How To Increase Email Open Rates and Click Rates

How I Moved Open Rates from 9% to 26 %, Click Rates From 0.3% to 2.5%

Last year, I was tasked with creating company newsletters at work, something that I have never done before. I never knew how to use MailChimp, edit content blocks and it took longer to figure out templates and add content blocks to the current content blocks. There began my research on how to use MailChimp and ultimately increase email newsletters.

The open rates were 9% and 0.3% which were not that great. I did not know where to start apart from doing research and my greatest tool was HubSpot. It still is but I no longer read it as I did.

When you send an email campaign, you can expect a 20% open rate on a really good day. On average, I get 28 to 31% with my email list. ~ Neil Patel

Let’s just say I am now up to par with Neil Patel. My audience (at work) on Mailchimp is roughly 15,000 of which 10, 000 are subscribers.

How We Got To 30%

First, not all emails are going to be received well. Some may get an open rate of 17% while others get a 30% open rate. It all depends. If the content coming to my inbox is solving my problem here and now, I am going to open and click. If it doesn’t the interest dies down. When I first started researching how to make our emails more engaged and engaging it was a bit of trial and error. Here’s my best advice:

Figure out the best days to send your email newsletters

I am still testing on this. Saturday 8:00 AM EAT (Djibouti on MailChimp) has proved to work for me. Friday 8:00 AM has not. When testing, test consistently to see if the open rates increase. Your subscribers will also expect an email newsletter from you and anticipate for it.

Summarize the email in the first paragraph

In marketing, a great open rate is 18%, while a great click rate is 3%. For the longest time, my open rates were high while my click rates remained in the dumps of 0.3% and 0.7%. I could not figure out why people were opening but not clicking. So I did my research and I found out that people want a summary of what’s in the email, with hyperlinks. So I provided a summary and the click rate moved to 1.2%, 2,1%, and 2.8%. Fatherly summarizes by having In This Issue before digging deep into the stories in the email body. Busy people look at the first paragraph while people with more time looking at the body. It serves everyone.


Medium’s daily digest has a Today’s Highlights where they include a captivating one-line message from each article. It’s another way to summarize. Medium membership summarizes by weaving their hyperlinked articles into a story. It works. Whatever you do, summarize.

Keep a swipe file.

There are times where I don’t feel like writing a newsletter. Everyone has days in which they’d rather not perform some tasks. But we’re writers and we stay prepared. So we keep a swipe file. When MailChimp and newsletter inspiration has died, we can always refer to those old articles, feel inspired and write a newsletter. Currently, I don’t have a swipe file because my laptop was formatted (laptop issues) but I have gotten into the point where I am knowing my audience, what works, and what might not work. For starters, I suggest HubSpot and Neil Patel. Read. Implement. Repeat.

Clean up your email lists.

At the start of your email deep dive, you might want to do some spring cleaning and send a cleanout email to people who don’t open your emails. You might lose your subscribers but it doesn’t serve your bottom line to have inactive members, it lowers your open rates and makes you pay for more subscribers who in fact are not interested in your stuff. To learn more about why you need to clean out, check Meera Kothand ‘s email courses on cleanout. My clean out email was inspired by Jet Blue. So many people replied hello and said they wanted to remain as our contacts. They still reply and I sent the email around March. Sometimes the emails are as funny and as ego-boosting as, ‘Hello, let’s stay together.


                                            My Jet Blue Inspired Email: Personalization is key.


What I learned from the cleanout email is: People don’t unsubscribe when you want them to. They see your emails and choose not to open them. Lastly, people will unsubscribe, but not at the time you want. We have more people unsubscribing from single newsletters than we have from the cleanout email.

Make the subject line interesting

They will determine whether people open your emails or not. Bobby Berk’s (Of Queer Eye) May email subject line was, May was Mayhem. But it Didn’t Stop Us. I don’t know about you but I am opening that email and I did. We all appreciate some word pun and good vibes. The cleanup email had over 20% open rate and its subject was, ‘Goodbyes Are Never Easy. Sad To See You Go.’

Which brings me to my next point:


Your contacts appreciate humour sarcasm and wordplay. Just not too much. The Jet Blue inspired email can speak for itself.

Study and Innovate

 I have studied, learned, implemented and innovated what other people are doing and what gives them success in email marketing. I am still studying and I have a long way to go. but I have come a long way, I’m seeing results and that’s what matters.

A/B Test.

Prior to sending out the cleanup email, I was A/B testing on subject lines. For those who are not familiar with A/B tests; MailChimp allows you to test time, subject lines, and content if you are sending to 3,000 and more subscribers. The A/B tests allowed me to learn about MailChimp, what people like, and what works. My open and click rates were high and at times low but I was learning.

Send to Active Subscribers

So you sent a cleanup email in which people said ‘hello’ but never unsubscribed and you still have low open and click rate? Send your newsletters to only those who open. On MailChimp, choose contacts based on Campaign Activity and choose those who opened the last 5, 10 or 50 campaigns depending on your audience. The chances of them opening and clicking are high and that’s one of the reasons why our open rates and click rates increased. Some subscribers care, others don’t and that’s okay.

Resend Emails To People Who Never Open

According to industry statistics, resending emails to those who never opened can increase revenue by 50% if you have an e-commerce shop. This should give you a glimpse of how important this is. Simply replicate the email, choose the group or new segment while selecting the contacts and choose campaign activity. Then select those who did not open a particular campaign and resend. It will give you double-digit open rates as well as unsubscribes. The contacts you were trying to clean out from the cleanup email will now be nagged to leave. (Sorry not sorry.)

Emails are opened even 4 days after sending

There are emails that I have sent and they started with an open rate of 10% but have 18% after a day or two. I get it, people are busy and take longer to open emails. When I send out an email on Saturday morning, the open rate is different by the time I check Mailchimp on Monday morning.

Obviously, I have more to write about on this topic and will be doing so on my new publication; Blog. Write. Heal. Have some fun with your emails and enjoy increasing the numbers, innovating and implementing.

Read: Places And Activities To Find Inspiration As A Creative Person

A Guide to Blogs: Blogging as A Hobby and Blogging as a Business

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