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How to get your emails opened, read and clicked


When it comes to getting your emails opened, there are elements of art and science involved. Email is a crucial tool for business. It’s impossible to overstate its importance.

Yet there are two sides to every story and for every piece of published advice that says, “Maximise your marketing with email” there is another piece of advice warning against overuse.

Individually we are all on the receiving end of emails that seek to promote, prod and ply the wares of hundreds of companies. They are the ones to make it through the spam filters.

Poorly conceived and unreadable sales messages are swiftly dealt with by the delete button. In work settings, a shovel can be required to manage the cc’d updates.

So, this blog will offer rules for you to apply to your email strategy, beyond that of personalised marketing experience. Using these tips will help to boost the rate your email is opened, read and acted upon.

Start with the subject line

How often do you scan subject lines before clicking delete? I would say a quarter of my inbox is dealt with in this way. No one hopes their message will suffer this fate but unless a subject line captures my interest, this is the outcome.

Many organisations have a vast number of email subscribers and expect they will only capture the attention of a small percentage but I hope for more in my business.

The best email marketing subject lines tend to have certain words in them. The words we choose make the difference and studies have been done detecting a slightly better reaction to phrases that include the words “free” and “tomorrow” versus the words “quick” and “meeting”.

Think about the feelings subject lines evoke for you: pressure or potential? And beware, the biggest offender according an analysis by Hubspot is “Fwd”.

Develop a natural writing style

Part of the art of reaching your subscribers is adopting a personal, natural way of relating your message. Email’s needn’t be formal or long. Time is money, so if you can get to the point quickly in a friendly and professional way, readers will drop their guard and continue reading. 

It’s good to include the word “you” or “your” in the message. “Your opinion”, “your advice”, “your targets”. Recipients think, this message or offer is relevant.

Another technique is to ask a question. A question quickly introduces your purpose for communicating. For example, “Have you seen the new government legislation? Our company works with organisations to adjust and meet the new requirements.”

Want to know how to create quality content for your emails? Download our ultimate guide to creating dynamic content here. 

Make sure you have a good reason for writing

The above example leads to the next point. Always have a good reason for writing. If your emails come across as informative and useful, readers will welcome the chance to respond. 

Too many emails in the B2B environment arena are thinly disguised brochures - difficult to read and easy to bin. Promoting sales and specials is important but always make sure there is genuine value attached.

You want your reader to become invested in your cause or offer. 

Clearly state your call to action

There should never be any doubt about the next step for your recipient. Make sure he or she can easily click through to your website or proposal. 

Provide more than one link in the body of your email. Get creative with your button labels. Try “Save Your Seat” instead of “Book Now”. Or “Explore” instead of “More Info”. 

If a meeting is desired, be upfront. Offer a time in your schedule and the willingness to find an alternative within the following days or week.

Find out more about the do's and don'ts of creating effective CTAs here.

Test yourself

Ultimately, you will only be able to guess at the success of your email unless you test and experiment. There are a number of email analysis tools such as Sidekick, for this purpose.

Split your list in two and try two versions with different subject lines. Or schedule them at different times. If you are unsure about adopting the informal tone of voice, try it against your current format. The data will help you refine the style and substance of your emails with confidence.

Need some more guidance? Download our free guide to creating dynamic content that converts here:


Topics: Strategy, Content Marketing