How to Increase Your Email Open Rate

General, List Building

If I’m ever looking for a hot topic for discussion, “How to Increase Email Open Rates, Deliverability and Engagement” doesn’t disappoint!

Deliverability rates, click thru rates, email open rates. What’s important, what isn’t and how to improve the scores that matter the most.

Email is the gateway to our clients. It’s the way we communicate with them, relate to them and find out where they need help so it’s no wonder that there’s so much interest in how to improve the stats that measure what that engagement is.

But before I get too far into my tips and tricks for making sure your emails are getting read I do want to clear up a little bit of confusion.

What You Need to Understand About Email Deliverability

A lot of people get hyper-focused on deliverability. I get asked about email deliverability left and right:

Which email automation programs are better?

Which email service providers are getting better open rates?

In many cases, this isn’t the right question to be asking. If you are using a popular email service like ActiveCampaign, you need to realize its whole business model is based on emails being delivered.  ActiveCampaign (and other popular email service providers) are doing everything they can to make sure those emails are getting into inboxes.

If you are worried about deliverability, it’s much more important you look at yourself and what you are or are not doing to make sure the emails you send out to your list each week are not being caught by spam or promotions filters.

Ways to Improve Your Email Deliverability

1. Check your own email address

When sending email messages as a business, you need to have a domain email is a domain email because the email address is hosted by my domain. is not a domain address and is much more likely to be caught by spam filters. Don’t use free email services to run a business. It’s not only unprofessional, it can be against the law.

You also want to verify your email address with your email service provider (ActiveCampaign, Aweber, etc.). Most email automation services will run you through that process when you open an account with them.

Set up DMARC on your email address with your email marketing service. Most email services will have instructions on how to do that in their support documents. It is also something I can set up for you with my email authentication package. 

2. Explain to your new subscribers how to whitelist your email address.

If you don’t know how to do this you can find articles just by doing a quick and easy Google search on “Whitelisting email addresses.” You can also go into your email service provider and ask them for instructions. Quite often they will have an article you can embed into an email and send out to your audience so that they understand how to make sure that they’re getting your emails.

3. Don’t be spammy

Most email service providers will give you a spam score is before you send an email out. A lot of times, it’ll tell you why you’re scoring high. Take advantage of the email service providers that you’re using and see what their recommendations are to improve your deliverability rate. Don’t send out emails with a spam score.

Improve Your Email Open Rates

Deliverability for emails is important for online businesses. It’s the way we communicate with our clients, after all. But the reality is you should be less worried about what your email service provider is doing and more concerned with whether or not your emails are interesting enough to be opened.

Pretty brutal, huh?

It’s the truth.

If people open your emails and read them, your deliverability is automatically going to go up. It takes care of itself. The majority of the big email service providers today are really comparable with each other when it comes to deliverability so if you’re using ActiveCampaign, Aweber, Mailerlite or the other common email marketing services, you’re going to be fine, as long as you haven’t done something to mess up your own deliverability.

Open rates are not a great metric for determining whether or not your emails are being opened. People can browse the emails in their inbox in a variety of ways that don’t count as an open. The best way to determine if people are reading your emails is to actually put something in the email that they need to click on, like a link that goes to a blog post and track those click-through rates.

How to Get People to Read the Email You Send

It all starts with the subject line, so when writing your subject line you want to raise curiosity, but you don’t want to be misleading.

The easiest way to write a really great subject line is to ask yourself, “Would I open this email if it came into my inbox based on the subject line?”

If the subject line is not interesting enough to compel you to open the email, it’s probably not going to be interesting enough to get your reader to open the email. But don’t be misleading either.

A few days ago. I got an email in my inbox with a the following subject line: “I just made a huge mistake!”

Of course I wanted to know what her mistake was!

But when I opened the email, it actually said something like “I just made a huge mistake! I decided to give away my very best content to anyone who clicks the link below in the next six hours…”

To me, that’s spammy. It wasn’t a mistake if she was doing it on purpose. The whole thing felt really dishonest to me and it really turned me off. I certainly didn’t read the email. So, in terms of deliverability and open rates, the person who wrote that email might consider it a win. I opened it, so it will help with future deliverability rates. But the reality is, those deliverability rates won’t much matter if people are put off by what you’re writing.

Don’t get so caught up in the numbers that you lose site of the relationship you’re building.

Important Things to Remember About Email Open Rates & Deliverability

1. Email open rates are only numbers

When you’re thinking about email deliverability, it’s important to remember that these are all just numbers we use to track our own progress. They don’t actually mean anything. No one wins a prize for the highest click-through rate at the end of the day. These are simply numbers that let us determine how we’re doing when we’re writing our copy, etc. Trying to game the system just to get people to click through to your blog doesn’t actually do anything for you if that results in people getting frustrated with you or feeling cheated.

2. Keep it simple, keep it short

If you really want people to read your emails, they should actually be fairly short because no one has time for a long email. The last thing you want them to do is to open an email you’ve sent out and to say, “I don’t have time for this right now. I’ll get to it later.” Because the reality is they usually don’t get to it later. Save your really in-depth content for articles, blog posts, and freebies.

3. Write your emails the same way that you talk to individual people

Don’t try to sound smart. Don’t use words you wouldn’t use in normal conversation. Don’t try to impress somebody. Be entertaining if you want to be, light-hearted if that’s your thing, but keep it simple, because you want it to seem like every single email you send out is to one person. You want the reader of that email to think that you are writing it just for them the same way you’d write it to your best friend.

Make sure you don’t slip words in that indicate that you are sending an email out to a bunch of people. Instead of saying “None of you,” just say “You,” or “I’ve talked to many of you…” say, “People tell me…” Don’t make it sound like it’s a great big group that you’re sending the email out to. This is very subtle and it takes a while to start to pick up on those nuances. If it helps, put a picture of a person you really want this email to be going to and make sure you’re wording it just for that person.

A well-written email is the gateway to your content. In most cases it’s where people are going to have their first introduction to you. It’s what you teach and what you represent. So make it count. Don’t think of an email as the means to a sale or a click to a blog post, but instead think of it as a stand alone piece of free content that’s going to engage your subscriber and make them really want to develop a closer relationship with you.

For a few more tips and tricks, check out the video below.

Want help setting up your email account? You can find my done for you tech packages, right here. 

OH! And here’s the old sound of a modem connecting you to the World Wide Web! The Internet Handshake!

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