Is your email fighting for attention in your prospects inbox? Does your email have what it takes to stop prospects in their track? If you're wondering why your emails don't do well, they might still need some work. In this article, I am going to share some of the best tips to improve your email open rates.

Ready to learn how to increase not only your open but your reply rate as well? Then keep on reading.

1. Research your prospect

You've conducted email search, collected addresses of your prospects, and are now ready to start crafting your email sequences.

In order to write a great email, you first need to know who you are emailing. If you know nothing about your prospect, then how do you know what makes them tick?

Today, social media makes it super-easy to learn about your prospects. Apart from their job title you can also find out what they like, care about, and respond to. Most people use LinkedIn to research prospects since you can find email addresses along with a lot of company/work information very easily.

Based on this info, it becomes easier to personalize emails and add a human touch. Because online interactions are becoming so common, it's important to add a human touch to them. Nobody likes to feel as if they are talking to a robot. The more personalized the email, the better your chances of receiving a reply.

2. Personalize the “from” field.

personalize the "from" field

Since you are an actual human being, this should be reflected when you send out emails. Many people underestimate the power of using an actual name over generic ones like “info”, “sales” etc.

With the huge number of spam emails clogging up inboxes everywhere, people are wired to be more receptive to emails that come from a person. So, make sure that you have set up your email accounts to display an actual name.

3. Create compelling subject lines

create compelling subject lines

The first thing your prospect sees in their inbox, apart from the sender name, is the subject line. This means that right off the bat, they can decide whether to go ahead and open the email or not. And if they don't open, it's obvious that they won’t be able to know what’s inside. For this reason, the subject line plays a very important role when it comes to emails.

If you research the prospect thoroughly beforehand, like I mentioned in the previous point, it becomes easy to decide which type of subject line to use.

In an attempt to create killer subject lines, most people stumble and end up sending spammy subject lines. Hubspot has an exhaustive list of spam trigger words that you can check out. You should avoid such words in your subject line because they are likely to push your email to the spam box. Now that you know which subject lines to avoid, head over to Sumome for the best subject lines to use instead. According to many experts, subject lines that contain humor received the highest open rates. Apart for this, subject lines that arouse curiosity also increase open rates. Direct subject lines that hint to a relationship with the prospect also do well.

4. Work on the opening paragraph

work on the opening paragraph

The opening paragraph is crucial for two reasons. First, part of this paragraph shows up right next to your subject line. So, after the subject line, this is the next thing your recipients will see (unless they are on mobile devices).

If this part is not able to get their attention, then it’s unlikely that they will click-through to read. So, make sure your opening paragraph is well-written and interesting.

The other reason why your opening paragraph needs to be good is because it acts as a hook. We all know that people usually skim through emails. Even if they open an email, there is no guarantee that they might actually read it.

But when the first paragraph is good, it becomes easy for them to move on to the next. On the other hand, if it’s poorly written, then they might hit the back button. Even though this will register as an opened email, what’s the use if your recipients fail to read till the end? Here are some cold email templates that have great opening lines which you can easily tweak to your own requirements.

5. Focus on one thing

You might be thinking. “why focus on just one thing”? Well, if your email is going in too many directions, then it’s hard for readers to understand what you are saying. That’s why you should have a specific goal in mind for your emails.

To do this, think about the most important reason why you are emailing them. Is it for an introduction? To share value? Or to bring their attention to an important issue? Whatever it is, make sure you keep it in mind at all times.

If your prospect opens your email the first time around, you want them to do so again and again. But if your email lacks direction, they will simply skip over them or mark them as spam. That’s why a sense of direction and purpose is necessary when writing an email no matter who you are sending it to.

6. Keep emails short and to the point

There is nothing worse than opening an email only to find that it’s a page and a half long. Nowadays, nobody has the time to sift through lengthy paragraphs of text. So, it’s a good idea to say what you want in as fewer lines as possible.

You know how Twitter makes you think long and hard when you are writing a tweet due to character limit? Apply that same concept to your emails. Aim for 200 words or lower. If you simply must write more, make sure it’s super important stuff. Otherwise, your recipients will mentally assign a “chatty” tag to you and ignore your emails.

When you compose your email, read through several times to make sure that every word serves a purpose. Be ruthless and take out all words that are just fluff. This way, you will stay on course and your email will have a central message.

7. Optimize emails for mobile


Nowadays, the majority of people check their emails on phone. For this reason, if your emails are not mobile-friendly, then you can forget about improving open/engagement rates.

If you use images or banners, make sure you send test emails and view them on mobile. This way, you will know how your emails will look on handheld devices. It only takes a couple of minutes but doing a test will save you a lot of embarrassment later.

Here is an example of responsive email from Yelp. A responsive email automatically adjusts itself to the resolution of your mobile screen. This improves layout and make content look good.


Improving email open rates is not rocket science. However, you need to pay attention to small details because they can make a big difference. Even though the tips I shared above seem like no-brainers, you will be surprised how many people still fail at crafting good emails.

I hope you will keep these tips in mind for your next email. If you have any tips or tactics for improving email open rate, do mention them.

About the Author:

Shamaila Zahid is the Content Manager for LeadGibbon, a sales prospecting tool that helps salespeople find email addresses and get in touch with their leads faster. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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