A Trade Magazine for New Age Retailers

10 Ways to Increase Your Email Open Rate

Our last issue discussed how to build our email subscriber list, so we can be drive more traffic to our store and e-commerce sites. Now how do we get our subscribers to actually open what we sent to them? Here are 10 easy ways to increase your email open rate.

 1. Email Them & Be Consistent

This might seem obvious but if your subscribers don’t regularly hear from you, they’re less likely to bother opening your emails or, worse off, opt to unsubscribe or click that spam button. If you’re going to go through the trouble of collecting emails, be sure to stay in touch so they don’t forget about why they signed up in the first place.

 2. Subject Line Rock Stars

Notice any subject lines that you think are effective? Keep a running list of good ones and see if you can incorporate similar tone or words into yours.

 3. A/B Test Different Subject Lines

Email software companies often make this easy so take advantage of testing different words and length of copy to see what resonates with your customers. A/B testing is when you test one subject line (A) with another subject line (B) using the same content. What you’re trying to see is whether one subject line pulls a better open rate. You can test things like using action verbs versus non-action verbs or adding an emoji or not.

 4. Lean on Friends

Ask a handful of friends if they’d be willing to serve as a mini focus group for email subject lines. It can be as easy as creating a poll on a private Facebook group page and asking them to weigh in on which ones they’d be more inclined to open.

5. Be Timely and Include Content They Can Use

Rather than focusing on what’s in store, why not offer tips from a local business on how to make your own dishwashing soap or unique ways to upcycle items for Earth Day? How about including a recipe by a new restaurant in your community? Depending on the brand, Amanda Elliott loves getting emails that motivate her. “I like that Nike motivates me with their apps and tools,” she says.

6. Create Urgency

Rosey LeVine opens emails from businesses that remind her of items she was considering or to “use your $XYZ credit by X” date. Similarly, Elliott responds to sale offers, but not any sales offers: “big sales”.

 7. Be Mobile

Research shows that more than half of email recipients now open their emails on a mobile device, which means you have both your subject line and usually the first sentence of two in the body of your email to convince your customer it’s worth her time to open it and read more. Take more time drafting your subject line and first sentences of your email because if those aren’t compelling enough, the rest of your email content won’t matter.

8. Be Mindful When Personalizing

Personalized email advertisements are far more likely to repel customers than to endear them, according to a study led by a Temple University Fox School of Business professor. Translation: don’t address the recipient by name in the subject line or first sentence of your email. However, the same research, which drew from 10 million marketing emails sent to 600,000 customers, also showed there is a way companies can use personal information without driving customers away: send them deals on products they want. If your customer never buys apparel but always buy accessories, don’t bother emailing her updates on your latest shipment of dresses.

9. Scan Your Analytics

Figure out which day of the week, and which time, works better for you by studying your open rates. Is your customer a white-collar professional who is tied to her desks during the day and won’t have time to enjoy retail therapy or a stay-at-home parent who doesn’t even look at their email until later in the day or weekends? For some, Sundays are the kiss of death while others find Mondays are dead-ends. Keep testing and reviewing your analytics until you find your sweet spot.

10. Thank Your Customers

Remind them why they thought it was a good idea to subscribe and open your emails by giving them something of value. Offer them access to special offers, private events or first dibs on new products.


Emails are a reflection of your business and the way you approach the content of your message should be the same as you would the homepage of your website or merchandising your front windows. First impressions matter so take your time and do it right. You’ll be rewarded with better open rates and a healthier bottom line.

Megy Karydes
Author: Megy Karydes

Megy Karydes is a Chicago-based writer. Her new book, 50 Ways to More Calm, Less Stress: Scientifically Proven Ways to Relieve Anxiety and Boost Your Mental Health Using Your Five Senses, will be available January 2024. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter to receive more self care tips at

Website: https://www.megykarydes.com

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