Email Marketing 101: How to Increase Your Open Rates

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 15, 2017 9:00:00 AM


One of the main draws of using a COS system such as HubSpot or Hatchbuck is the detailed analytics they provide, which are only useful if you are properly leveraging them. Do you keep track of the data surrounding your mass correspondence to current and potential members? What is your average open rate?

email marketing

If you are unfamiliar with the term, the open rate is expressed as a percentage of people who choose to open your email (and thus presumably have read it!)

The average open rate differs vastly among industries, so keep this in mind while doing your own research on the subject. However, correspondence from associations is generally opened from 19.57% -  35.4% of the time. Go look at the open rate of the last five emails your association has sent out. Is the percentage on the lower end of this spectrum, or even below it? If so, here are three tips to help your email marketing program enhance those open rates.

1. From: a Real Person



Are you more compelled to read an email from Arianna Rehak, or from Grit Marketing? This is a very easy change to implement, and one in which you should see immediate results. Can members respond directly? Make sure you let them know.

2. Re: Keep it Short

Aim for four words or less in your subject line. Yes, it’s hard to get your message across in such a short space, (keeping it below 140 characters was tough enough, am I right?) but that’s all the space that mobile devices give you if you want the entire subject line to appear. While you’re checking your open rates of those last five emails, you should also check the breakdown of emails read via mobile vs. desktop to see how relevant this is to your member base. You may be surprised to see that more than half the people are accessing your emails through their phones.


3. Time: Intentional

The time of day that you send your email will affect its likelihood of being opened. Think about it. If you come into work to find 10 unread emails waiting for responses, you’re probably going to prioritize the most important ones. There are some you will choose to leave for later, which you may not even remember to do. And even still, others will be immediately sent to the trash, deemed as unworthy of your time. If you are to send your emails too late in the day, procrastination may have your members pushing it to the next day, repeating the above cycle. It is for this reason that we recommend sending in the early afternoon, but to validate that over time with your own data and analytics.


 Now that you have this information, the best thing you can do is test your results to see what is working and what isn’t. Are some emails getting noticeably higher open rates than others? Respond by switching up your process, but make sure you are isolating one variable at a time. For example, maybe the problem is the time of day that you’re sending your email, so make sure to only change this one factor in your next correspondence.

If you liked this blog, take a look at these:

3 ways data can help you be a better email marketer

4 ways inbound marketing can impact your association's bottom line


Having more than just open rate issues with your email? Shoot us a message -  we'd love to take a look at your email marketing strategies to find some easy ways to improve results.


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Topics: email marketing

Arianna Rehak

Written by Arianna Rehak