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Three Email Headers to Increase Email Open Rates

By Stacey Hartman

new message image - how to increase email open rates using email headers

When you’re working toward gathering and maintaining subscribers for your email marketing, it’s easy to lose sight of the email headers in the shuffle. However, crafting an effective subject line is crucial when you’re considering the open rate for your email messages (open rates would refer to how many recipients open your messages). Afterall, what good is an amazing message if your readers aren’t even opening your email?

Let’s take a look at some options and ideas for effective headers that will get your emails noticed.

Make it personal

Adding your reader’s name to the subject line helps to increase the email open rate. It shows familiarity and can foster a sense of connection. A study by Experian Marketing Services found that personalizing the subject line of an email increased the open rate by almost 30 percent.

The primary example for this would be including a client’s name in the subject line or header text of your email, but you don’t have to limit yourself to only their name. Use casual verbiage in your subject line, share a personal story about yourself or your business, or choose words that imply friendship.

Pro tip: Be careful, though, to not overuse personalization. Overdoing it can have a negative impact on your open rates.

Use curiosity to your advantage

I’m sure you’ve seen those clickbait headlines, like “10 weird tricks that will make you rich,” or “Crazy health hacks that doctors don’t want you to know.” Clickbait works on the curiosity of viewers to drive traffic to their site, which makes them (sometimes annoyingly) effective. Now, I’m not saying you should be using clickbait titles for your emails. However, it’s a strong case on how curiosity works for driving potential views and also why it seems so prevalent nowadays.

But how can you use curiosity without sounding like a clickbait machine? As one example, you can ask a question in your subject line that you answer in the body of your email. Another example, you can promise interesting content, like pictures from a recent update to your store, insider information about recent company changes, or even some off-the-wall facts about your business or your product.

Pro tip: People don’t like having knowledge gaps, so teasing information in your subject line is a great way to increase open rates.

Address your readers’ pain points

This suggestion might not apply to every business, but if your company’s products or services are intended to solve problems, then use your subject line to drive that point home. Need an example? If your business is in food service, offer tips for feeding a crowd on a budget. If you’re a travel planner or travel-based business, give packing ideas or tips on how to avoid jet lag. Or, if your company works in the interior design field, offer some ideas for making home organization visually appealing.

Pro tip: Focusing on reducing your readers’ pain points drives positive open rates, as well as fostering a connection to your brand.

Other considerations:

While your email headers are important, it’s also important to keep in mind that your content matters too. You can have the most clever subject lines, but if your content doesn’t deliver, your readers will remember — and they won’t click through to read your future emails. Keeping your content interesting, original and relevant can “train” your readers to open your email and your readers will start to look forward to your emails.

Keep in mind that many users are browsing on mobile devices, not computers, to read their emails. You’ll want to keep them in mind when crafting your email headers to ensure your they’ll translate over to mobile devices as well.

Hopefully these suggestions will give you some ideas for making your email headers — and your email marketing — as successful as possible. Happy emailing!


Stacey Hartman of GoDaddyA regular contributor to the GoDaddy blog, Stacey Hartman has been with GoDaddy for more than eight years, helping customers with SEO and business distribution. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, gaming, reading, and baking award-winning cheesecakes.

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