9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided)

September 01, 2021
9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh

Written by Nikita Singh


You wrote emails for your campaign and sent them to your target audience. Your email reaches their inbox. Now, you see 2 important metrics:

  1. Email Open Rate
  2. Clickthrough rate (CTR)

You wonder why your CTR is so low even when you carefully analyzed each email before sending it.

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh


If your subscribers won’t open your email, how will they know what’s inside and how will they click on your CTA.

Clickthrough Rate is entirely dependent on the email open rate. There’s no way people will click on the CTA unless and until they open your email.

So how do you convince people to open your email?

The ways outlined in this blog will help you to increase your open rate, which in turn will help you raise your CTR.

But first, let’s discuss:

What’s an Email Open Rate?

The amount of subscribers who open your email out of the total number of subscribers is known as the email open rate.

Simple, isn’t it?

Okay. But how is the email open rate calculated?

Email Open Rate=                          Email opened 

                               ——————————————————————–    X 100

                               Email sent to Number of people – (Bounced Emails)

Bounced Emails are referred to those emails that fail to reach the inbox of the recipient.

For example, You sent 200 emails and 20 of them bounce which means that only 180 emails have been delivered. Out of those 180, 100 have been opened.

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh

This means that the open rate for your emails is 55.56%.

Okay, enough Maths now. Back to the theory.

So, what’s an average email open rate?

The average email open rate differs from industry to industry. According to CampaignMonitor:

  • Your average Email Open Rate should be between 15 to 25%
  • Your average Click-Through Rate should be 2.5 %
  • Your average Click to Open Rate should be between 20-30%

You can check the whole blog here. 

These numbers are great to know, but they vary from industry to industry and country to country. It also depends on the type of emails you are sending. You can probably have higher open rates for a welcome sequence series rather than a regular newsletter.

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh

You can check this GetResponse Email Marketing report to view the detailed benchmark for each industry.

A benchmark report helps you understand where you are standing currently and if there’s room for further improvement. You can even find benchmarks of your industry from your email service provider.

So, how do you compare your Email Open rates?

Let’s say – the benchmark of an agency for open rate is 24.02%

If your open rate is higher than 25%, you are doing great.

Don’t worry if you aren’t reaching the industry benchmark. You can always improve your open rate by making changes in your emails and deliverability.

So, how do you measure Email Open Rate, Click-Through Rate, and all other metrics?

Your email service provider makes it simple for you to obtain all of this information. There are a ton of tools available- ActiveCampaign, MailShake, GetResponse, and HubSpot to name a few.

My favorites are HubSpot and ActiveCampaign.

Hubspot is an excellent choice if you are a large corporation with a higher budget. It has all of the tools you’d expect, from CRM to marketing. 

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh
Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

So, here’s the main topic:

How do you increase your Email Open Rate?

The first thing you need to focus on is- How to make your subscribers open your emails?

Here are 9 ways to increase your email open rates:

  1. Personalize your Subject Line and make it relevant
  2. Use a Personal “From Name” 
  3. Make your Preheader text relevant
  4. Clean and segment your list
  5. Avoid spam filters
  6. Right time, Right day, Right frequency
  7. Ask a question to increase engagement
  8. Make it Mobile-friendly
  9. Provide high-quality content

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

  1. Personalize your Subject Line and make it relevant

Why did you click on this article? There’s probably a reason behind it.

The message in the headline was valuable and you resonated with it at the exact moment. Your audience should sense the value inside your email through the subject line.

Your subject line is the main hook. It has the ability to either make the person curious or allow him to delete the email.

  1. Personalize your subject lines and show how relevant and compelling your emails are. Relevancy is very important in the long run.
  1. Entice curiosity in your subscribers through your email. Never break the trust of your subscribers by giving clickbait titles in your subject lines.
  1. Emojis also help in increasing your open rates.
  1. Use strong words (also known as power words) in your subject line.

Avoid using spammy words.

  1. Make your subject line as short as possible. If a subject line is too long, it will get cut off and your reader won’t get the required information. So make sure to include important words in the beginning. You can even use brackets to do so. 
  1. Include questions that you are asked most as your subject lines. These common questions are the ones that people want the most. Giving what they want will automatically increase your open rate. Try using the exact question as your next subject line.

You can use this subject line tester to verify that your email subject lines meet the above criteria. It’s totally free.

Make sure to test all the above things through A/B testing. Adding emojis gives a boost to your open rate but there might be a possibility that your audience won’t like it. Test it out. 

At the end of the day, data speaks for itself. 

You may test your subject line on a small audience and then roll it out to the rest of your list based on the results.

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

2.  Use a Personal “From Name”

Would you read an email that comes from a company or from a human? 

Obviously, a human. Unless it’s the same company where you work.

We, humans, love to interact with content that is sent by another human.

Use a familiar name. You can even use a business Email ID that includes your name in it. If your personal name isn’t very popular, stick to your brand name.  But a personalized “ From Name”  can do wonders.

Make it easy for your audience by letting them know who you are and what you will provide. Be super clear.

When people don’t know why you are sending them emails, they are most likely to skip it.

3. Make your Preheader text relevant

After the subject line and “From Name”, the third most important thing which people read is the preheader text.

It’s either the first few words of your email or a small text from your email template.

Here’s what preheader text looks like:

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh

From the above 2, which one will you read? I’ll go with the first one because it’s clear, concise, and relevant.

Test it out by sending an email to yourself before sending it out to a larger audience.

Update your email content accordingly. Make sure that it conveys value to your audience. Let it give a sense of what’s inside the email. If it doesn’t, remove it or change the template.

4. Clean and segment your list

Will it be ok if someone sends you the same thing again and again? Even when you don’t need it? You will get irritated.

Similarly, never target your whole audience at a time because each one of them wants to buy different products as per their needs.

Make your list super segmented. Relevancy of the content to your target audience is very important which can be achieved only through segmentation.

You can segment your list based on different factors such as geographical factors, demographic factors, or behavioral factors.

 There are three stages of a Buyer’s Journey:

  1.  Awareness stage
  2.  Consideration stage
  3.  Decision stage

Understand where your audience is in the Buyer’s Journey. This can be done by creating a different landing page for a specific type of audience.

For example- You create a blog: What is email marketing? 9 ways it can help you and your business.

This blog will be read by those who are in the Awareness stage. Give them a freebie, get their email address, and boom! you have a segment.

You can segregate them further based on their behavior.

When the Email list is super segmented, the email open rate increase drastically. Once you have a segmented list, it becomes easier to send them emails with the relevant subject lines.

It’s always a good idea to get rid of inactive subscribers from time to time. But always send them a win-back email before removing them completely.

Cleansing your email list reduces Bounce and Spam rates too.

If you are having a high Bounce rate, it’s an urgent time to clean and update your list.

5. Avoid spam filters

Spam filters are getting stronger with each passing day. Even your best emails can land in the spam tab of your audience.

And if your email doesn’t reach the primary tab, no one will open it.

Following are some ways to avoid your email land in the spam folder:

  1. Make sure that your subscriber opted in for your emails. Double-check authentication is always the best.
  1. Check your IP address. Is it healthy? Make sure you have DMARC, DKIM, SPF, and BIMI for your domain. (Arg! These jargons. Learn about them)
  1. Warm up your email either manually or using tools like Lemwarm
  1. Don’t capitalize all the letters of a word.
  1. Always have an unsubscribe link at the bottom.
  1. Use a good email service provider.
  1. Don’t use any spam words or salesy language in your email as well as your subject line. It will trigger the spam filter. Here is the list of spam words you should avoid.
  1. The more replies you get to your emails, the better it is to avoid you from spam.
  1. Avoid using too many links and images in your email. 

You can use this tool to check whether your email will land in the spam folder or not.

Make sure to include a video that shows how to transfer your email from the spam/ promotional tab to the Primary tab. When people do so, they will receive your emails in the primary folder.

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

6. Right time, Right day, Right frequency

Sending the mail at the right time is equally crucial as crafting an engaging email.

But it differs from person to person. Imagine a day in the life of your target audience, and think when would they read your emails?  This will help you decide the best time to send your emails.

Though there are different studies that indicate the best days as well as the best time for sending an email.

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh
Source: Mailchimp

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh
Source: Mailchimp

The best days to send emails are indeed the weekdays and the best time is in the afternoon when the corporate day starts.

Just ask yourself-  When will this content be the most relevant to your audience? When are they most active?

 And then, test it out.

 Also, make sure you tell them the frequency of your emails in the first place. No one wants to receive an email daily. But this might not be a similar case with your target audience. Test it out.

You are going to send it 3 times a week? Twice a month? 5x a month? How many times would they like to receive your email? Make it clear.

7. Ask a question to increase engagement

Ending your emails with a question can help you avoid the promotional or spam tab.


When you make it a two-way conversation and people actually reply to your email by answering your question, Google identifies that the recipients desire your e-mails and can give you a better chance of landing in the primary box which will eventually lead to more open rates.

This also makes them feel that the email is coming from a human and they trust you more.

Here’s an example:

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh

You can always use a P.S at the end to grab their attention with your question. 

Example:  P.S- Do you have a doubt regarding this? Text me your doubt and I am reading each one of them.

8. Make it Mobile-friendly

More than 50% of people read your email on mobile phones. If you haven’t optimized your emails for mobile, you are really missing out on a large opportunity.

Test your emails on phone. The text should be easy to read, should load fast and the content should look good. It should be spaced out properly.

Make sure your email looks good even if all the images are turned off. There might be a chance that Android may turn off your images by default.

Don’t use heavy images. This will take a lot of time to load the page. Optimize your images accordingly.

Make your CTA very clear and concise. Make your CTA large enough that it’s easy to click.

Apart from all this, always do A/B testing to analyze what things are working for you and your audience.

9. Provide high-quality content

Don’t send emails just for the purpose of sending it.

If you are providing real value, your target audience will miss important stuff if they skip your email. 

No one would do so. If you can deliver quality content consistently, people will open your emails no matter what.

By providing quality content, you are already differentiated from your competitors.

Use a tone that your audience resonates with.

Here’s an example:

Donvesh uses a tone that resonates with GenZ people.

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh

You can also inject some humor by adding some cool Gifs, or some funky jokes depending upon your target audience.

At the end of the day, you need to show that on the other side of the emails there is a human sitting writing all these emails.


So there you are all ready to excel it!

Email Marketing still gives the highest ROI when used properly. Behave like a human in the emails, follow all the above-mentioned things and you are good to excel with email marketing. 

I don’t even know how many times I have used the word testing above. The whole point is no matter how many blogs you read and what all the different things those blogs suggest, it’s always advisable to test things on your own.

But you can start with the above-mentioned things and then use the data to guide you further.

9 Ways To Improve Your Email Open Rate (With Free Tools Provided) by Nikita Singh

Hi, my name is Nikita. I’m a Hubspot certified Email Marketer and a landing page Copywriter. I can help you increase your revenue by 2x or even 3x. If you want to do so, let’s connect on LinkedIn.

Follow Nikita on LinkedIn.

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Tips to Improve your Email Marketing campaign

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