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AP 0995: How Can I Improve My Email Open Rate?

AP 0995: How Can I Improve My Email Open Rate?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 955 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: Hey everybody. What’s up? Welcome to Episode 995 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week

We’re here with Emilio, but before we get to that I do want to thank today’s sponsor, which is ZipRecruiter. If you’re looking to hire anybody for your business, recruiting and finding new hires can be very difficult, just a very long drawn out process. A lot of back and forth. Well, ZipRecruiter makes it easy with their interface, with their just sending your job description out to over 100 different job sites with just a single click. It just makes it really easy and they help you filter and find all the best candidates for whoever it is you’re looking for. So, go ahead and check it out. You can check it out for free by going to Once again, that’s

Alright, now here’s today’s question from Emilio.

Emilio: Hey Pat. This is Emilio Rodriguez. Thank you. Here for the third time so I feel very lucky that you get to answer my question this time again. I have something different. I know you have a lot of experience related to email marketing and you offer things like your free book, Email the Smart Way. So, I thought you’d be a good person to ask about this.

I have a new company. It’s called El Briefing. It’s in Spanish. It’s a daily newsletter targeted for the Dominican Republic. I’m growing about 50 to 100 emails subscribers a day. Now, we have over 10,000 subscribers with an open rate of about 35 percent, but one day, for some reason, when we sent the email it got into everybody’s main mailbox and they told us that they were glad that it’s no longer going into promotions or spam or whatever it was going or not going. But we haven’t been able to replicate that. Nothing changed on the day of that email except that, who knows what Gmail and all their clients were thinking that day, where that specific day we got over—an open rate over 55 percent. So, we’ve been looking how to replicate that so we can keep that high open rate. Currently we use MailChimp and I know it’s a shared IP that they use. So, I don’t have much control over that.

Do you know how I could improve the open rate and how to . . . Because I know that Gmail and other clients, they have their algorithm into thinking what’s spam, what’s a promotion. Is there anything, like a private server that I could use to avoid the shared IP issue that I would have with any of the clients, such as AWeber or MailChimp, etc? Any insight into this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much and you have a great rest of the day, Pat.

Pat Flynn: Hey Emilio. Thank you so much for the question. First of all, I just have to comment and say your open rates, even at the 35 percent rate, is really good and 100 emails a day, you’re doing something right, so congratulations. Keep up the good work, and I like how you’re looking to see how you can improve on what’s kind of already working. I think that’s a really big lesson there: Instead of just trying all these other random things, you are looking to improve what it is that you know is important for your business.

So, how do you increase your open rates? Well, first of all, let’s talk about what happened. What’s the anomaly that allowed your email to just really be opened up by more than normal before? It’s going to be difficult to nail that down with just a one-sided conversation here. I can say that you’re going to have to analyze that email a little because a lot of times it’s the content of the email that can have a direct impact on whether or not it gets put into people’s Gmail main tab or the promotional tab or other. So, you need to make sure that you go in there and make sure . . . It could be, perhaps there were no images in that one. Or, perhaps it was specific words that you were using that you didn’t use otherwise that just made it a little bit easier to be engaged with. Also, you had pointed out something that it relates to the service provider. You’re using MailChimp. MailChimp I know is great. I use ConvertKit myself, and there’s many other ones out there. Many of them, especially ones like MailChimp and such, they use these shared IP servers and when you send an email out, sometimes it goes through this server, sometimes it goes through that server, sometimes it goes through this other server. They have a bunch of different servers that all connect to the same server. What happens is, depending on how people behave—people meaning subscribers or clients of theirs who subscribe to the service, not subscribers to those emails—depending on how their spam ratings are, etc, it can affect—this is what I believe—the other people who are sending emails through that same server. I know this because certain emails, when I was using a different service provider, were getting blocked when they shouldn’t have. It was because somebody else was on that same server, just that server got blocked, the IP just got blocked by Google or some other one and it just got a warning. Then, the other emails didn’t perform very well.

So, it’s kind of weird because there’s a lot of stuff going on that we don’t understand. But, there are things that we can control. First of all, going to MailChimp and asking what’s going on can be the best thing to do because they can be able to, perhaps, pinpoint what happened on that day. Maybe it was an IP-related thing or a server-related thing. Or, maybe it was something else that they know that we don’t. So, going to Mail Chimp and specifically asking, “Hey, why did this email perform so much better? Do you have any insight on that?” You may be able to get some feedback from somebody on their team. Maybe not, it’s not always the case.

One thing that’s helped me with open rates is keeping all of the fancy stuff out of those emails. So, a lot of imagery, boarders, images, that sort of thing, signatures, etc. Signatures as in actual hand written signatures that are there with an image, versus . . . You should have a signature at the end of your email and you should have links to other things and point to other things from there. But, keeping all the fancy stuff out has helped increase the open rates because there’s just less stuff that gets filtered through.

Then, secondly, there’s an app out there. Not an app, but a tool out there at GlockApps. If you go there, you can set up a really cool system that allows you to test and optimize your emails. You can identify and fix issues that are keeping you from people’s inboxes.
So, what happens is you . . . For example, you can test something right now with it. You can go and send an email to a specific email address that they give you and they’ll give you information back about what can be optimized about that email, etc. But, the power part is they give you a certain set of email addresses from each of the different services like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. Then, you put those email addresses into your email list. So, when you send an email out—and I would recommend actually creating a segment with just these so you can send it to them first—get some information back, make changes, and then send it to everybody else. But, you could just have them included in your main list if you want. When you send an email out and they receive them, you’re going to get a report back that gives you information about, oh it’s inserted it in the promotional tab for this one and not promotional tab for this one and here’s why. Again, that’s That was a resource given to me and recommended to me by Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner and Social Media Marketing World, which I hope you’ll all be at next year. That’d be a lot of fun to see you there. I speak there every year. Going back to emails, that app or services can help you. Again, GlockApps.

Then also, having your audience reply. Having your email subscribers reply is going to show Gmail that they’re engaging with that email and it’s going to . . . I don’t know what exactly happens behind the scenes but, for those specific individuals, they’re going to be likely to see all or most of the future emails in their main tab. For other people, it may tell Gmail, for example, “Hey, this is a good email. People are engaging with it. So, we’re going to rank it higher and not block it from others.” I don’t know exactly how it all works but it is something that’s definitely mysterious to me on many levels, but I have been shown some direction from others about what can be done to improve it. Using tools like GlockApps can help but also just making it text only with . . . HD mail is fine but not adding images and all those kinds of things makes it easier to get through to.

I hope that helps Emilio. I want to wish you all the best, thank you so much. I want to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question that you’d like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to and you can ask right there on that page.

Make sure you stay ’til the end. I know a lot of you are waiting to see who has won the $1,000 gift card that I’m giving away for the contest that’s happening this week. We’ve already had and collected a number of participants and contestants who are being gifted the Amazon gift card as a result of just listening to the show and being a fan, and answering certain questions that were related to a promotion that was happening since Episode 900. So, again, thank you all for your support. Stick around ’til the end. I’m going to announce every episode this week—at the end of every episode, I’m going to announce the new winner. So, stick around. If you didn’t win today, maybe you’ll win tomorrow. Unfortunately, there is no way to enter that giveaway anymore at this point. So, just rewarding those longtime listeners, and I want to thank you all for your support here.

I also have an announcement to make in Episode 1000 that’s going to be really, really important, so I hope you make sure you listen next week when Episode 1000 comes out because we have some new changes coming to AskPat. I don’t want that to scare you, but the theme for next year is High Value in SPI land. There’s definitely going to be higher value here on the AskPat show for you.

So, anyway, more on that later. For now, let’s finish off the quote. Today’s quote comes from Calvin Coolidge, and that is, “No person has ever been honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” That’s good.

All right, and the winner for today—and there were actually over 2,000 entries, so thank you to all of you who participated—but the winner for today, Monday, November 13th, is Cris, C-R-I-S, Jean, or John, or Jean, Cris Jean—and I will have already emailed you today by the time this email goes out, so I worry a little bit about the name overlaps here with some of these winners, that might happen today and the rest of the week, but I’m going to email you if you win before the episode goes live. You’ll hear from me before, but I just want to congratulate you, Cris, C-R-I-S, and I just want to thank you so much for the entry and the shares.

Thank you to all of the other participants. You can look forward to tomorrow, when you might win. You still have four more chances. So again, thank you so much for listening to the show, and keep on listening, and subscribe so you can make sure you can check out tomorrow’s episode. Thank you so much. Have a good one.

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