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April 1, 2011

Secrets to Improving Open Rates For Email Marketing

If you want to improve the open rates of your marketing emails, then what I am about to share with you will come as a surprise — because it seems to contradict what we know to be true about the people we serve.

Improving Open Rates For Email Marketing

I strongly suspect you’d find it very hard to find a stranger species than homo sapiens anywhere in the universe; indeed, the best sci-fi ‘aliens’ possess, in magnified and perhaps sometimes caricatured form, the traits we recognize as being odd in ourselves.

For example, it’s long been known, and demonstrated time and time again with research that we’ll work harder to cling onto something we already have than we will to gain something we don’t’ what’s more, we’ll also work harder to avoid pain than we will to seek pleasure.

Weird, eh?

Well if you think that’s weird just get a load of this: if you want to sell more by email couch your subject line in terms of gaining something positive, even if what you’re sharing with them or selling to them is ultimately about avoiding something negative.

Let me say that again, because it’s amazing when you think about it: if you want to sell more by email couch your subject line in terms of gaining something positive, even if what you’re sharing with them or selling to them is ultimately about avoiding something negative.

Isn’t that strange?

Let me give you an example of a very recent test I did. Two subject lines from otherwise identical emails:

1. How to Get Your Copy Read

2. How to Avoid Screwing Up Your Headline

You’d think the second would out pull the first, wouldn’t you?


Because it’s congruent with our human nature in wanting to avoid pain rather than seek pleasure.

But no: 35% more people went for the first as went for the second — and that’s definitely statistically significant (these stats are based on open rates, which while being inaccurate are consistent across the two emails and will be good relative measure).

So in this example you’d just make sure your email sales copy was aimed at getting them to achieve the first (get their copy read) by not doing the second (screwing up their headline).

Remember: this isn’t just idle mathematical geekism. This kind of knowledge will make you a lot of money.


Because your emails will make you money only if they get acted upon, and they’ll get acted upon only if they get read… and they’ll get read only if they get opened!

Most email marketers get this badly wrong and spend far too much time trying to sell in the email instead of going for the ‘low hanging fruit’ of maximizing the open rates. Yes, your email content is important… but if the email isn’t getting read, then it’s completely irrelevant.

Lead generation and email marketing expert Jon McCulloch is the author of “BIG Marketing Muscle for Small Business”. This book reveals the strategies he has used with his clients to realize response rates over 300% better than traditional methods.

Your free book is waiting for you here: =>

4 Responses to “Secrets to Improving Open Rates For Email Marketing

    avatar Ryan says:

    Thanks for the information. It is always important when using email marketing that you can keep your open rates up as high as possible.

    avatar Jerrick says:

    when less of open on your email, there are two possible that we gonna assume. One is it ran to user spam box. Second will be your subject problem. That why i always headache and spend lot of time to find an attractive subject that even longer then create the content email. I will choose How to Avoid Screwing Up Your Headline if i was you. Which able to lead them to open the mail. Sometime you need to play with the wording and let them find out it interesting or it like help them speak out their issues.

    avatar remonatrix says:

    Very good information. I’m always trying to improve my open rates of marketing emails and have had mitigated success.

    This might help…

    avatar Josh Browning says:

    Interesting thought. But, if your theory is true (that humans tend to try to avoid bad things more than they try to find good things) wouldn’t that mean that your theory supports the second subject line as being better? Have you done any other similar tests with positive and negative subject lines? Sorry to be questioning your post, I’m just a bit of a skeptic when it comes to these things 🙂

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