6 Badass Strategies to Increase Email Open Rates – Victoria Hockaday
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6 Badass Strategies to Increase Email Open Rates


Getting people’s attention via email marketing is getting harder and harder.

People are inundated with hundreds of emails every day, so how can you stay “top of mind” when people aren’t opening up?

Here are 6 badass strategies to nudge your subscribers to smack open your emails.

1. Use Emotions

When people are reading their inboxes they’re skim reading their emails to see which ones they need to open first. This means that they’re looking for the most important or urgent emails that they might need to read today or tomorrow.

But, people have lizard brains 🐍(they’re irrational and driven by emotion). SO, people will open your emails if they trigger an emotional response. 

Use your email subject headlines as an opportunity to plant an image in your reader’s head before they’ve even clicked on the email.

There’s a few ways you can do this.

 A)  Fear or Threat

Use fear or threat to nudge readers to open your emails.

Here’s a few examples:

# Reasons why your __ will fail

The worst advice you received about __

Why you’re doing __ wrong

# Mistakes killing your __

Use fear or threat and you’ll see your email open rate fly.

B) Curiosity or Suspense

Another technique is to leverage curiosity or suspense to propel readers to click in a heartbeat.

Here’s a few examples:

Did you see this?

5 things you didn’t know about __

Want more __ here’s what to do

Why this is better than __

Bonus tip: Add the word “this” to your email subject headlines to create curiosity and nudge your readers to click open.

2. Story Continuity

The key to writing eye-grabbing emails is to create story continuity.

Think about it. People are hardwired to love stories and they want to follow a beginning, middle and end. How can you make your emails feel like a continuous story?

One of the best ways to do this is to create an email series that that tie your emails together with a topic. (For example, it might be a free email course on how to launch a blog.) Every email would be related to launching a blog, which gives someone a good reason to keep opening your emails (as they raised their hand to learn about it by signing up to an email list).

Another way is to create a curiosity loop at the end of an email. Think about the cliffhanger at the end of a Netflix episode that you’ve binged on. How can you sprinkle cliffhangers throughout your emails?

Pull this off and people will be fanatically clicking through to read your emails.

3. Be Personal

Avoid writing formal emails because if they feel like “work” then people are going to tune out.

People respond best to emails when they’re personal and conversational. So, practice writing emails like you’re catching up with a buddy over coffee.

Bonus tip: weave the word “you” into your email headlines, so that your readers feel like your emails are written to them.

Here’s a few examples:

I’ve missed you

A free gift 🎁 just for you

What will you do with this?

4. Segment Your List

One of the reasons why you might be struggling with email opens is because the emails you’re sending don’t feel like they’ve been written for the person who’s reading it.

For example, if one person has signed up to receive a freebie to learn about WordPress, they probably don’t want to receive emails on growing plants. Right? Of course not! They didn’t vote for it in the first place!

So, you want to segment your email list based on separate interests, so the people who show an interest in WordPress only get emails on WordPress.

You can segment your email list based on people’s interests, or based on what freebies they’ve signed up to. Does that make sense?

Here’s an example of how you might segment your email list:

Interest: WordPress

Interest: Plants

Interest: Pet photography

Opt in: WordPress guide

Opt in: Plants ebook

Opt in: Pet photography course

5. Raise Your Level Of Influence

If there was a magic bullet to increase your email open rates, it would be to become a household name. Then everyone would want to read your emails!

Think about it. When you receive an email from your mum, do you read the email subject line? No, of course not! You open the email right away because she’s your mamma.

So, whilst having eye-catching email headlines are important, they’re not everything.

Ultimately, if you want to increase your email open rates, you need to work on your influence and cultivate relationships with influencers in your industry.

And whilst this might sound scary AF, you can do this in baby steps. To do this, brainstorm a list of the 20 most influential people in your network and reach out to them!

6. Be Consistent

Having “inbox fame” takes time.

There’s no quick win and you have to be in it for the long game.

Ultimately, if you want people to regularly follow you, you need to help them to form a habit to follow you.

Whether it’s a blog, podcast episode, YouTube video or email, if you can publish it the same day every week, people will form a habit of following you.

Oprah pulled this off by having a TV show at the same time every week. People knew her show was live on Tuesdays, so it became habitual to tune into her show every Tuesday. Pretty nifty, eh?

So, choose a day you’re going to write your weekly newsletter and keep your word.

P.S What were your favourite strategies? Let’s chat! 

Click here to read a blog post about email newsletter ideas.

It’s the perfect next step after reading this post 🙂


Victoria Hockaday helps business owners grow an audience and create and sell online courses with ease.

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