Category Archives: Email Marketing

How to write email sequences that convert like crazy

Importance of creating an email sequence for your business

Importance of creating an email sequence for your business

What are email sequences?

As the name suggests, these are series of emails that are sent to a recipient.

Ideally, the emails belonging to a particular sequence are triggered automatically when someone signs up for your service, makes a purchase on your website, or downloads an e-book or case study or a white paper after submitting their email ID.

Note: Whether you send email sequences manually or automatically, just make sure that the person knows that they will be receiving multiple emails once submitting their email ID.

Emails belonging to a certain sequence are logically related to each other.

The next email is built upon the previous email and every email takes the recipient close to the desired action.

Marketers also use email sequences to educate their prospective customers and clients.

For example, a project management company can send out a series of emails educating people on how to manage the various aspects of their projects.

A weight loss company can send regular emails on how people can monitor their diet, what healthy food options they can prepare, or what physical activities they can do regularly to lose weight fast.

Is there a difference between drip emails and email sequences?

Although on many websites you will read about differences between drip emails and email sequences, frankly, there isn’t much difference.

You automate a drip campaign, and you also automate an email sequence.

A drip campaign is triggered by predefined events, and so is an email sequence.

A drip campaign is used to keep recipients engaged when you offer valuable information and timely updates, and the same thing is achieved by email sequences.

Advantages of using email sequences that convert

Email sequence advantages

Email sequence advantages

Email sequences are automatic

In most of the cases.

There may be rare instances when marketers may decide to send out email sequences manually, but in most of the cases, email sequences are managed by email services like MailChimp and Zoho Campaigns.

Since email sequences are automatic, you don’t have to manage them for individual recipients.

The moment they perform a function that triggers the email sequence, they begin receiving your emails sequentially.

Another benefit of email sequence automation is that even the segmentation can be automated.

For example, you can send different email sequences to people who open your message, who open your message on a particular day or from a particular region, or who click the CTA.

Your segmentation can be as diverse as you want.

Email sequences are good for lead nurturing

Lead nurturing can be a tedious process.

It may take many emails before a prospect decides to reach out to you.

Since your prospect may start ignoring your email if you keep on sending the same email repeatedly, an email sequence with different but related email messages will generate a better response.

With an email sequence you can keep your leads engaged, positively contribute to their inbox, and remain in front of them over a long period.

Email sequences can be used for cross selling and up selling

Cross-selling is done when a person has bought something from your website and you would like to suggest some related products.

For example, if someone has purchased a mobile phone from your website, you can send a follow-up email (a part of your post-shopping cart email sequence) listing mobile phone back covers for the same model, or the screen guard, or even, an insurance policy for the mobile phone.

Up-selling can be done to offer upcoming products to people who have already purchased from your website a few days, a few weeks, or a few months ago.

Email sequences are cost-effective

Multiple reasons for that.

Sending thousands of emails is inexpensive.

Since the email sequences are triggered automatically, you don’t need to spend your own time or hire someone to send them to individuals.

Whether you want to send your email sequences to 100 people, to 1000 people, or to 10,000 people, they are sent out with precision, targeting, and on-time, automatically.

They give you measurable results

Especially if you use an email marketing service.

You can measure how many people opened your messages, how many responded, how many clicked, and at what time of the day or which day of the week your messages were opened or responded to.

The metrics can be as diverse as you want.

Email sequences can increase your brand awareness

Through email sequences, you send your messages to your prospects at set intervals.

Provided you are not bombarding them with multiple messages every day, strategically timed messages with valuable content can help you build your brand awareness.

When you broadcast quality content people develop a positive association with your messages.

They begin to recognize your name or the name of your business and whenever they recognize you, they associate you with the value that you deliver regularly.

You can educate your customers and clients

Suppose you’re launching a new app or a revolutionary software. Take for example, ChatGPT.

As a company that wants to promote ChatGPT (because later, you want to sell paid subscriptions) you want to educate your prospective users on how to derive maximum benefit out of it.

You can create a sequence of emails and in every new email, you explain various commands that can be given to ChatGPT to get exactly the information you need.

If you don’t know, ChatGPT is an AI-powered interface that is much more advanced than Google.

Provided you know how to prepare the queries before submitting them.

Even in the case of Google, people don’t know advanced search functions that they can use to find precise information.

Perhaps, instead of depending on bloggers to educate their users, Google can send email tips on how to use advanced Google search.

How to create high conversion email sequences

Creating high conversion email sequences

Creating high conversion email sequences

The primary objective of creating an email sequence is improving your conversion rate.

No matter what is the immediate objective of your particular email campaign (contact for more information, download a case study, book an appointment), the overall goal is to make more people do business with you.

Hence, every campaign in your high conversion email sequence must work towards that ultimate goal.

Listed below are a few things you can do to create high conversion email sequences.

Use segmentation and personalization

Segmentation and personalization when creating high conversion email sequences are interrelated.

What is segmentation?

Segmentation in email marketing is the division of your email subscribers into smaller segments based on set criteria, and then, based on the criteria, sending personalized messages to them.

An email message that you send to prospective customers who have never bought from you will be different from an email message that you send to your customers who have bought from you.

Even among the customers who have bought from you, there may be a segment for customers who have bought from you just once, and for customers who regularly buy from you.

Another segment could be, customers who had been buying from you regularly, but then suddenly, they haven’t bought for a few weeks or for a few months.

Then you can have a segment of customers who have just bought something and you have something similar or related they may like to buy it.

You can have a separate segment for email recipients who have opened your email messages in the past few months but have never bought anything from you.

There are geographic segments. There are behavioral segments. There are segments based on monthly income, professional qualification, or designation.

The more segmented your email sequences are, the higher will be their conversion.

What about personalization?

Of course, you begin your email with their name instead of “Hi there,” or “Hello friend,”.

Also, since you have segmented your campaign, it will be easier for you to write a personalized, customized message for them.

For higher conversion, build email sequences people sign up for

This way, they will be able to relate to your messages in a better way.

Suppose, I’m offering a small e-book on SEO copywriting and to be able to download the e-book, people need to submit an email ID.

On the form that accepts their email ID, I mention that I will send them some follow-up emails (email sequence) once they have downloaded the e-book.

When they start receiving my email messages, they should be about SEO copywriting.

Yes, they can also be about related SEO terms that are necessary to understand the concept of SEO copywriting, but the emails shouldn’t be about web design or email marketing or other forms of copywriting.

People who download the SEO copywriting e-book are specifically interested in SEO copywriting.

Therefore, all the emails in the email sequence must be around SEO copywriting.

Use a strong, convincing subject line

No matter how targeted your message is, unless people don’t open it, it is of no use, and most people open your message after reading your subject line.

The primary purpose of your subject line is to make people open your message.

Remember that an average inbox is flooded with multiple messages.

Your subject line must be convincing enough to warrant an opening.

Here are a few things you can do to write a convincing subject line:

  • Keep it short.
  • Convey urgency.
  • Get as specific as you can.
  • Ask an intriguing question.
  • Offer an irresistible solution.
  • Use power words.
  • Use numbers.
  • Come to the point.

Open with a compelling headline or the first sentence

It is essential for a high conversion email sequence that people read your entire message.

Just as the purpose of a subject line is to make people open your message, the purpose of your headline or the first sentence is to make people read the rest of the body.

Use your headline to deliver the most important aspect of your message.

Make a strong promise.

Make it so convincing that people cannot resist reading the rest of the message.

Since your email messages are a part of your high conversion email sequence, it is better if your headline can match the previous email opening lines.

Should you be formal or informal? Keep it formal if you are in doubt. Otherwise, match your style.

Present a recap

A quick recap will allow your readers to recall the context under which your present message has been prepared.

In email sequences, the current email is a progression from the previous email.

It means unless the person knows what the previous email contained, it will be difficult for them to understand what you’re trying to say in your current email unless you are sending modular and mutually exclusive messages (understanding your current message does not depend on knowing your previous message).

Focus on delivering maximum value with each message

When you are not sure how to make an impact and make your readers perform the CTA, your best bet is delivering maximum value.

When you deliver maximum value, even if you’re unable to sell something, you will make a positive impression on them, and they will form a favourable connection with your presence in their inbox.

Avoid being spammy

Sending spam messages doesn’t just put off your recipients, it also sends your messages directly to the spam folder because most of the email clients can recognize spam these days.

Even if you dodge the inbuilt spam protection, if your messages are mostly spammy and don’t deliver any value, your recipients will manually mark your messages as spam.

Don’t make false or outlandish promises. Don’t use click bait. Don’t use words and phrases just to make people open your email message without meaning to deliver something valuable.

Use testimonials to create high conversion email sequences

It is called social proofing. People tend to do what the others do.

Let them know how many people are using your product.

Let them know how many people have subscribed to your service or download your app.

Use testimonials from happy customers and clients.

Clearly define the problem you’re trying to solve with your email sequence

Your subject line, the email headline, or even the first sentence of your message, can be used to define the problem you’re going to solve.

It is very important that your recipient knows what is in store.

There should be no scope for confusion or mis-guidance.

For example, if you are offering something free in your email message, don’t trick people into making them buy something, or make a small payment.

A few weeks ago I purchased a winter curtain from an Amazon vendor.

After purchasing the curtain, I received an email telling me that when I receive the package, there will be a small coupon. If I click the coupon and then send the pic by WhatsApp on the given number, I will get a 5% cashback.

I clicked the pic and sent it by WhatsApp. The person on the other side responded (on WhatsApp) that to avail the 5% cashback, I need to leave a positive feedback and also a 5-star rating.

I was happy with the curtains and I would have gladly left a positive feedback and would have also given a 5-star rating, but since, I wasn’t informed of this lengthy process and I was just asked in the initial email to send a photo of the coupon, I got put off and decided not to leave the feedback.

Though, in the WhatsApp message, I shared my feelings with him. I told him that he could have simply asked me to leave a feedback if I liked the curtains.

Do A/B testing

There is no sure shot way of creating a high conversion email sequence.

Even if you are a master email marketer, every market and every audience is unique.

The first email sequence may not succeed. Even the second email sequence may not succeed. Multiple email sequences may not succeed.

You will need to do lots of A/B testing. What does it mean?

A/B testing is also called split testing.

Suppose, you’re sending an email message to 500 people. You create two email messages for the same campaign. You send one version, V1, to 250 people, and the other, V2, to the other 250 people.

A/B testing doesn’t always mean trying two variations. You can also try multiple variations, but two variations are quite popular among marketers.

After sending the two messages, make note of which version is more successful.

Suppose, V2 performs better than V1.

From V2,  create two alternatives of the same message, V2.1 and V2.2.

Then again send these messages to two different groups and measure the results.

You can keep performing the A/B test like this till you are completely satisfied with the results.

What all do you need to build high conversion email sequences?

Tools that you need to create email sequences

Tools that you need to create email sequences

You need a mailing list, first. If there are no qualified leads, whom are you going to send your emails to?

The best email list is the one you build yourself. It takes time, but it’s worth it.

There are many marketing companies that sell email lists and sometimes it’s better to purchase an email list than build your own, but in most of the cases, it is highly recommended that you build your own mailing list.

Here are a few things you need to take care of to build  high conversion email sequences.

Email capturing form

Ideally, different email sequences should have different email capturing forms, but you can also have a universal form and then later you can segment your mailing list.

For example, if people subscribe to your newsletter there can be a series of introductory emails describing various aspects of your newsletter or some extra bits of information (links to free resources).

If people download your case study, there may be a different email capturing form for them.

Just make sure you let them know that you will be sending them a series of emails.

An email marketing service or software

You may decide to use your own software to send out emails or you can use some email service.

As mentioned above, some renowned email marketing services are MailChimp and Aweber.

Such email marketing services allow you to capture email ids from embedded forms through your website or blog, or even from your direct links that you can share on your social media profiles.

They maintain the database of email ids and names of people in your mailing list.

You can broadcast your messages in lump sum or through segmentation.

They provide you plenty of analytics data to measure the performance of your individual campaigns.

Good examples of email sequences

Email sequences can be of different types. The categorization is important because it allows you to target your recipients in a meaningful manner.

Here are a few email sequence examples you can use for your own business.

Lead nurturing email sequence example

You send out such an email sequence mostly to people who are not yet ready to buy from you or do business with you, but they have accessed some value offered by you.

Maybe they have downloaded an e-book. They have received a case study from you or a white paper. Maybe they have responded to one of your social media messages and given you their email ID to keep in touch. Or maybe they have subscribed to your trial service.

You want to keep communicating with them. You want to keep them engaged meaningfully.

Email sequence example for lead nurturing

Email sequence example for lead nurturing.

This is the first part of the email sequence that you receive from the sleep mattresses company when you subscribe to their newsletter.

It welcomes you. It tells you how many people are using their sleep mattresses. They also tell you the benefits of sleeping well.

They also give you a bulleted list of the benefits that you enjoy after subscribing to the email updates.

They conclude the email with a “Sleep Tip #1”.

“Sleep Tip #1” tells you that there are going to be more tips. It psychologically prepares you to receive further updates from the company.

They give a highly useful tip because caffeine certainly stops you from having a good night sleep.

Engagement email sequence example

You send out engagement email sequences to keep your prospective customers and clients positively engaged.

They may already be your customers and clients. They may have purchased from you. They may have reached out to you. Now you don’t want them to forget you. You want them to remain interested in your business.

Email sequence example for engagement

Email sequence example for engagement.

Duolingo is a language learning platform. Many people abandon their pursuit of learning the language for which they signed up. This engagement email sequence reminds them that they haven’t visited the website or the mobile app for a long time.

The email makes you feel wanted. It reasserts that it’s a free language learning program. It also eases your mind by telling you that it takes merely five minutes to complete a lesson.

Follow-up email sequence example

A follow-up email sequence is an email that you send to someone you sent an email before, expecting a reply or response, but didn’t get one.

You can also send a follow-up email after talking to someone or reaching out on LinkedIn or another platform. Or if someone has availed

As the name suggests, a follow-up email sequence takes an ongoing conversation forward.

Email sequence example for a follow-up email

Email sequence example for a follow-up email

You must create an email sequence with a well thought out strategy. It is a long-term investment of time and money.

Your email sequence may work for many months or many years, and in most of the cases, on autopilot.

Therefore, it is important to carefully analyse the initial results and then tweak your email sequence so that it delivers the best possible results for your business.


Email copywriting best practices for better conversion rate

Email copywriting best practices to improve conversion rate

Email copywriting best practices to improve conversion rate

Copywriters prefer different frameworks or sets of copywriting best practices when they are writing email campaigns or web pages.

Similarly, before you think of a better conversion rate, you need to define what conversion rate means to you.

You may like to read: 10 copywriting tips to boost your website conversion rate

Different email campaigns may have different conversion rate criteria.

You can put hours of effort crafting the perfect email marketing campaign.

You can learn by trial and error and improve your conversion rate – nothing wrong in that.

Self-taught are the most experienced and learned people, especially in the world of copywriting.

You can use the best practices or frameworks to minimize the chances of committing a mistake.

What makes your email copywriting successful? What gives you a better conversion rate?

How do you define better conversion rate

How do you define better conversion rate

Here are a few things:

  • Better open rate.
  • More people reading the complete message.
  • More people clicking the CTA.
  • Ultimately, more people buying from you.

Selling isn’t always the goal of every email marketing campaign.

There are different ways your email may convert better.

Buying is a culmination of many factors and whether someone buys from you depends on where they are in their buyer journey.

Your conversion rate depends a lot on where a person is in your sales funnel.

A typical buyer journey may involve anywhere between 6-12 (or more) stages, and for multiple stages, different types of content are needed, and conversion rate manifests in different ways.

Even different types of email are needed.

Hence, your email marketing campaign needs to target the precise engagement factor.

This could be

  • Downloading your white paper or case study.
  • Downloading your brochure.
  • Agreeing for a phone call.
  • Checking out the latest offerings.
  • Clicking a blog post link.
  • Making an appointment.
  • Participating in a seminar.
  • Watching your video presentation.
  • Participating in a survey.
  • Indulging in any other engagement activity promoted by the email campaign.

Every non-“buy from us” email campaign is a lead generation campaign, and such campaigns are as important as asking people to buy from you.

What is the difference between email copywriting and website copywriting?

Difference between email and website copywriting

Difference between email and website copywriting

Surprisingly, there isn’t much information available on the topic of difference between email copywriting and website copywriting.

One of the most prominent attributes of copywriting is conversion.

Whereas content writing for websites is all about educating and engaging visitors, when you write copy for websites, you need to convert people and turn them into your paying customers and clients.

Just like in email copywriting, website copywriting also has different purposes.

It isn’t always about making sales.

You want to improve engagement rate.

You may want people to subscribe to your email updates.

There may be a landing page that asks people to download a white paper or a case study.

So, whether you are writing copy for an email campaign or a website, a big part of copywriting is conversion.

That is common between email and website copywriting.

One of the biggest differences is that in email copywriting, you can personalize your messages.

Whereas traffic on the website is inbound, your email traffic is outbound.

You cannot be selective about who comes to your website.

But you can be selective about who receives your email updates.

Being selective means, you choose the email ids to which you send your email marketing campaigns.

You have more information about your email recipients than you have about your website visitors.

In email copywriting you may solely depend on your text, but in website copywriting, you can liberally use visuals in the form of images and videos.

Another big difference between both is that communication through emails is an ongoing process whereas your website provides a single touch point.

Of course, in the case of your website you regularly update your blog, and this draws people on regular basis, but the frequency of sending out emails is often greater than the frequency of updating your blog or updating your website.

Although most of the content on blogs is written by content writers, many people prefer to call themselves copywriters even when they are writing blog posts.

Other highlights of email copywriting:

  • People receive your email copywriting messages in their inboxes.
  • Most likely they have given you permission to email them.
  • Distractions are less in the inbox and hence your copywriting may perform better compared to website copywriting.
  • The success of your email messages depends on how well you have crafted your subject line.
  • You can use segmentation to make your writing more focused.

Email copywriting best practices to improve your conversion rate

Better conversion rate – email copywriting best practices

Better conversion rate – email copywriting best practices

There is a difference between “email best practices” and “email copywriting best practices” and when you search on Google, you will find that both bits of information are often interchanged.

For example, including a well-defined signature may be a part of email best practices but not, at least directly, a part of email copywriting best practices.

So, when it got email copywriting best practices, I strictly speak in terms of writing your emails, and not about their aesthetic appeal.

Write a convincing subject line

Your subject line makes people open your email message, or stops them from doing so.

There are two things you see first when you check your inbox: the sender’s name and the subject line.

These two factors can convince you into opening the email.

Even if the sender is familiar (I’m not talking about family members or friends or people whose email you will never ignore), unless the subject line motivates you, you are not going to open the email.

Everywhere on the Internet when you read about email copywriting best practices, this is the first most topic people broach – an effective subject line.

Most of the techniques that work with your web page headlines and title also work on your email subject line.

It goes without saying that your subject line must be hard-hitting and forceful.

47% marketers say that they test different email subject lines to increase the performance of their email marketing campaigns (source).

You can write effective subject lines using the following emotional and psychological triggers

  • A feeling of urgency
  • A sense of curiosity
  • An irresistible offer
  • Personalization
  • Relevance
  • Fear of missing out
  • Breaking News

Something like:

Surprise sale today – up to 50% off!

Keep your subject line brief. Don’t go beyond 30-50 characters.

A MailChimp study has revealed that email campaigns with the subject lines less than 50 characters have 12% higher open rate and 75% higher click-through-rates than email campaigns with subject lines of more than 50 characters.

Write an equally compelling preview text

The preview text of your email is a small portion of your email message that is visible to the recipient without opening your email.

Email preview text screenshot

Email preview text screenshot

It either appears next to the subject line or below the subject line.

If you don’t manually enter a preview text, email readers like Gmail randomly pick portions of your email and display them as your preview text.

There is no ability to enter preview text in standard email clients like Gmail and Outlook.

But if you manage your email marketing campaigns using services like MailChimp or Aweber, you can separately add an email preview text.

In the preview text, write something that will further make the recipient want to open your email message.

Start with the name of the person

Avoid starting your email with “Dear friend,” or “Hello there!”

Preferably, use the first name of the person.

Start with, “Dear Sarah,” or “Hello Abdul”.

Hook the reader with a headline

Depending on whether you send out an HTML email campaign or a text-based email, you will have a headline with a bigger font or the first sentence as “headline”.

Your headline or the first sentence is very important.

Although, once a person opens your email message the likelihood of reading the message increases manifold, whether a person reads the rest of the message depends a lot on your headline or the first sentence.

Your headline must be a continuation of your subject line.

For example, if your subject line was, “30% off”, your first sentence of the email can be

Congratulations on getting a 30% discount on your next purchase.

Just make sure you place orders through this email.

You will repeatedly come across the advice that the job of your headline is to make people read your first sentence, and the job of your first sentence is to make people read your second sentence, and so on.

So, write your first sentence or your headline in such a manner that it makes people read the rest of your email body text.

Have a clear goal for email copywriting

What do you want people to do once they have read your email?

Do you want them to book an appointment?

Do you want them to download your e-book or case study?

Do you want them to read your blog post?

Once you have a clear goal, your entire narrative revolves around that.

Every sentence must lead to your CTA (the goal of your email copywriting).

Use a conversational style for email copywriting

Conversational style comes with many dimensions.

Write in first person using “you” and “I”.

Write short sentences.

Avoid difficult words.

Write the way you talk.

When you write your email campaigns in a conversational style your readers feel like they’re being talked to personally.

Formal writing can create a barrier.

Pay attention to how your recipients speak in their day-to-day conversations.

Just like in the midst of the conversation you ask,

“Isn’t it right?” or “Don’t you think?”

Find out words and expressions that they use when they talk about your business.

Instead of writing “Our team can help you with complete auditing of your website”, write, “We can completely audit your website.”

Write in a way you talk to them.

In conversational style, instead of neutral, you sound emotional.

You use lots of contractions instead of using full words.

Sometimes you break grammar and spelling rules but be sure of what you’re doing.

You write in active voice.

You use simple words.

You use lots of personal pronouns.

You can also use transitional phrases to keep people reading.

Some examples of transitional phrases are

This is how it is done:

Want to know more?

You know what? Something else was about to happen.

Long story short.

Still not convinced?

For effective email copywriting, the key is knowing your target audience.

What are their needs, desires, aims and fears?

When they have doubts, what influences them to change their minds?

What motivates them?

What type of conversations do they have when they talk about your product or service.

For effective email copywriting it is important that you forget about what you think, and then think in terms of what your target audience things.

Other things to keep in mind when copywriting for email marketing campaigns:

  • Avoid badmouthing about your competitors (comparison is fine).
  • Praise your readers whenever you can (but be genuine).
  • Be sincere when you express emotions.
  • Address the concerns of your readers.
  • Write how you talk.
  • Anticipate questions in advance and provide answers.
  • Keep your copy easier to read.
  • Don’t overstretch your message.
  • Use action words and power words – “Save 30% now” and “Don’t miss the last chance”.
  • Don’t use words with negative connotations – “premium” instead of “expensive”, or “other options” instead of “not available”.
  • Hold the reader’s attention by using phrases such as “imagine”, “have a look”, and “just think what would happen” (just to name a few).
  • Use double numbers: 15 ways to increase your conversion 5X
  • Mention the key benefits of using your product or service three times throughout the copy – in the beginning, in the middle, and then at the end.
  • Use logic to make a point but cater to emotions.

In this blog post you have learnt a few email copywriting best practices that you can use to improve your conversion rate.

Of course, as I always say, nothing is written in stone.


Find different ways.

Be adventurous.

How you improve your conversion rate depends on your specific industry and you should apply copywriting best practices accordingly.

How to increase your email open rate in 5 easy steps

5 steps to improving your email open rate

5 steps to improving your email open rate

How to increase your email open rate?

Do you know what is the average email open rate?

How many people are likely to open your emails when you send out an email marketing campaign?

Different industries have different email open rates, according to this Smart Insights report.

The overall average is 29.55%, according to the above link, which is quite high than what I expected.

This MailChimp report on the same topic shows that the average email open rate is 21.33%, which is a lot less then what the Smart Insights report says.

But MailChimp must have used its own servers to get data because it is an email marketing company.

Since MailChimp is an email marketing company, and it has used its own servers to derive data, I think they have more reliable data for different industries.

You can see the tabular data on both the links that I have included above.

How to improve your email open rate?

I would like to make an interesting observation.

According to the MailChimp report, agriculture and food services industry has an email open rate of 23.31%.

Emails from government have an open rate of 28.77% because most of the time they carry useful information that people need.

Hobbies related emails enjoy an open rate of 27.74%.

Religion related emails are close at 27.62%.

In the table, the lowest email open rates seem to be for daily deals and coupons (15.06%) and e-commerce (15.68%).

One would expect that daily deals and coupons emails may enjoy a higher open rate, but it seems people pay more attention to the emails that are close to their hearts rather than emails that simply offer discounts and lower rates for products and services.

What is email open rate?

Before learning how to improve your email open rate, it is important to know what it means.

Your email open rate is the percentage of recipients who open a specific email out of the total number of subscribers you have in your mailing list.

Mathematically, it is the number of people who opened email divided by the total number of emails you sent in a campaign, multiplied by 100.

Email open rates screenshot

Email open rates screenshot

Hence, if your email open rate is 25%, it means for every 100 emails that you send, 25 are opened.

You learn how to increase your email open rate – is it enough?

Not necessarily.

It is one of the factors.

It is one of the most important factors, in fact.

Unless someone opens your email message, how is he or she going to respond to it?

Hence, your first priority is to make sure that the maximum number of people open your email when you send out your email marketing campaign.

The second factor is the CTR – click-through-rate.

Every email campaign has a CTA – call-to-action.

It may be a “Buy” button.

It may be a “Download” button.

It may be a “Contact us now” link.

Whatever you want your recipients to do after they have gone through your email, is your call-to-action.

How convincing your message and call-to-action are, decide your CTR.

Now we come to the main topic of the post:

How to improve your email open rate

As I have written above, before something constructive can happen to your email marketing campaign, it is very important that maximum number of people open your emails.

The process of improving your email open rate is long-term and short-term.

The long-term process is improving your reputation to such an extent that when people encounter your email in their inbox, they immediately open it.

The short-term process is giving compelling information through the subject line, email extract, and even the name from which the email has come, to reassure people and make them open your email.

Listed below are 5 tips that can help you increase or improve your email open rate.

1. Optimize your subject line

After the name of the sender, it is your subject line that people read without opening your message.

Your subject line tells people why they should open your message.

If your subject line doesn’t inspire people, they won’t like your email message.

Your email will remain unopened.

Your email open rate will decline.

No matter how great your offer is, unless people read your offer, they are not going to be able to take its advantage.

Your subject line is like the main headline of your blog post or web page.

You may like to read: 8 types of headlines you can use in copywriting

Just like the headline, if your subject line fails to impress people, they won’t read further.

Never use your subject line to mislead people into opening your message.

You may be able to increase your email open rate for the time being, but once people begin to mistrust you, even if you are sending them a genuine offer, they won’t believe you.

According to this Optinmaster blog post, 47% email recipients open an email based on the subject line.

69% email recipients on the other hand mark an email as spam based on the subject line.

Hence, your subject line can be a double-edged sword.

Be mindful of what words you use in your subject line.

Defining the best subject line can be a tricky business.

There are many words that can get your email marked as spam, especially words containing “money”, “Casino”, and “meet singles”.

This Hubspot blog post contains a list of 394 words that can get your email message marked as spam, so, try to avoid them.

You can use AB testing to arrive at the best subject lines.

Define two subject lines with careful consideration.

Then send 50% of the emails using one subject line and 50% using the other.

After a couple of days, your email marketing service like MailChimp will give you the data on how many people opened your emails for those subject lines.

Then choose the subject line that performs better and create an improved version of it.

Then again sent 50% of the emails with one subject line and 50% using another subject line.

After a few AB testing phases, you will be able to arrive at the best subject line to use to increase your email open rate.

What defines a good email subject line that can help you improve your email open rate?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Personalize your subject line
  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Start telling a story
  • Create suspense or another strong emotion
  • Ask a question
  • Create a mystery

2. Use segmentation to improve your email open rate

Most of the contemporary email marketing services these days provide you the facility to create segments based on user behavior.

For example, MailChimp allows you to create segments based on

  • People who opened your last email message within a range of days.
  • People who have been opening your messages for the past number of campaigns.
  • People who have opened your email message at least once in the past 25-50 email campaigns.
  • Regions from where people open your email messages the most.

And so on.

On some instances only segmentation can help you increase your email open rate almost by 40% (source).

Who are more likely to open your email message?

Someone who has already opened your messages in the recent past or someone who has never opened your messages?

Certainly, someone who has been responding to your messages is more likely to open them.

What is the use of segmentation if it reduces the size of your email list?

Remember that people who are not opening your messages are anyway not going to open them.

Why waste bandwidth on those people?

They may have subscribed to your mailing list due to whatever reason, but now they are no longer interested in hearing from you, and maybe too lazy to unsubscribe.

But if you use a service like MailChimp, you pay for every message that you send, whether that message is opened or not.

Therefore, segmentation doesn’t just help you increase your email open rate, it also reduces your email marketing costs.

3. Find the optimal time to improve your email open rate

Whether your email is opened or not also depends on at what time the recipient receives your email message.

Sometimes people can be too busy and even if they want to open your email message, they have no time.

At certain periods of the day they are deluged with email and even when they are interested, they end up ignoring your email.

Just as your email marketing service tells you how many people open your last campaign, they also tell you at what time they mostly opened it.

You will need to spend some time to gather such data and hence, it is a long-term process.

You may have to analyze 10-15 campaigns and gather the data in an Excel sheet.

You will need to find out on which days people open your messages the most and at what time they open your messages the most.

After that, try sending your email messages on those days and at that time.

For example, if the optimal time for you to send out your email marketing campaign is on Thursday at 10 AM, you can schedule your email marketing message accordingly.

Your email marketing service should be able to send out the message based on the recipient’s time zone.

This can be one of the best ways to increase your email open rate.

4. Request your recipients to add your email to their “whitelist”

20% emails don’t reach the inbox of your recipients (source).

Spam settings are the culprit.

Some spam settings are set by the user and some are set by email services like Gmail and Outlook.

I have seen that even legitimate messages that have got nothing to do with email marketing, are directly sent to the spam folder sometimes by the Gmail feature of Google Workspace.

Emails can be manually added to the whitelist.

When people are subscribing to your mailing list, politely remind them that they should add the email ID from which they will be getting your messages to their whitelist so that the messages are not redirected to the spam folder.

Also use double opt-in to subscribe to your mailing list.

In double-opt in, they must click a verification link that is sent on the email ID they initially submitted to your subscription form.

They will be able to click the verification link only when they open the email message from you.

Once they open your email message for verification, your email ID is automatically added to the whitelist.

5. Regularly engage your email recipients

This is one of the sure shot ways of improving your email open rate.

When people don’t receive your messages regularly, they tend to ignore your messages.

If they get in the habit of opening your messages, it can significantly increase your email open rate.

If you want to know how to improve your email open rate, consistency is the key.

This is a long-term process, of course.

If you regularly send valuable information through your email messages, your recipients will grow to expect your emails on certain days or at certain times.

Once they begin to find value in your email messages, they will eagerly open them.

Although, how successful your email marketing campaigns are depends on multiple factors, one of the foremost factors is the email open rate.

If they don’t open it, they won’t read it.

If they don’t read, they don’t click your call-to-action button.

If they don’t click your call-to-action button, it brings down your click-through rate.

Hence, the most important step towards executing a successful email marketing campaign is, to improve or increase your email open rate.

MailChimp has launched email optimizer driven by AI

A few months ago, I switched to Substack from MailChimp because for my individual needs, MailChimp is quite expensive. Nonetheless, it is one of the best email marketing tools.

Its biggest strength is the analytics that it provides that help you create highly focused email campaigns. This is something that is missing in Substack but then, Substack does not promote itself as an email marketing service – it promotes itself as a publishing platform. I am fine with that.

MailChimp has been in the email marketing business for quite some time. It means it has massive amounts of data about subscribers and campaigns that can be crunched for bits of highly valuable intelligence.

The success of every email marketing campaign depends on multiple factors and one of the most important factors is the content of your message.

This includes the way you have written the message, the type of images you have used, typography, call to action and the ease or difficulty of going through the message.

The content optimizer – a premium feature – collect data from your various campaigns and then makes suggestions accordingly, on how you should compose your message, how short or long your sentences must be, what sort of words you should use, what should be the nature of the images and the external links, and so on.

This The Next Web feature article explains the new content optimizer in detail.


How to get people to read your emails?

How to make the maximum number of people open your emails

When you’re sending regular office emails the recipients, normally, have no choice but to open your email because it is work related. But when you’re sending emails to people who are not expecting to hear from you, who may not even know you, it becomes difficult to make them open your emails.

One of the biggest challenges faced by people who want to do email marketing is getting people to read their emails. Here are some helpful tips:

Use a familiar From name

The “From:” field tells your recipient from whom they are receiving the message. Messages from companies are usually ignored. Messages from strange names are also ignored. Nonetheless, using a name is far better than using a company name

You are more prone to opening an email from “Amrit” than “Credible Content”, or even from “Google”.

Use compelling subject lines

After the “From:” field, it is the subject line which is the biggest factor in people opening your email. Research shows that 47% of people base their decision of opening your emails based on the subject line (source).

There are some tried and tested formulas for writing compelling subject lines such as invoking the fear of missing out on a great opportunity, catering to the vanity of people, expressing curiosity, making people laugh, retargeting (sending emails to people who have abandoned your shopping cart), and such.

Send the emails at the right time

When are your recipients most likely to open your emails? There are different ways of finding it. You can use your common sense. You can use analytics data provided by your email marketing service such as MailChimp.

This may take some time. You will need to send multiple campaigns and then note during which time period your messages are opened the most.

Be regular on delivering value

Even if people open your email message the first time, they won’t open the subsequent messages if you don’t deliver on your promise. If they expect some value from your email messages, make sure you deliver that value. If they want to learn from your email messages, make sure that they learn something each time they open your email.

Make emails easy to read on mobile

59% of the millennials use their smart phones to check email. 67% of the generation z check their email on their mobile phones (source).

Whether you are enamored by the mobile or not, make sure that your email is easy to read on mobile phones. It is not even very difficult. Just keep your emails straightforward.

So, if you want to make more people open your emails, when you’re sending the email for the first time, the subject line plays a very important part, but after they have opened the email, and have become familiar with your name, it is the quality of your messages and the email content that is going to make them open your emails again.