Skyrocket Your E-mail Open Rate

E-mail marketing can be a tricky landscape to navigate. With the rules ever-changing and technology evolving, it can be difficult to stay on top of what works.

In a previous blog I focused on the changes I had made to my newsletter to test delivery rate, open rate and click through rate. Our pared down template – no images and just one link – continues to perform well.

Though what I shared in that blog has helped, there is one more critical thing that I forgot when it comes to improving email open rates.

The First 96

The first 96 characters, in the e-mails you send to your list, are the most important. Knowing how to leverage this real estate can make or break your open rate.

Most people read their e-mail on their mobile device. This is even more prevalent when your audience is receiving your e-mail early in the morning, as most people will comb through their inbox before they even get out of bed.

You need to capture your reader’s attention quickly and hold it long enough to get them invested in the content. Once they feel invested, they are more likely to take the time to read your e-mail even if they are also fighting off sleep, the kids calling for breakfast or the need to get up and get ready for work.

The first 96 characters are broken down into the following sections: the subject line, an e-mail preview and the first 32 characters in the body copy. Let’s explore how to boost each.

Know your email real estate - the first 96 characters are critical. Share on X

The Subject Line

The subject line is your first opportunity to convince someone that they should open your e-mail. You want to leverage this space by using no more than 32 characters, including spaces so that you can succinctly tell people what you’re writing about and why they need to take the time to read it.

When someone is reading their e-mail from a mobile device, particularly one that is set to a larger font, those 32 characters are crucial. It may very well be all the space you have as some of the e-mail apps on mobile devices don’t display an e-mail preview or the body copy.

As I mentioned earlier, my open rate and click through rate were really great last week. In fact, the e-mail I sent out fell into my top two performing e-mails of the year thus far. However, the subject line was a bit boring and, had I taken the time to write out a few more options, I could have seen that e-mail move into my #1 spot.

The top performing subject line for me in 2015 was: “This is very personal” followed closely by “Tagging Rant” and “Blindsided“.

The E-mail Preview

The next important piece is the preview section. Most mobile devices, and almost all computer-based e-mail clients have an e-mail preview area. This is generally an additional 32 characters that give people a chance to see what the e-mail is about without opening it.

When you lead with a strong subject line, you want your first characters following that to be equally as strong. Look at the e-mails you’ve sent recently — are the characters that display in the preview area awesome or are you boring your reader before you even begin?

Scan through your own inbox now. Look at some of the first two lines (approximately 32 characters) of copy in the e-mails you’ve received from other people. Does it make you want to open the e-mail and read more? Or, do you find yourself wanting to press delete? Use this as a litmus test for your own copywriting.

The Body Copy

The next 32 characters that matter exist in the body copy. The body copy is the pithy part of your e-mail and is where the value is delivered to your audience. If you knock your subject line and e-mail preview out of the park but fail to deliver in the body copy, you run the risk of having a higher number of unsubscribes.

Put time and effort into your e-mail. Think of it as an opportunity to connect with your audience and deliver them a message that is valuable, interesting and enriching. If it falls short in those areas, re-write it until it shines.

If you feel stuck when it comes to your content creation, you should take a look at my Pilot To Profit Success System. The program has an entire section dedicated to e-mail marketing for your business!

32-32-32: the perfect measurements to skyrocket your email open rate! Share on X

Homework Assignment

Your homework this week is simple. I want you to pull a report that includes the open rate for every e-mail you’ve sent this year. Then, identify which e-mails were opened the most and take a look at the subject lines you wrote for each. What do you notice? What seemed to work best?

Once you’ve evaluated your past e-mails, flex your creative muscle. Practice counting characters and be sure to brainstorm more than one subject line each week. See if you can’t land on a subject line that feels really powerful.

Finally, I want to know: what was your top performing subject line? Share it with me in the comments below.



6 thoughts on “Skyrocket Your E-mail Open Rate”

  1. I post a “blog” daily on both Linkedin and Face Book. The number of people who read is around
    200 more or less daily. I agree about the need of an attention-getting headline.

    My question is, how can I capitalize on the readers that are my followers on both Linkedin and
    Face Book? I am able to reach some of the interested people but not as much as I would like.

  2. Great article Lisa, I always appreciate these types of articles with practical tips. I honestly hadn’t looked for patterns in my open rates, so this is a great exercise. The two that performed the best for me (by about 10% over all the rest) were “This One Simple Change Can Make You Healthier” and “Sugar Shock (We’re eating HOW much sugar?!?)”. I guess these are tempting enough ‘teasers’ to get people to open. I can definitely see that my super long subject lines (why did I even do that, a few are crazy long) are at the bottom.

    Thanks again, this was super helpful!

    1. Thanks for sharing Maranda! Often we get in the mindset of writing and giving more content and forget that less can be more.

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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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