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This One Thing Is the Secret to Higher Email Open Rates Your subject line matters, but it's not the most important part of your email. Here's what gets people to open your messages every time.

By Liviu Tanase Edited by Maria Bailey

Key Takeaways

  • 1. Make sure people recognize you
  • 2. Show up for your audience
  • 3. Segment your email list
  • 4. Personalize each message
  • 5. Listen to your audience
  • 6. Keep your emails short
  • 7. Infuse warmth into your tone
  • 8. Make unsubscribing easy

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

By next year, people around the world will send and receive 376 billion emails every day. Inboxes are jam-packed, so capturing your customers' attention is only getting harder. Want to stand out and get more clicks? Stop obsessing about your subject lines. Instead, focus on email relevance and quality.

A ZeroBounce report suggests that 47% of people open a brand email not because of the subject line but because they always get relevant messages from that brand. Subject lines come second in enticing someone to open an email, the report shows, based on a survey of American and European email users.

So, how can you make your emails better, deliver constant value and boost your metrics? Here are eight habits to adopt today.

1. Make sure people recognize you

Since email open rates often hinge on trust in the sender, you must be instantly recognizable in people's inboxes. Make sure your "From" name is consistent across all the different types of marketing emails you send. For instance, if your sales team contacts prospects, their "From" name should reflect your brand, such as "Paul from Entrepreneur" instead of "Paul Jones."

Related: 11 Common Email Marketing Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

2. Show up for your audience

The value your emails deliver carries the most weight, but it will only make an impact if you send those emails regularly. To determine your sending schedule, be realistic: How many emails can you commit to? If all you can send is one newsletter a month, that's fine — as long as you show up in the inbox like clockwork.

3. Segment your email list

Sending the same email to all your subscribers is unlikely to drive engagement. Your customers are in various stages in their journey with your business. Some may be new sign-ups yet to make a purchase, while others are regular customers. Use filters to create separate groups and reach out with emails that make sense to each segment.

4. Personalize each message

Segmenting your email list is the first step to email personalization. But if you want to build further trust in your brand, make every subscriber feel as if you wrote that email just for them. Address their pain points and provide easy ways to alleviate them. Offer fresh ideas and content that caters directly to their needs. This approach fosters a deeper, instant connection.

5. Listen to your audience

Want to improve your email content overnight and increase engagement? Dive into your customer support tickets, social media channels and industry forums to find out exactly what people are discussing. If you host webinars, save all the questions people ask in the chat. Gather all this info in a document, and you'll have a steady stream of relevant topics in your emails.

Related: 5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Email Marketing

6. Keep your emails short

28% of the email users ZeroBounce surveyed said the length of an email doesn't matter as long as that email is tailored to them. Once again, we see how important segmentation and personalization are. However, 66% stated they prefer short emails, so if you can make your emails both relevant and short, you'll get higher open rates. Bonus: you'll probably spend less time on your email marketing.

7. Infuse warmth into your tone

Before you send your next email, take a moment to read it out loud. Ask yourself, does it sound like a conversation you'd have with your customers in person? Corporate jargon can be a communication barrier. Consider toning it down and infusing your emails with more warmth and personality. In the age of AI, sounding more human helps you stand out.

8. Make unsubscribing easy

Allowing subscribers to leave your email list easily isn't just sensible; it's also a critical email deliverability rule. Recent sending requirements from Google and Yahoo emphasize that people should be able to unsubscribe from emails with just one click. Consult with your email marketing platform and test your unsubscribe process. If you don't follow this rule, you may see a spike in spam complaints, which can relegate your emails to the spam folder.

Bonus tips: ensure your emails arrive in the inbox

Adopting the good habits above will give you a boost in clicks, but imagine putting all this effort into your emails only for them to land in spam. To help them go to the inbox, remember to:

  • Remove invalid contacts and avoid bounces – your bounce rate should never exceed 2%.
  • Authenticate your emails to comply with Google and Yahoo's requirements.
  • To prevent spam complaints, avoid emailing people who haven't given you permission.

Finally, sending emails from a reliable platform is critical to your email deliverability. Choose a trustworthy company and get expert advice if you suspect your emails aren't landing in the inbox.

Liviu Tanase

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder & CEO of ZeroBounce

Liviu Tanase is a serial entrepreneur and telecommunication executive with extensive experience in the creation, growth and sale of novel technologies. He is currently the CEO of ZeroBounce, an email validation and deliverability platform.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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