5 Data-Based Insider Tips to Increase Your Email Open Rates

Michael Brenner on Jul 3, 2019 in Content Marketing

Email marketing continues to be a channel for marketers to nurture and convert prospects. However, you have to get your contacts to open the email first. Email open rates can vary based on many different factors but there are things you can do to increase them.

To determine how to increase email open rates, we’re looking at some new data from the 2019 Campaign Monitor Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks report. In the report, Campaign Monitor analyzed 30 billion emails sent across 4.2 million campaigns. The report offers benchmarks by industry and day. Let’s explore the data.

Average Open Rate by Industry

The research determined that the average open rate across all industries is 17.92%. The report then broke down the rates across specific industries as noted in the chart below.

Source: Campaign Monitor

Nonprofits had the highest open rate at 20.39%, which makes sense since those who subscribe to nonprofit emails are usually invested in the cause and want to know what’s happening with the organization.

Consumer packaged goods had the lowest average open rate at 14.53%. This lower rate could be because they send a lot of emails to their lists as many B2C brands do use a high frequency of sends.

Open Rates Based on Day of the Week

Source: Campaign Monitor

The day of the week you send your email campaigns can make a lot of difference. B2B companies tend to send emails mid-week, while consumer-focused industries might send more on the weekend. There’s no magic day to send. Much of it has to do with your own data and results.

The analysis found that different industries have different “best” days to send. Monday is thought to be a down day for most marketers as contacts are just starting their week. However, Monday was a great day for opens for the healthcare industry, nonprofits, and real estate.

Wednesday, thought to be a safe day because it’s mid-week, had some positive results, especially for government and marketing.

Looking at the weekend, which many experts have conflicting opinions about, agriculture did surprisingly well on Saturdays while construction had a nice open rate on Sunday.

Overall, the consensus was that Thursday was the best day for open rates while Sunday was the worst day.

With this data, businesses can better strategize on when to send and then compare that to their own internal data to see if it makes sense to send on Thursday versus Tuesday.

What Impacts Open Rates?

One of the first things you can do to improve your open rate is to check deliverability rates. No one can open it if doesn’t hit their Inbox. There are many things that can impact deliverability, including ISPs, throttling, bounces, spam issues, and bulking.

Try these tactics to improve deliverability:

  • Send using custom authentication
  • Use double rather than single opt-in
  • Ensure it’s easy to unsubscribe
  • Don’t use URL shorteners
  • Refrain from sending from a free domain email address
  • Reduce the number of images in the email

By optimizing deliverability, you can ensure that your contacts get the email. What else can you do to increase email open rates?

Tips for Improving Email Open Rates

Working on improving your email open rates is part art and science. There are specific technological and structural things you can do but creativity is important as well.

1. Work on Your Subject Lines

Your subject line is your introduction. It should be specific, short, and enticing. What can the receiver expect if they open the email? Do you have exciting news? A new promotion? An upcoming event? This is where you want your creative juices flowing.

Use language that’s concise but engaging. Cut out unnecessary adjectives or words and drive home the benefit of opening the message.

You can also try personalization in the subject line, which may give the message a more intimate feel.

2. Test Your Subject Lines

Once you have developed some subject lines with punch, you’ll want to test them out. Is the length right? (See how it appears in a variety of platforms.) Then see if your tone resonates with your contacts. If you see your open rates go down after a subject line exercise, it’s time to try out some other concepts.

3. Ensure Preheaders and Previews Look Great in Every Situation

First, it’s important to have a preheader. The preheader is almost like a second subject line. It can add more context to the message and is seen when the email hits an Inbox. When you are testing, see how it looks on mobile and desktop. Do the same with previews.

4. Use a Real Person as the Sender

If your emails are sent from an info@address or something similar, users may ignore it because they think it’s spam.

But if you use a real person’s email address and name as the sender, it may not only improve deliverability and reduce the chances your message will end up in a junk folder, but it also provides credibility. This could increase the likelihood of the email being opened.

5. Segment Properly

Segmenting your email lists allows you to direct more relevant content to each group. You might segment on things like industry if you’re a B2B marketer or base it on previous purchase for B2C interactions.

You may also choose to segment based on where a buyer is in the buyer journey. For example, if your prospect is in the awareness stage, it’s important to send informational content to help them solve their problem.

Improving your email open rates will be an on-going exercise for your company. But by using benchmark data and best practices, you should be able to leverage what’s working and ensure that more eyes see your message.

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.