Cold emailing can be a thankless task.

You slave over an email, agonising over every word for hours before finally sending it off, and then? Nothing but the chirrup of crickets in the digital wasteland.

According to MailChimp’s latest figures, the average open and click-through rates for email marketing in certain industries can be as low as 15.22% and 1.25% respectively.

For all the time you spent on that email, that’s an awful lot of people who’ll never even see it, let alone take any action.

It’s easy to get depressed, but rather than crying into your coffee it’s time to do something about it.

The following tips will help not only make sure your open and click-through rates are at their highest, but that more people are clicking through to learn about your service.

But first, let’s get one thing straight: the meaning of click to open rate vs click through rate.

The click-through rate (CTR) shows the number of emails where the recipient actually your call-to-action button/link. At the same time, the click-to-open rate (CTOR) identifies the percentage of email recipients who first opened the email and then clicked that link. As a result, the latter gives the email marketers a better understanding of their campaign performance.

Now, let’s get to business and talk about some tactics to improve your click through rate / click to open rate.


Make sure you’re emailing the right people.

I know, this sounds painfully obvious.

But, judging by some of the emails ending up in my inbox, there’s a lot of people taking the scattershot approach to their marketing.

This is usually the result of poor lead generation, relying on scraped lists.

Sometimes it’s due to lack of business focus, desperately trying to appeal to everyone rather than a clearly defined audience.

Either way, the results will be disappointing.

Instead, get your email campaign off to the best start possible identifying your ideal customer, then using that to carry out targeted lead generation.

Make sure you’re emailing the people who need your product/service, and are also in a position to use it.


Avoid the spam filters.

I’m going to assume you’re not actively trying to spam anyone; if you are, you’re in the wrong place.

However, it’s possible for even the most well-intentioned of emails to fall victim to a spam filter.

As well as making sure you’re not following all the regulations of the CAN-SPAM act, there’s a whole host of potential words and phrases that you can innocently include in your email that will mean your intended recipient never even see your email.

Mailchimp compiled a list of triggers that may inadvertently get your email marked as spam, including some that may surprise you:

  • Mentioning Oprah
  • Starting your message with ‘Dear’
  • Using the term ‘Stop further distribution’


As the spam filters continue to grow in sophistication, they’ve gotten better at distinguishing between what’s spam and what isn’t, but it’s still worthwhile avoiding words and formatting that could set off alarm bells.

While your first concern should be how your email appears to your readers, spare a thought for how they look to the spam filters.

For example, writing your message in ALL CAPS and using excessive punctuation (!!!) will annoy email recipients and spam filters alike.


Nail that subject line.

Once your email has actually been delivered, subject lines are critical to actually getting your email opened.

You have just a few words, a handful of letters, to convince someone that this is something worth their precious time. So, no pressure 😉

Fortunately, it turns out we’re all already experts in this. Look at your own inbox and analyse which emails you open and which you send straight to junk.

What influenced your decision?

Save the best and use them as a starting point for creating your own.

While you’re at it, check out some of our favourites and the lessons we learned from them.

Bonus tip: Put your best line first. Many email clients will also display the first line of your email. This can be a second opportunity to convince readers to open your email, or the nail in the coffin that consigns it to the junk folder, so use it wisely..


Send it from the right person.

Hands up, who do you prefer getting emails from? Actual people, or anonymous companies?

If you picked people, you’re not alone.

In A/B testing, Hubspot found that using a personal name (as well as the company name) resulted in both higher open and click-through rates.

When dealing with B2B marketing, it’s easy to forget that there are human beings behind those businesses, and people like dealing with people.

Rather than sending your emails from Company ABC, try using Joe Blogs, Company ABC. You’ll likely find a much warmer welcome.


Provide clear value.

Once the recipient has opened your email, it’s essential you give them a reason to carry on reading.

You have a few seconds to get across who you are, why you’re in their inbox, and why they should care.

There is no space or time for vague promises or empty words; you need to get to the point.

This means talking about what’s important to them.

To start with, use the customer profiles you created as part of your lead generation and look at the email from the recipient’s point of view.

Is it clear to the reader what’s in it for them?

Your message should reference their problem, and highlight how your solution can specifically help them.

Bonus tip: Once you’re happy with your message, save it as a template for future use..


Check your spelling and grammar.

It doesn’t matter how amazing your product or service is; a poorly written email can sabotage your marketing and harm your click through to open rate.

With all the freely available tools today, there’s no excuse for sending out a mistake-ridden email.

First of all, make sure you’ve spell-checked that email, to get rid of any obvious typos. Then, check for any grammatical errors.

Grammarly offers a free basic account, which will eliminate the more embarrassing mistakes that might have slipped past the spell check.

Even if you’ve used a template, don’t assume it’ll be error free.

Check them, especially where you’ve personalised or modified them in any way.


Have a clear call to action.

Just as the lowly subject line can make the difference between someone opening your email or not, the humble CTA (call to action) can make all the difference between whether someone will click through or not.

Bland, vague, or non-existent CTAs will mean that your email will be forgotten.

Don’t fall over at the last hurdle!

For an effective CTA, make it clear what your reader should do next and what’s in it for them.

Avoid generic statements (click here to learn more) and, instead, emphasize the benefit of taking action (start your free trial now).

It is possible.

To learn how Reply can help automate your emails and sales

Request demo

It’s true, getting a decent open and click-through rates takes some work.

But the good news is that it is possible, and doing so can have a huge impact on your business.