5 Tips for increasing your open rate

Open rate is an important metric to track for the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.

Table of contents

What is an open rate?

What is the meaning of an open rate? An open rate represents the percentage of recipients who opened an email. With the open rate, you can track how well your emails are performing. A high open rate can indicate that your recipients like your emails and are engaged with your emails. A low open rate can indicate that you have poor deliverability or that your subject line is not appealing enough to open.

What is a good open rate?

A good open rate depends mainly on the industry and location. For example, there is already a big difference between the average in Europe (22%) and in the Netherlands (30%). Because of this, the answer to these questions can differ from person to person. If you ask me, an open rate of 30% is minimal and you should definitely aim to get an open rate somewhere in the 40-45% range before you can say you have a good open rate.

How do you calculate the open rate for newsletters?

The open rate is calculated by dividing the number of opened e-mails by the number of delivered e-mails and then doing this times 100. The open rate does not include bounced emails and emails that did not arrive. The formula for calculating the open rate for your newsletter is then as follows:

Number of Emails Opened / Number of Emails Delivered x 100 = Open rate %.

So imagine we sent an email to 1050 recipients. Of those, 1000 emails were actually delivered (Number of emails delivered) and 300 people (Number of emails opened) opened the email. Then the formula becomes:

300 / 1000 x 100 = 30%

With this formula you can easily calculate your open rate. These values are often easy to find within your email marketing software, but it can be helpful to know how this is calculated.

How do you increase your open rates?

Now that we know what the open rate is and how to calculate it, it is useful to know what we can do to increase the open rate. Let’s look at 5 components of email marketing that you can use to improve your open rate.

1. Deliverability

Your emails may not be opened because you have poor deliverability. This means that the emails do not arrive in the inbox at all. You can read how to improve this on this page about deliverability.

2. Quality of your email list

The quality of your list can be poor. This means you have a lot of uninvolved subscribers who don’t open or click on your emails at all. Clean your list of all uninvolved contacts.

This means you start looking at which contacts haven’t opened or clicked emails for a long time and then filter them out. This makes for a higher quality email list and will ensure a higher open rate. By the way, this is also good for your overall deliverability.

3. Subject line

The subject line has a major impact on your open rate. If you use a boring and uninspiring subject line, few people will want to open your e-mail. Therefore, when writing your subject line, try to make the reader curious. Talk about the benefits they experience when they open the e-mail and include their first name if you have one.

This will make the reader more inclined to open the email. Because the email makes them curious, talk about a benefit of opening the email and use their first name.

4. Segment

The more relevant an email is to the recipient the more they are likely to open the email and actually read it. Therefore, try to create segments within your email list.

For example, do you have a pet store? Then try to find out what animals these people have. For example, you can create segments like:

-Interested in dogs
-Interested in cats
-Interested in rodents

The next time you have an offer for cat food, you can send it to the “Interested in cats” segment. This prevents someone who has rodents at home from getting an e-mail about cat food that is on sale. This is because it is not relevant to this person and this person will subsequently ignore this e-mail and not open it. This, in turn, is bad for your open rate.

5. Time of sending

The time of sending your emails can also affect the open rate. By A/B testing different times you will find out which time works best for your target audience.

Do you have an international brand and send emails to different time zones? Take this into account as well. Most email marketing software has an option to schedule emails based on the time of different time zones. Make sure you take this into account and turn it on.

For example, if you send an email at 9 a.m. in the Netherlands, the person in the United States will be able to receive it at 2 a.m. As you might imagine, this can have a negative impact on the overall open rate.