You’re Doing Email Wrong: Nine Ways to Improve Open Rates

Think you know how to get people to read your email blast? Think again. The fine folks at Yesware have released a comprehensive report on what works—and what doesn’t—when it comes to emails, and for the most part, we’ve all been doing it wrong.

“Cold emails can be the fastest way to win new business—and the fastest way to lose it,” cautions the report. “It all starts with the subject line you choose.”

People receive an average of more than 100 business emails per day, and trust us, they’re not opening and carefully reading every one.

Here are four of the many things to consider from Yesware’s report when crafting your next cold email.

1. Blank subject lines might be a secret weapon.

When looking at open and reply rates as they relate to subject line word counts, Yesware discovered something surprising: blank subject lines performed best.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.37.53 PM

“Because there are incredibly few people using this subject line tactic, we can’t say for sure that no subject line is ultimately the best one,” the report reads. “But is it worth testing for yourself? Sure.”

2. Don’t ask a question.

It seems like a good idea to ask a question in an email subject, and it’s commonly cited as an effective tactic, but Yesware argues it simply doesn’t work. In fact, don’t even mention the idea of a question.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.40.11 PM

“Like asking direct questions, we’ve found that telling your prospect you have a question is also an ineective subject line strategy,” the report says. The phrase ‘quick question’ is a top 10 most used and least effective email subject line.”

3. Use Title Case.

Open rates and reply rates both get a boost when your subject line is Written In Title Case.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.48.59 PM

“We respect people who have authority,” says the report. “It’s like showing up to an interview in a suit instead of a pair of shorts.”

4. Mind your punctuation.

Emails surely look more exciting to read when they’re punctuated with an exclamation mark! Right? Not so fast. Multiple marks suggests immaturity, but even one hurts open rates. Why? Aside from being taken less seriously, exclamation marks often get flagged for spam.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.42.51 PM

“Research shows that exclamation points in subject lines lead to lower than average open rates because this type of punctuation is actually a trigger for spam filters,” according to Yesware. Oops.

These are just four of nine valuable findings Yesware compiled for their report. Download the full report to unlock your full email potential.