8 Easy Ways to Increase Email Open Rates & Get People to Respond!

“By now businesses of every size understand the importance of developing and growing an email marketing list with the goal of using it to accelerate their business growth to new levels,” says Web Presence Solutions.

It’s not hard to spend a good chunk of time trying to create clickable emails. And no doubt we’ve all experienced the disappointment of sending out a lot of email campaigns to potential and current clients that went ignored.

According to a study by MailChimp, the average click rate for small business email campaigns sent to at least 1000 subscribers is just 2.75%, and the open rate is 22.83%.

If you’d like to improve upon those numbers, follow these tips from HubSpot for emails that get opened…and responded to:

1) Create Descriptive Subject Lines

Subject lines should define the reason for your email in a way that will make the recipient want to open and answer it. Create subject lines that are clear and concise. Avoid using full sentences and just get right down to the reason you’re emailing, like the examples below do:

  1. Question about your blog post regarding Instagram
  2. Seminar information for Tuesday, 5/16
  3. New statistics: 69% of consumers want video content

2) Write Opening Lines That Quickly Get to the Point

The opening lines of your email should immediately get to the point so the recipient quickly understands what’s expected of them. Format your emails with the following components:

  1. Opening greeting
  2. Reason for emailing
  3. Details
  4. Call-to-action
  5. Closing remarks

This format will be easier for busy, impatient, or distracted readers to digest and will help you to write clear and compelling content that email recipients will want to keep reading.

3) Use Straightforward Language

In an episode of Friends, Monica and Chandler asked Joey to write them a letter of reference. Using a thesaurus, Joey changed so many words to more advanced synonyms that the letter’s original meaning became totally convoluted. Don’t let this happen to your emails!

Instead of using industry jargon or flowery language, just rely on the tried and true basics. Your sentences should be clear, succinct, and straightforward.

If your sentences need more than one comma, consider breaking them into two sentences instead. When your emails are easy to understand, readers can quickly digest the content and respond the way you want them to.

4) Include Numbers and Statistics

Writing numbers as numerals (47) instead of words (forty-seven) will attract reader attention when they quickly scan content online, which, according to HubSpot, is something internet users are more and more likely to do.

Statistical data will lend your email more credibility. Because numbers represent facts, readers may feel more compelled to respond to them.

5) Keep It Short and Sweet

When researchers analyzed over five years of emails, they discovered that shorter emails resulted in faster response times. Keeping emails as short as possible helps you and the reader spend less time writing and replying to emails, which increases productivity for everyone.

Using numbers, deleting unnecessary words (like adjectives and adverbs), and using easily digestible formatting will also help you keep your emails shorter.

Since the average screen reading speed is 200 words per minute, so keeping your emails under 200 words in length is a good rule of thumb.

6) Bullet points are your friends

Try to use bullet points or a numbered list to organize your email structure whenever possible. Why? Because:

      • Bullet points don’t require full sentences, which means you can use fewer words to get your message across
      • Bullets points break up the email formatting, helping to maintain the reader’s attention
      • Bullet points and numbered lists help to clearly outline process steps that need to be taken

HubSpot suggests using only three bullet points because studies have shown that our brains like to be presented with three options to consider. Using three bullets (or numbered items) in your emails will help you increase email readability.

7) Use The Word “Because” 

The subject of your email may be important to you, but that doesn’t mean the people you send it to will feel the same way. To increase the “importance” factor of your emails, you’ll need to answer the question “so what?” for your readers. One way to do this is by using the word “because”, followed by the reason why.

Psychologist Ellen Langler discovered that the using the word “because” made people more likely to comply with a request. When asking for an email recipient’s time and effort, make sure to include the word “because” to help them understand the impact their compliance will have.

8) Provide Clear Expectations

Clearly state exactly what you need or expect from the email recipient to make it easier for them to reply.

Your email should start with the reason you’re emailing, provide the recipient with details, answer the question “so what?”, and close with a clear call to action. Whether you want your email recipient to try a trial product for 30 days at no charge in exchange for an honest review, or you want them to attend a seminar, make sure that is the last line of your email.

Make the final line of your email the most memorable. That way, if the recipient doesn’t take the desired action right away, they’ll be able to easily remember the steps they should take next.


“Businesses that don’t recognize the tremendous importance and benefits of email marketing will get lost in the shuffle in 2017,” says Web Presence Solutions. “Email marketing is a critical and strategic component of any 2017 small business marketing plan.”

Whether your drafting newsletters, abandoned cart recovery emails, or customer retention messages, email is playing a growing role in online marketing.

If you’re spending too much time writing marketing messages that are getting ignored and gathering dust instead of accelerating your business growth, use the tips above to create email campaigns that compel your recipients to click, open, read, and respond!

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.