April 25, 2017 – This is Why Your Email Open Rates Are Declining

This is Why Your Email Open Rates Are Declining
Are your email open rates declining, while your click-through rates are rising? As you may already know, this is bad. Your potential customers skim right past your email – just like you skim over or delete that email newsletter you can’t remember why you signed up for. Don’t be that email. Well, maybe your open rate isn’t that bad, and you just want to increase your email open rates. Whatever the case, allow me to share with you tips on increasing email open rates.

What’s a “Good” Email Open Rate?

Let me share with you the findings from Silverpop – a digital marketing software provider. These results are based on emails sent from over 1,100 brands in 20 different countries from 2011 through the first quarter of 2012. declining email open rates Take these numbers as you will, but the overall open rate was 20.1 percent. Anything above that should be considered “good.”  For reference, here are the categories with the best and worst email open rates of 2012:
  • Computer software companies 24.7 percent
  • Education – 15 percent
Also, please take into consideration that in a similar July 2009 study Silverpop reported an overall open rate of 22.2%. Now that you know what to judge your own email open rates on, let me share some reasons why your email open rates are not as high as they could be.

How to Raise Your Email Open Rates


Be Innovative and Strategic With Your Subject Line

This should be unquestionably the most important part of your email. It is your only chance to hook their attention over all the other emails in their inbox. To further narrow this down, you can analyze your Google Analytics data and previous email campaigns to determine what will appeal to your audience the most in the subject line. Here are a few ways to improve your subject line.
  • Keep it short – about 5-7 words or under 50 characters so it won’t be cut off.
  • Ask your audience a question – involving your audience makes them feel important.
  • State a deadline – this is one way to prioritize your email over others in an email inbox.
  • Announce a winner of a contest – who doesn’t want to see if they won free stuff?
  • Add an educational list related to your business – “Five ways to cut your car maintenance costs”
  • Don’t be “spammy”! An example of this is “SACRAMENTO HOMEOWNERS WON’T BELIVE THIS NEW MORTGAGE LOOPHOLE BEING USED BY THE 1%” It could get them to at least open it... but it could also lead to the email being marked as spam and flat out ignored or deleted. (If your emails get marked as spam too many times, you could risk your emails going into the spam inbox for everybody.)

Include a Call to Action in Your Email and Subject line

While this could be included in the subject line list, it needs a separate explanation. Call to actions are a great way to hook a reader and cause them to…. take action. This means another sale, another client, or whatever you are looking for.  This strategy may be best described with an example: Say your restaurant is running a special promotion where customers can get a free sandwich when they bring a friend. You would want to make your email based around this promotion and how to receive it, but don’t forget about the subject line! This promotion will give you a chance to really hook a reader. Remember when we mentioned everybody likes free stuff? You could now make the subject line something similar to “FREE Sandwich at Bob’s Sub Shop This Week ONLY!” Now we have implemented several of the methods of improving your subject line we mentioned earlier.  

 Switch it Up

Maybe your subscribers are annoyed of seeing the same exact all the time. Maybe they could benefit from a more personalized email, such as “Kyle from SocialShip.” This once again may make your client feel more important (that’s a good thing). Once you do this you can switch off between “Kyle from SocialShip” and your standard subject line to see which gives you the best results. This leads me on to my final point:


The possibilities are endless. Be unique with your email, and have fun with it. What do you have to loose by improving your email open rates? (nothing.) Try making a list of different/creative email subject lines after reading this article. Next, send the corresponding emails out at an interval of your choice. Once through with the list, log the results from each variant. The variant with the best results is probably going to be the format you should base the rest of your emails off of. But be sure to be always testing and switching it up as people constantly change! People can loose interest of something one week, and pick up something else the next week. You have to work to keep them with you if you want their business! Thanks for reading!

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