Email marketing gets a bad rap – but the truth is, it’s a critical and cost-effective part of any successful marketing strategy. Over 80% of consumers still open emails sent by companies and the average email ROI is $44.25 for every $1 spent. The problem is that it’s impossible to close a new customer via email marketing if they don’t open your emails.  Here are 5 easy ways to improve your company’s email open rates and maximize your email marketing potential.

1.  Put your content in context: Emails sent to lists of purchased email addresses have extremely low open rates and high SPAM reporting.  Be patient – acquire email lists gradually through customer opt-ins based on specific content interest.  Opt-in preferences will give you the ability to segment your lists and be sure you’re only sending what your customers want when they want it. This method means your email recipients will keep opening and sharing your emails while you reduce email opt-outs.

2.  Subject Line Do’s and Don’ts: Sending better customer emails starts with better subject lines.


  • Personalize the subject with the customer name to help remind them that they know you and have already begun the buyer’s journey with your company
  • Be urgent and brief.  Reports show subject lines with 61-70 characters will generally get the most opens.
  • Make sure it’s clear who the email is coming from, and always be specific. If the consumer isn’t sure who you are or what you’re trying to say, chances are they won’t bother to open it.


  • Use words like “Free,” “Act Now,” dollar signs, or exclamation points.  These and similar words can trigger SPAM filters and are almost never clicked
  • Try to be witty or overly clever with your subject line.  With the often hundreds of emails sent to consumers each day, they won’t click on what they don’t immediately understand
  • Use deceptive subject lines just to get a customer to open an email.

3.  Spend time on your preview text: Almost all email programs offer preview text and the majority of users take advantage of it.  Be sure that you include specific preview text that is brief, to the point, and specific with your email CTA.

4.  Send emails when they’ll be opened, not when they’ll be buried:  While emails sent on Mondays typically offer the highest ROI, every database is different.  Experiment with A/B testing and send emails on different days of the week and at different times until you find a good open rate.  If most emails are opened in the morning, that means that most companies are sending emails in the morning so there’s more competition. Sometimes a Saturday morning email can garner a high open rate and as a result, more conversions, because you’re the only game in town.

5.  Keep your lists clean: 17% of Americans change their email address every 6 months, and over 30% change their email annually.  If you see your open rates steadily declining and you’re following all of the above steps, it might be time to take a look at your list and remove the addresses of those who haven’t opened an email in a while.

It is estimated that by 2025, the total number of emails sent and received per day will total over 376.4 billion, making email marketing one of the best values available.  Quality, relevant, content in the body of emails is just as important as always, but with steadily increasing competition, a focused and calculated approach to improving open rates is equally important to help your emails close.