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How to Improve your Open Rates

Posted by Victoria Zulu, Last modified by Victoria Zulu on 11 January 2016 06:56 AM

To improve your open rates there’s a few things we need to consider before implementing any changes to your emails. Generally speaking average open rates in Australia are about 15 – 25%, in America they are much lower at 5 – 10% - this is because for too long businesses have sent untargeted messages to databases - too freely and too often.

If you are in the 15 – 25% mark you aren’t doing too badly but read through the suggestions below to see if you can improve this even further!

  • Subject Lines
    Consider personalizing your subject lines at all times if suitable. Addressing the subject of your email (where appropriate) to the recipient adds a personal touch to the email. And remember, email at its core is a one-on-one communication tool.

    • On a side note, Zulu eDM allows you to personalize your subject lines for each group you are sending to! How cool is that!

  • Data
    Make sure you have your database all up to date and with the correct information in the correct places. I’ve received emails recently with the introduction as “Hi Vic Gmail,” – not very professional and not likely to help your open rate.

  • Timing
    There are SO many variables when it comes to the day and time you should send your email for the best responses. In the end you know your business and your customers so you are going to be one of the best to determine this. Remember it may take some trial and error to work out what is best for your recipients.

    To give you a hand, here’s a list of things you can ask yourself:
    • Are your recipients signed up with their work or personal email addresses?
    • What kind of services are you offering?
    • When would they most likely to make a booking or enquire about your services?
    • Are your recipients parents? When do they have free time?
    • Is it a special event or offer you are communicating or is it an informative email with more detailed information? Will people want more time to read it?

  • Frequency
    List Fatigue is a real thing. Sending too many emails to your database will result in drops in open rates.

    The best way to combat this is to either:
    • Send less emails but emails that have more targeted information
    • Ask your subscribers how often they wish to receive newsletters and even allow them to select this when they are subscribing.
    • Use database segmentation to understand your database’s needs & wants
    • Send regularly. I.e. don’t send once a month for 3 months and then not communicate for 3 months.

  • Make sure you are getting through the spam filters.
    Again there are a lot of things you need to remember when it comes to spam filters but these are the main ones.

    • Make sure your DKIM records are set up on your mail server (shoot us an email if you ae unsure about this one).
    • Make sure you are checking your subject line doesn’t have any red flag words and passes the general spam test
    • Ask your subscribers to add your email address to their safe sender list.
    • Make sure your email isn’t all images – it needs to have some text to (and the text can’t be on the images).

  • Content
    Depending on the subject matter this can be the hardest for a lot of businesses. For many fashion brands your content can be very easily developed, for those selling items that aren’t an everyday purchase it can become a little tricky to keep your email content new & interesting.

    Here’s a few ideas that may help:
    • Always have a purpose for the email and focus on making sure that happens. E.g. if your focus is on building sales for a particular product make sure you have
      • Links to that product on your website
      • Include an image of the product
      • Briefly explain the reasons why the recipient should buy this product
      • Include the price (if possible or suitable)
      • Links to email as sales person about that particular product
      • Send the report of people who clicked on this product to your sales people to follow up on these potential interested recipients

    • Write to one person – don’t think you are writing to your entire database – wrote as if you are talking to just one person and the content will flow much easier
    • Include images in your emails (video’s if you can) – these break up the text of the email.
    • Include a phone number and a link to your website in the email

  • Mobile Devices
    Making sure your email is viewable on mobiles, tablets etc. are very important. Recipients who receive an email that they can’t read properly will delete it straight way, no questions asked. However it is also so important to make sure your website is also mobile friendly as well. Otherwise you will potentially just let your sales fall right out of your hands when they reach your site and can’t do anything with it using their mobile devices.

  • Keep your list fresh
    People move businesses and change their emails all the time so your will always receive some hard & soft bounces. The KEY is to make sure these are checked to see if they can either be updated (incorrect email address) or if they should be unsubscribed so that you aren’t wasting any email credits (and you improve your open rate).

  • Don’t buy email lists
    They aren’t worth it AT ALL. You will do more damage to your brand than it’s worth.

    Our subsidiary “The eDM Factory” has a solution to help you build RELEVANT email addresses for your business. If you are interested in this please contact them at Otherwise using competitions, social media and making sure your website subscription form is optimized is the best way to keep your list fresh.
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