Currently (in sales and marketing) email marketing open rates have an industry standard of 20.5%.

Here are a few things I’ve learned on my journey to consistently kick the ass of that benchmark (often my open rates are upwards of 50%).


Who’s it from? 🤷‍♀️

I know it might seem an obvious consideration but, you’d be surprised by how many people fall at this first hurdle.

People in their inbox will pay attention to who it’s from.

The, “from” field is PRIME real-estate in email marketing.

Use a personal email address – look at my personal email account inbox below, notice anything about the only email I opened? Full disclosure, that email is a mailing list email too (but it doesn’t appear like it).

Let’s talk subjects… 💡

Your subject line is a huge deciding factor in whether someone will open your email or not.

Not convinced?

Let me throw some convincing stats your way:


So, what’s the best method for writing subject lines?

Here are my top 5 tips:

Keep it personal

Personalised subject lines have a proven track record for improving:

  • Click Through Rates
  • Open Rates
  • Conversions

so, if these are your goals (and they really ought to be), it’s a no-brainer to make it personal.

Hey valued subscriber, here’s what’s coming up this month…

~ some LAME-ASS newsletter

Hey Joe, how’s it hanging?

~ a MUCH BETTER newsletter

Lower Case Subjects

This is HUGE. It implies a real human being has hurriedly written a personal email to the recipient.

That’s a big deal.

In a world of all-caps, your hand-crafted, lower-case subject lines will cut through the crap and drive opens (I dare you to try it out).

Get people curious 👀

There’s a reason the saying, ‘curiosity killed the cat’ is a cliche.

It’s because everybody and his dog knows that curiosity is powerful.

How do we do it?

  • We sometimes use emojis! The last email I sent out (at the time of writing) had the subject line: 🔥💨
  • “I’ve got a little something to give away (you don’t want to miss this)… “
  • think of your subject line as the first sentence in a good story

Contented with your content?

The body of your email is where you’re going to live or die in terms of click-throughs, unsubscribes and engagement.

Here’s my $0.02 on some good practice

  • Don’t use images – they can look too glossy/sales-ey
  • don’t overdo the links (my rule of thumb: 1 CTA with 2/3 max links associated with the cta)
  • Make it super easy to unsubscribe – it conveys confidence and shows you’re writing for a specific person and only care about a relevant audience
  • Ask for a reply
  • Remind subscribers to “add me to your address book”
  • actually, write an email people will want to read – if you aren’t delivering value in your email, it’s not worth sending it!

Here’s a cheat sheet of spam trigger words:


Nail these things and you’ll land WAY more opens, click-throughs and conversions than before.