Email marketing

How to Get People to Open and Read Your Emails

Although email marketing isn’t dead, it certainly isn’t the same thing it once was. It wasn’t that long ago that people actually looked forward to getting a new message in their inbox.


Today, it’s a much different story.

As Source Digit reported, more than 182 billion emails were sent daily by the end of 2013. By the end of 2017, that number is expected to climb to more than 206 billion.

In this sea of marketing and other emails, here are a few ways to make your messages stand out from the rest:

Introduce the Subject

The subject line of an email is your one chance to get people to open your message — or not. Fortunately, a fair amount of research has been done to determine what length of subject line and what type of subject make people most likely to open an email.

Over at, Jessica Stillman cites a study that found that emails with subject lines between six and 10 words had an open rate of 21 percent. That might not seem like a very high rate, but emails with subjects that contained five words or fewer had just a 16 percent open rate. Emails with longer subject lines, more than 11 words, were the most common, but the least likely to be opened.

The takeaway:  Using a subject line that’s between six and 10 words lets you clearly and succinctly introduce what the message is about. People will get bored trying to read a longer subject, and a shorter subject won’t be able to fully convey what the email is about.

Keep It Short

Once you’ve gotten someone open your email, don’t incent them to instantly click delete without reading what’s inside. Keeping the content of the message short and sweet will allow you to get your point across without turning off your reader.


Get right to the point in the body of the email. Clearly tell the reader what the message is about and explain what the next steps are for your reader.

For example, if you’re introducing a new product, include a link to it and encourage the reader to check it out or to call you for more details.  Don’t leave the reader hanging, unsure of what to do next. That’s just as bad as having him or her not read your email in the first place.

Add a Personal Touch

A bit of personalization, such as using someone’s name in the introduction, can go a long way to getting people to engage with an email message.

But it helps to go beyond simply using a person’s name.  Consider targeting your message to specific groups of customers. Odds are that your customers have different goals and needs, and that a one-size-fits-all email marketing approach won’t appeal to everyone.

Get the Timing Right


How often you send messages matters as much as when you send them.

Limit your messages to about two a week at most. One of the fastest ways to get your email relegated to the dreaded spam filter is to send one every day or even multiple times a day.

Think about when people are going to be the most receptive to a message. Many companies sent out emails in the early morning, so that people wake up to an inbox full of new messages – most of which get deleted.

But if you wait until later in the day to email, either around lunchtime or near the end of the working day, around 3:30 pm or so, you are more likely to find a more receptive audience. By that point in the day, many people are bored and looking for something to entertain themselves. If you hit it right, your message might be what a person turns to when he or she needs a distraction.

Remember, your emails are only effective if people actually read them.  Keeping things short, personalizing your message and waiting for the right time to email will go a long way towards increasing the chance that customers will engage with your content.