Are you wondering how to increase your email open rates?

You’ve set up your email list, picked a great freebie for your opt-in and started collecting emails. Now it’s time to start sending those newsletters and extra offers! But. . .

Nobody is opening them.

If you’re finding yourself stuck with a low open rate, don’t despair. There are a few tricks you can use that might just entice your followers to open that message. The key is to have a silver tongue. . .er, fingers. . .

Ok, that analogy got weird; shall we move on?

Get creative with your subject line

When it comes to emails, the subject line is the deal-breaker. It doesn’t matter how beautiful, elegant, fun, or awesome the actual email looks if nobody bothers to open it. Stay away from generic and boring titles like “Newsletter” or “December Mail.”


With headers like these, your audience is likely to just check “mark as read.” Or worse – throw it straight in the trash. Your newsletter never even saw the light of day.

You need to get creative with your subject line. It’s the first thing people see when they open their inbox, and it’s how they decide if it’s worth reading. You could use something simple like: “Hey!” or “I’ve sent you something!

These certainly get more opens but can feel a little spammy. The far better option is to think of it as a “read more” button. Find the hook for your story and draw people in to find out more.

Here are some good examples:

“I tried everything, but only one thing worked”

“My business nearly closed, but I did this instead”

“I was 10k in debt, now this is what I earn”

These titles give a hint of what kind of story is in the email and encourage your reader to open it to read the rest.

If they want to find out why you nearly closed your business (and how you saved it!) they’ll have to open that email.

Check your preview text

The preview text shows up next to, or below (depending on your provider) the email subject line. It gives a sneak peek into the very first lines of the email. Make sure your preview text is just as enticing as the main title.

Also, make sure it doesn’t give away the whole story.

You can check what your preview text will be as you build your email. Alternatively, send a test copy to yourself to see how it really looks in your inbox. Does it work well with the subject line?

If there is a special offer in your email, you might like to highlight it in the preview text. A short line telling them there’s a coupon, discount code, or other offer within can prompt people to open up the message and check out the goods.

Include your offer in the subject line

While we’re at it, why not include your offer as the subject line instead? This works well if you don’t have a huge story that creates an exciting hook. Let your offer or discount be the hook!

You can be as open or as secretive as you like with this one.

Open and straightforward subject lines stating “10% discount code” can work well, because human nature is to love a discount. It’s just how we’re wired.

On the other hand, a little bit of mystery and intrigue can work wonders for a quiet audience. “Claim your discount code” is just as good, but it adds that extra excitement – is it 10% off or 50%? They’ll only know if they open the email!

Sales, sales, sales

Having a sale? Let ‘em know! You can blast it big in all caps and type “SALE! Ends on Sunday!” and folks are likely to take a peek. Again, we’re suckers for discounts and bargains.

These types of emails work especially well for flash sales, seasonal offers, and other time-specific events that your business might hold. You might consider adding a countdown timer to your email (but that’s a story for another day!)

Try including some extra info in your preview text so your audience knows clearly what’s happening. You could write that it’s a sale on all winter items, or specify the date/time the sale ends.

Seasonal offers & extra freebies

Holidays are a great time to send promotional newsletters. For example, at Christmas time everyone is looking for the perfect gift. You might offer an additional freebie, like a downloadable Christmas card, recipe, or craft activity.

Try it out for other holidays: New Years, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Winter Solstice, Halloween.

Increase the Fun to Increase Open Rates

You want your audience to have fun opening and reading your emails – after all, isn’t that the whole point?

By focusing on creating content your audience needs, wants, and enjoys, you’re contributing to their overall customer experience with your brand. Having an active email list not only helps to position you as the expert but encourages your customers to trust and respect you.

Ready to have your email list booming? Stop the crickets chirping and try some of these tips for your next newsletter.

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