Increasing Open and Click Rates in Email Marketing and other Crucial Factors


Email marketing is one of the oldest forms used in digital marketing. While there are more sophisticated and so-called ‘effective’ platforms used, email is still very impactful. They are reliable and in many ways more targeted than many other platforms.

Open and Click

Email marketing requires careful planning and strategy. Finding the right recipients is only half the job. Getting them to open the email and click-through is the other half and that can be a really big challenge. After we have sent the email, the ball is at the recipient’s court whether to view, open or to click. If that doesn’t happen, then the email is wasted. It is a simple as that. Why this is crucial is because by open and click, we are able to gauge how effective our email is.

  • If you have a good subject line, it will be shown through high open rates.
  • If you have great content, it will be proven with high click rates.

In other words, your subject and content is extremely crucial for high open and click rate. That is what makes your email effective which can then drive the success of your digital marketing campaign.

Calculating Open and Click Rates

How then are open and click rates calculated? The open rate refers to the measurement of emails opened by your recipients against those that have been delivered. It is represented in percentage. Meanwhile, the click rate is the percentage of how many of your recipients recorded at least one click in the email you sent that they opened. Take note that:The open and click rate shows mostly generic trends. It is good enough if you want to know simple and straightforward information but if you need more detailed ones, you have to include click-throughs and time factors.

Healthy open and click rates

To calculate your open rate, it is base on the people who open the email against the total sent. For instance, if your campaign sent a total of 1000 emails and 240 people opened them, then it is an average of 25%.The health open rate percentage should be about 20 to 35%.As for your click rate, the healthy percentage should be 30 to 40% of the total in your open rate.If 240 people opened your email (as per the example above), then there should be about 100 to 120 people who registered at least once in the email.

Driving clicks from emails

Clicks are what you want in your emails. To get that, you would have to use links. But how do we get the recipients to actually want to click on the link? Make no mistake about it, if your emails do not have clicks, they are almost redundant. The more clicks you gather, the better your CTR or click-through-rate will be and CTRs are one of the most effective indicators that will tell you how well your audience is engaged. Take note of the following:

  • Decide what you want your links to do – Each link must have a specific intention and destination. Don’t fit too many links in one single email.
  • Content – You should link only to content that is valuable to your audience. If there is no value to them, then DON’T LINK IT!
  • Text in links – Be as descriptive as possible. When doing so, be ENGAGING!
  • The link should do what it says and go where it states. Before sending the email out, VERIFY the link. Users do not appreciate broken links.
  • Minimize reading time for your audience with links. Use the link to connect to another post (like a blog or advertorial).
  • Be clear. Make sure that your users know a link when they see one.

Getting into the Inbox (Gmail)

Google Mail (Gmail) is the most used email client in the world. To date, there are:

  • More than 1.8 billion Gmail around the world
  • Commands more than 40% of the market share for email services (2020)
  • More than 300 billion emails are sent each day (2020).

This means that you want your mails to be in Gmail but you want to avoid falling into the Promotions tab, where it can get lost among the thousands of other promotions. While there is no guarantee, you can use the following methods.

  • Use the recipient’s name in your subject. It improves pickup by Gmail and is more personalized.
  • Minimize links and images. Google’s algorithm could pick your email up as promotional and move it to the Promotions box.
  • Test your mails – Always test your email delivery before you send it out. See where it lands when you send it out to a group of recipients. This can only be done through trial and error.
  • Inform your recipients – Tell them that they should move your mails if they find it in Promotions to their Primary. Once they do that, your mails will automatically go there in the future.

Best time and day

Is there a good time or day to send emails to your subscribers? Yes, there is although there are many factors that come into play. You need to get the timing right when sending emails. This is because it could help to:

  • Get better open rates – If you get the timing right, your email appears on the top and they are more likely to be opened.
  • Engagement – With higher open rates, you get better engagement rates as a result. If your recipient is not in the right frame of mind when opening your email, it might come across as annoying and you don’t want that!

There has been a lot of research and surveys done on this and in general, the overall sentiment is:

Tuesdays around 9am to 11am. Wednesdays around 8pm to 9pm. 

Why is that? The reason is simple. Monday mornings are not good times. Office workers open their emails on Monday mornings and they spend the first hour catching up, deleting unwanted emails and replying to important ones. Tuesday mornings are when they are already in momentum for the week and anything incomplete over the weekend would have been in motion.The time above is for generic businesses. There are other factors that you must consider as well:

  • What is the frequency of emails you intend to send per week? If it is daily then the time of the day is crucial.
  • Which industry are you in? If you are in retail, you might consider weekends when you are giving out promotions.

The importance of your subject line

A lot of businesses take this for granted. They feel that just putting in an informative subject line in the email and sending it out is done and dusted. But do you know, a great email subject line is crucial? It is also very tricky. What you should do is:

Derive several subject lines and show it to several people to see what they think. You will be amazed by the results!

The idea is you want to get a good subject line that can influence your open rate. So, what makes a good subject line?

  • Questions – This is one of the best practices in email subject lines. ‘Have you heard about our latest 50% discounts?’. That’s a good line.
  • Be mysterious – This invokes the curiosity of the recipient and they will want to know more. ‘This will excite you!’.
  • Promotions – When you do this, always be clear and indicate what you are offering. ‘80% off on your purchase!’.
  • Tips and tricks – If you have great content, then you want to tell your reader what you have. Use phrases like ‘3 ways to save money today’.

How long then should your subject line be? Workaround the 3-second factor. It should not be longer than 3 seconds when you read it. In fact, the shorter it is, the better it would be. Don’t be long-winded but be informative enough.

Your subscribers’ list

So, you have a list of subscribers in your database that you have collected over the past. Now that you are going to use a new application to reach out, you have to think about importing your list so that you can manage your sales operation better and more efficiently. Most applications today allow you to import your list seamlessly but before you do that, you might want to consider the following:

  • Clean your list – The rule of thumb is that 10% of the email addresses in your list would be invalid. If you have been maintaining the list for more than a year, it might contain information that might be too old. While people might not change their email addresses that frequently, up to 10% of those might not use the email you have in your list anymore.
  • Consent and permission – Check with your subscribers if they have given clear consent to receive emails from you. You do not want anyone complaining that you have sent them spam emails which could cause your domain to be banned.
  • Inactive subscribers – Check your list for inactive subscribers. If they have not been active for the past year, you should remove them from your list. This is because you do not want those who are not interested in your business to receive your emails and then being moved to SPAM.
  • Avoid purchased lists – One of the short-cuts that businesses use is in buying lists or business cards. Some are taken from public addresses or personal address books. Do not import lists from these sources because email clients will block the emails from you (or anyone else in your organization).

Tip: Ask your subscribers to confirm that they are still using the email address that they registered with you previously.

Summary and verdict

So, what does all this mean? In email marketing, the words that you use and how you use them is very crucial. The rule of thumb in email marketing is:

  • The first impression is mandatory – You must ensure that what your readers see in the first instance will have enough ‘meat’ to drive them into opening the email. There are now more than 70% of email readers who are most likely to ‘clear’ their inbox everything. So, your first impression will make them read more.
  • Subject line – This is crucial because that will be the only ‘sneak peek’ they have before reading further (or wanting to do so).
  • Content – Be brief and do not include too many links or images. Your content will DETERMINE your click rate. If your content is poor, they will not open your email the next time they receive it.

Our Editor’s Take

From the onset, your email must be carefully crafted before it is sent out.  That means there must be a lot of thinking processes involved before the email is finalized. You do not want to let this be automated or it can be counterproductive and you would not get what you want in the end.In summary, we believe that 2 factors are often overlooked and taken for granted.

  1. Subject line – A lot of businesses forget that the subject line is the window to the email. It is where your readers will DECIDE whether to read or open your email.
  2. Time to send an email – If we can catch our users at the right timing, our job is 80% DONE!. You just have to find out when that time is.



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