10 Quick Tips to Boost Your Newsletter Open Rates

Learn from Hunter.io

We’re so thrilled to introduce you to our new guest for our “Learn from” series: Hunter! Hunter lets you find professional email addresses in seconds and connect with the people that matter for your business. Among its 2,000,000+ users, you’ll recognize amazing brands such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, or Adobe. Today we’ll learn from Irina, Hunter’s Head of Marketing, how to boost your newsletter’s open rates. 

Let’s rock and roll!

Be it old school or the modern, marketers of every age swear by the effectiveness of email marketing. Getting a high ROI from well-optimized campaigns is easy, but the real challenge lies in reaching the audience. If your target audience doesn’t open your emails, your campaigns will lose steam even before they start. Since newsletter open rates vary by industry and region, you can check this HubSpot report to compare your campaign’s open rates to industry averages. 

If your open rates aren’t where you’d like them to be, you might need to refocus on your email marketing strategy. Here are 10 quick tips that you can implement to improve your newsletter open rates.

1. Focus on the sender’s name 

When your email reaches the inbox of your targeted prospect, they will see three things – the sender’s name, the subject line, and the preheader text. We’ll talk about how the subject lines and preheader texts can make or break newsletter open rates, but before that, let’s focus on the sender’s name

Your email list consists of actual humans who’ll open your emails. Remember that every interaction matters and ultimately affects the overall customer experience. It’s always a good idea to add a touch of personality to the sender’s name as that’s the first thing people notice. For instance, ‘Stephanie at Copyblogger’ looks much more inviting than an email from ‘Copyblogger’. People respond to individuality, and having a clear and personalized sender’s name might just bring you back from the spam folder. Here’s a good example of how using a sender’s name makes you stand out –

show the newsletter sender name

2. Write & test subject lines

Once a reader recognizes the sender’s name, they will look at the subject line to find motives to open the email. Effective subject lines are short, crispy, and relevant and they make the most of the limited space without coming across as spammy. 

Numbers and questions stand out in subject lines and so does creativity. Don’t settle for normal lines when personalized and actionable phrases can show why the reader should open the email. Use emojis if they fit the context, but don’t go overboard with them. A Marketo study has found that subject lines with 6-8 words work the best. The good thing about subject lines is that they are not one size fits all. Keep creating new hooks and test them to see which one produces the best results.  Subject line testing

3. Perfect the preheader text

This is the third element of the “first impression” series. You should capitalize on the space available after the subject line by crafting an engaging preheader text. A preheader text can be the first line of your newsletter, giving the reader a sneak peek into what will follow. You can also customize the text by elaborating on the hook of the subject line. If a reader isn’t sold on the subject line, the preheader text can offer clarity. 

Ignoring the power of preheader text and wasting the space can be the reason why your open rate is languishing at the bottom. Here’s what a winning combination of curiosity-inducing subject lines and great preheader texts can look like.

Pre-headers are important

4. Segment your lists 

In a world where people receive hundreds of emails each day, relevancy is the name of the game. If your newsletter is relevant to the reader’s life or experience, they’ll open it. One way to be super precise is by segmenting your email list. 

Each reader has a unique requirement from your newsletters and they’ve all signed up at different stages of your marketing. Divide your list based on location, background, the position of the career, and the manner in which they’ve opted in for your service. You can manage the segmentation process by yourself, but when you work with loads of information, you may need the help of a software developer – they have access to sophisticated clustering and machine learning techniques. As the Superoffice study shows, 89% of marketers don’t utilize the power of segmentation. If you manage to segment your list, your open rate will skyrocket. This also applies when you’re doing outreach on LinkedIn or any other channel since there is no one-fits-all way to communicate with the prospects.  

5. Clean your email list 

Not every recipient of your newsletter will receive your email and that’s a fact. Over time, people either change their addresses, stop looking at old emails, or worse, forget whether they even signed up for the updates. In each scenario, you’re sending newsletters to the wrong person and it will only add to the unsubscribe and spam complaints, even if your content is great and you’re avoiding the spam trigger words

Verifying email addresses before sending out newsletters will drive down hard and soft bounce rates and improve your reputation score. Email list cleaning

6. Personalize your email copy 

Email marketing is a continuous process. A reader opening your newsletter once doesn’t guarantee they’ll open it each time the emails arrive. One way to boost the open rate is by capturing the attention of the reader and providing them real-life value the very first time. 

The secret to a successful email copy is that it’s all about the customer. If they can’t relate to the content, they will not open your emails again. Use these tricks to write emails that turn cold leads to your customers. While concluding a newsletter, use a strong CTA to lead the reader to perform a specific action and use a clear signature to build trust and authenticity. 

7. Create a welcome series

When a user signs up to your newsletter, they look to consume your content and engage with you. Capitalize on this interest by creating a welcome series of emails for them. A three-part welcome series can contain a personalized welcome and thank you note from a senior executive, a house tour of your newsletter campaign, promoting the best resources, and offers, and a contact us form. All of these build trust, give you the all-important customer data for segmentation, and convert them into active customers. 

While creating a welcome series, make sure it’s not too overdrawn as that can impact the reader negatively. Paul from Copyhackers sends a perfect welcome mail.

Welcome email example

The folks at Appcues make sure to clarify to their subscribers what to expect from the next emails. They want to prove the value of the subscription from the first email. They are even proving it by introducing a valuable resource to the email – a library of really good UX examples.

Welcome email example

8. Master the timing of your emails

Successful email campaigns are visible to the right people, at the right time. The perfect time and the day depend on multiple factors such as the location, buyer persona, and whether your campaign is B2B or B2C. A GetResponse study shows that early mornings and Monday, Tuesday, and Friday are the time and days that have higher open rates. While Africa has the highest open rate, it’s North America and Europe that have higher click-through rates and click-to-open rates. 

Despite all these metrics, it all comes down to how well you know your audience. If you have a solid grasp of the behavioral pattern of your audience, you’ll be able to make a better decision on sending emails when they want to read, leading to strong newsletter open rates. 

Tools such as Sendinblue, for example, now allow you to benefit from features such as sending emails when there is the highest chance for them to be opened. How cool is that?

9. Make it mobile-friendly

Smartphones have quickly become the go-to device to check and consume content, even for professionals. Judging by the increased consumption of emails on mobiles, you might think every company has some sort of mobile-specific format. Wrong.

Superoffice research shows that 1 in 5 campaigns is not optimized for mobile UI. This is a major reason for the low open rate. Emails that are not formatted for the mobile screen appear broken, disrupted, and worse still, ask users to open them in a web browser. How you present your newsletters to your list is very much important and if they’re not readable on a smartphone, your open rate will stay low. Here’s a greatly personalized email that’s also ideal for the vertical ratio of smartphones.Email friendly emails

10. Split-test everything

Once you tick all the boxes listed above, you’ll see an uptick in the open rate. But it doesn’t mean you should call it a day. Email marketing is an ever-evolving process. While some universal data and trends stay true over the course of time, the rest are subjected to change, very quickly. 

You need to A/B test or split test different elements of your email newsletters to see what’s working better than the other. Experiment with the subject lines, the layouts, the copy, the times and days, and everything in between. The more you split-test, the more refined and effective your campaign will be.

Wrapping up

Newsletter open rates can very much define the success of your email campaigns. While it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the challenges, you should maintain an organized workflow for email newsletters. By showing empathy, establishing trust, and using customer insights to run tests in segments, you’ll be able to set up your email campaigns for success. 

Irina Hunter
Irina Maltseva
+ posts

Head of Marketing at Hunter. I enjoy working on inbound and product marketing strategies. In my spare time, I entertain my cat Persie and collect airline miles.


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