13 Simple Tips for Improving Your Email Open and Clickthrough Rates


November 13, 2018 By

Cheryl Dykstra


Even with the best email list, it’s easy for your communications to end up getting lost in your customer’s inbox – or worse, in spam. Not to mention that getting your emails opened is only half the battle. Then you have to get them to click through.

That’s why in this article, we’re going to run down 13 of the best and simplest ways to improve your emails' open rates, clickthrough rates, and conversion potential.

Email Marketing Tips for Growing Businesses

1. Don’t buy email addresses

Purchasing email lists is never generally a great idea. No matter how desperate you might be to start getting eyes on a campaign, purchasing an email list will never get you great results – mainly because the people on the list never agreed to receive content from you.

2. Follow CAN-SPAM rules

This is obviously a huge one for getting your emails delivered (and out of spam). CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing) is an act that was passed in 2003. Essentially, it establishes the rules for commercial email and commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have a business stop emailing them, and outlines the penalties incurred for those who violate the law.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Include your valid physical postal address in every email you send out.

  • Give recipients a clear and obvious way to opt out (i.e., unsubscribe) of every email you send.

  • Use clear "From," "To," and "Reply to" language that accurately reflects who you are.

  • Avoid "no-reply" or similar sender names, which prevent recipients from opting out of an email newsletter if they'd like to.

  • Avoid selling or transferring any email addresses to another list.

All of the rules for this law are available on the FTC's website.

3. Send emails from a real person

Sending emails from a real person versus a company account or donotreply address will increase your open rates. Based on many A/B tests done over the years, recipients are more likely to trust (and therefor open emails from) a personalized sender name.

4. Email new contact within 24 hours

Take advantage of the time you have when you’re fresh on your prospect’s mind. By emailing your new subscriber within that 24 hr. window of time, whether it’s with an introduction, an offer, or otherwise, you set up expectations and build your brand.

If you don’t have an automated process for this, it might be time to start thinking about sales and marketing automation.

5. Create a compelling subject line

Obviously the subject line is a major reason that recipients end up opening your email. The best way to stand out is to write compelling, "can't-resist-this" subject lines.

[Check out our other article: 5 Quick Tips for Better Email Subject Lines]

6. Keep your emails focused

Everyone is busy. Why add to the clutter?

People generally like emails that get to the point and don’t drag on forever. Plus, when scanning through their emails in a short amount of time, they're more likely to find your intended CTA before having a chance to click away.

If your email has to be on the long side, try to break it up into multiple paragraphs to provide visual breaks. This makes skimming much easier.

7. Include a call-to-action (CTA) button

Many recipients will scan through your email – that’s just how it is. That’s why you need to have one clear call-to-action button in every email.

You'll want to place your CTA in a location where it's easily visible and where it makes sense for someone to click on it. For example, you might put a CTA to download a free template in an email that describes a situation where you’d use it.

8. Add hyperlinks to your images

Not everyone is going to click on the obvious link or button. Some people will actually end up clicking on your images – especially if they are designed to resemble a sale flyer for example.

Another example would be that if you're inviting readers to download an ebook and you’ve included a picture of the ebook. Don't just hyperlink the text next to the image telling people to "download it here." Hyperlink the ebook's picture, too.

People are naturally drawn to images much more than text, and you want to give your email subscribers as many options to get your ebook as you can.

9. Add text links

It’s always a good idea to include multiple places to click in your email.

In addition to your main CTAs and images, consider including a noticeable text link (or two) when applicable, as having more links increases the opportunity for engagement.

10. Optimize for mobile

Mobile email opens have grown by 180% in the last three years.

As more and more people use their mobile devices to read email, surf the web, and make purchases, the more important it is for marketers to design their emails with mobile users in mind.

In order to optimize your emails for mobile:

  • Reduce your image file sizes (to help increase load speed)

  • Create CTA buttons that are larger than 45-57 pixels (to account for finger size)

  • Invest in responsive email templates (so they look great on any screen)

11. Always test your emails

Before you hit that ‘Send’ button, be sure that you test your email to ensure that everything ends up displaying correctly on different screens and email client types.

Many email services offer a preview mode for different screen sizes and email clients.

12. Monitor email performance

Find out what works best by analyzing each email’s performance. Find out what type of subject lines are doing amazing versus which one is not performing as well. Is there a particular layout or CTA that gets more clicks?

Use your email performance data to run A/B tests that are designed to show you what your email recipients really want out of your communications, and lean into the trends that you see work better for you.

13. Work with a trusted company

Email marketing can be complicated. From designing the layout to creating the marketing copy, it is tough to go at it alone.

Finding a company that can help you with this aspect of your marketing can allow you to focus more on operating your business.

If you’re interested in learning about how email marketing can benefit your business, or how Sales & Marketing Technologies can assist you with your email marketing, give us a call at 407-682-2222 for a free strategy session.

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