How can I increase my email open rates?


We’re not talking about emails sent to clients who (one hopes) open everything from you because it might be important. We’re talking about your newsletter or promotional emails, because, let’s face it, a significant percentage of your subscribers don’t open these.

Guess what? It’s okay if they don’t. What’s important is that they regularly see your name in their email inbox because each time they do, it reminds them you’re still available to help them if they need help (or know someone who does). 

When they do need help, they’ll go find an email from you, get your contact information, and call or write (or pass it along to someone who needs help). 

Sure, it’s better if they do open and read your email. That’s how you build value with readers, engage with them, and get them to learn more about what you do and how you can help them. But seeing your name regularly, consistently, is most important. 

Unfortunately, many of your subscribers won’t see your name in their inbox. And that’s a problem. 

If you send your newsletter from your computer’s email software, your IP address can get blacklisted for sending too many identical emails. If you use a commercial email provider (with a good reputation), however, you shouldn’t have that problem. 

But, even if you do use a trusted email provider, your messages can still wind up in SPAM (or, in some cases, never delivered) if you use certain words in the email subject line typically used by spammers, or include too many images or links in the body of your messages, which can also trigger spam filters. 

Note to self: use a commercial email provider to deliver my newsletter. Don’t include too many images or links.

Hold on. Even if your message doesn’t land in your subscribers spam folder, if they use Gmail, it might wind up in their “promotions” folder, which they might rarely open. It’s a common problem. Make sure you tell your new subscribers to add your email address to their contact list and this will minimize that problem. 

Okay, a few best practices (and some common sense) should help you get more subscribers to see your message. And while that should be your top priority, you also want them to open and read your messages. That’s how you deliver value, show them what you do and how you can help them, engage with them, and present a call to action (e.g., contact you, fill out a form, share your content, etc.) which they probably won’t do unless you ask. 

Okay, you’ve got those emails delivered. How do you get them opened and read?

The simplest way to is to use better subject lines. Motivate recipients to open your message by offering a benefit for doing that. Promise (or imply) they will learn something interesting or useful—how to solve a problem (or avoid it), for example. 

Or make them curious about what’s inside your message. 

You can also get more opens by keeping your promises. Deliver the information or other benefits mentioned in the subject line in this week’s email and your subscribers will be more likely to open next week’s. 

For more about getting your emails open and read, check out my course on email marketing for attorneys