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What should you do if your email open rate drops?

What should you do if your email open rate drops?
Summary: 10 questions to ask yourself when your Email open rate fluctuates

One of the benefits of the increase in Ecommerce over the pandemic to Marketers has been that you are likely to have grown your Email database. However… that also means that your audience is typically receiving more emails than ever before.

So, as a Communications Manager, how do you create enough “inbox shout” so that your emails get opened?

There are 3 things your audience sees before they decide to read an email, so let’s look at these in turn :

EMail preview

1.Does your Sender Name earn trust?

Obviously, the sender name tells the recipient who the message came from. If used correctly, it can also communicate that you are trustworthy, and likely to be sharing relevant content. The important thing is to be recognisable and not deceptive in any way.

Depending on the intention of your email, you can adjust how you appear in people’s in boxes, here are a few popular set-ups :

  • [Company name] – WSI Digital Advisors
  • [Your name] from [Company name] – Nicky from WSI Digital Advisors
  • [Company name] [Email topic] – WSI Digital Advisors Newsletter
  • [Community or Department name] at [Company name] – Marketing team at WSI Digital Advisors
  • [Employee name] – Nicky McKenna


2. Create inbox shout with your Subject Line

A good movie trailer is either interesting, entertaining, or engaging, and provides enough information and stand-out to persuade people to come and see the movie. A good subject line does exactly the same.

Some Do’s and Don’ts for Subject Lines



Keep subject line short (<60 characters) Subject lines in caps
Be specific (Like your newspaper headline) Excessive punctuation
Personalization (eg Recipient’s name) Using RE: FW etc – looking like a personal message
Numbers Using spammy phrases
Emojis (They create stand out in your inbox, but only use them brand appropriately) Deceiving or tricking people
Power words  
Branded terms  


3. Create relevancy through your Pre-Header text

Pre-headers are a great way to add relevancy, intrigue and urgency to your Subject Line. For example :

The offer that beats the others – Hurry,  this won’t last long!

Drop everything, it’s our sale –  It’s our birthday – Free Shipping and Returns to celebrate

If you communicating an offer, you can add detail in the pre-header to great effect, such as :

Sale now on! – Up to 50% off everything!

Different email clients reveal different lengths of pre-header text, so make sure your main message is at the beginning.


4. Email best practise and trends

There are many articles written on email best practice, written by email giants such as Hubspot, or by Agencies like ourselves – it’s worth keeping a tab on these as trends in email content change over time. As an example, I follow Jay Schwedelson on LinkedIn, and he posted this last week :

Jay's Post

So, the reason your open rates are dropping may be that your topics and content is not resonating as well as it did before and you need to switch things up.

10 Questions to ask yourself if your open rates are dropping :

  •  Has what was a communication or layout trend become a bit of a bore?
  • Is your email slow to load? (images too big / too many images)
  • Are you using widely recognised fonts?
  • If recipients have a question, are they met with “no reply”?
  • Has your messaging drifted off brand?
  • Is your content compelling, relevant and interesting?
  • Do your hyperlinks all work?
  • Is your email list clean and healthy? (list purchasing is a no-no)
  • Did you split test your Subject Lines and Calls to Action before sending the bulk email?
  • Are your emails pointing to well designed landing pages?


At WSI Digital Advisors, we have over 20 years’ of experience in keeping communications current, relevant and on brand. We can help you with email layout, content and with choosing the right automation tool for your business. Contact us for a chat.

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