16 Top Strategies to Boost Email Open Rates in 2024

Created On:
October 10, 2022
Updated On:
June 3, 2024

Are you worried about low email open rates? Don't, cause we are here to help.

The success of a mail campaign depends primarily on the email open rates. There are other factors, such as click-through rates, deliverability rates, conversion rates, and others, but the first concern of any mail marketer is the open rate.

If you wish your mail campaigns to generate revenue, dive in to know how to increase open rates. In this blog post, let’s discuss why your email open rates are falling and how you can improve them.

So, without further ado, let's jump in.

What Exactly is Email Open Rate?

Email open rate measures how many subscribers open a particular mail. It is a ratio between the number of emails open and the number of subscribers.

It means if your open mail rate is 35%, the mail has been opened by 35 people out of 100 subscribers.

Usually, marketers use this data to determine a campaign's success.

17%-28% is considered an excellent open rate. However, the actual numbers vary based on the industry and particular campaign.

Why Is Your Email Open Rate Low?

Multiple reasons for your emails not reaching the desired email open rate might exist. It includes the relevance of your mail to your subscribers, lengthy and dull mail copy, no sense of urgency, and the time you choose to send the emails to them.

Here are the most common reasons behind mail open rates:

1. Outdated Email List

No matter how consistently you send emails to your subscribers, there will always be people who don't want to receive your emails. They might not be interested in your product/service anymore, or they don't find your content valuable.

Before sending any email, it is fair to ask your subscribers to opt-in for emails. Tricking your customers into signing up for emails is not an appropriate practice. It often leads to ending up in the spam folder, ignoring, or landing in the trash.

2. Email Sending Time

Let us break it to you: there is no right time for sending emails. Although many businesses prefer sending emails during standard work hours, there's no hard and fast rule about it.

People usually choose their mail checking time according to their lifestyle and field of work–some do it in the morning, evening, or even at night.

As there's no setup time for it, send emails at various times of the day, check what time works best for your organization, and stick to it.

3. Boring Subject Lines

Subject lines may be short, but they play a vital role in a mail campaign's success. A survey conducted by Exceleads reveals that 33% of all mail recipients open emails only based on the subject line.

So, if your mail open rate is lower than you expected, you might want to rewrite your mail subject lines.

Your subject line should contain as much information as possible. Also, including your prospect's name in the mail subject line personalizes your message and increases mail open rates.

4. Lack of Personalization

In another insightful survey, 63% of participants said they don't open emails if they are not personalized. If you are constantly seeing a decline in your mail open rates, it might be because of non-personalization.

A/B testing or split testing can be an ideal solution for that. You can write multiple personalized copies and test them within your organization before sending them out.

5. Not Providing Value

Providing value is absolutely necessary for better performance of your emails. If your subscribers have gained nothing from your previous emails, the chances of a lower mail open rate are high.

So, try to provide value to your customers. Add personalized problem-solving measures, stats, or informative insights to your emails.

How to Increase Email Open Rate?

Here are a few ways to boost your email open rates.

1. Keep Your List Updated

A bunch of unresponsive subscribers on your list means you are practically missing out on potential revenue.

You may already know that many marketing experts suggest consistently sending emails to your subscribers so that the communication doesn't dry up. However, even after sending timely emails, you may see a downfall in your mail open rates.

You can safely assume that some of your subscribers may have changed their mail addresses or aren't interested in your product/service for the time being.

So, it is essential to clean up your list and remove inactive subscribers from it. You can consider any subscriber who is not active for at least six months or more.

There are a few ways you can win back your subscribers. Here's how:

  • Run a win-back mail campaign
  • Offer them personalized email content and information
  • Run a survey and offer a token prize for participation

Cleaning your mail list is a lot easier with a list cleaning service. Smartlead.ai generates leads through multi-channel research (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, etc.) and verifies them to offer you an updated and relevant mailing list.

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2. Humor Can Save the Day

Nothing beats a humorous chuckle, right? It works for mail as well.

If you want to increase your mail open rates, focus on writing compelling yet humorous mails. However, try to refrain from using sarcasm in your mails.

Using humor in your mail content helps build connection and trust. Humorous mail can create a sense of trust and friendship, and personal touch to communication.

In order to be funny, don't forget to provide value to your customers.

3. A/B Testing is a Must

Split testing or A/B testing is an impromptu user experience researching method. Have you ever written more than one mail subject line and been confused about which one to finalize? Well, you can easily decide through A/B testing.

It helps you get a clear understanding of the drawbacks of your campaign and how you can do better.

Not only subject lines or mail content but you can also A/B test images, CTAs, templates, etc.

A/B testing (split testing) is a proven methodology to test your content based on user intent and helps increase email open rates.

4. Titillate Curiosity

Mail marketing has only two purposes: to provide value to your customer, and the last but most important one is to get them to take action. So, what can you do other than add a CTA?

The subject line is the first thing that catches one's eye. So, writing a subject line that can trigger your audience's Curiosity can help you increase mail open rates.

Teasing, for instance, works best as a titillating subject line. You can also take advantage of your subscribers' FOMO to create an air of suspense.

Here are some excellent examples:

  • 'Did you know….'
  • 'All your friends are here'
  • 'Daniel, I am dying to tell you that….'
  • 'Have you heard about….'

This is how you can create engaging subject lines to hook our audience. It will increase mail open rates and conversions.

5. Express with Emojis

Although it is a much-debated topic, using emojis to enhance your email content can help you generate higher email open rates.

Many experts will argue that emojis are inappropriate for mail, specifically business mail. But we beg to differ.

Emojis are a popular communication medium nowadays, and it indeed has their place in business emails as well. So, stop worrying and utilize emojis to make your mails enjoyable.

It will increase not only the readability but also deliverability rates.

6. Segment Your Email List

According to a recent survey conducted by Lyris, companies that segment their mail list tend to experience 39% higher email open rates. 28% of the total participants saw lower unsubscribe rates.

Even if your mail is optimized and lands directly in the primary folder, your audience may not open it because of the intent. If your campaign doesn't provide any value to the subscribers, they will not open it.

The data mentioned above also proves the same. If your mail open rates go up, you should segment your mail list for different email campaigns.

7. Address by the Name

Rather than using salutations like 'Dear subscriber,' 'To whom it may concern,' or 'Dear valued customer,' try to build a solid connection with your customer by referring to them by their first names.

The psychological explanation is that people feel validated whenever someone addresses them by their first Name.

Whenever you send a mail addressing your prospects by their own names, they will automatically feel connected. It might be overwhelming to believe, but using prospects' first names increases mail open rates by 21.2%.

8. Run Surveys

Probably nothing can work better than a short surrey campaign to boost mail open rates. This is a tried and tested method for engaging your target audience.

Make sure your survey doesn't take up much time and is fairly straightforward. Encourage everyone to participate and offer monetary or other prizes or completion. You can provide gift vouchers, small cashbacks, etc.

Always try to mention the participation prize in the mail subject line, but do not sound salesy, as it will get caught by spam filters.

9. Provide the Option to Unsubscribe

It is crucial to provide your customers the option to opt-out of your mailing list. Although you would never want to go that way, according to laws like GDPR or CAN-SPAM act, any business mail should contain the option to unsubscribe.

We'd recommend you add an 'Unsubscribe' button in your mail. It will help you in removing the subscribers who don't want to receive your mail and keep your list fresh.

It also builds trust among customers and is usually considered a good business practice.

Here are some tips for adding the unsubscribe button:

  • Make it humorous
  • Add either on top or bottom of the mail
  • Ask why your subscribers are considering opting out
  • Ask them to add a preference

10. Proofread Your Mails

You don't want your subscribers to receive faulty mail. Besides the embarrassment, it can indicate many things–unprofessionalism, carelessness, and lack of attention.

So, before launching an email campaign, ensure your mail is error-free. Proofread the entire thing at least twice. It would be great if a third person could review it. It's also a good idea to use online tools for this same purpose. You can use an online grammar checker to find and remove grammar/spelling-related errors in your content.

It will significantly improve deliverability rates and the chances of mail open.

11. Send Limited Emails: Don't Act Clingy

Nobody likes a company that continuously sends mail to its subscribers. We understand that you want to keep in touch with your subscribers and don't want to miss out on increasing conversion rates.

However, sending continuous mails has more negatives than positives.

Regular mails can wear out your loyal customers, and they may feel irritated. And as a result, they may unsubscribe from your list to keep their inbox clean.

So, flooding your subscribers' inboxes with mails is never a good option. You can automate your campaigns with mail automation tools such as Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, etc.

12. Ask Subscribers to Add Preferences

One size fits all–doesn't work regarding your subscribers' interests. Some might want to read your newsletters, while others only want to receive updates.

So, sending a newsletter to someone who doesn't require it will lead your mails to the spam folder. It may also cause a soft bounce.

So, ask your audience about their preferences and update your list. It will help you keep a clean and fresh lead list and also help you avoid bounceback.

13. Watch Out, Spam Filters

Forget about mail open rates; spam mail has no chance of being opened. Also, repeated hard bounce and soft bounce may blacklist your IP.

No matter what email service provider your subscribers use, spam filters are more powerful than before.

Take these measures to avoid spam filters:

  • Do not use spam trigger words like 'discount,' 'sale,' 'free,' 'give out,' etc. in your subject line. And try to avoid these words in the content as well.
  • Use whitelisted IP addresses. You can use Smartlead for unlimited business email accounts.
  • Provide your customers with an 'Unsubscribe' button.
  • Optimize your mail with brand logos, taglines, images, and templates.
  • Check your content for plagiarism. Plagiarized content has a high chance of ending in the spam folder.
  • Request your subscribers/clients to whitelist your address.
  • Add the physical address of your business and contact info in these emails.
  • Always use lowercase letters for email subject lines.
  • Your subject line should be in coherence with the content. A misleading subject line can lead your mail to the spam folder.
  • Verify and update your list after a few months.

You might be thinking about the relation between spam filters and email open rate. If you reduce the chances of getting marked as spam, your email open rate automatically increases.

Smartlead.ai features

14. Make Sense with Your Content

If you are email marketing, do it well, or else don't. Bad email marketing practices harm more than no email marketing.

So, create your campaigns carefully and provide value to your customers. If you send mails only for marketing purposes, your email subscribers will get bored and eventually unsubscribe from your list.

So, a diversified cold outreach campaign can help you increase email open rates.

15. Call to Action

A call to action is essential for marketing campaigns. However, the intent of CTAs shouldn't be the same. You can ask to join a webinar, participate in quizzes, fill up feedback forms, etc.

A constant engagement with your customers can help you generate positive responses in email open rates.

16. Social Proof

Everybody loves to see results. Providing numbers (statistics) on your email subject line can increase email open rates.

Here's an example: "72% are getting hikes".

This sentence automatically makes you feel left out, which triggers your FOMO. So, whenever you provide stats like that, your audience will get curious and open the mail.


Well, we've reached the end. It might be a little complicated, but don't get scared. Writing a mail that generates more engagement requires practice.

So, get started with your email marketing campaigns. Don't forget to add the sender name and address.

Here's a brief checklist you need to maintain to increase the email open rate:

  • Maintain a time of day
  • Update the contact list and keep a segmented list
  • Maintain sender reputation (spam score)
  • Use mail marketing tool for automation
  • Responsive email templates
  • Add the CTA button
  • Ask to get whitelisted

I hope this checklist will be handy while writing the following mail content.

See you next time, goodbye!


1. What is a good mail open rate?

Email open rates vary based on industries and the types of campaigns. However, 17%-28% of mail open is considered a successful campaign.

2. Are there any tools to create mail content?

Smartlead.ai is an excellent tool that offers mail warmup, AI-personalization, pre-set spam triggers, email list verification, and lead generation. You can create personalized mails for your customers with the help of the AI-powered writing tool.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Author’s Details

Sattwik Das

Sattwik is a Digital Marketing professional at Smartlead. He is a dedicated content writer who focuses on juggling words to bring out meaningful content. He is experienced in well-researched and SEO-optimized content creation, content editing, and copywriting for various businesses throughout the globe. His expertise in SEO, SMM, and SMO with a touch of creativity helps businesses grow and maximize their credibility and sales.


Edited by:

Charu Mitra Dubey


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General Questions

What is Smartlead's cold email outreach software?

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Smartlead's cold email outreach tool helps businesses scale their outreach efforts seamlessly. With unlimited mailboxes, fully automated email warmup functionality, a multi-channel infrastructure, and a user-friendly unibox, it empowers users to manage their entire revenue cycle in one place. Whether you're looking to streamline cold email campaigns with automated email warmups, personalization fields, automated mailbox rotation, easy integrations, and spintax, improve productivity, or enhance scalability with subsequences based on lead’s intentions, automated replies, and full white-label experience, our cold email tool implifies it in a single solution.

How does the "unlimited mailboxes" feature benefit me?

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Our "unlimited mailboxes" feature allows you to expand your email communications without restrictions imposed by a mailbox limit. This means you won't be constrained by artificial caps on the number of mailboxes you can connect and use. This feature makes Smartlead the best cold email software and empowers you to reach a wider audience, engage with more potential customers, and manage diverse email campaigns effectively.

What do you mean by "unibox to handle your entire revenue cycle"?

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The "unibox" is one of the unique features of Smartlead cold email outreach tool, and it's a game-changer when it comes to managing your revenue cycle. The master inbox or the unibox consolidates all your outreach channels, responses, sales follow-ups, and conversions into one centralized, user-friendly mailbox.

With the "unibox," you gain the ability to:
1. Focus on closing deals: You can now say goodbye to the hassle of logging into multiple mailboxes to search for replies. The "unibox" streamlines your sales communication, allowing you to focus on what matters most—closing deals.

2. Centralized lead management: All your leads are managed from one central location, simplifying lead tracking and response management. This ensures you take advantage of every opportunity and efficiently engage with your prospects.

3. Maintain context: The "unibox" provides a 360-degree view of all your customer messages, allowing you to maintain context and deliver more personalized and effective responses.

How does Smartlead ensure my emails don't land in the spam folder?

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Smartlead, the best cold email marketing tool, ensures your emails reach the intended recipients' primary inbox rather than the spam folder. 

Here's how it works:
1. Our "unlimited warmups" feature is designed to build and maintain a healthy sending reputation for your cold email outreach. Instead of sending a large volume of emails all at once, which can trigger spam filters, we gradually ramp up your sending volume. This gradual approach, combined with positive email interactions, helps boost your email deliverability rates.

2. We deploy high-deliverability IP servers specific to each campaign. 

3. The ‘Warmup’ feature replicates humanized email sending patterns, spintax, and smart replies.
4. By establishing a positive sender reputation and gradually increasing the number of sent emails, Smartlead minimizes the risk of your emails being flagged as spam. This way, you can be confident that your messages will consistently land in the primary inbox, increasing the likelihood of engagement and successful communication with your recipients.

Can I integrate Smartlead with other tools I'm using?

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Certainly, Smartlead is designed for seamless integration with a wide range of tools and platforms. Smartlead offers integration with HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Clay, Listkit, and more. You can leverage webhooks and APIs to integrate the tools you use. Try Now!

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What type of businesses sees the most success with Smartlead?

No, there are no limitations on the number of channels you can utilize with Smartlead. Our multi-channel infrastructure is designed to be limitless, allowing you to reach potential customers through multiple avenues without constraints.

This flexibility empowers you to diversify your cold email outreach efforts, connect with your audience through various communication channels, and increase your chances of conversion. Whether email, social media, SMS, or other communication methods, Smartlead's multi-channel capabilities ensure you can choose the channels that best align with your outreach strategy and business goals. This way, you can engage with your prospects effectively and maximize the impact of your email outreach.

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Do you provide me with lead sources?

Smartlead distinguishes itself from other cold email outreach software by focusing on limitless scalability and seamless integration. While many similar tools restrict your outreach capabilities, Smartlead offers a different approach.

Here's what makes us uniquely the best cold email software:

1. Unlimited Mailboxes: In contrast to platforms that limit mailbox usage, Smartlead provides unlimited mailboxes. This means you can expand your outreach without any arbitrary constraints.

2. Unique IP Servers: Smartlead offers unique IP servers for every campaign it sends out. 

3. Sender Reputation Protection: Smartlead protects your sender reputation by auto-moving emails from spam folders to the primary inbox. This tool uses unique identifiers to cloak all warmup emails from being recognized by automation parsers. 

4. Automated Warmup: Smartlead’s warmup functionality enhances your sender reputation and improves email deliverability by maintaining humanized email sending patterns and ramping up the sending volume. 

5. Multi-Channel Emphasis: Smartlead places a strong emphasis on multi-channel outreach. You can reach your prospects where they are with the LinkedIn outreach feature.   With Smartlead’s cold email automation software, you're always one step ahead in your outreach efforts, enjoying the freedom to scale your initiatives and seamlessly integrate with other tools—all while maintaining a focus on maximizing the impact of your outreach.

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How secure is my data with Smartlead?

Ensuring the security of your data is Smartlead's utmost priority. We implement robust encryption methods and stringent security measures to guarantee the continuous protection of your information. Your data's safety is paramount to us, and we are always dedicated to upholding the highest standards of security.

How can I get started with Smartlead?

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Getting started with Smartlead is straightforward! Just head over to our sign-up page and follow our easy step-by-step guide. If you ever have any questions or need assistance, our round-the-clock support team is ready to help, standing by to provide you with any assistance you may require. Sign Up Now!

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