How To Increase Open Rates for Emails [Ultimate 2021 Guide]

Written by Michael Cheney. Posted on 28th January 2021

Open Rates for EmailsOpen rates for emails are a hot topic;

With the battle for attention in the email inbox even fiercer than ever, you need every advantage you can get to stand out.

In this free training I'm going to share with you;

  • The latest research about open rates for emails
  • Brand new data on open rates
  • Proven strategies to improve open rates for emails

You'll learn some surprising facts and little-known tactics you can apply right away to get more people opening your emails.

Let's get started...

Step 1. What Are Open Rates for Emails and Why Should You Give a Monkeys?

Checking Email on MobileYour email open rate is one of the most important metrics of email marketing.

It shows you how responsive your email list is to your emails.

Are they opening them?

Now, let's be up front here, the MOST important email metric of all is not open rate, click through rate but ROI;

i.e How much profit do you make per email?


This is not an easy thing to measure (although you should make an effort to do it!).

"Email open rates are a quick and easy way to see how effective your email marketing is."

Getting your emails opened is only one of the key metrics here, though.

First, you need to get your email delivered, then noticed, and so on..

I call this "The Waterfall Process";

1. Get delivered (Deliverability)
2. Make sure your email stands out in the inbox
3. Ensure your email is opened (Open rate)
4. Do prospects read the opening line of your email? (Hookability)
5. Do they continue to read the rest of your email? (Readability)
6. Does the prospect click the link? (Click through rate)
7. Do they buy the offer / take action? (Return on investment - ROI)

So how do you actually calculate open rates for emails?

Like this:

How to Calculate Open Rates for Emails

So the question now is...

Step 2. What is a Good Open Rate for Emails?

You're working hard on your email marketing and you want to know;

What is a good open rate?

Recently, email open rates have taken a downturn across all indsutries.

Don't worry though.

This has happened before and email always bounces back, if you pardon the pun!

Here's the year-on-year, benchmark for email open rates;

Benchmark Open Rates for Emails

[Image Source: SuperOffice]

If your open rate is somewhere between 15%-25% then you are doing okay.

This is, according to CampaignMonitor, a generally-accepted range.

Now let's take a look at some recent, industry-wide data to see how your open rate compares.

Here's the average open rate across all industries;

Industry Open Rates for Emails

[Data source: CampaignMonitor]

Open rates and click through rates vary wildly from one industry to another as this snapshot of data from GetReponse confirms;

Open Rates for Emails in Various Industries

In fact, your email open rate can fluctuate by upto 7%, depending on which industry you are in, as shown in this research from Hubspot;

Open Rates for Emails by Different Industries

So where do you stand?

Is your email open rate near the average of 18%, is it lower, or are you out-performing the average?

Either way -

The more opens you get, the more sales you will make, so let's talk about...

Step 3. How to Improve Deliverability & Get Higher Open Rates for Emails

Getresponse Email ServicesI'm just going to come out and say it;

You need to use a third-party autoresponder service.

If you're still sending emails from outlook, Gmail or using your own servers then you're leaving money on the table.

And if you're sending emails using mass BCC, please stop.

(Yes, some entrepreneurs are still doing this!).

An autoresponder service takes care of a lot of the headaches you can face in email marketing;

  • Avoid your emails getting spammed
  • Building a good relationship with the big name email clients (Gmail etc.)
  • Ensuring high deliverability
  • Dealing with segmentation, automation and unsubscribes

"You should use Getresponse like I do, because they have high deliverability, good prices and you can get hold of their support."

I've been using Getresponse since I started my internet business back in 2000.

There are plenty of other autoresponders on the market, of course;

MailerLite, MailChimp and Aweber to name a few.

An autoresponder just takes away all the heavy lifting out of doing email marketing.

You can't build an email list without one.

"It's important that you connect your business domain to your autoresponder."

Here's how to do this in Getresponse;

Connect Your Email to Getresponse

One thing that can really kill your email open rates is setting up your thank you page in the wrong way.

If you get this wrong, people won't even open your very first, welcome email!

The ideal thank freebie and thank you page set up is to show people how to find your email in their inbox;

Example Thank You Page

Avoid the temptation to give people the freebie right on the thank you page.


Because most people will just download and disappear.

They'll never open a single email you send.

The type of emails you send are also super-important (and we're not talking content here, although we will come onto that in a sec).

With an autoresponder you can send THREE types of emails;

Three Types of Email You Can Send

Don't under-utilize your triggered and autoresponder emails.

Getresponse research shows triggered emails (ones sent at time of sign up) and autoresponders (automatically-sent emails) out-perform live "newsletter" broadcasts;

Email Open Rates Different Emails

What does this mean for you?

Be sure to include an offer INSIDE the freebie and capitalize on the high open rate of your very first email.

You should also harness the big-selling power of an autoresponder series.

Use the first few days of a prospect joining your email list to;

  • Build trust and rapport

  • Give them what they want and help them

  • Mention success stories and case studies

  • Provide them with a time-limited offer or deal

  • Encourage them to interact with your emails by replying or answering a short survey

All of these things will, in themselves, get better open rates.

The more responsive you can make your first emails, the better your open rates will be for the lifetime of every subscriber.

Step 4. Are Your Emails Getting a Bad Rep Before They're Even Opened?

Entrepreneurs get hung up on open rates for emails.

They think it's all about how to stand out with subject lines and get noticed in the inbox.

This does play a part.

But there's a bigger picture here - what if your email doesn't even get delivered in the first place?

Many clients have come to me complaining of low open rates.

We do some digging and find out their prospects are not even receiving their emails!

"Your emails can land in spam because of domain blacklisting, email reputation and trigger words."

We'll come onto spam trigger words in a moment but first;

It could be your entire domain that's blacklisted and causing the problem.

This can happen without you doing anything wrong...

If a shady website has linked to you, your domain can be blacklisted by association.

Here's how to use MXToolbox to check if you're on a blacklist (and what to do if you are);

How to Check if Your Domain is Blacklisted

Now let's move onto...

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Step 5. What Words Make Emails Go To Spam?

The big email clients, like Gmail, have automated rules set up which will send certain emails direct to the Spam folder.

We all know much of this is done based on spam trigger words.

Here are...

609 Spam Words To Avoid Using in Your Emails

Show the List of Spam Words +

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Okay, now let's have a shower so we feel clean again. 🙂


Great - let's move onto the next step...

Step 6. Think About Which Email Client Your Prospects Are Using

You need to create your emails with the most-popular email clients in mind;

Think about the devices and email services they use.

Here is the data about which email clients have the biggest market share;

Email Client Market Share

[Image Source:]

So make sure you test out your emails with the top providers.

This is the usual 80/20 rule...

You don't need to have an email that looks amazing on every platform but it should be responsive and look great on the big email clients.

Okay, let's move onto the next step;

Step 7. Words That Increase Open Rates for Emails

One of the most common questions client ask me is;

"What are the best email subject lines?"

There's a specific way to write email subject lines so they stand out, it takes time to master but is well worth it.

Get it right, and a subject line can get your email opened.

Get it wrong, though, and you could be spammed in a heartbeat...

Did you know?

According to OptinMonster , people make important decisions based on your subject line;

Email Subject Lines Have Great Power

So you have to be careful.

According to Alchemy Worx, which analyzed 21 billion emails sent by 2,500 brands, the top five most effective subject line keywords were:

Top 5 Subject Line Keywords

Another company, Adestra, analyzed over 2.2 billion emails, and found the following top subject line keywords:

“free delivery”

A report by Smart Insights analyzed a totally random sample of over 700 million emails.

They found the top-performing subject line keywords were:

“get your”
“on orders over”
“orders over”
“off selected”
“your next order”
“brand new”
“great deals”
“sale starts”
“back in stock”
“sale now”
“now in”

This is great and everything - now you have some ideas of words to use in your subject lines.

But you know what?

Subject lines are only part of the story.

Take a look at this revealing data from SuperOffice which shows you WHY people open emails;

Why People Open Emails

As you can see;

The subject line only plays a small part - the biggest reason people open your emails is because of who you are.

This comes from building rapport with them over time and increasing your email engagement.

Now you've armed yourself with the best words to use in your emails...

Let's talk about the next step;

Step 8. What Is The Best Time to Send Marketing Emails?

You can have the best subject lines.

You can work hard to ensure you have great email deliverability.

But if you send your emails at the wrong time you just get;


Don't be that guy.

The best day of the week to send email, according to an in-depth study from Getresponse is;

What is the Best Day to Send Marketing Emails?

Yes - Tuesday, who knew?

Well I did. Because I do my research...

But the point is, make sure you know how your list responds on different days.

Different markets and niches behave in different ways.

Some are online in the evenings whereas others are 9 to 5 because they are in the corporate sector.

Digital Marketing did some good analysis on this.

They found different days of the week are best for achieving different objectives;

Best Days to Email (DigitalMarketing)

Personally, I send emails as often as I can.

If you restrict yourself to just once or twice a week you are missing out on sales.

So what TIME should be emailing your list?

Here's the best time of the day, according to Getresponse;

Best Time to Send Email

At the end of the day you want to stay out of the busy inbox periods.

If you follow all the steps I've outlined for you so far then you are really going to stand out in the inbox and the time you send your emails is less important.

There is, however, one last step you need to take to maximize your email open rates...

Step 9. Go Mobile or Go Home

Your prospects are checking their emails on a cellphone so you need to factor this into your email marketing.


Some might also be using a desktop.

But Adobe Digital Insights did a cool study to see what people were doing when they check their email.

It makes for interesting reading;

Checking Email

If you don't cater to mobile your email open rates will suffer.

Checking email on mobile is the preferred choice now for many as this data from Fluent shows;

Checking Email on Mobile

Adestra also conducted a study and found;

  • 61.9% of email opens were on mobile
  • 9.8% were on desktop
  • 28.3% were in a webmail client

What can you do about this?

Even something as simple as - checking before you send an email broadcast, that your email looks good on your cellphone, is going to help.

Optimize images for mobile.

Make sure your emails are responsive.

And for heaven's sake make sure your links are clickable if someone is viewing on a cellphone! 🙂


There you have it - the ultimate guide to increasing open rates for emails in 2021.

I hope you got some valuable tactics here.

Now go and grab this free training on how to turn your emails into money;

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