How do you increase the open rate of your newsletters?

Hannah S Kim
21 replies
I've been sending our weekly newsletters to my Mailchimp list for the past few months, and have noticed that my email open rates have been dropping. I am guessing that the content isn't as appealing to the audience anymore- any useful tips for increasing your email open rate?


Gilad Uziely
From my experience it is not always the content. I would start by thinking of where, when and in which context people signed-up. Try to look at it from your readers perspective. Many people try to get the max number of subscribers but that an actually hurt your efforts of providing value. In my case, every 3 months I delete anyone who haven't opened any of my emails. They are just hurting the quality of my list. If you want - I'll be happy to take a look at your funnel and give feedback. Best of luck!
Olga Trykush
@gilad_uziely That's actually a great idea to delete non-active subscribers, thanks, will implement this scheme on my project as well:)
Hannah S Kim
@gilad_uziely Thanks you for the suggestions, I will definitely delete any non-active readers from my list!
Marisa Harrington
@gilad_uziely Deleting non-active readers is a great idea! I haven't sent out newsletters yet, but I will definitely keep this in mind for when I do!
Dean Yeong
Content could be one factor but to be specific, think about it this way: "are you delivering the promise you made to your subscribers?" If yes, your content might not be the key issue affecting your open rate here. It could be deliverability — use email testing tools like Litmus to check if your emails go to spam. It could be your email subject line — come up with multiple subject lines and pick the best. You can even A/B test your email subject line in Mailchimp. It could also how Mailchimp track open rates (most ESP tracks open based on image loaded and clicks. If your subscribers open an email without clicking, some ESP doesn't mark it as open) — try adding an image, maybe your logo, to your email. Ultimately, a good way to keep a good open rate is to keep a highly-engaged list of subscribers. Make subscribing harder so only people who care subscribe. And prune your list regularly. Hope this helps!
James Abayomi Ojo
@deanyeong Thanks for this Dean. I actually found that a lot of my ConvertKit emails were going to people spam folders which is a pain on deliverability. Defintiely open to solutions for bootstrappers
Olga Trykush
From what I read I learned that emails sent from CEO are more effective, as they feel more personalized. Emails should include storytelling, tips from personal experience and cases with failures, etc. We tried this approach and have a 25% open rate, so I advise you to try out this format if it is suitable for your project.
Giulio Maselli
Make sure your newsletter goes out from an address with a person's name like and not People want human touch and are more likely to open a mail that comes from a "real person". Then be very careful with the title of the mail: that's the only thing the most of receivers will read, so the title must be interesting and captivating, tell clearly what interesting and useful content they can find in the mail. A title like "7 recipes to cook better food" is more likely to be clicked than "Weekly food newsletter". Last advice, follow the blog of mailchimp or their social accounts to find lots of interesting tips & tricks about mail marketing.
Forster Perelsztejn
Your open rate will largely depend on your subject line. People receive dozens of emails every day and they will only click is something is super appealing. You should look at CoSchedule's headline analyzer, it'll help you build compelling subject lines that'll get your emails opened. See if that makes a difference :)
Abhishek Jain
As a user, I consider two important points 1) Subject line which many have pointed. 2) The length of the content. If I notice that if it is too much information in the mail then, after some time, I'll stop looking at the mail.
Bill Flitter
We defintely live in a headline economy. Today's business lives or dies by the quality of headlines and subject lines. With attention spans at an all-time minimum and competition for attention at an all-time high, spending significant time on writing attention-worthy (not clickbaity) headlines & subject lines are crucial.  Lots of great ideas in this thread. Assuming your content is good and you lived up to your promise, In my 20 years of experience with email marketing and recent testing the best advice I can give is: 1. Prune your list as @gilad_uziely mentioned 2. Test subject lines - recently, I'm finding the short the better 3 words. I am seeing a 50% minimum open rate in recent tests. It's hard to think of 3 words that grab attention but it works. 3. Try different things including emojis and once in a while add the subscriber's name to the subject line. Apply this frameowkr when writing your next subject line 1. Numbers & negative words increase CTR 2. Keep headlines under 65 characters 3. Make your headline match the content 4. Odd numbers perform better than even 5. Aim for 6-word headlines max 6. Avoid words with multiple meanings 7. Include power words and adjectives 8. Evoke curiosity 9. Write in a conversational tone A few resources I use daily Headlime ($, ideation) Really Good Emails (free, brainstorming) Landingfolio (free, brainstorming) Co Schedule's Headline Analyzer (free, ideation) "You Are Not Alone" This is the most-opened email line ever. People are ALWAYS alone when they open email, just them and their computer. This neat psychological “trick” gives a feeling that they are connected in this strange world. You’ll need to contextualize it in the opening sentences: “If you feel like everyone is acquiring customers and you aren’t, we have a community of people just like you so you don’t feel you are on your own." Hope that helps!
Bill Flitter
@gilad_uziely @hannahsuyun I just completed the following experiment: Personalizing the email subject line with the subscriber's name. I've been seeing a 50%+ open rate on a previously unresponsive list when personalizing the subject line. Oh, and throw in an emoji in the subject line too. Example subject line: Hey [First Name], 😎
Niamh Foley
I usually look at: 1. Subscriber based active V inactive keeping that as update to date as possible. 2. Specific audience + specific subject link = more opens i.e You have a bucket that go to point X in the product, send them a super specific mail. Example : ‘Check out our updates on X’ the first half of the mail would be specific to the point where the users stopped, the rest would be other news. 3. Another method I find helpful is segmenting email openers V email open + clickers. The latter obviously being the most engaged buckets. Again, I would tailor content as best possible here and have some incentives for the email openers to click through and move into the email open and clicker bucket.
Sharon Cohen
From the research that I've done in the past, and with the countless amount of emails I get every day I'll try to summarize a few great points: 1. Who you are - this is about positioning. What kind of brand do you have? do people care? does your brand make people feel something, or at least be slightly curious to see what you have to tell them? Most people (and it's based on research) first look at who's the sender. They don't have to buy from you or madly fall in love with you for them to want to open your email. They simply need to be somewhat interested in your product/what you have to say to them. 2. Framing - when you write your email, you gotta make sure that you give them that content (no matter what it is) in a way that will give them maximum benefit. When you sit down to write that email, think "how can they benefit the most from what I have to tell them?". Make sure you show them this in this way, so they'd be interested enough to actually want to open it. Example: Let's say there's a whitening teeth brand. Which one of these subject lines would make you want to open the email? "your smile will thank you" OR "79% of people say they're attracted to a white smile" 3. Make sure you don't always say the same thing. You gotta spice it up, it can't always be discounts or articles or pitches. People get easily bored with predictability. 4. Add value that is relevant to them. Don't just teach them anything, know their pain point and help them get to mini-milestones for free. They'll trust you more, they'll like you more and they'll open your emails more. To summarize, the bottom line is that it's a mixture of how much they care about your brand, if the email (+subject line) is relevant enough to them, and what kind of emails you've sent in the past. Other than that, I'm sure you can find countless articles about little tricks how to boost emails. I'd also suggest you to have SMS system set in place since people open SMS notifications more frequently and more quickly. Cheers!
First things first, it's a Subject line + Preview. That's what makes one either open the email or drop it into the trash immediately. We've experimented a lot with Subject lines and found that 1)emojis there help getting attention 2)having it in a form of a question or an invitation (e.g. for action or anything) is much better It also helped to change how many letters do we send – if it's been once a week, it seemed to become too much. We've eventually started to write emails only when there's an action needed or we actually have smth to say :) As for a Preview, there should be smth related to the topic that would intrigue a user, make them feel that this is something about them or they can relate to.
Michael Kawula
One idea... Send an email with the subject: question {name} Then ask one question that is relevant to your newsletter/subscribers and that will spark a reply. Two reasons for this: 1. Will help for future content ideas for your newsletter 2. More importantly that subject will drive up open rates and replies, which will increase future deliverability of your emails by sending a positive message to mailbox providers of your list. Tons of great suggestions in this thread and don't be afraid of unsubscribing those who aren't engaging which was one of the suggestions already. Many get caught up with list size verse what really matters is list engagement (opens and ctr's). List size is a good north star to look at monthly, but list engagement is the main metric that should excite you. Lastly... When you get new subscribers, use the above idea of driving a response (reply) to your welcome email. Again this will increase deliverability. Good luck ~