Getting increased open rates is a lot harder now that it’s ever been.
Does that mean email is dead?
Nope. Far from it.
It just means you need to treat your emails with more care.
Less spam, less bait-and-switching, and more genuine service.
That’s how I approach all of my email copywriting work. It’s also how I helped Jennifer Frost, side hustle business coach and founder of the Lunchbreak CEO, boost her meh-tastic open rates by a strong 30%.
And today, I want to share with you 5 tactics we used that increased open rates for her emails.
1. Build Curiosity in Your Subject Lines
You know how a good book hooks you in?
When you’ve read the first sentence and you desperately want to know what happens next?
That’s what your subject line should make your reader feel.
It should tease them, get them curious about what’s in the email so they won’t be able to resist clicking it open.
And that’s what we did here. We piqued interest with a subject line describing an all too familiar scenario (I mean, what aspiring entrepreneur hasn’t had to face crickets after selling for the first time?). If they wanted to know what happened next, they’d have to open the email.
We didn’t give away the answer, either.
If the subject line was “I used a content calendar and proven strategy to boost sales!” it just wouldn’t feel the same.
Sure, maybe you’d click to see what that calendar and strategy was all about, but most people won’t care.
They care about what feels relevant to them.
A Note About Clickbait:
Now, building curiosity is a powerful tool. But don’t misuse it.
For example, if you were to lead with the subject line, “The #1 tip to get more sales through DM’s,” and the email is actually about getting prospects to DM you through your content, then that’s not right.
It’s a total bait and switch, and people will feel misled.
It might get you tons of clicks in the short-term, but long-term? Your results will start to tank, and your brand reputation will plummet because you can’t be trusted anymore.
That’s not money you want to have leaking out.
2. Make Use of Your Preview Text
You know that little sliver of text that comes after the subject line in your inbox?
Usually, that’s just the first few words of your email.
Buuut, did you know you can customize that text?
That’s right! Most email service providers allow you to have your own custom preview text.
So why not take advantage of that?
It’s basically a sub-subject line, to help contextualize your main subject line, or to give the extra spice it needs to get people to open the email.
The best email preview text is usually between 85 to 100 characters. Keep it short and sweet, so you don’t end up losing people’s attention.
Here are just a couple examples of what you can write for your preview text:
The extra “only 3 minutes” keeps things quick and easy for the reader. When you assure them like that, opening your email feels safe.
You can also use your preview text to help include your audience. With this email, even if you do have more than 1000, you’re assured that there’s still something to gain.
Remember, you want to include just enough to get them to want to open the email, but not enough that they feel like they can skip it over.
3. Use Relevant Numbers
Yeah, most people in marketing will tell you, “oh my god, you HAVE to use numbers!”
Sometimes they’ll spice it up by telling you to use ODD numbers.
Now, I’m not saying numbers are bad, or overrated. They’re not. Those people are right.
What they don’t tell you, though, is to make sure you’re using numbers that are relevant.
Relevant to your audience. Numbers that they get. Numbers that they WANT.
Take the example below, for instance. 4-figures from 1 Facebook post is one juicy number, and it’s something Jen’s audience craves.
That’s what gets scrollers to stop, and it’s what piques their curiosity.
Hell yeah, we’re combining two tactics into one!
4. Avoid Spam Words In Your Subject Line
Did you know that there are some words that can cause Google to send your email straight to spam?
Ouch, I know. As if trying to find a better word in the Thesaurus was hard enough.
Now, this is a pretty easy fix.
Just comb your emails and filter out all the words that Google doesn’t like.
Here’s a nifty little graphic for you that covers most of the big ones.
If you want a more comprehensive list, Snov.io has a list of every single spam word (updated for 2021, too!).
I will note, though, that it’s not the end of the world if you have a spam word in your email. Google’s AI isn’t stupid.
If your emails are:
- Being consistently opened and read,
- If you’re responsible with your keywords (and not stuffing all of your emails with spammy language), and
- Your emails look clean (which means not putting everything in caps, using way too many exclamation marks, or using bright red text),
Then you should be A-Okay.
5. Get Personal
That’s why we also made sure to include our recipient’s name in the email subject line.
It’s a pretty simple trick that can mean a huge difference when it comes to getting your emails opened.
However, I will say that using someone’s first name alone won’t automatically make everyone open your emails.
It’s not enough to just have “Hey Jane!” as the subject line every single time.
What matters is that your email feels personal, and that it feels relevant.
You can use emojis, leave out the caps, or heck, even punctuation.
The aim is to make your emails feel like they came from a friend.
That’s what builds trust, and that’s what gets you clicks!