7 Simple Tips to Increase Your Email Open Rate for Cold Emailing

Andy Cabasso

October 11th

7 simple tips to increase your email open rate

Cold emailing is an art that takes hours of practice, determination, and creativity. Connecting with potential buyers and decision-makers begins with adding value. But how can you position yourself and your brand in a way that engages your audience? This article explains the email open rate concept, the factors that impact your performance, and seven actionable tips to achieve your marketing goals.

What Is an Email Open Rate?

An email open rate measures much more than people who open your email. For an email to be officially “opened,” the recipient must have images enabled in their email client, and they must open the email to view its full content.

To find the email open rate, you take the total number of viewers who opened the email. Then divide this number by the total amount of un-bounced emails sent.

For example, if you send out 170 emails and 20 of them bounced, this leaves you with 150 emails. Let’s say you launched a campaign, and 120 people opened your email. Your email open rate for this campaign is 80% (120 / 150 = 80%).

Factors that Influence Your Email Open Rate

Several things could impact the level of interest in your recipient. These factors include your word count, delivery time, and target audience relevance.


The relevance of your email to the target audience will have a massive impact. Your email list prospects have needs and wants, so you want your email to provide value. If your emails do not solve an everyday problem for your prospect list, they will not get opened. Emails with generic information and fluff will not gauge the interest of your audience.


To be able to create the right content for cold email, you need to consider your prospect, your company culture, as well as your outreach goal. 

Cold email personalization is also important for your email deliverability. Personalizing your cold email boosts deliverability and open/conversion rates.


The quality of your prospect list will also impact the open rate. Ask yourself: does the email satisfy a need for this prospect list? Categorizing your email lists is the first step in sending out relevant content. For example, you could have an email list of all the leads you picked up at a tradeshow, or a list of leads from a particular geographic location or a particular niche in your market.


Your email’s timing could also factor in your email open rate. There is no best time to send an email because people check their email in the morning, afternoon, and night. When timing out your email marketing campaigns, it might be best to test out different windows throughout the day.

Subject Line

Email subject lines are one of the most significant factors in getting your emails opened. The subject line is usually the first thing people see when the email pops up on their interface. This section might be your one and only chance to capture your audience’s attention, so you do not want to waste it. We will dive into best practices with email subject lines here soon.

Opening Line

The most common mistake in cold emails is that the majority of people make it about themselves or about the company they work for. The opening line is your first chance to make a very good first impression. The opening line in a cold email can make or break the interaction and potential future response or relationship. 

Showing that you have something in common with the prospect, a compliment or mentioning a recent piece of content they have created are all good ways to start a cold email.

Also, keep in mind that many email clients will show this opening line in the preview of the email before the email is opened, so this is an additional chance (beyond the subject line) to hook your recipient.

Past Engagement

If the prospects engaged with your emails previously, this leads to increased deliverability and open rates throughout time. 

Make sure your content is relevant and targeted – this is a key aspect of a healthy deliverability rate. Additionally, removing disengaged contacts will also improve email deliverability.

Tips to Increase Your Email Open Rate

Now that you understand the factors that impact email open rate, it is time to explore some actionable strategies to achieve your marketing goals. Below are seven tactics you can use to capture your audience’s attention and increase your open rate. As you read through the different strategies, visualize how each one will best fit into your long-term business plan.

Craft an Engaging Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing the reader sees when the email pops up. The quality of your email subject line could be the difference between the decision-maker reading your email or not. A high-converting email subject line does one simple thing: it intrigues the recipient to read further. It should provide enough info to perk interest. The email itself will provide a large bulk of the value.

When you build your email subject line, consider using personalization. The reader should feel like the subject line speaks to them, which is why you must include the individual’s name. People love hearing and reading their names, so your email often sticks out if it has the person’s name in it. A common way to achieve this is to have the message or subject, a comma, and then the person’s name.

Keeping your subject line short is also the key to higher open rates. People like reading quick lines and messages. If your email subject line follows this rule, people will be more likely to read further.

We’ve found that a subject line as simple as, “Question?” can also be highly effective.

Add Video

One way to increase your email open rate is through the use of personalized video. It is easy for someone to send out a blanketed message to several people at once. However, it takes effort and creativity to build videos targeted toward each of your recipients.

The video should mention the person’s name and organization at least one time during the video. The video should also be direct and explain your reason for reaching out. There should always be a call to action for the recipient to book a meeting or provide information.

Implement A/B Testing

If you try the same cold emailing strategy repeatedly without getting results, you are wasting time. A/B testing provides timely feedback as to which subject lines or email templates are the most high-converting. Once you understand which strategies produce the best results, you can double down on these tactics to achieve your marketing goals.

When you perform A/B testing, rank your best 3-5 campaigns, and send out “test” campaigns. Monitor your results and rank the strategies 1-5. From there, you can invest more time into the most successful campaigns. Continue to monitor the performance of the ones you choose, and then repeat the cycle if you are not getting the results you want. A/B testing has several benefits, including:

  • Boosted user engagement
  • Higher conversion rate
  • Lower bounce rate
  • Increased sales
  • Strengthen brand awareness and brand reputation

Tailor Email Content to the Interests of Your Target Audience

If your emails do not provide value to the reader, they will not get opened. Many email marketers overlook this critical detail. Each time you send out a campaign, you must ask yourself: does this message solve a problem for the audience I am targeting? Your emails should include high-quality and customized content, which leads to better engagement. As a result, the email deliverability will be better and the email open rates will increase.

It is also important to segment your email list to send various types of content to different groups of people. Thus, you can ensure that everyone is getting customized information that is relevant to them.

Outline a Clear Call to Action

The goal of a cold email is to guide the customer toward a specific action. The call to action serves as the guide that helps you achieve better engagement. Every cold email should have an ideal result, and the call to action is the pathway to getting that done.

When you build your email, position the call to action so that customers can easily find it. Your emails should not only educate and provide value to your customers, but they should also guide them through your sales process without any confusion.

Resend Emails that are Unopened

Sometimes the recipient will receive too many emails, allowing your message to slip through the cracks. Part of the reason this happens is because of a below-average subject line. Pinpoint the unopened emails, and then resend them with a more engaging subject line. This concept goes along with A/B testing but tries to focus on a message that resonates with the reader.

Outline Effective and Value-Added Content

Content is king when it comes to email open rates. Oftentimes a portion of your content will show up on the main page of someone’s email feed. As you build your cold email campaigns, divide your content into several categories depending on the prospect and situation. Your content for leads from a trade show will be different from people who submit an email on an online form.

Final Wrap Up

As you can see, there are several ways to boost your email open rate. Outlining your cold email strategy will depend on your target audience, the product or service you sell, and your goals with the campaign. The tactics we explained today are in no order, so prioritize which strategy will best work for your situation.

The most important thing to remember is to provide value upfront. You will not get in front of a decision-maker or buyer without bringing something to the table. Hook the reader in with an engaging subject line, and then let your email content finish the deal.

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