Increasing Open Rates: Magic or Method?

OPEN Sign: Tips to increase your open rate.

Excitement over email marketing tends to increase as your list grows. You can’t help but feel proud of your work as you add 5,10, 50, 100+ subscribers each week. These milestones build confidence in your abilities as a content marketer. It’s time to take the next step on your journey and attend an event to network with fellow content marketers, bloggers and online entrepreneurs.

At the event, everyone’s buzzing around, comparing best practices for all aspects of email marketing. Engaged in an intriguing roundtable discussion, about delivery metrics and list growth, a fellow networker congratulates you on your success and asks “What’s your open rate?

Suddenly, your excitement dips. Open rate? “I’m not even sure I know what an open rate is, let alone what mine is,” you think to yourself. You toss out a number that would seem appropriate (half? 30%? anything that sounds strong) then switch subjects so the focus isn’t on you anymore.

During the next break, you sneak off with your laptop to do some digging. After a bit of clicking, you find it – 8%. “8%?! That’s much lower than the numbers everyone else was mentioning!” Your excitement over the success of your email marketing starts to plummet as you realize you’ve grown a large list of people who don’t seem to be interested in opening your emails!

This can be extremely frustrating, however, do not despair–there are simple things you can do to help increase your open rate, and you can start with your very next email.

What is an open rate?

An open rate is the percentage of subscribers, of the total number of subscribers, who opened your email. Open rates vary, but a good number to aim for is about 20%, the industry average. Deal sites and coupon bloggers see a lower average open rate, closer to 13-14%, while highly targeted mailing lists with a specific niche can see significantly higher rates.

Your open rate is a marker of your overall email engagement success. If a subscriber isn’t opening the email, they certainly are not going to click your call to action (CTA), forward the email to a friend, or share the content on social media. You may not hit the highest open rate with each email, but by adjusting your approach with just a few tweaks, you can gradually increase your open rate and maintain a steady average.

How to Increase Your Open Rate

Increasing your open rate is a matter of testing and seeing how your subscribers respond. It doesn’t happen by chance, but by making a combination of strategic changes to produce the best possible outcome. Let’s get started:
  • Focus on your subject line. You can send the best content in the world and watch your email fall flat due to a poorly chosen subject line. When it comes to your subject line, keep it short, simple, and intriguing. Skip the emojis, the extra punctuation, spammy sounding phrases, and unnecessary words. 56% of emails are opened on mobile devices–that means you have 35 characters to make your subject line count! When your subject line looks appealing, subscribers are much more inclined to open and see what’s inside. Do a little research before hitting send, ask coworkers, friends, even family if they would open your email.

Bonus Tip: Work with your FeedBlitz Insights to see which of your previous subject lines resulted in the most opens. This can be a key indicator to what’s most effective with your subscribers.

  • Find the right time to hit send. If you’re hitting send when an industry blog post told you to, stop that right now. What may work for one content marketer or blogger may not work well with your subscribers. Think about your audience, your target personas — when would they most likely check their email? Try changing the time, day, or even the frequency of your email for at least three mailings to see if it has any impact on your open rate. If that doesn’t help, try another day/time combination. Cycle through a few experiments and then send on the combination that offered the highest average open rate. Don’t forget to pay attention to the calendar and note any holidays or current events that can affect your testing.
  • Send something worth reading. When you send quality, engaging, value-filled content in your emails, and do so consistently, subscribers are more likely to be interested in what you have to say. Your first line alone can determine whether a subscriber will open your email or not as FeedBlitz uses this line as the content preview on mobile devices.

    Along with automated blog content, consider offering exclusive updates to your email list. More than discounts or deals, send insider tips or personalized letters to show there is a benefit to being on the email list. This mixes up the content they’re receiving, while increasing interest and engagement.

Bonus Tip: P.S. – Embrace the power of the postscript! Let your email readers know what to expect in the next email so, they’ll be on the lookout for your next tidbit of content.
  • Target the emails you send. Not every piece of content will relate to all of your subscribers. Work with custom fields to tag your subscribers with their level of interest, skill, even where they live and you’ll then be able to segment your mailings, sending relevant content to those who are most interested. Brainstorm 3-5 ways you can segment your subscribers and experiment sending specific content to each group. Interested subscribers are more likely to open your emails, every time.

It’s not magic, it’s a method!

As you can see, increasing your open rate isn’t magic. It’s a process. You choose and test  strategies to find what works best for your audience. At your next conference, you’ll feel confident knowing your list is growing, your content is a success and your open rate is in check, being steady and healthy or gradually increasing!

Which tip will you use to increase your open rate on your next email? Let us know via email, we always enjoy hearing from our readers!

If you have any questions when it comes to email marketing, send our team an email at You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Email Marketing Delivery Metrics and Reporting

The success of your email marketing isn’t always immediately obvious. More than having a growing list with 1,000s of emails on it, a successful email marketing program also focuses on open rates, click throughs and other key metrics to track its success.

Thinking about sorting through reports and working with numbers can cause even the most mathematically-inclined to develop an eye twitch. Here at FeedBlitz HQ, we work to make this as simple, and headache-free, as possible. Offering a full fleet of metrics you can follow, you’re able to decide precisely which metrics are most important and easily track the progress.

Types of Email Delivery Metrics and Reports

FeedBlitz offers three categories of email marketing reports: At-A-Glance, Summary and In-Depth Metrics. All accessible from your Mailing List dashboard, these reports are found in the Mailing Activity section:

Image showing locations of the 3 types of metrics and data reports available to FeedBlitz Publishers

At-a-Glance reporting comes in the form of the FeedBlitz Heat Map. This report allows you to quickly see what links were clicked in individual mailings. Learn more about our Heat Maps in this FeedBlitz Quick Tips blog post.

Pro Tip: Want more Quick Tips from FeedBlitz? We cover all sorts of email marketing and FeedBlitz-platform related questions in short, easy to digest posts. Subscribe here to get our next tip!

Summary reports can be accessed by selecting Insights as shown above. This report shows the Subscriber Stats along with Mailing Stats for the month selected. You will also be able to quickly identify which mailings for that month were deemed most and least engaging, opened and clicked.


In-Depth Metrics reports take a closer look into specific target points related to your email marketing. These delivery metrics and reports include:

  • Delivery Metrics:  The number of emails successfully sent, opened, clicked, bounced (both soft and hard), unsubscriptions and complaints, as well as forwards the email received.

  • Circulation: Total number of emails sent for each email.

  • Engagement Report: Closer look at how your subscribers reacted to your email including automatic social shares, opens, clicks and more – all listed by subscriber.

  • Open Analysis: Open rates for each email sent. You can also select Open Analysis by Reader to see this information by subscriber.

  • Click Throughs: Separated into three categories, you are able to see Click Through Rates by article (post), tag (custom field) and reader. For a quick look at this data, you can check out the Heat Map to see which links were clicked in the mailing.

  • Subscription Changes: Total numbers of subscribers who unsubscribed, were removed due to undeliverability (hard bounces) or deleted by the publisher.

  • Unsubscribe Reasons: Why users are choosing to unsubscribe to your mailings. With FeedBlitz users must select a reason for unsubscribing, which offers incredible insight for you, the publisher.

  • Referring Pages: Keeps track of all referring pages to your list and ranks them from most to least popular.

A few additional notes on your in-depth reports:

1. Easily export all data, or a summary of the data, in any of the in-depth reports from the report dashboard.
2. Change the graph format in the second drop down menu to suite your preferences
3. Adjust the length of your report in the third drop down menu to include a few or  many days for your data.

Tips for Working with Email Marketing Reports

Working with reporting metrics and data can seem like a large project. We suggest the following steps to ease into the process so your approach is focused and effective.

  1. Glance through all of the reports to familiarize yourself. Download or export a few of them to make any notes for future reference. When you’re ready, select one or two key points of focus, such as open or click-through rate and identify a goal for each metric.
  2. Carve out some time to dig into the specific reports for your target point of focus. Make as many notes as you’d like, citing any changes in numbers (a bump or a loss can be equally important here!). It’s important to view these statistics in historical context before making content decisions based on these stats. There are normal seasonal fluctuations that will affect your list’s metrics. With this information in hand, brainstorm a few  strategies to increase the success of this metric. When your focus is increasing your list’s membership, should you  optimize different or new referring pages? Or are you going to reduce churn by focusing on  a particular unsubscription response? Use the notes from your research to create 3-5 action steps you can take to achieve your desired goals.
  3. After implementing your new strategy allow at least 2 months to see to make a determination on the success or failure of your efforts. Don’t forget to compare your results with your list’s historical performance. If your actions did not move you closer toward your goal, go back to your notes and brainstorm a few more action steps to take and repeat it again. Working in this manner will help you pinpoint exactly what is and is not working for each metric.
  4. Once you are satisfied with the data on your original focus metric, select the next few metric and repeat, until you have worked your way through the entire list.

It can be tempting to focus on increasing every metric  all at once, and trust us, we’ve tried that in our own email marketing journey, but experience has taught us well! The best success comes with deliberate focus and attention to just 1 or 2 key targets before moving on to the next set, and we’re positive many of our publishers will agree with us.

If you use our delivery metrics and data reports on a regular basis, we would love to hear about your experiences! Send an email with your feedback to Thank you in advance as we look forward to hearing from you!

Interested in using reporting metrics to boost your email marketing, but not sure which report to follow first? Send our support team an email to You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.


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