January 22, 2015

7 Ethical Ways To Improve Your E-mail Open Rates Fast

Nobody opens my e-mails _-(Are your open rates too low? I know it can be a struggle. After all, the average inbox is *BOMBARDED* with emails every single day — and for sure they won’t open everyone of ’em, right?

But it does suck, because if nobody reads your message it’s kind of like talking to a mannequin.

Not that fun.

If you run a business, money needs to be made. You need them to at least open the e-mail before you can get them to do anything else.

This is the proces when i’m checking my e-mails:
scan, delete, delete. scan; hmm, looks interesting!

I am sure that we have something in common there. So how do you get people interested to read your e-mails?

These 7 tips should get you on your way to leave people in anticipation for your e-mails:

1. Learn Them Something They Want To Know

There is this thing i hear people in the dark corners of the online marketing world talk about sometimes —”ABS, ABS!!” (Always Be Selling). Well that’s not how you should treat your subscribers.

That’s no way to treat a friend, right? If they subscribed, that means they want to hear more from you.

It is: an OK from them to allow for a stronger relationship.
It is not: a “bombard with me with spam daily” kind of relationship.

So don’t check in with your subscribers only if you are selling something. Instead, start e-mailing them more often. Give them insider info and exclusive deals that are not on your blog.

Now, when the time comes to make an offer, they will open your e-mail and be more open to buy from you (because they like you :-).

Should you?

I was checking my inbox today and this one immediately spoke to me, they don’t need everyone to open it—but those who have been wondering about it are like:

“Thats exactly what i want to know!!*CLICK*

2. Use Double Opt-In

When it comes to open rates, it’s all about quality of the list. Using double opt-in is one way to getting only the best subscribers on your list.

If you let your subscribers confirm themselves – these 2 things that will happen:

  1. Only those who are truly interested in what you have to say will confirm.
  2. The ones who do confirm, are more likely to read your e-mails because it required an action from them. Research has shown (read Influence)

This is a great thing. Don’t obsess about the numbers. The best marketers out there take a small engaged list over a huge unengaged list any day!

3. Be Personal

Nobody likes reading e-mails that are too impersonal. It’s boring. I won’t open it. Neither will you. So please write personal e-mails. Your readers will thank you.

One person i know who really does this well is Pat Flynn from The Smart Passive Income blog. When i receive his e-mails, it genuinely feels like i get an e-mail from a friend. This is also because he obeys rule #1 religiously 😉

Just pretend that you are sending an e-mail to a great friend. If you sound like corporate Billy, your readers will fall asleep and that is not what we want. Before you know it, they’ll ignore you — or even unsubscribe.

4. Don’t Make Your Subject Line Too Looooong

Wanna write a good subject line? Tell them why they should open your e-mail.

That’s it.

Just scroll through your inbox and notice which headlines pull you in most.

  • Learn How To Persuade Customers
  • Exclusive: 20% E-mail Discount On [product]
  • How To [amazing thing you will learn]
  • Giveaway! My Fav. 10 Books On Psychology

I love Copyblogger, but i rarely open their e-mails because they look like this:


What matters to me, is how to tell a great marketing story. So that’s what i would put first in the subject line.

I never even noticed this e-mail until i started checking subject lines for this article. Simply “How to tell a great marketing story” would probably have catched my attention.

And then when they have actually OPENED the e-mail, you can remind them that it is part of a series and that they should look forward for the next one!

5. Create A Sense Of Urgency

This is a great way to improve your open rates if you use it the right way.

Let’s say you are running an offer for 20% off on your product for 7 days…

You would be very wise to send and e-mail on the last days before the offer ends, like:

  • Only 3 days left – 20% off on [product]
  • Last 24 hours! – 20% off on [product]

You can use urgency for a lot of things. Think about events or coaching products. “only 9 seats left!”. This is a very powerful method, just don’t overuse it.

One more thing: be believable. If there are 10 seats left, it’s okay to say 9 because it sounds better, and by the time you send it — it can actually be true.

Just don’t abuse the scarcity rule. It’s unethical. And people are not stupid, so don’t treat them as such. But i’m sure you are smart enough to know that, so you’ll be fine :-).

6. Use An Autoresponder

The word “autoresponder” sounds kinda lame. It makes me think of voicemail.

I prefer the way Neville from Kopywritingcourse describes it:
He calls it a “Magical Slave Machine” – which is a lot more compelling! 😉
(Read his blog btw, i love his stuff)

If someone subscribes to your e-mail list, it is important to stay in touch with them. It’s okay to e-mail them quite often (as long as you don’t send them crap).

Instead, send out an awesome series of e-mails that will go out every other day — and make them beg for more!

Great e-mail services that offer Autoresponders are:
Aweber, Getresponse and Mailchimp. 

7. Choose The Right Delivery Times

If you are going to send an e-mail, you might as well do it at a time when most people will be looking, right? For starters: don’t send it when everybody is zzZzzZzz…..

Monday’s are to avoid 😉 – when everybody is back at work and reality sinks in again.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are *usually fine.

Another trick is to send it at 6:30 am, so yours will be on top of the “pile” the next morning, so to speak.

But here’s *the deal: Test it.
Let me say it again: Test it.

There are so many case studies on delivery times that you can bury yourself in it.

But my advice is to just send that e-mail on Monday, and check how it performs.
Especially if the subject is: Do your Mondays suck? (Here’s how to change it)


Improving open rates does not stop at improving your subject lines. When it comes to e-mail, the recipient is just as important as the subject.

I’ll check an offer on a new product when it is an e-mail from someone i like, but someone who started to annoy me just hangs around on my e-mail account for months — before i finally unsubscribe (familiar?).

You need to tell them something they want to know, or they will doze off. Are your readers interested in SEO? Give your readers some bad ass penguin proof linkbuilding tactics and they will be forever thankful!

Think they’re gonna be interested in what kind of products you offer? You bet!

Jasper Oldersom

Hey, I am Jasper and I am an authentic freelance (copy)writer and marketer. If you need time to focus on other parts of your business, while I write a quality article for your website - I'm your guy.

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