How To Increase Email Open Rate Through Power Words And Other Hacks

email open rate

You have your email copy prepared and are ready to send your campaign. But how can you be sure the recipient will open the email to see the copy you’ve worked so hard on when there’s a really high chance they’ll never open your email? 

According to Neil Patel, 35% of recipients open emails based on subject lines alone. Which makes sense – your email must stand out and entice people on your list to click on your message. So let us show you how to increase email open rate through power words and other hacks. 

What is a normal open rate?

Before we get into making changes to our email marketing strategy to increase our email open rate, let’s understand what exactly is a normal open rate. 

Open rate is the percentage of the people who opened your email in relation to the total number of the people you send your campaign to.

It’s super easy to calculate too:
How to calculate email open rate
Open rate is a great first indicator of your email marketing campaign’s success. You can use tools like MailChimp and/or other MailChimp alternatives, Sumo and ConvertKit to find out your open rate, though most email drip campaign tools have inbuilt calculators that automatically show you the open rate for your campaign. 

Despite all their preparations, many email marketers often worry if their email campaign open rate is lower than the average and whether there’s anything they could do to improve it. While there’s always room for improvement, if your open rate is around 21%, you’re doing great – that’s the open rate MailChimp discovered as the average in their research.

Average open rate
Source: Mailchimp

So what can you do to achieve a good open rate and make sure that your messages are read? This article will explain everything you need to know to smash all open rate records.  

How to increase email open rate

You can boost your open rates with these super easy simple hacks.

1. Create simply irresistible subject lines

First off: Your subject line must resonate with your audience.
Why? Because your email subject line is the first thing your recipients are going to notice. Make sure it’s specific, eye-catching, and brief

Besides the uniqueness of your subject line, make sure it also doesn’t contain any spammy words. Bookmark this list of words that trigger spam filters or save the pdf version to make sure your email always lands in the inbox. You can also use Email Subject Line Tester tool to test your subject line before you hit send. This tool will let you know if there are any spam words you might need to remove.

2. Use power words

Our brains are quite emotional. Most of us think that the best only route to control and affect our decisions is through logical arguments and facts. But in reality, we are not really as fully in control of our decisions as we think we are. 

Neither are our customers and that we can use that to our advantage. You can show yourself as trustworthy, arouse curiosity, make the audience tingle with fear and much more, using only the power words. 

What’s a power word?

Power words are words that can trigger an emotional or psychological response in the reader. 

Power words can trigger emotions and engage with the reader’s imagination. In his book, legendary copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis outlined six “marketing motivators” that increase the response rate. They are:

  • Fear
  • Exclusivity
  • Greed
  • Guilt
  • Need for approval
  • Anger

Let’s look at some examples of these motivators in action:

  • Fear: Hurry! Available only today, then gone forever! 
  • Exclusivity: Only 100 gadgets left — last chance to order
  • Greed: Buy 1 get 1 FREE!
  • Guilt: We miss you! Maybe a discount can bring you back 
  • Need for approval: Shop our new collection: dresses that are sure to turn heads
  • Anger: 7 ways to get discounts companies don’t want you to know

Now let’s see how you can deploy these weapons of persuasion in your subject line and trigger 4 different emotional responses from your reader.

Power words that arouse curiosity

Anything that doesn’t fit our understanding of the world sparks curiosity in us. Make your recipient curious and engaged by:

  • asking strange and unusual questions (will urge the reader to participate)
  • informing or promising something 

The following words in your curiosity-inducing headline or email subject line will motivate the reader to click and open your email. That’s a promise!

Power words that arouse curiosity
Source: Medium

These words are pretty easy to incorporate into your subject line. Check out these examples of curiosity-inducing subject lines from Optinmonster:

  • 9 strange facts about Thanksgiving
  • 5 unconventional ways to get more leads
  • Behind the scenes story of how we boosted our organic traffic by x80

You can also use questions to invoke curiosity:

Is it possible to learn to speak fluent Japanese in 30 days?
instead of
Learn to speak Japanese fluently in 30 days

Power words that build trust

Your simple choice of words can make or break the situation. The good news is that you can change your email subject lines just a little and earn the credibility and trust of the reader.

Power words to build trust
Source: Medium

Check these examples of how you can build trust between your brand and your recipient:

  • Expert opinion on how to increase B2B sales
  • Secure ways to grow your business
  • Proven social media growth hacking tactics
  • Best tools to improve your communication

However, there are other ways to add credibility to your subject line. For instance:

  • Forbes Columnist Shares How to Blog Well in 2019 & Beyond
  • International Speaker Opens Up: The Worst Mistake I’ve Made On Stage

Besides the credibility, in the second subject line the words “Worst Mistake” are also power words, as sharing one’s vulnerabilities helps us earn others’ trust.

Power words that appeal to vanity

We take pride in ourselves and our abilities, it’s just a part of human nature. We love to be admired and accepted by others. And guess what? You can use this human tendency to your advantage and appeal to your prospect’s sense of vanity.

Power words to appeal to vanity
Source: Medium

Some sample email subject lines that appeal to vanity:

  • Dazzling products every celeb is using
  • Ultimate solutions to boost your sales
  • Clever ways of decluttering 
  • Sneak peek into our upcoming collection
  • Scientology’s Worst Crimes: An Insider’s Shocking Revelations 
  • Productivity Secrets Of the Top 10 Wealthy Entrepreneurs

In the last example, the word “Secrets arouses curiosity whereas the word “Wealthy” appeals to the vanity of the readers. Yes, you can even combine multiple types of power words to make your subject line even more powerful!

FOMO (fear of missing out) subject lines

A FOMO subject line triggers your audience’s innate fear of missing out in order to make them more likely to take action. You can use FOMO to create a sense of urgency in your email marketing.

A research paper published in Science Direct defines FOMO as “A pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. With FOMO you feel like you’re missing out on all the fun and I think it’s safe to say we’ve all experienced this fear one way or the other.

Below is a good example of how GetResponse uses FOMO to its advantage:

email marketing fomo
Source: Sumo

Some sample email subject lines that invoke the fear of missing out:

  • Tonight only: A denim lover’s dream
  • Failed marketing strategies that don’t work anymore
  • [URGENT] You have ONE DAY to watch this
  • Last Chance to Attend MOZcon at 50% Reduced Price!
  • FREE SHIPPING for the First 100 Buyers!

As you can see, power words, when used right, can skyrocket your sales by appealing to the deepest fears and desires of your email campaign recipients. You can play and combine different types of power words for maximum results.

3. Get personal

You might have heard of this famous quote by Dale Carnegie from his book How to Win Friends and Influence People. He says: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Try to communicate with your readers by treating them as if you were having a conversation with them in-person. It’s that simple! Start your email with the name of the subscriber or whenever possible, find a way to include the prospect’s name into the subject line for better open rate.

Check this highly personal email by Pat Flynn, the founder of Smart Passive Income.
Personal letter example email marketing

He does an amazing job with this introductory email, making you feel as if every time you open an email, you’re reading one from a friend. Personalized emails can improve two things: click-through rate (by 14%) and conversions rate (by 10%).

Personalized email
Source: Iblogzone

4. Segment your list

Segmentation is a marketing technique that, when used for email marketing, can result in highly targeted emails leading to maximum conversion. Divided into smaller groups or “segments”, an email list produces a 14.6% increase in open rates when compared to a non-segmented list.

Moreover, a study by Lyris showed that:

  • 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates
  • 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates
  • 24% experienced better deliverability and greater revenue

You can start segmenting your list into groups based on the form your readers opt into. This automates the process and gives you a highly segmented list.

5. Start using double-opens

If plan A doesn’t work out, try plan B. After all, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. Use the double-open strategy: resend your email to subscribers who didn’t open it the first place one week after the first email has been sent.

But remember to always change the subject line and include power words in your second email (see tip #2 for more). In his blog, Noah Kagan says when he used the double-open approach, he saw an 11% bump in his open rate, with a total of 30%. Just 1 minute of work resulted in 7,028 more people reading his email.

What’s next?

Lastly, don’t forget about your mobile users. You simply can’t afford to ignore mobile users because according to BlueHornet, 67.2% of consumers use a smartphone to check their email. 

Moreover, you should improve your writing skills if you want to write better email subject lines.  You can always learn from the icons of marketing, sales, and copywriting and check out our list of the best marketing books.

email drip campaigns

In short

You can growth hack your small business to success in a number of ways but email outreach is one of the easiest and most affordable methods of them all. That said, no matter how many years of experience you have, you can never be a great email marketer unless you learn how to use power words, segment, personalize, and master the art of an irresistible subject line. And, of course, try double-opens! 

Now it’s your turn. Introduce these email open rate hacks into your email marketing strategy right away. Like, now. Let us know in the comments section which hacks have worked best for you.

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