How To Improve Your Email Open Rates

Posted on 28/10/2014 by Team Hallam

Your customer database is one of your most valuable assets and email marketing is a cost effective channel to keep in touch with your customers, as well measure responses and behaviour to new products or services. However many email marketing campaigns fail because they have low open rates. Email open rates show how well you are engaging with your customers.

Email Open Rate

Here are five solutions you can apply to improve the open rates for your email marketing campaigns.

1. Test your email before pushing that button

Many email marketing service providers such as Mailchimp allow you to view and test your email before broadcasting your campaign. You can even preview how your email will look on smartphone or tablet. Sending test emails internally to a few colleagues first will give you an opportunity to avoid simple spelling and formatting errors that can creep in. If you also have personalised fields in your email which pulled from your data list, such as customer names, it’ll be worth checking if these have come through successfully too.

2. Sending your email at the right time

We’ve mentioned testing before, however it’s such a critical part to creating a successful marketing campaign, whether online or offline. Another aspect you can test is the time and day that you are sending your emails. Sending and comparing different send times will tell you more about your customers’ behaviour. It has been noted that sending emails on weekdays, particularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 2pm and 5pm  is successful with open rates dropping at weekends. However every industry is different so it’s always worth testing different broadcast times for your email campaigns.

3. Use a professional “From” email address

Using a branded and relevant “From” email address in your email will give you a better chance of recipients opening your email, not only because it looks professional but it will be seen as a trust signal. Along with the subject line, it’s one of the first elements your customers will see in their inbox. Therefore use branded email addresses and avoid using obvious Gmail and Hotmail accounts which can be blocked by spam filters when sent in large volumes.

4. Segmentation

Another aspect to consider when seeking to improve your email open rates is whether your email list can be segmented further. Segmenting your customer data will improve the relevancy of your email and can boost open rates. For example, if you’re sending an email about an Autumn Sale on shoes and your customer data can tell you their gender, you can send communications that are more targeted and more likely to get your customers’ attention.

Make your emails more relevant with segmentation

5. Avoid bad email subject line practices

Email subject lines can be a tough art to master, but this can be achieved by avoiding some common bad practices. These include over-capitalisation of words and use of symbols (!?#* to name a few) which make emails look unprofessional and automated. It’s also important to keep your subject line to around 50 words to keep it relevant and to avoid it being cut off in your recipient’s inbox. Finally you should use timely information in your subject line that will be of interest to you customers, as opposed to phrases such as “Read Me” and “Free” which can trigger spam filters.


Just like your website, the emails that you send represent your business. So it’s important avoid bad practices such as spelling errors and using unprofessional looking “From” email addresses and subject lines. Also continually testing your email campaigns will put you in good stead to find a winning formula. Following these basic practices will soon see your email open rates creeping up because you are learning more about your customers. Finally when putting the content together for your email campaign, it’s always to good ask yourself what would you like to see if you was to receive the email.

To find out more about how Hallam can help your business with email marketing, you can give us a call on 0115 948 0123 or fill out our contact form.

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How To Improve Your Email Open Rates

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