Email Open Rates: The Guide to Better Email Click Through

July 20, 2019
improve your email open rates

A great email marketing campaign ideally has, low bounce rates and high opening rates. This all accompanied with a good click through rate and maximizing the return of your investment. However, to achieve this is no easy task. This requires you to handle multiple factors and metrics to keep your email marketing campaign at its best performance.

Here, we will be covering the basis of a good and bad email opening rate. We will also provide with tips and advice to improve the opening rate of the email in your marketing campaign. But first things first.

What are Email Open Rates?

An email open rate is the percentage of your emails that are opened by recipients in your emailing list. This rate depends on many different factors that influence the performance of a campaign. Things such as subject line, relevancy of any subject to your subscribers and content quality, play a big role in having a high or low open rate.

Why Should You Care About Email Open Rates?

Picture this, you’re running your very own email marketing campaign and you want it to provide better results. You might have your focus on increasing your subscriber numbers as a way to reach a larger audience. But, how many of your subscribers actually open your mails?

This question is fundamental to understand why your email opening rates matter, and they do a lot. A high subscriber count in meaningless if they don’t take the time to actually open your emails. So, in order to improve your email marketing campaign, you do have to place high importance in your open rates.

Having a good opening rate means that a large number of your subscribers periodically open your emails and interact with your campaign. Having a large contact database can be really good but having high open rates with a large contact list is even better.

Let’s face it, your subscribers can only interact with your content if they open your emails, as simple as that. For this to happen more than once you have to provide a good quality content and interesting headlines. Most industries that run email marketing campaigns have their opening rates somewhere around 20% out of all the emails sent. If you’re serious about your email marketing campaign you should be aiming to double that number.

How to Calculate Open Rates?

Luckily for us open rates can be calculated using a simple equation, this works for all email marketing campaigns.

Open Rates= Emails opened/(total number of emails sent–number of bounced emails) * 100

This simple equation provides a comprehensive percentage that takes into consideration the actual amount of emails that reached the destined mailbox, and are therefore eligible to be opened.

Should this percentage not take into consideration the number of bounced emails the efficiency would likely be lower. However, with that equation you have a clear picture of what’s going on regarding the delivered emails. Do keep in mind that your open rates are affected by almost every aspect of your emails, including format, subject and content.

While the equation above is a very straight forward one, no metric should be considered absolutely accurate. There’s always room for error, especially human error when it comes to email marketing campaigns. For a more precise description of why open rates are not always accurate let’s see how they’re tracked.

How are Email Open Rates Tracked?

An email opening rate is tracked using a tracking pixel. With this method a 1x1 invisible pixel is added to all the HTML emails that you send. Whenever your recipients open your emails, each will download a version of that pixel as an image and the download count is the same as the opening count. Clever method, right?

Here, the accuracy can be over the count or under it. This depending on different things. For instance, the recipient might use a platform that is incompatible with the HTML format, or could have the HTML image download option turned off. This leads to under reporting the real open rates.

This is not the only case, interference with an antivirus software sometimes triggers the download of the pixel, without the email actually being opened. This leads to over reporting the real opening rate. This is also the case for platforms that let you preview the email without actually opening it.

Whether the actual open rate is being over or under reported you do have to keep in mind a certain margin of error for this metric. This, however, doesn’t discourage you from actually increasing you opening rates. A higher opening percentage will always be better for your email marketing campaign.

Now that we’ve covered the basis of an opening rate for your email marketing campaign. Let’s focus on how to actually improve them.

How to Improve Email Open Rates?

Following we will be presenting the top 10 tips for improving the opening rates of your email marketing campaign. Follow these and you’ll have little trouble achieving that desired high opening rate.

1. Personalize Your Emails.

Most people respond well to be called by their own name and they certainly do like feel like they have your attention. Your subscribers are not different, studies show that by personalizing your emails, you can increase your current open rates up to 50%. This is done simply by putting their name in the subject line.

For better results and more engaged subscribers you can go the extra mile and try to cater to their interest in your emails. A good email marketing client comes with all tools that you might need to personalize your emails and provide better results from your email marketing campaign. When it comes to personalizing emails, this means having tags of the recipient’s name ready to be added to the subject line.

2. Segment Your Campaign.

This is one the must do when it comes to managing your email marketing campaign. Segmenting you campaign allows you to easily manage a large list of contacts and provide them the content they want to see.

Segmentation, in this case, just means grouping the contacts in your list using a variety of factors to determine the groups. Different categories might be created using topics of interest, geo location, work or even schedule.

Segmenting your email list takes the whole personalizing process one step further. Providing lots of customers with their desired content, and doing this is easier than ever before. Segmenting is not only fundamental, but will actually help you boost your open rates and improve your marketing campaign.

According to MailChimp simply segmenting your emailing list can lead to about a 15% increase in the opening rates. So, so far segmenting not only can boost your open rates but actually makes the work far easier and efficient.

Make the smart choice and segment your mailing list. Use different categories or generate your own. This will allow you to take a more strategic stance and target different groups of subscribers to improve your email marketing campaign. Take advantage of geo location, profession, schedule and more to gain more visibility with your subscribers.

3. Qualify Your Subscribers.

It should come as no surprise that having a long list of uninterested contacts is not in your best interest. They take time and effort from your campaign and you gain nothing in return. This is why It’s a good idea to qualify every subscriber based on their interest in your brand. Their engagement and particular open rate can also be used to qualify a subscriber.

You can use a lead magnet to attract potential subscribers and qualify your subscribers the second they join your campaign. Don’t use cheap subject lines or giveaways to gain more subscribers, they’ll fall off the instant the giveaway is done. Instead try to gain their attention by proving the best quality content you can.

You should strive to attract subscribers and potential customers that are in the same line of business as you. This greatly increases your chances to have an engaged and interested contact list.

4. Use Your Subject Line Effectively.

As we’ve mentioned before a good part of using your subject line properly is using your recipient’s name in it. This is merely one way to properly use the subject line, there is other content that can be added to improve your opening rates.

Optimize your subject lines by being straight to the point and sticking to a topic. Use lines that are what your subscribers want to get out of your information and grab their attention from the start. Be bold, precise, focused and communicative. Also, be sure to not lie or over sell anything in the subject line, this only means that you’ll have to provide a better-quality content.

Use their curiosity against them and make sure to get your emails opened so your content can hook your subscribers. Remember most people do fall prey of their instincts and curiosity, get them to open your emails by properly using your subject line.

You can also offer a good and realistic offer every now and then. Having something like “50% off for the next 24 hrs. in these articles” and “from the brilliant mind that founded our company”, is the best way to incite your readers to open your emails and pay attention t your content. Sounding confident and informed about your content will only be better for you.

You can maximize your email marketing campaign effectiveness by properly taking advantage of each email’s subject line. Remember this is the first thing your recipients see of the email, make sure that is inciting enough to make them open every mail you send.

5. Consider The Time.

This might no be at the top of your priorities when it comes to managing an email marketing campaign. However, it should. Sending emails at the right time of the recipient’s day can generate a great difference in your open rates.

There are studies done on the best time of the day to send emails from a marketing campaign. The best days are Tuesdays and Thursdays. As for the time, the best time to send the emails is about 6 am to 12 pm of the recipient’s day, followed then by 10 am to 12 pm and lastly from 8 pm to 12 am.

This provides a great chance to increase your open rates and get more of your subscriber’s attention. If you like you can also gather data from your subscribers and figure out yourself the best time to send them emails.

6. Clean Your Email List.

Ok, this is a basic one. Not only you have to get rid of addresses that just occupy space in your emailing list. You also have to make sure to keep an eye out for bad email addresses. You know, addresses that are almost ensure a bounce if you send emails to them.

Some of the most prominent threats in this aspect are spam traps, know spammer addresses, defunct email addresses and inexistent addresses. Aside from these you can bet that most people that are not engaged with your content will take little time to put your emails in their spam folder. This, of course, is very bad for your email campaign.

Monitor your subscribers to make sure that they meet a certain standard. Should they fall below an acceptable margin be sure to clean your list at once. Having unengaged recipients will do harm to your email marketing campaign in the long run, but having bad addresses will harm it swiftly.

If you need an extra hand to help you clean you email mailing list be sure to check out This is one of the best service available, they will take care of know bad addresses, spam traps and checks the validity of every email address in your email list. This service will help you get a clean email marketing list to let you improve your open rates.

7. Optimize Subject Lines for Mobile Devices.

As you might be aware of, most of the internet traffic world-wide comes from mobile devices. This statistic includes the fact that 61% of all emails are opened from mobile devices as well.

The revolution of the smartphone is now days at an all time high, and showing no signs of slowing down. The smart move is to capitalize on this and make sure that all your emails can be displayed properly using any mobile device. Specially the subject line, a good one is about 41 characters long, Keep thins in mind while you’re optimizing every subject line to display properly in any mobile device.

8. Use the “From:” Field Effectively.

Making sure that your recipient knows who sent the email only works in your favor. Most people will just delete email that the y don’t recognize or worse, they can label them as spam. Using the “from:” field to display your position or the logo of your company gives an air of confidence and commitment that works in your favor.

9. Avoid the Spam Filter.

You have to absolutely make sure to avoid the spam filter of any contact you have. People are way less likely to open emails about promotions and such if they fall in their spam folder. Also, as it was repetitively stablished, being labeled as spam hurts your reputation and damages your email marketing campaign.

One way to stay clear form any spam filter is to use a correct format for your emails. Don’t use subject line in all caps, and avoid grammatical mistakes.

10. Quality is Key.

If something really hooks a subscriber to your newsletters is your content. It is not enough to have good publicity and enticing subject lines, you have to prove that each of them is right. The only way to do this is to actually have a good quality content that provides valuable for your subscribers.

Remember little effort in your content means unengaged subscribers, and unengaged subscribers mean bad performance. Take this to heart and make sure to deliver carefully curated topics along with the best writing you can manage. Use the best format you have at hand and deliver only your top work.


Here we’ve stablished tips and ways to improve your opening rates. Remember that the success, or failure, of an email marketing campaign depends on many factors, one being critically that your information is actually viewed by your recipients.

Take the open rates as the most trustful metric when it comes to this. Also remember that it does come with a certain margin of inaccuracy. Learn from all the data you collect and apply the tips presented here. With all this at your disposal you can start improving your email marketing campaign in no time.

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