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Here's how to increase your email opens in 2019

In 2019, we want to consistently be staying on top of email marketing trends and backing our approach with enough evidence/industry data to make sure they'll work for us.

To keep customers opening your emails and engaging with your content, building authenticity is just as important as being clued up on the Next Big Email Marketing Thing.

Here are some illuminating industry stats to fuel your strategy moving forward, plus timeless tips to always keep front of mind.

I’ve grouped it into 3 major areas for you to consider - deliverability, experience and creative. Start using these today to increase your open rates and give your emails the WOW! factor in 2019:

1. Email deliverability

  • The average bounce rate across all industries is 9.60%. (Knowledge Base)

  • 48.16% of all global emails are marked as junk email. (Selligent)

  • 83% of the time an email is not delivered to an inbox, it’s because of a poor sender reputation. (Return Path)

Your open rate isn’t proportionate to how many emails you sent, but how many of those emails were actually delivered without bouncing or ending up in spam.

Say you sent 100 emails, but 10 of them bounced. Visually, here's how your open rate should be measured:

alphawhale-blog-open-rate (1)

To end up in more inboxes and stay out of spam, you have to build trust with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to get better email deliverability rates. The way to do this is by improving your email sender score, which ranks the reputation of your IP out of 100.

If you haven’t yet calculated your sender score, you can do it here.

Note: Results that sit at 70 or under are likely having their emails aggressively filtered out by ISPs. But any score that sits under 100 means there is still room for improvement!

Bring up your sender score up with future emails by checking that:

  1. You’re sending emails regularly and consistently to show structure and stability. Try not to send customers 5 emails one week and then nothing for 2 months or the like.

  2. Your email database stays healthy (clean it out every few months). Get rid of your hard bounce addresses and monitor your soft bounces to make sure it’s not a problem from your end i.e. sending emails that are too large.

  3. Your inactive subscribers are being removed regularly. If someone failed to open the last 3 emails you sent them, ISPs can pick up on this and start diverting your emails to their spam boxes. Because of this, it could be better to part ways with these customers.

  4. Keep your spam report rate to a minimum- 1 in every 1000 is the acceptable score. The best way to prevent being marked as spam? Be genuine. Avoid sales buzzwords, don’t mislead your audience and only send your emails to familiar, interested people (not bought lists).

In summary, here's how you can improve your email deliverability rates:

alphawhale-blog-4-tips (1)

2. Create a more targeted, personalised experience.

  • Compared to non-personalised mailings, personalised promotional mailings have 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates. (Invesp)

  • By changing your sender name to a specific personal name (and not just a company or brand name) you can increase open rates by as much as 35%. (Pinpointe Marketing)

  • Marketers have witnessed an increase of 760% in email revenue from segmented campaigns. (Campaign Monitor

As inboxes get increasingly flooded with each passing year, personalising your message(s) is going to become a MUST.

You could be sending the same generic email to your entire list and getting okay traction, but customers will always choose to open relevant, personalised emails when given the option.

Try personalising your emails in the these ways:

  • Use real names, and avoid using language that sounds inauthentic, overly formal or could be seen as jargon. An inbox is a personal space, and emails full of corporate speak don’t belong in there.

  • Segment your users out until you can’t segment anymore. For example, there are at least 4 ways to segment your abandoned cart users and by sending a different subject line/offering to all 4 of them, you’re taking the relevance of your messages to the next level. While these are behavioural segments, you can also try segmenting based on gender, age or location.

  • Start a conversation around non-promotional subjects. Some companies think it’s only worth emailing a customer when there’s a sale on, or product launch, or policy update… you get the drift. But when was the last time you emailed customers just to say “Thank You”, “I’m Sorry”, or asked them for feedback on their experience?

3. Test, challenge and change up your copy, subject lines and send times. 🐋

  • eCommerce brands that AB test their emails generate 2% more revenue on average. (MailChimp)

  • Be wise with your words. Phrases like “Brand new,” “Latest,” and “Exciting,” give open rate lifts of 37%, 24% and 19%, respectively. (eConsultancy)

  • The artificial adding of ‘Fwd:’ or ‘Re:’ to trick you into thinking this is part of an ongoing conversation you’re engaged with already only creates distrust. (eConsultancy)

  • 56% of brands using emoji in their email lines had a higher open rate. (Experian)

Without continuous testing and refreshing your copy to get more opens, your results are going to plateau.

Is there anything from the below that you can begin testing on today? Start with the smallest, easiest detail to change and get to it:


Headline creativity

Test your headline with messages that evoke powerful responses like:

  • Urgency - i.e. “This deal ends in 2 hours - hurry!”

  • Curiosity - i.e. “Can you tell us just one thing?”

  • Personalisation - i.e. “There’s a goodie just for you inside!”

  • Timeliness - i.e. “You were with us minutes ago, what happened?”

  • Emotional appeals - i.e. “Please don’t leave us…”

  • Exclusivity - i.e. “Your exclusive invitation to our sale!”

Copy/tone (especially the preview description)

Your preview text works hand in hand with your subject line to deliver a double impact to your audience. 

Make sure your preview text is optimised by including a message that complements your subject line or a short summary of what they can expect within the email.

On the flipside, if you’ve put any key information into your image file name, make sure you also repeat it via text (for the reader’s who’ve turn off their images).


Best send time

If you’ve primed your email for success and it’s still not getting a high open rate, consider if you’re sending it at the wrong time

According to an Experian study, the best time to send eCommerce emails is between 6 - 8am and 8pm - midnight on weekdays.

Industry data aside, it’s more important to test out different send times until you find the sweet spot for your own brand.

Take a look at the peak-traffic times for your PPC campaigns, social media, or general site traffic. This could point to an increased chance that they’re also on emails and a good time to make contact. Not only would this improve your open rate, but may also be better for your email click-through rates too.

To further fuel your eCommerce emailing strategy, check out our guide to abandoned carts today. It's totally free and full of strategies we've used with clients to:

  • Optimise their abandoned cart campaigns
  • Create proven email design concepts - that convert!
  • Master metrics like CTR, CTA, CPA... and much more.

abandoned cart ebook alphawhale

Christina Peng
Christina Peng
Christina is a content strategist with a digital marketing background. She loves bringing words to life and harbours an unwavering affection for 80's music and digital art.