Email Marketing Tips to Increase Open Rates, Clicks and Conversions

Posted on by Kaylee Hultgren

Consider this statistic: 71 percent of marketers say they’re sending more emails than ever before, according to email platform Knak’s 2023 benchmark report. What’s more, the average professional gets 120 emails every single day. The result: It’s become more and more difficult to break through to prospects amid a deluge of marketing messages.

It’s not impossible, though. So while in Boston last week for HubSpot’s annual Inbound conference, we picked up a few best practices for email marketers on how to increase email open rates, avoid cliched content, write compelling subject lines and sidestep common pitfalls. Following are a few tips and tricks shared by Jay Schwedelson, CEO and founder at Outcome Media and GURU Events.

  1. Personalize It

Email personalization is a no-brainer. But it entails more than putting someone’s name in the subject line. “The quicker you can tell somebody who they are, the faster they’re going to engage. The sooner they feel seen, the more they’re going to want to engage,” he said. For instance, in the subject line, mention the industry the person is a part of. The same can be done for title and function, which lifts open rates by 31 percent, as well as interests, which increases open rates by 27 percent, according to data from the latest GURU online email conference.

  1. Make It Aspirational

Including aspirational ideas in your subject line lifts open rates by 24-28 percent, Schwedelson said. “We all want to know, what is the next level hearing about, thinking about, seeing? So if your database is made up of director-level and manager-level, or even VP level, if you start to mention C-level stuff, people want to engage with it… This idea of aspirational marketing is doing so well because we all want to level up.”

  1. A/B Test the Name of Your Content

You might have a white paper or ebook that’s been filed away as evergreen content for years under the same name. The name of your content, however, is a critical variable. Change it, test it, and experiment.

  1. Buttons Matter

“The words on the buttons in your emails can radically change the performance of your email,” Schwedelson said. A call-to-action written in the first person increases click rates by 28 percent. If your button says “Download,” that CTA is for you rather than the consumer. Phrases like “Save My Spot” or “Unlock My Savings” highlight the benefit of the user. Pro tip: Use a generative AI tool like ChatGPT to rewrite the word “download” (or another CTA) 10 different ways without saying the word “download.”

  1. Use the Pre-header

A pre-header is most effective when it’s a continuation of the subject-line thought. A “continuation pre-header” increases open rates by 19 percent, Schwedelson said. Use the words “and,” “but” and “plus” to highlight additional content for the user.

  1. Highlight the Pain Point

When you start your subject line with a pain point, it grabs the attention of the reader. “As a marketer, the faster that you can discuss the pain point, the faster somebody wants to engage…. You’re not changing your offer. You’re literally just stating that pain point within whatever market you’re talking to, consumer or business.”


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