Improving your email open rate is mostly about understanding who you are targeting and why. While this may sound simple, most emails used for marketing go unopened simply because they don’t find the right audience, nor do they have the right content. Luckily, there are some straightforward ways to improve your email open rate.

How to improve your email open rate

There are several ways to improve the odds of your audience opening the emails you send them. Before we go over them, it is essential to mention that you do not have to use all the methods we list. Ideally, you should identify where your email marketing strategy is falling flat and introduce improvements to that aspect. If that isn’t enough, you can then try out something new. Doing so will improve your email open rate and learn why it was low in the first place.

Update your email list regular

You will need an email list to send emails to your customers automatically. For that list to be helpful, you must always keep it updated. Keep in mind that people change their email or stop using them. Therefore, if you’ve been using the same list for a while, you might have a decent number of emails with zero relevance. You are bound to have a low email open rate if you don’t update your list.

The best course of action is to plan your updates according to changes in your customer base. If you have inactive customers on your list, you can look to re-engage them. If they don’t respond, you can look to remove them or label them as inactive. Such solutions help reduce dead-end emails from your future campaigns.

Segment your target audience

Modern marketing is based on segmentation. To effectively engage your target audience, you need to understand the various demographics that constitute it. The better you can segment those demographics into specific groups, the more effective your marketing efforts will be. Emails are no exception. If you wish for people to open your emails, you need to know to whom you send them. That way, you can personalize your content and avoid having generic emails.

Ideally, you will closely follow how your emails resonate with your audience and whether you engage each segment with due care. You can do that by tracking the essential email marketing metrics. If you measure your success, you will soon see that proper segmentation is key to email marketing—both in short-term and long-term campaigns.

Understand the importance of timing

Another reason for audience segmentation is timing. Namely, different demographics have different times during the day when they are likely to read emails. Some will do so before work. Others will do so after school. And if you wish to improve the odds that your audience will open your emails, you need to figure out when to send them. Improper timing can easily see your emails to end up in the spam folder even if they are well written.

Work on having a notable subject line

The key selling point of your email marketing is the subject line. Whether or not people will open it is largely based on how interesting and engaging it seems. So, when you sit down to create it, keep its importance in mind. Depending on your brand, different formats of subject lines can be effective. Therefore, you must research and explore which subject lines bring the best email open rate.

In a similar token, preheaders play an essential role in whether or not a person will open your email. While it may take some time to learn how to develop subject lines and preheaders that are engaging and in line with your brand, doing so is well worth the effort. With VBOUT, you get A/B testing for subject lines that can come in handy. But, overall, you will need to do some extra work.

Adopt a friendly yet professional tone

One of the worst things you can do with your emails is to adopt a generic tone. People nowadays constantly receive marketing emails. And if you even look like generic email marketing, they are bound to remain unopened. So, regardless of the subject you are trying to cover, you should have a friendly tone. Make your reader feel you are talking to them, not a generic customer. Only by doing so will they find your emails engaging and look forward to opening the ones that come after.

Focus on content quality

Regardless of your email’s subject line or tone, it is crucial to mention that your emails need to be interesting. Quality over quantity is an excellent mindset, especially if you struggle with email open rates. In the age of email automation, quantity shouldn’t be much of an issue. But, if your emails are boring, people will soon learn to ignore them. And once they do, there isn’t much you can do to revert it.

Remember that emails don’t have to rely solely on written content. Visual content like videos, animations, and images can all find their place within an email. Furthermore, they can help enrich your emails and make your content more appealing. If you can personalize your content according to the audience segment you are addressing and improve the overall quality, you are bound to considerably increase your email open rate.

Keep your brand in mind

Don’t think of your emails as marketing content you push to your audience. Instead, think of them as an invitation to engage with your brand. A good email isn’t simply a piece of promotional content but a start of a conversation between a brand and a customer. From this mindset, stem all the listed ways you can improve your email open rate. So, the sooner you adopt it, the better.

Author bio

Josh Curtis has been a content creator and marketing manager for over 15 years. He currently focuses on consultation work and writing helpful articles for companies like In his free time, he loves jogging and hiking.