.

If you rarely ever send emails, there’s the likelihood that they’re just passing it by in their inbox because there is no recognition of your brand or that email address.

Typically, sending too many emails can negatively impact your brand’s association with the subscriber, but it varies for every business.

The best thing you can do is test, analyze, adapt and monitor your email campaigns. One quarter you can try sending an email every other week and then the next quarter sending two a week and seeing which had better open rates.

Even creating subtle shifts in your email marketing strategy can have a large impact on your open rates. Don’t be afraid to try new tactics (within reason) if you see your open rate performance has been low. As your open rates increase, so will your odds of creating more conversions.

If you’re still struggling with your open rates and can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel, contact us. We’ll be happy to help get your email marketing where it needs to be.