Top 4 Ways to Get Your Emails Opened

Tami Wessley
Posted by Tami Wessley on November 20, 2013

URGENT! (You) Want a Freebie? Thank (You)!


Kind of a silly sentence but that’s all you need to remember for successful email marketing subject lines. MailChimp recently released their research on the impact of specific words in subject lines and it's not surprising that there are four basic principles that, when used well, significantly increase an email’s likelihood of being read. Ironically, they’re much like the best ways to get your dog, or your kid, to do what you want.

Say My Name

Not just one of the most quoted Breaking Bad lines, this is without question the best way to get attention. In fact, using a recipient’s first and last name in the subject line has the largest positive impact on open rates. It seems adding a last name adds a dimension of personalization readers appreciate. While there may be millions of Johns in the world, there’s only one John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt (we hope!).

Offer It Free

Well, sometimes. In the right industry with the right offer, free can be hugely impactful. If you’re promoting recruitment services, entertainment, personal care or education you’ll want to include “free” in your subject line. However, if you’re in retail, medical or transportation make sure you leave it out of your subject line – recipients see this as a red flag in these industries. Feel like giving free a little boost? Try “freebie."

Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!

There’s a reason circus barkers and email marketers use phrases like hurry, urgent or breaking – because they work! Not only do these words grab attention but they capitalize on the human need to be included, not picked last. Nobody likes to be left out or feel like they missed a great opportunity.


Say Thank You

Everyday people are bombarded with messages, most wanting a response of some kind, even if it’s just giving up a few minutes of their time. Saying thank you and acknowledging a positive action calms the emotional response. Your subconscious also likes word pairs; thank you is the best.

Here's one more tip: stay away from the words legal, cancelled, donate, and last chance.

You're All Set

Brace yourself, you're about to see the open rate of your emails increase once you start implementing the four tips I mentioned above. As a final check, put yourself in the shoes of someone receiving your emails and ask yourself if you'd actually open the email. Don't let your higher open rate distract you from the rest of your email marketing strategy, including newsletters. We've got some free tips for you in our "10 Ways To Make Your Email Marketing More Effective Tip Sheet" which will help you increase email conversions down the road. 


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Topics: Marketing Automation