Select Page

With all the myriad ways to build your brand and sell your products and services online, it’s easy to forget that email is still king.

As a marketing channel, email delivers the highest ROI, but there is an ever-increasing ‘attention deficit’ as brands and spam vie for your inbox real estate. In fact, only 3 percent of emails that are sent even get past the ISP. And only 20 percent of those actually reach the recipient’s inbox (crazy, right?!) But fear not: today we have some tips to increase your open rates and generally be an email superstar.

  • Your reputation is everything. Your emails will never get opened if they never make it to the inbox. One of the main reasons ISPs block emails from the inbox is because of a poor sender reputation. Your reputation can be damaged by buying, leasing or scraping email lists, as well as by a spammy-looking change in sending consistency (if for example you generally send one-two emails a week, and all of a sudden you’re sending three a day, that looks spammy). Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 3.22.35 PM
  • First impressions are key. Let’s say someone has actually taken the energy to sign up for your email list. Great! Make that first email you send to them, whether it’s one-off or an automated series of messages, count. Give them your prime content. Stuff they would expect to pay for, even. The idea here is that you want to build a valuable relationship with your readers, so that they actually want to receive your emails and will be more likely to open.
  • Dial in your ‘from’ name. Don’t get too cute about it, but do make it personal. Try either “[So and so] at [your company]” or just your company name. Decide and then keep it consistent. Don’t waste too much time on A/B testing the ‘from’ name; it’s okay to test but testing your subject line is a much better use of energy.
  • Take time to write a great subject line. A good subject line can come in many forms: a question, a newspaper-style headline, something unexpected. Avoid using all capital letters, or spammy language and characters. You can test your subject line using online tools such as, and email services such as Mailchimp allow you to A/B test your subject lines within your list to determine what sort of language and approach works best for your audience.
  • Don’t forget the ‘Preview’ text. This oft-overlooked bit of text allows you to support your subject line and use words that may trigger spam or junk filtering. That is to say, you can use this space to talk about the specifics of an offer, such as Free Shipping!, 20% Off or 2-Days Only.

As it gets harder to keep your readers attention long enough to market to them, at least you know you can take these five steps in the right direction. Happy sending!

Gmail Inbox

Ben Castelli

Ben Castelli

Ben applies the customer insights our studio produces to digital marketing strategy. Ben has over 13 years of digital marketing experience with a focus on helping B2B companies achieve their objectives. As Agency Director, Ben focuses on servant leadership and helping our team be strategic, creative, efficient and profitable - while having as much fun as possible.