How to Improve Email Open Rates – A Few Simple Tips

In today's video, I'm talking about how to improve email open rates​. And below I talk about effective split testing, so check that out too!

*** Now I must also mention that this is for promotional emails and assumes that what you're actually promoting or talking to your audience about is providing value. I'm talking about how to get people to actually open the email in the first place. ***

I'm in no way promoting that you 'trick' people into opening your spammy rubbish emails. Your content still needs to be good! I'm simply saying that by sounding more relational in your email subject lines or giving a bit of a pre-cursor to the VALUE, you'll have more success with open rates. That's because an email that has an element of personalisation (i.e from a friend) is always going to opened, whereas emails from companies are often ignored.

What we're trying to do here is simply improve email open rates, and your best chance of that will be if you stop sounding like a robot, and start sounding like a real person who genuinely wants to engage with your audience.

Take a look at a side-by-side comparison

Say you've got a promotion running to re-engage customers at your gym. You're offering anyone who hasn't been there for a few weeks (or even months) a chance to redeem a 20% coupon to 'get motivated again and get fit'.

Here's two headlines, one is promotional and focusses on the coupon. The other is value driven and focuses on the personalised message about reversibility (and as you can see above, a 2 minute video isn't exactly hard to knock together!):

"Get 20% off your next gym session"


"{2 minute vid} Just shot something quickly for you on reversibility - check it"

Of course, I would always suggest that you at least 25%-25%-50% split test these things, but you can see straight away that one is going for the sell, the other is going for the personalised approach.

What is 25%-25%-50% split testing?

That's where you send the initial email with competing headlines​ to the first 50% of your audience (25 & 25), and then after testing for a few hours, send only the best resulting headline to the remaining 50% of the audience. It's a simple and fantastic way to improve your open rates too. It may sound simple, but it can make a big difference in the long run.

Case Study

Let's say you have 1000 people on your list and you have a conversion rate (after opening) of 5%. And let's say each transaction is worth $100 to you...

Now let's say you have your email subject line and it achieves an open rate of 20%. That's 200 people at 5% = 10 people. That's $1000. Okay cool.

Now let's say you split test and have your 20% open rate email subject, but then test it against another that opens at 30% (being conservative here guys...).*

Here's the result...

(1000 x .25 x 0.2) + (1000 x 0.25 x 0.3) + (1000 x 0.5 x 0.3) = 275 people

275 people at 5% opt-in is $1375.

One split test and it results in a couple of hundred bucks! Now imagine if you have a list of 10,000 people. The numbers add up pretty quicky! 

THAT is why it's so important to improve email open rates!

* The funny thing about open rates is that you don't know until AFTER sending out the email. So if you don't test and you get poor open rates, you've missed your chance of improving. This is why I always recommend split testing.

Hope this helps you to improve your email open rates too.

Shoot through any questions you've got and have a good day.


Eric is a self-described 'cool geek'. When he's not skating on his pink Penny, running or riding with his son in tow in "the chariot", Eric loves to get stuck into the nitty gritty data and learn the latest info and techniques about digital marketing and website design.