How to Get People to Open Your Emails (And Why You Shouldn’t Panic If They Don’t)


Email marketing is still one of the most cost-effective means of marketing for companies. While other options may allow for more targeted messaging to specific demographics, sending a customer an email, especially a business email, tends to show good returns.

This medium makes it easy to measure effectiveness with Open Rates (the percentage of delivered emails opened by recipients) and the Click-Through Rates (the percentage of those who click a link in your email). Using Google Analytics, you can then measure the number of conversions from these visitors and determine just how much revenue each correspondence generated.
Understandably, many companies become very concerned with these metrics. With the sheer volume of messages in our inbox and increased security, it’s a wonder we read any marketing emails at all. And yet, most of us still read some of them depending upon the source.
So, what could lead people to open and hopefully click on links in your emails? Here are a few tips that could help you increase those open rates.
1. Stop trying to be so clever
We’re becoming numb to the kind of click-bait subject lines that used to grab our attention.
“You won’t believe what they said!” I already don’t.
“Don’t open this email” No problem.
“{Insert Famous Person} would totally open this email” I think not.
Don’t read this as “don’t be clever.” Finding fun ways to connect with your audience is a good move, especially if it matches your brand’s personality. Just don’t sacrifice clarity for cleverness. Start with being clear about why you’re communicating. Then find ways to infuse creativity into your messaging.
2. Tell readers what the email is about
In the subject line, instead of wasting time with confusing riddles, tell people why they should open the email.
  • “Limited time offer!”
  • “Increase website conversions with this tool.”
  • “Get your free 15-minute website audit.”


If you’re emailing the right people and offering useful, relevant content, enough of them will open the email to learn more about your offer.
When we try to sell someone on the email instead of telling them what it’s about, we can unintentionally mislead people or confuse them. As soon as they open the email and figure out they aren’t getting what they thought; it hurts their perception of you.
3. Talk about your customer’s pain
Want to build a great rapport with your audience? Acknowledge their struggles. Instead of a hard sell on products, services, and promotions, speak to a particular frustration they are experiencing and give them free advice on how they can eliminate it.

Write blogs (like this one) with tips and tricks to solve problems. Give away guides and collateral. Share your favorite content from other people. That, in particular, is a great way to build authority by leveraging someone else’s.

When we only talk about our companies, we make ourselves the focal point and speak over the primary concerns of our customers. The quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “They don’t care what you know until they know you care,” applies as much here as it does in personal relationships.
4. Be consistent
How many times have you signed up for an email list, then a year later you get your first email from them? Chances are it took a minute to figure out who it was and why they were sending you something.
If you’re going to start an email list, stay in contact. It doesn’t have to be annoyingly consistent, but it should be regular. Once per week, once or twice per month? It may depend upon your offer. Just don’t email them once, then wait months to reach back out. If you do, you’re likely to see a decent number of unsubscribes.
5. Why it probably doesn’t matter.
Improving open rates is a good goal. But it probably isn’t the worst thing if people see and don’t open your emails.
Why? Because if you’re branding your emails properly and using clear subject lines that tell people what you’re offering, you’re still building brand awareness.
As long as people aren’t unsubscribing, you’re likely okay (unless you’re in the Spam folder). They still see John with A1 Plumbing consistently. They probably just don’t need a plumber right now. When their toilet starts leaking, who are they going to remember? John with A1 Plumbing.

If people are unsubscribing, it’s likely because you’re breaking one of the rules above or the content just isn’t interesting or relevant to them. Some of them may not be your ideal client, and it’s okay they leave your list.
Ultimately, email marketing is a great, inexpensive way to engage prospects and customers. Done right, it can generate significant returns for your efforts. Just don’t stress out if things aren’t going perfectly. Review your email marketing with the tips above and let us know if we can help.

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