In today’s episode, I’m going to give you five ways to increase your email open rates.

In particular, I’m talking about email open rates for your mailing list.

Let’s dive into this one!

If you’ve read this podcast for any matter of time, you will know that I am very much a strong proponent of growing your mailing list.

Having a strong email list that grows consistently – and if possible on autopilot – is one of the cornerstones of success with online business and online marketing.

This is because your mailing list is your asset.

It’s the one place where you actually have the opportunity to get in touch with every single person who’s on it, rather than having to play to algorithms or pay over and over again in order to get in front of your audience.

It is a powerful decision to grow your mailing list. It is even more powerful to make sure that you’re emailing them consistently.

But what if you go to all of this effort and energy to create an amazing mailing list, and no one’s actually reading your emails?

It is true that you don’t have to play with algorithms, meet any particular criteria or build your reach when it comes to sending emails to your mailing list.

In essence, you get almost 100% deliverability.

But there is a psychological algorithm… are people actually opening the email? Just because they’re getting it in their inbox, doesn’t mean they’re actually reading it.

Across the industry of online business, the average open rate is quoted to be somewhere between 15-18%. But in a high connection, high conversion business, that means that every single per cent point that you can increase your email open rates is going to be deeply valuable to your business.

Think about it: If you have 1,000 people on your mailing list and your open rate is 20%, that’s 200 people opening your emails. If you increase your email open rates to 21% and get another 10 people to open your emails, that’s going to increase the number of people who:

  • See your content
  • Engage with your content consistently
  • Are being nurtured by you

Therefore, it’s going to contribute to your conversion rates – how many people actually become paying clients.

I’ve got five quick ways for you to increase your email open rates. This is a good opportunity to check in on some of the things you might be doing, to see if there are ways that you can improve them quickly.

1. Quantity of emails

Your open rates are very much impacted by the number of emails that you send.

If you are someone who sends a lot of emails (3-4 emails a week), you may find that your open rate drops.

My rule of thumb when it comes to sending emails to my list, is that I make sure I am conscious about every single email that I send.

I don’t send my weekly newsletter just to get it out. I don’t send an email to my full list at the last minute telling them about a product or service, just because I forgot to promote it.

Every time I have to email my list out of plan and out of sequence, I am potentially risking a reduction in the open rate of my emails.

Every single email that goes out to my mailing list, goes out with a conscious decision of: Is this valuable to my mailing list? Is this worth the risk of losing subscribers or having low open rates? Or am I just dialling this in?

I really make sure I’m conscious of the emails that I send.

I’m also very strategic about the number of emails that I send.

My regular newsletter, Heart-to-Heart, goes out once per week. It’s very rare that I would send it out more than once a week. But it’s also important to ensure that I don’t send it out less than once a week.

If I have a couple of weeks where I don’t get my newsletter out, I see the open rates of the next newsletter drop. We need to be consistent.

It’s not about only emailing your list once a year in an attempt to increase email open rates as much as possible. It’s about making a decision about how often you’re going to send your emails out and making sure you stick to that consistency.

The number one predictor of how much someone trusts you is the extent to which they can reliably predict your behaviour.

If they cannot predict how often you are sending them emails – sometimes you send them three emails a day, and then sometimes you don’t send them anything for weeks – then that is actually eroding trust.

It’s important to be conscious of the number of emails you’re sending and the frequency of the emails that you’re sending.

For most heart-centred entrepreneurs who are reading this, their default will be to think that they need to send less emails… And yet, you’re probably not sending enough emails.

I want you to be conscious of your email sending habits.

But don’t use it as an excuse to send less emails or be less consistent in sending your emails.

Depending on your niche, it’s generally ideal to send a newsletter out once a week, once every two weeks or once a month.

Generally, I don’t recommend doing it less often than once a month. For most online service-based businesses, once a week is going to be ideal because it’s easy to predict and you get into that rhythm of getting your newsletter out every single week.

When it comes to launches or extra special announcements, I’m very conscious of the number of emails that I send.

For example, with a webinar, here’s what I’ll send:

  • One email to my entire mailing list letting them know that the webinar is coming. That’s not my newsletter – it’s just about the webinar specifically
  • Reminders about the webinar that only goes out to the people registered for the webinar
  • A follow-up email sequence that is promoting the thing that I am promoting on the webinar, and also reminding people to go and watch that webinar replay
  • Four to five emails that go out after a webinar. Four to five. That’s it. Out of that four to five emails, only one goes to my full list – the rest just go to the people who’ve signed up for the webinar
  • One email that’ll go out to my full list saying that even if they weren’t interested in the webinar topic, they can still grab the thing that I was promoting

Think about the number of emails that you’re going to send. Be conscious about that.

If you’re unsure, get some good strategic advice from someone whose emails you love to receive.

If you find a provider sends you way too many emails and you don’t open a lot of their emails, don’t take that person’s advice about how many emails to send.

Think about how you want to be treated, and think about it being grounded in consent as well.

When you sign up for a webinar with someone, are you implicitly giving them permission to send you twenty-five emails in eight days? I don’t believe that you are.

I’m not someone who sends multiple emails in a single day – especially not following a webinar.

I’m not someone who will just go crazy with those emails.

This is because I’m more concerned about my long-term audience nurturing and I want to ensure that people can trust that when they get emails from me, they’re going to be valuable emails for them.

As far as I’m concerned, the sixteen extra sales emails that generally you see marketing gurus talk about having to send in a launch (that I choose not to send), don’t add value to my list. They don’t add value to the readers in the way that a marketing guru might tell you that they add value.

I’m very conscious about the number of emails that I send – and ultimately, that helps me to increase my email open rates.

That one you might not have thought of, but actually, the number of emails you send does have a correlation with the open rates that you’re getting on your emails.

2. Subject line

It is actually the most important real estate when it comes to open rates in your emails.

The subject line tells me whether I should open the email or not. It tells me: Is this interesting to me or not?

Be considerate when it comes to selecting your subject lines. Put a little extra time into them.

I’m on a lot of your mailing lists, and that’s probably one area where I can see people are really dialling it in.

You just need to get the email out, so you put in a very vague subject line, such as:

  • “I’m excited for this…”
  • “Have I told you about this?”
  • “Open me…”

They’re just using some random sales language to try and create FOMO, or using random sales hooks because they know it gets open rates, but it has nothing to do with the topic that’s actually inside the email.

That doesn’t work these days.

People are more savvy about recognising that kind of language. People need you to be more specific about what’s in this email.

Have a play with your subject lines.

If you see a dip in open rates, pay attention to that. If you have an email that you send out that has a really high open rate, pay attention to that.

Keep note of those subject lines and why you think it might be particularly relevant and exciting to your audience.

3. Use their name

This is a specific question that had been asked a few times in the last few weeks.

When you send an email out to your mailing list, use the magic formulas that put their name in the email.

You may not have heard this information before, but the fabulous Mike Michalowicz shared this at the Heart-Centered Business Conference in 2017.

He asked us what we thought the two most powerful words in the English language were. People were guessing ‘Please’ or ‘Yes/no’.

As it turns out, the most powerful words in the language for YOU are your first and last name.

The word Tash (or Natasha) is far more powerful to me than any other word.

Someone says ‘Hey’ or ‘Yes/no’ and that does not get my attention in the same way as if someone said my name.

For most email platforms – ie. Gmail, Outlook, etc. – there will be a little bit of preview text from the email in that device or in that app where they’re opening the email.

If the email starts with ‘Good morning {first name}’, or ‘Happy Friday, {first name}’, it’s going to be more powerful and going to increase your email open rates. I’m much more likely to open that than I am to open something generic like ‘Hi gorgeous’ or ‘Hi darling’. They haven’t taken the time to put that formula thing in.

They don’t use that format to actually put the first name in the email.

It doesn’t take long, it’s not that hard. Just put the time and energy into doing it.

There is a caveat to this:

You need to make sure that you’re consistently checking your mailing list, and tidying up things if people have signed up to things incorrectly.

Something that happens when people sign up to my mailing list is that it will ask for their first name. But a lot of people will put their full name in, instead of just putting their first name.

What ends up happening is my emails will go to them and it’ll say ‘Hi Tash Corbin’ instead of saying ‘Hi Tash’.

That seems a little clunky a lot of the time.

Something that we do consistently is we go through and update names in our email system if we can clearly see that they’re wrong.

That might be something that you get your VA to do once a month – just go and quickly tidy up the mailing list and look for any obvious mistakes with first names.

Sometimes people will purposely put in a different name. For example, they’d put in ‘Abundant Tash’ or ‘CEO Tash’ to use it as an anchor. I don’t change that. I think that’s really cool and I love the way that they do it.

But if they’ve used their first and last name in the first name column, I’ll fix that up. Or if they’ve put their first name as ‘Subscription’, I will change that to be their first name, just so that it’s more personalised. Sometimes I’ll reach out and ask them if it’s okay if I change it – so just be mindful of that.

Use that tool and the technology that’s available to you so that your email speaks to that person and actually calls them by their name.

I think that’s a really nice thing to do.

I find it so much more connecting when you get to call them by their name.

4. Build trust

To what extent do you have your audience’s attention? Do they open your emails to the extent with which you’ve earned it?

At the end of the day, that is where we’re at.

Your job is to build the trust with your audience, that when they open that email, they’re going to be rewarded.

Build trust with your audience, not by saying that you’re trustworthy and don’t spam them. Saying it is lip service. You need to put your money where your mouth is, walk the talk, and actually email people consistently, give them consistent value, and build up that trusting relationship so that they are excited to open your emails.

There are a bunch of different ways that you can do that.

It’s not just about having deeply valuable full-on content that takes 35 minutes to digest every single week.

You might build trust by having your face there consistently – that’s something that I do.

I put a selfie in my newsletter because when I do, I get better open rates on an ongoing basis.

It takes a while for the open rate to drop when I stop doing it. But when I start doing it again, the open rates go up and up and up again.

The selfie that I share in that newsletter is a recent selfie.

People are actually seeing me as I am at the moment.

I think that there’s something powerful about that. It feels like it’s building trust between the two of us.

You can also build trust with people through having juicy bite-sized chunks of content. It doesn’t always have to be big and heavy in order for it to feel valuable.

Another way you can build trust with your audience is by replying to their responses.

There have been so many times where I’ve read someone’s newsletter and they say that they love getting replies from people, so then I reply and get absolutely ghosted. You said you loved getting replies!! I thought we were striking up a little conversation here. But actually, you were just paying that lip service. You were just saying that so that I would reply and you could build up your open rates on your emails. 

No one likes to be ghosted.

Build trust by being congruent, and by doing what you say you’re going to do.

Show up as yourself.

Sometimes, building trust is a matter of being honest about how you’re feeling when you’re not feeling great.

Building trust is a matter of being honest about what’s going on for you behind the scenes. Not necessarily going beyond what you want to share in terms of boundaries around your privacy, but just a little bit of an insight into what you’re up to can really build trust.

It feels like we’re connected – it feels like you’ve put some energy into that email.

When I’m writing my newsletters, I’m always conscious of the energy that I’m bringing to that email.

For me, it’s completely incongruent to be sitting at my desk feeling crap and annoyed, and then sending a chirpy email about my launch. That just feels like lying and I can’t do it.

If I am due to sit down and write my newsletter and I’m not feeling the best, I have two choices:

1. I can be honest about how I’m feeling. Or,

2. I can come back to it when I’m feeling better about it.

Sometimes I choose one, and sometimes I choose the other.

Sometimes I’ll send a newsletter saying that I’m not feeling it that day but that it’s really important to still get my newsletter out there. I’ll be really honest about how I’m feeling, and in turn, allow my audience to be honest about how they’re feeling and know that they’re not alone.

I’d rather send something like that than pretend my life is perfect and be dishonest with my audience.

That’s something that is a very personal decision. I think I need to be both energetically congruent, as well as physically congruent with what it is that I do, and doing what I say I’m going to do for my audience as well.

5. Test the right time to send your emails

There’s no right one time to send emails. It depends on:

  • Your audience
  • Where in the world you are
  • Where in the world your audience are
  • Whether they are morning email-checkers, evening email-checkers, or weekend email-checkers

It can take a little bit of experimenting.

What I suggest is that for four to six weeks, you send it at the same time on the same day.

See what your open rate is, and then change it slightly if you’re not happy with it.

Without changing anything else too much, change it to a different day or a different time of day.

Just play around with different times before you commit to what your time of day is and what day of the week you’re going to be sending your emails most consistently.

One of the things that I love about using Kartra (which is what I use for my emails), is that it tells me exactly what time is the best for me to send my emails in order to increase the email open rates.

Some of those email systems will give you that insight – they’ll say most of your email reads happen at a certain time.

You can send your email out an hour or two before that so that you’re going to really maximise those early open rates.

That can make a big difference to your overall open rates.

If you don’t have those tools, that’s fine, you can just test the times yourself and see what open rates you’re getting.

It’s a good one to keep an eye out for when you’re doing your reporting and you’re measuring.

That’s the kind of data you can make a good decision with and that’s going to significantly impact the results that you’re achieving in your business.

Pay attention to that data because it can be very insightful.

If you’re looking for a good email system, I highly recommend Kartra. In it, you can have shopping carts, checkouts, create pages, create a website, host courses and memberships, etc. If you’re interested, I have an affiliate link for Kartra.

It doesn’t cost you any more to join Kartra through my affiliate link, but we might as well share some of the money around our amazing entrepreneur community.

Feel free to go and check out Kartra using that affiliate link here: CLICK ME

Those are my five tips to increase your email open rates:

1. Be really mindful of the number of emails you send and how consistently you send them. It’s not about sending less emails, it’s about finding that balance of the number of emails you send, and just being conscious of emailing people

2. Check that subject line

3. Use the tools so that you can address people by their name

4. Build trust with your audience

5. Test the right time and day to be sending emails out to your audience

I also have a little bonus tip, and a great resource for you if you are looking for more of this advice around growing your business and some of those details of how you get things done, or what problem areas you have in your business…

Bonus tip: Make it easy to unsubscribe.

Make it straightforward.

There’s a lot of stuff out there at the moment about making the font of your unsubscribe the same colour as the background in order to stop people from unsubscribing from your mailing list.

If someone’s looking for the unsubscribe button from your mailing list, and you’ve hidden it from them, is that really a relationship that’s going to last the distance? Probably not.

Even if they stay on your mailing list because they can’t see the unsubscribe button, are they likely to open your emails? No!

You would actually be better off allowing that person to unsubscribe really easily.

I recommend that in this whole consent-based marketing world, we give people the option and a clear and easy way to unsubscribe from your mailing list.

If someone doesn’t want your emails, you want them to unsubscribe. Full stop.

Don’t have one of those guilt-laden pages.

Once when I tried to unsubscribe from a dog food delivery services mailing list, it popped up with something saying ‘Don’t you love Munchkin anymore? Don’t you want her to have the most amazing food? Why are you unsubscribing?’. Then you had a big button that said, ‘No it was a mistake. Keep me subscribed!’ and then in tiny little grey letters, it said, ‘Please unsubscribe me’.

I had to squint to find the unsubscribe button.

What if my dog had died? What if that’s why I was unsubscribing? It could be too painful to be on a mailing list for my dog that had just died. You just never know. That’s really gross.

Please don’t do any of that sort of stuff.

I don’t even like it when I unsubscribe from something and it says ‘I’m so sorry to see you go. If I did anything wrong, please let me know’.

It just really smacks of high school boys who try to guilt you into liking them because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.

Allow people the freedom to unsubscribe from your mailing list without any emotional blackmail or male manipulation. Can we just agree on that? I think that’s a really cool thing to do.

I digress… My bonus tip is to make it easy to unsubscribe.

I want to know, do you find this type of content particularly helpful?

If you do, what I would love for you to do is go to tashcorbin.com/question, and I want you to come and tell me on that question page what the details of your business are and where you’re really struggling.

We’ve just addressed how to increase email open rates…

Are you having trouble with how to craft your offer for Instagram? Or maybe you want to get more followers to your Facebook page?

Whatever it may be, if you’ve got some of those more detailed questions around the actual “doing” stuff in your business, and you want to know if I’ve got any advice or any opinions on any of those sort of things, come and let me know at tashcorbin.com/question.

If it’s a juicy question like this one, I can do an entire podcast episode on it. But if it’s something that can be answered really quickly, I’m going to do a series of quick tips over on my Facebook page, and I’ll share them on Instagram as well. I’ll also give you a shout out and tag you on socials so that you can reach more people.

If you’ve got any questions like that, please do come and share them tashcorbin.com/question. I’d love to hear from you if there’s anything that you’re really struggling with at the moment. It really helps me create great content, but also, I can help you, so it’s a win-win situation.

Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centered Business Podcast.

I hope you found this episode really helpful on how to increase your email open rates.

Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist