How to increase the open rate of your promotional emails?

30. 12. 2022 | Itech9642

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Most people will tell you that a good open rate is around 20 per cent. Let’s think about that for a moment. A 20 per cent open rate means that 80 per cent of people are completely ignoring you. Is that really what you want?

That’s a really hard problem to solve. Here are just a few of the issues that stand between you and a significantly higher open rate:

  • People get tons of emails
  • People are apathetic about your product/service
  • You send your emails to everyone (i. e. to no one)
  • You don’t know your list properly

One of the leading companies that know how to increase the potential of its promotional emails is Swedish furniture retailer IKEA. The key is segmentation, data and testing. Let’s take a look at what makes IKEA such a success and how you can achieve similar success.

Why is IKEA so successful?

IKEA ranks among the top when it comes to the success of their promotional emails. Let’s take a look at some of the tips that have made them so successful.

Early segmentation

IKEA is segmented from the word “go”. Its homepage first allows you to choose your country and language. The gateway to their 2.8million page website is an effort to get the right content to the right people. Clearly, segmentation is a top priority for IKEA.

Smart questions

Once customers have selected their location (and this is not optional), they can sign up for the newsletter. IKEA already knows where they are and what language they speak.
With stores in 41 countries, the importance of location and language cannot be underestimated. How unfortunate would it be if someone signed up for the newsletter but couldn’t read the language?

During the sign-up process, IKEA asks a series of optional (and very clever) questions.
Here’s a look at some of the questions and how the answers can affect the emails new subscribers receive:

  • Are you engaged? Sending information about wedding registries
  • Do you have children? Send information about the children’s collection
  • Are you planning to move or have you recently moved? Send inspiration on furnishing your new home.
  • Are you planning a kitchen remodel? Send information about IKEA installation services.
  • Are you a homeowner or renter? Sending information about furnishing your home
  • It’s easy to see how emails can vary based on this information.

For example, if the new subscriber has children, it is very important to tailor the emails to the children’s furniture. Children are likely to replace beds and dressers much faster than adults, which means IKEA has several opportunities to sell products. And if they don’t have children, it would be an incredible waste of time to send emails with children’s products. Frequent irrelevant emails could ruin the relationship between IKEA and a new customer.

Integrate everything with content

While not directly related to sending super-targeted emails, it’s important to note that… IKEA integrates content into everything it does.

Take the living room section of their website, for example. As you browse, the products and the content blend together. It looks and feels seamless. The content bridges the path from inspiration to purchase well.

Another interesting piece of info about IKEA marketing

“We really look at how people live at home,” says Christine Scoma Whitehawk, IKEA’s communications manager in the US, “so we really start with the customer and try to find out what’s important to them… And how IKEA can help them so that we can be real partners in improving their lives at home every day.”

They do not only get this information about consumers from surveys and reports. IKEA actually sends design experts into people’s homes to listen to their concerns and give them feedback. This allows IKEA evangelists to make marketing decisions based on people’s actual experiences, not just surveys or data. And what is the most effective way to share this information? Through the power of storytelling.

“Over the last few years, content marketing has become increasingly important for us in that mix,” Whitehawk said, “because it gives us an opportunity to start telling some of our IKEA stories to really share with people how IKEA can improve their lives.”

How do I get more emails delivered?

More than 20% of marketing emails never reach subscribers’ inboxes. That’s more than one in five emails!

Of course, just like open rates, average deliverability rates vary by region… In Asia, for example, only 66% of emails reach the reader’s inbox, compared to 86% in Europe.

That’s a huge difference in email open rates!

So how can you ensure that your emails reach your readers? Here are some tips on how you can increase your delivery rates.

  • Use double opt-in. Double opt-in means that the subscriber verifies that they want to receive emails from your company (even if it’s not a requirement under GDPR). You don’t want to send emails to people who don’t particularly want them; otherwise, they won’t read them and you’ll reduce your open rates.
  • Ask readers to add you to their trusted mailing list. By simply asking readers to add your “from” email address to their contact lists, you can increase your email inbox.
  • Clean up your email list. If a subscriber doesn’t open an email from you three times in a row, chances are they are no longer interested in your company. Gmail and Yahoo Mail are smart enough to understand this, so if you continue to send emails to subscribers who don’t open them, they may be redirected to your spam folder, so consider cleaning up your list (like JD Whetherspoon did before GDPR). The more emails your audience receives, the more likely people are to open them.

How do I increase email open rates?

The name of the sender and the subject of the emails are the most important factors for opening and reading them.

For example, our own research found that 45% of subscribers say they’re likely to read your email because of who it’s from, and 33% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line.

What sender name do you use? Are you sending emails from ABCXYZ company or are you using a specific person’s name? Believe it or not, this can make a huge difference! Research by Pinpointe Marketing found that using a specific personal name instead of a generic email address or company name can increase open rates by up to 35%! That’s why it’s surprising that, according to our own B2B email marketing research, 89% of email marketing campaigns are sent from a company name.

When it comes to email subject lines, have you heard the phrase “you should spend as much time writing the headline as you spend writing the content”? Well, the exact same phrase applies to your subject line. A well-crafted subject line shouldn’t be the first thing that comes to mind. Instead, it should be what takes up your time. And you should be guided by research and data to help you. A report by Retention Science found that subject lines with 6 to 10 words provide the highest open rates, so 8 words are the ideal number for a subject line.

What does email open rate mean?

The open rate indicates the number of subscribers who have opened a particular email you sent, compared to the total number of subscribers you have in your mailing list. Suppose you have 100 subscribers on your mailing list. If 70 subscribers open your emails, your open rate will be 70% on average. So to calculate your email open rate, simply divide the number of subscribers who opened your email by the total number of subscribers. Then multiply the answer by 100%. As in the example above: (70 subscribers ÷ 100 subscribers) × 100%.

The email open rate will give you an idea of how well your email marketing strategy is working. It’s also a good way to see if your emails are getting subscribers’ attention. It’s one of the most important metrics you can use to check if you need to adjust your email campaign strategy. For example, a low open rate means your consumer is not moving through the sales funnel as expected. Don’t take this fact lightly. So let’s take a look at what factors are affecting your email open rates.

Factors affecting email open rates

A combination of factors determines whether a particular email letter will be of interest to the recipient. These factors include the relevance of the emails to your subscribers, urgency, word count and the time of day you send them. These factors also determine whether recipients will have a reason to open your emails.

The five most important factors that influence email open rates:

  • Relevance to Your Target Audience. Individual customers have certain wants and needs. They belong to different categories and are guided by interests that can vary considerably. One of the limiting factors in terms of email open rates is the quality of the information contained in the emails.
    Sending an email that contains poor-quality information or no information at all that would be of interest to the individuals on your list will most certainly cause your other emails to not be opened.
    People like information, but they like it even better when they can use it in real situations. Sending out emails that are of no use to the people on your list is one of the reasons your email ends up in the trash or is reported as spam.
    So it’s important to target a group of people who are interested in what you have to offer. That way they will see the email, like it and open it.
  • Email Content. Another important factor is the content of the email. Is it something your subscribers look forward to? Or is it something they’d rather do without? This skill is taught in storytelling or writing courses. Experts providing “do my essay for cheap” service and helping students with writing assignments claim that less than half of the texts written even by professionals are actually on the topic.
    You should tailor the content of your emails to not only provide your subscribers with useful information but also to entertain them.
  • Email List Quality. If you can convince visitors to sign up for your email list, you can be sure that they are at least mildly interested in what you have to offer.
    On the other hand, if you trick them into subscribing to your emails, it’s easy for your emails to be ignored, sent to the trash or reported as spam.
  • Time of The Day. When is the ideal time to send out emails? The truth is, there is no ideal time. Some people prefer to read emails in the morning, afternoon or evening depending on their lifestyle. Because there is no one-size-fits-all approach, choosing a time to send emails can be difficult. So try sending emails at different times of the day, see which time works best for you, and stick to that.
  • Subject Lines. More than a third of your subscribers will choose to open an email based solely on how the subject line appeals to them. The subject line is your first, and sometimes only, a chance to grab your subscribers’ attention and pique their curiosity to learn more.
    So craft your subject line carefully and remember that it’s responsible for a significant portion of your email open rates. The subject line should be brief but should carry as much information as possible about the content of the email. It should also be able to grab the attention of your subscribers once they read it. Overall, Chillifruit would say that personalization should be the most essential characteristic of any email outreach campaign. I’ve seen a significant increase in both the number of responses and the quality of those responses. It has also helped me build better relationships with people.

Author of this article


Since 2019, he has been writing for ObjevIT about technology, business and finance.


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