How to Increase Email Open Rate for Cold Email Outreach?

Email open rate is one of the important metrics which determines the success of a campaign. A good email open rate would be somewhere between 25-38% as per the industry standard. Around 73% of millennials prefer to be contacted through mail. This doesn’t mean they would automatically open your email. A low email open rate would indicate that your email campaigns aren’t performing well and some changes are required. 

A good email open rate would be somewhere between 25-38% as per the industry standard.

Fortunately, this article would provide all the insights on improving email open rates. This article is targeted toward sales teams, sales reps or demand-generation agencies that run cold email outreach campaigns. Specific details like formulae, definitions etc are not meant for email marketing teams looking to improve open rates for their marketing campaigns.

What is an Email Open rate & how is it calculated?

“Opened” denotes the number of prospects who have opened the email and “Open Rate” denotes the ratio of “Opened” to the total number of Prospects contacted. The higher the rate the better.

The email open rate can be calculated by 

       (Number of emails opened / Number of Prospects contacted) x 100 = Email Open Rate

For example, if you have contacted 1000 prospects and 400 opened your email then

   (400/1000) x 100 = 40% would be the email open rate

Email open rate is a good way of knowing how well your emails are working and if they are grabbing the reader’s attention or not. If your email is being opened then it would mean the below – 

  • Your email had a compelling subject line
  • The target audience was right
  • Your email made it to the inbox rather than getting caught by a powerful spam filter
  • Your email had engaging preheader text

A low email open rate is responsible for prospects dropping off at the top of your sales funnel and hence affecting your sales pipeline. So the ROI from the email campaign investment will not be great. It is best to address this issue as the earliest. It is an important aspect to analyze if your email campaign needs to be tweaked.

What are the reasons for a low or declining email open rate?

If your email open rate is below the industry benchmark, there are definitely some inherent issues with the campaign. Possible reasons might be:

  1. Non-effective subject line
  2. Inadequate testing
  3. Non-personalization of emails
  4. Frequency of emails to the same prospect
  5. Prospect list quality
  6. Irrelevant content
  7. Mobile Optimization
  8. Sending day and time
  9. Customers are not interested in the content
  10. Use of keywords that trigger the spam filter
  11. Inability to keep subscribers engaged
  12. Email list containing bounced email ids
  13.  Double opt-in option not used
  14. An issue with the email open tracker
  15. Emails landing in social or promotional inbox

Is it possible that my emails are opened but the open tracking is not working?

There is a possibility that your open rates are good but not tracked effectively. So let’s understand how it works. Open tracking works by inserting a tiny one-by-one pixel image in the email before it’s sent to the recipient. Since the good average email open rate relies on the download of such a graphic image, it isn’t 100% accurate. There can be multiple reasons why the image doesn’t download

  1. Many ISPs, as well as users, never load the graphics in an email.
  2. Many users prefer to receive emails in text format only. In this case, also, the graphics are never loaded, and although opened, will not be marked as opened.
  3. Users who use mobile to read their emails, read-only the text version of the email. Hence the graphics are never loaded
  4. Non-HTML (text) emails are not tracked at all (as the graphics are not loaded at all in such emails). 
  5. Some email-reading applications do not allow open emails to be reported.

What are the other external factors that would increase email open rates?

Email open rates could be increased by following these simple strategies

  1. Creating relevant, useful, and reliable content for the subscribers. 
  2. Subject lines should – Generate curiosity, Personalized, Announce offer, Humourous, Shocking
  3. Proper segmentation of prospect list – Imagine sending a proposal for accounting software to the “Head of Content”. Proper segmentation increases the chance of getting a response
  4. Periodic cleanup of the email list
  5. Use a double opt-in option to ensure interested prospects are part of the campaign
  6. Using optimized images, which would speak for itself.
  7. Optimized content for mobile users
  8. Business email id should be used while sending emails

SmartReach is a sales enablement software that specializes in email outreach with better email deliverability. It also provides features such as email validation, spam test reports, detailed email campaign reports, prospect management, campaign soft start, workflow automation, improved prospect response management via shared inbox, multichannel outreach and many more which helps the sales team to close deals faster. There are various ways within the SmartReach app that can be adapted to increase email open rate.

How to Increase Email Open Rates within the SmartReach Environment?

Following these simple and easy steps would help to increase email open rate:

  1. Setting up a holiday calendar, where the campaign gets paused during the holiday season
  2. A/B test with one subject line and different email body templates. Then analyze our template report and share the working template with your team.
  3. Follow up on a regular basis. Set up unlimited follow-ups with SmartReach, the follow-ups auto stops when a prospect or someone from the prospects domain responds. A gap of 3 to 5 days between follow-ups is recommended. Best to limit your campaign to 5 follow-ups.
  4. Sending emails when the prospects are active increases the chance of opening. Use our “Best time to Send” report and accordingly tweak your campaign settings. 
  5. Keeping an eye out for spam filters so as to avoid them by using a clear recognizable sender name, verifying the sender and not using deceptive subject lines.
  6. Add the prospect’s time zones to the prospect’s upload. Send emails preferably during working hours.
  7. Personalize subject lines – SmartReach provides an option to create a custom merge tag.
  8. Limit your daily email sending to 150 emails per email ID. The lesser the number of emails sent, the better the email deliverability.
  9. Use email soft start when starting a campaign as it enhances open & response rates. 

Keeping track of the email open rate is a good practice as it would keep you informed about maintaining an industry-standard open rate. 

So are your email open rates in check? Now that you’ve learned the reasons for low open rates and stuff that will increase email open rates for your cold email outreach campaigns; then it wouldn’t hurt to make a few adjustments. 

If you want to schedule a call to understand how can increase email open rates then do book a meeting today.

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