13 Ways to Increase Your Email Open Rates — and Engagement

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What are some ways that you can increase your email open rates and gain responses?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Don’t Always Use Your Name

Bryan KeslerDid you know that you can change the “sent from” field in your emails? For example, if your audience loves Jim Carrey references, you could change your name in the “sent from” field to “ALLLLLL” and then the subject line to “Righty Then.” Then the first sentence of your email can be about your product closing down in four hours. This tactic has increased our open rates and click-through rates. – Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

2. A/B Test Subject Lines

Jayna CookeWith a lot of the email marketing automation software out there, you are able to A/B test subject lines. When sending out an email, send half with one subject line and use a different subject line for the next. It could be as simple as including emojis in one, and not using emojis in the other. See which subject line had the higher open rate, and adjust your email marketing accordingly. – Jayna Cooke, EVENTup

3. Engage and Ask for Responses

Matt WilsonEmail marketing shouldn’t be a one-way, transactional interaction where the sender blindly emails thousands of people without the ability to hear from their audience. Make your emails engaging and ask your readers to reply to you. Give surveys and be friendly. Emails should be from the CEO and should build a relationship with readers. This helps build a community of people who open your email! – Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

4. Use Questions in the Subject Line

Serenity GibbonsGive them a question and they are more likely to open the email, as they realize you are asking because you want to share your answer with them. If it relates to an identified problem that target audience is having, they are even more likely to open it. – Serenity Gibbons, Calendar.com

5. Have a Catchy Headline

Peter BoydYou need to have a catchy headline that engages your audience. Simply putting in information about your company, yourself and your services is not interesting. Figure out what your clients want to learn about, and write about that in an interesting way. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

6. Remove Spammy Keywords

Solomon ThimothySince people’s inboxes can get flooded with emails everyday, it’s never easy filtering out the good and bad emails. Sometimes you’ll receive an email that gets pushed into the spam folder when it shouldn’t. To avoid this, try to remove specific keywords in the email content that are normally associated with spam. Phrases such as “act now,” “cash bonus” or “earn more money” should get removed. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

7. Optimize Subject Lines for Mobile

Jared AtchisonMost emails are now being opened on mobile devices so it’s important to optimize the subject line with that in mind. Keep your email subject lines brief. We’ve found that what works best for us is keeping our subject lines at six-ten words or 25 characters. You can also use free tools to see what your subject line will look like on mobile before you hit “send.” – Jared Atchison, WPForms

8. Be Less Formal

Tim ChavesI’m seeing a trend of more emojis showing up in the subject line. Sometimes going less formal with your message is just the trick to get across the combination of urgency and personal touch needed to get the harried subscriber to open your email. – Tim Chaves, ZipBooks Accounting Software

9. Just Send It Again

Francois de LameAfter sending an email, wait a week, then resend it to the people who haven’t opened it. If you’re building your list the right way, a simple resend is a great way to make sure people aren’t just missing your email in their crowded inbox. Warning: You’ll probably get slightly more unsubscribers doing this, but the additional opens will outweigh the unsubscribes. – Francois de Lame, Policygenius Inc.

10. Don’t Overdo It

Adrien SchmidtIf you fill up a customer’s inbox with emails, you will soon find yourself in the spam folder. Save your emails for when it really matters. If your customer trusts that you aren’t going to waste their time with nonsense, they will be more prone to read what you have to say. – Adrien Schmidt, OpenBouquet

11. Consider the Time of Day

Kevin ConnerTake into consideration what time of day your audience is most likely to be looking through their email and be interested in a newsletter for reading. They just got to work? Probably not the best time. Waiting in line to pick up the kids from school? Prime time for opens. – Kevin Conner, BroadbandSearch

12. Be Authentic

Michael AvertoI try to avoid hacky tricks but instead tailor my message to my recipient. If you do a little work up front and do some research on the prospect — or even just include one sentence specific to only them when using automated email software — you can see open rates north of 20% (check out LinkedIn for easy, yet specific, info on recipients). – Michael Averto, ChannelApe

13. Tell a Story

Bryce WelkerOut of all the spam that gets sent to my inbox, the messages that I am most likely to read are long-form anecdotes. These remind me of op-eds I would read on news sites. Writing something that looks like a decent amount of thought was put in it will add value in the eyes of recipients. This will increase the likelihood that they not only open your email, but read it too. – Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

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Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.