Email marketing remains one of the most popular forms of marketing. When things get a bit slack, it doesn’t take long to put something together and send it out to the thousands of opt-in contacts in your customer database.

The only problem is most industries have an average open rate in the low 20 per cents and a click through rate that barely scrapes 4 per cent. Even if you hit those averages, it doesn’t matter how big your list is, your not really being effective.

There are numerous articles out there that claim to have the magic formula to higher open rates, but there’s nothing magic about email marketing. All you need to do is be yourself.

1. Be you

Even though you want your customers to buy from your company, it’s you they are really dealing with.

That’s why you should always write like a human. Even if you are in the B2B sector a human will be reading your email, so keep it conversational. If you’re not sure how to do that, picture yourself having a conversation about what you’re writing about and write as you talk. When done, read it out loud and if any parts start to sound wooden or business-like, cut them.

“Voice” is one of the most important parts of your marketing, but it’s a term that’s used liberally without much explanation. The best way to think about it is the “voice” you use is how your writing sounds when it’s read.

Another big part of conversational writing is asking questions, so make sure you use them in your email. They will make the reader stop and think about what you’re saying, increasing engagement.

Admittedly, this may not be your natural way of writing and it will take time to perfect, but persevere with it and you’ll see those open rates begin to rise (when used in conjunction with the other points I’m about to raise).

2.  3 important elements

What are the 3 most important elements of your email?

Give up?

OK, I’ll tell you:

  • Your subject line
  • The first line of your email
  • Your “From” line

When your email arrives these are the first 3 things the recipient will see, so they have to make an impact if you want them to open it.

For the subject line and first line of your email, make sure they are short and to the point, personalised (definitely the first line, up to you about the subject line) and that they lead with a benefit.

What about the “From” line, I hear you say? How on earth can that have an effect on the open rate?

Well, it’s important it comes from a real person. If your customers get an email from they are more likely to ignore it than if it came from

3. Responsive

Last, but not least is the responsiveness of your email.

Did you know that 65% of emails are opened on mobile devices these days? That’s why they need to be responsive so they open and display correctly on any device and any screen size.


Email marketing is great when it works well, but as with all marketing it takes time to refine the art and that means constant testing.

Try different styles of subject lines, when you send your mailing and the subjects that you cover. Over time you’ll gradually learn what your audience is looking for.