Tips for getting your Email Marketing opened

During the 2020 pandemic we have found for many of our clients that Email Marketing has helped them stay in touch with current customers, nurture prospects and engage new audiences with GDPR data. However, Email Marketing has one big challenge, how do you get your audience to open your email?

Before you start creative writing check your email authentication

If you're sending email using your own domain name, email authentication is vital. Think of it like a digital signature for your domain, put in place to protect your brand, identity, content, and reputation. It makes it harder for people to fake that they're sending emails from you or your brand, and more likely that your legitimate emails will reach your subscribers' inboxes.

Most email broadcast systems such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor will have features to help with this. All of them basically add some code to your domain that means they can send emails from your domain and will come through as legitimate emails.

Once you have that set up you are ready to think about content for your subject lines.

Avoid spammy content

Firewalls and email Junk filters are a common problem to getting an email campaign delivered to your audience’s inbox. The content of your email can result in an inbound email server sending it to the spam folder. Spam filters look at an email as a whole, with thresholds set for certain criteria. If a threshold is exceeded, the email gets marked as spam.

Things that can be caught by spam filters can include:

  • An entire email composed of capital letters
  • Frequent, random capitalization
  • Excessive punctuation, especially "$" and "!"
  • Strange spacing or excessive amounts of blank space
  • Poor spelling
  • Frequent variations in text colour and size
  • Scam-like subject lines

Create something intriguing

So, if you’ve managed to create an email that will not be filtered into your subscriber’s junk mail the next challenge is getting the email actually opened. The subject lines is a key part of getting your email opened. Think about the following:

  • Write your subject line first – draft something first, it will give you the direction for your email and it’s the summary of what you are trying to get across: you can tweak it later.
  • Keep it short – think about it as a headline and your inbox typically shows about 60 characters. Many emails are opened first on a mobile where only a few words are shown before it is cut off.
  • Be clear on the topic – something like ‘Do you have a minute’ is too vague – if you are talking about an event make sure that is at the heart of the message.
  • Indicate if you need a response – the action you want someone to take will help: ‘only ten places left’ messages may increase the open rate.
  • Don’t start a sentence that you finish in your emails body.
  • Spark the reader’s memory - If you've met the recipient, exchanged emails before, or had a phone call, mention that in your subject line.
  • Don’t put all your subject line in CAPS – you might think that will grab people’s attend but in fact caps are far harder to read, our brains recognise upper and lower case patterns quicker: it’s the same reason road signs are not all in caps.

A practical workshop to help improve your Email Marketing

Throughout the year I’m running 90-minute workshops with my colleague Rob Harrison to help you get more out of your Email Marketing. We have specifically written this workshop to encourage those just starting out on their email marketing journey. We will also cover: key tips on list purchase; reviews of the main platforms; fitting email marketing into your sales process; creating, running and monitoring campaigns. Peppered into this learning will be interactive exercises on: how to profile a target email marketing list; writing engaging subject and head lines; and, selecting imagery that helps you say more than the sum of the parts.

About Glued Email Marketing

Glued is a marketing and branding business based in the West Midlands. We find that many of our clients can get fast results from Email marketing campaigns with qualified data included. As marketing and branding experts we use this data to create engaging, thought provoking content to support organisations sales and marketing success.

Find out more about effective Email marketing by signing up for our free guide below or drop David Wilson a line at


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Article by David Wilson

“Take up of the PRINCE2® programme has increased significantly with the targeted marketing campaign from Glued”.

Dr Neil Pyper

Associate Head of School, Coventry Busienss School (Enterprise and Commercial)
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