Use Data to Improve Your Email Open Rates

Use Data to Improve Your Email Open Rates

By Kuno CreativeJul 9 /2019

Despite not being as popular as other marketing channels, email marketing still provides some of the best returns for your marketing dollar. While the number of emails sent per day is reported to be around 205 billion, that doesn’t mean that your emails will get lost in the deluge.

Research proves that brands need to include email marketing as part of their marketing mix. You only have to look at some of the stats out there to see why:

So how do you maximize this? You need to improve your email open rates.

First Things First: Make Your Subject Line Count

The subject line is the first thing your potential customer will encounter. Here are some tips for creating strong email subject lines:

  1. Be personal. Any email marketing software that's worth looking at allows you to add personalization to your emails. Make sure you are taking advantage of this in the subject lines, as well as in the body of your email marketing copy.
  2. Be concise. Never ramble on in your subject line. Let the person receiving the email know precisely what they are going to find within the email you have sent, whether that is content, an offer or a sales email.
  3. Never mislead. Clickbait is still rife all over the internet, but consumers have become savvy to it. Never promise something in your email subject line that you don't then deliver in the email itself.
  4. Always be testing. A/B testing is crucial for every email campaign. Always test different subject lines and then tweak them accordingly. The process of ongoing learning is vital for continued success in email marketing.

Use Data To Make Decisions Before You Send

There are many excellent guides out there on how you can use data to optimize your campaigns when you have your own data. You take what was successful from your last campaign and apply the learning to the new campaigns, continually tweaking and testing.

Talked about far less is using other people's data to make informed decisions before you even press the send button.

Here are a few examples of how you can apply this before you even start sending your emails.

Subject Line Characters And Words

If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you will have a good idea about the devices people are using when they are visiting your site. You can use this to your advantage.

Look at this chart from Campaign Monitor.

email-subject-line-lengthThe number of characters that display across different devices for subject lines can be somewhat different. By matching this up to your Google Analytics data, you can make informed decisions on how long your subject lines should be.

You will always need to do your own testing for your subject lines (as mentioned previously), but that doesn’t mean you can’t use other people’s tests when you are first starting out with your campaigns since it takes time to gather your own data.

If you look at this post on Marketo, it shows you how to take your own data and make that actionable. That said, the post has some solid conclusions that you can use early in your campaigns.

email-subject-line-engagementYou only have to do a few Google searches to find other tests that people have run. Take their conclusions and use them to form your own hypothesis.

You can also use a tool like this one from CoSchedule that scores your subject lines before you even send them.

Check out the test email subject line below.

email-subject-line-testIt scores your email subject line and then gives you further details on how you can improve your open rate.

email-subject-line-test-resultsOne of the best features is that it has a bank of words likely to increase or decrease your open rate, which can be downloaded for future reference.


Using other people’s data rather than waiting for your own to come in can give you a competitive edge.

Use Data After You Have Sent Your Emails

Most email newsletter tools come with some sort of dashboard that allows you to analyze your performance. If yours doesn’t, you should consider changing your platform.

HubSpot is one of the most popular marketing platforms and the platform of choice for many digital marketers. It’s great for cutting and slicing your data to make sure you are making informed decisions.

Here are some of the key areas you need to focus on and a framework for asking the right questions of your data.

Don’t Skip The Analytics Overview

It is common for users to bypass the Analytics Overview to get to the data they think they need straight away. But just having a quick scan through the Overview data can help avoid big email marketing mistakes.

Keeping your account up to date and resolving any issues is crucial, and the Analytics Overview is the first place you should be looking.

hubspot-email-analyticsThis is important because it can help you identify issues you may have with any given campaign. Top-level data like you find in the Analytics section of the HubSpot email marketing feature should be your first port of call after each campaign has gone out.

Applying Strategic Thought To Analyzing The Data

Analytics expert Avinash Kaushik put together a framework for analyzing marketing data called “Trinity: A Mindset & Strategic Approach,” the perfect framework for analyzing email newsletter data.

Avinash identified three elements that make up the Trinity.

Behaviour Analysis - This is the top-level data where you are going to find out the answers to some of your key questions around the data.

  • How many users opened the emails?
  • Of those people, how many people clicked on a link?
  • If you had multiple links in your email campaign, were people drawn to one link more than they were to others?
  • What sort of unsubscribe rates are you seeing?

Outcomes Analysis - The outcomes analysis is solely based on the results you are getting from your campaigns.

  • How many products did you sell?
  • Are you getting a good ROI from your email marketing campaigns? Do some perform better than others?
  • What is the revenue per customer like?
  • What is the revenue per campaign like?
  • What is your conversion rate like?

Experience - The experience part of the Trinity aims to answer the why behind the what. You need to start to think about why people acted a certain way or why or a particular campaign didn't do as well as you thought it might.

For this part of the Trinity, you need to be looking beyond the data and asking yourself and your team questions like:

  • Why do you sell more at certain times of the year?
  • Why didn't your customers pick up on this last offer like they did before?
  • Why do customers within a certain segment have a higher ROI than others?
  • Do you need to segment further and are your campaigns specific enough? Do you need to segment geographically, demographically, or based on behavioral data?

Data paralysis can be a real thing. Luckily, this data exists to help guide and optimize your campaigns, but it is so easy to get bogged down by the amount of data that there is.

By taking Avinash’s simple framework, you can ask the questions of your email marketing data that’s going to lead you to make better decisions. You can use it to help you identify where you need to concentrate your efforts and how you can create more successful campaigns.

The Trinity framework will allow you and your team to be on the same page when making decisions. Consistency in the analysis is crucial to any email marketing campaign and helps you make the right decisions more often.

Email Marketing Strategies in Content & Design for 2017

Image Credits: Campaign Monitor, Marketo, CoSchedule, HubSpot

Author Bio
Aaron Agius, CEO of worldwide digital agency Louder Online is, according to Forbes, among the world's leading digital marketers. Working with clients such as Salesforce, Coca-Cola, IBM, Intel, and scores of stellar brands, Aaron is a Growth Marketer - a fusion between search, content, social, and PR. Find him on TwitterLinkedIn, or on the Louder Online blog.

Kuno Creative
The Author

Kuno Creative

Kuno Creative is more than an inbound marketing agency. We blend the best of inbound marketing with demand generation to achieve long-term growth with swift marketing results.