arrow-left arrow-right brightness-2 chevron-left chevron-right circle-half-full dots-horizontal facebook-box facebook loader magnify menu-down rss-box star twitter-box twitter white-balance-sunny window-close
The Simplest Ways to Increase Email Open Rates
7 min read

The Simplest Ways to Increase Email Open Rates

As an email marketer, nothing is more disappointing than putting hours of work into an outreach email, and nobody is opening it. You can put all of your blood, sweat, and tears into an email project, but if the email open rates are low, it’s basically all for nothing.


As an email marketer, nothing is more disappointing than putting hours of work into an outreach email, and nobody is opening it. You can put all of your blood, sweat, and tears into an email project, but if the email open rates are low, it’s basically all for nothing.

How do we fix this problem? To be honest, it’s not really as cut and dry as you might hope. However, there are a few simple things you can do to increase your email open rates. Even if it’s just by a slight margin, increasing open rates will always mean more interaction, which could turn into another sale, impression, or future customer. That’s all we really want anyways, right?

With all of that in mind, here are some of the simplest ways to increase your email open rates.

Keep your email list updated

No matter how awesome your email is, the truth is that if you’re sending these emails to inactive accounts, it’s basically going into the void.

For this reason, the number 1 tip anyone can give you to increase email open rates is to make sure these emails you’re sending to are validated and real. How do you do that? It’s super simple.


DataValidation is the perfect tool for validating emails. All you have to do is upload your email list, and this incredibly intuitive tool will do all the work for you. Integrate the API with your website or app to make it even easier.

Starting off on the right foot is important. That’s why DataValidation was created. You’ll spend less time wondering if your email list is up to date, and more time focusing on the rest of this list.

Make your subject line catchy

How many emails have you skipped over because they didn’t catch your attention? You’re probably not even sure because you don’t even notice them.

In order to increase your email open rates, you have to lure the recipient in. Okay, that might sound a little dishonest, but I can assure you that if you’re sending an email worth clicking on, then an alluring subject line is a must.

How do you make a catchy email subject line? It’s actually pretty simple. Here are a few guidelines:

Make it personal

The easiest way to grab anyone’s attention is to use their name. Any email that has my name in the subject line always stands out to me first, and it’s for a simple reason. The email, regardless of what it’s actually about, seems more personal.

Make them curious

Curiosity is a huge incentive to click on something. That’s where the whole clickbait trend came from. Now, I’m not saying that you should clickbait your emails. While that will most likely increase email open rates, there will be a big backlash from customers, and you might end up losing more money. Instead, make them curious without being misleading.


I don’t know why, but any subject line with numbers in it always grabs the attention of the recipient. Maybe it has to do with the curiosity point above, or maybe people just really like numbers. Either way, if you can use numbers (money, statistics, etc.), then go for it.

Be conversational

This one plays off the first one listed above. People love when companies care. Being personal by using their name is a great way to do that, but using a conversational tone is also a great way to increase email open rates. Think about it. You’d much rather talk to a real person over a robot, and although this is through email and not over the phone, people can still get the wrong impression.

Of course, there are many interesting tricks to writing a good email subject line, but these are just a few of the simplest and most popular. Next time you’re crafting a subject line, try one or two of these tricks out.

Use some humor

I love a good joke, and I think most people do, too. But, while using humor to increase email open rates has been proven to work, it needs to be done sparingly. Basically, you don’t want to be a comedian, you just want to seem like a real human being… and nothing’s wrong with getting a little laugh every once in a while.


Humor is a quick way to anyone’s heart. That’s why comedy movies and stand up shows are always sold out. If done correctly, inserting a joke or two, some puns, or a funny GIF will definitely increase email open rates, and possibly drive up customer satisfaction, too.

Segment your email list

Email list segmentation is vital. The most important factor when designing an email and deciding who to send it to is deciding who that email is relevant for.

This, of course, can be very difficult if your list isn’t segmented. The first step in this regard would be to add tags to email subscribers. Create tags based on purchase behavior and start tagging. For example, if a certain customer is well known for purchasing a perishable product every six weeks, then it would be a good idea to inform that customer, and any others like them when certain products go on sale. But, you won’t know that until you start tagging customers based on purchase behaviors.

Next, you can segment your email list based on location. This will help increase email open rates simply because of the different cultures and the emails you can create that are relevant to them.


For example, many brands run sales based on holidays. In the United States, July 4th is a huge day for sales. But, as you can imagine, it’s not so popular somewhere like Australia. If you know the general location of your email subscribers, you can send targeted emails tailored especially for them.

Avoid being flagged as spam

Even if you check your spam inbox, odds are that you just trash everything in it immediately. It’s not considered to be a good thing in any case if your emails are going to someone’s spam. In order to increase email open rates, your best bet is going to be to avoid being tossed into spam at all costs.

There are a few ways you can do that:

  • Make sure everyone on your email list wants to be there. If they don’t want to receive your emails, they might flag it as spam.
  • With the above statement in mind, give people an easy way to unsubscribe from your email list.
  • Use a clean IP address. Make sure that the IP that you’re using wasn’t previously used to send spam emails.
  • Do not clickbait. If someone has a certain expectation when clicking on a subject line, you have to deliver.
  • Include your location.
  • Keep all code clean.
  • Avoid spam words that promote a “sales” language. Words like “buy” and “clearance” are often triggers for the spam folder.

These are just a few, simple ways that you can avoid being sent to spam. Although none of these tips guarantee that you won’t end up in someone’s spam folder, they most certainly will help prevent it in most cases.

Work on your timing

In the marketing world, timing is everything. To put this more into perspective: campaigns are usually designed around some sort of holiday or event. If you miss that date, deadline, or mark, you’ve basically done all that work for nothing.

With that in mind, sending emails at the perfect time is the best way to ensure that you increase email open rates.


The best way you can do this is to perform some A/B testing. This is a very common practice in the email marketing field. Basically, you’ll send a variety of different emails, all about the same topic, all at varying times.

Of course, this will probably be a little more difficult to do on targeting campaigns on let’s say… Christmas. But, for those announcements that happen a little more frequently, it’s definitely worth testing for both time of day and the day itself.

Optimize for mobile users

Optimizing for mobile is probably one of the biggest UX/UI design trends going on right now. If you consider that there are over 3 billion, it makes sense.

Optimizing your email for mobile doesn’t necessarily require anything fancy, but it does require you to take the fact that these people are on the go and typically have much smaller screens into consideration.

You’ll want to make it easy to read quickly by using simple and larger fonts, as well as making sure you don’t exceed more than a few sentences.

The conclusion

The simplest way to increase email open rates is to produce quality and meaningful emails that benefit the reader. The only way you can do that is by making sure those emails hit most of the criteria above. In addition to that, here are a few small tips:

  • Keep it simple. No need to get fancy or be a poet.
  • Use small images and GIFs to decrease loading times.
  • …..but don’t rely on the images. Your email should make sense with or without them.
  • Use large CTAs so that people can easily click on them.

Of course, you’ll most likely never hit a perfect email open rate, but these few tips will certainly help in increasing it.