15 Email Marketing Tips to Improve Email Open & Clickthrough Rates

Anabeth McConnell Anabeth McConnell
October 25, 2021   |   7 min read time
Topics: marketing

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow your business and one of the most effective ways to generate leads, nurture relationships, and increase sales. But despite its effectiveness, good email marketing can be tricky as it can require some time and effort to get it right. Here are 15 tips for marketers on how you can improve your open and click through rates and lead generation tactics through better email marketing practices.

Don’t buy email addresses

We get it. You want to do whatever it takes to kickstart your campaign and build interest in your business. Purchasing an email list won’t actually benefit your campaign, though, because the owners of the email addresses didn’t agree to receive content from you. There isn’t any way to tell how interested these people are, or if they are a fit for what you are offering.

A purchased email list is also in violation of GDPR, which is important if you are selling goods in Europe.

  • Abide by CAN-SPAM rules.

CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing) is an act that was passed in 2003 - it’s a law that establishes the rules for commercial email and commercial messages, and it gives the recipients the right to have a business stop emailing them. It also outlines penalties incurred for those who violate this law. You can find the CAN-SPAM rules on the FTC’s website.

Some key components of being CAN-SPAM compliant:

  1. Include your valid physical postal address in every email you send out.
  2. Give recipients a clear and obvious way to opt-out (i.e. unsubscribe) of each email you send (Good news for HubSpot customers - you can’t save an email template unless it includes this element).
  3. Use clear “To,” “From,” and “Reply to” language to accurately reflect who you are.
  4. Avoid “no-reply” and similar sender names, which prevent recipients from opting out of an email newsletter.
  5. Avoid selling or transferring any email addresses to another list.

  • Ensure your opt-in process complies with GDPR

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, and it’s a law that was enacted across Europe in May of 2018 to help protect internet users’ personal data.

At some point, you may have noticed that a page on a business’s website that solicits someone’s personal information has a pre-checked box that opts the user into an email campaign, so they can receive updates and special offers related to their business.

Now, having this box pre-checked is a violation of GDPR. In order to comply with GDPR, you need to make sure your European customers/users have a clear opt-in to your email newsletter. You cannot do it for them.

We know this rule may not sound like it’s bad news for your email marketing campaigns, but think of it this way: This can improve your clickthrough rates. Now that your subscriber list is limited to those who specifically asked to join, only the most interested people will be receiving your messages.

  • Email new contacts within 24 hours.

Take advantage of the window of opportunity for when your company or brand is at the front of your prospects’ minds. You can get an idea of what future engagement will look like by what people do when you email them within the first 24 hours of them subscribing to your newsletter, offer, etc. This is also a good opportunity for branding and setting expectations.

Be sure to set up your automated email workflows, so you don’t miss out on major opportunities to nurture and engage your existing contacts.

HubSpot customers can use HubSpot’s Workflows App to create personalized, automated email workflows that can get triggered in various ways: when a contact gets added to a list, submits a form on your website, clicks a link in an email, views a page on your blog, clicks on one of your AdWords ads, or becomes a qualified lead.

  • Send your emails from a real person, not your company.

Sending an email from a real person increases your open rate. Recipients are more likely to trust a personalized sender name and email address than a generic one. With most people being inundated with spam daily, they often hesitate to open emails from unfamiliar senders.

Do This:

Sender Name: Anabeth McConnell

Sender email address: anabeth@company.com

Instead of this:

Sender Name: Marketing Team

Sender email address: marketing@company.com

  • Write clear and clickable subject lines

Your marketing emails have a lot to compete inside everyone's inboxes. The best way you can stand out is to write compelling email subject lines that readers won’t be able to help but click on.

Here are some guidelines:

  1. Be clear and understandable.
  2. Keep the subject line under 50 characters, so they don’t get cut off (especially by mobile devices)
  3. Use language and messaging that your target buyer persona is familiar with and excited about.
  4. Include action-oriented language to create a sense of urgency.
  5. Include an exclusive value proposition (coupon, free ebook, etc.)
  6. Avoid spam triggers like “Save,” “Cash,” and “Quote.”
  7. Try to include their first names if you can or add something to their specific location


  • Keep your emails concise.

Most people don’t have time to read long emails, nor do they want to read long emails. Concise emails have an obvious focus. Too much copy in your email can also trigger spam filters in your users’ inboxes.

If it helps, write your email like you are talking to someone in real life. If your email does need to be a little bit longer, break it up into multiple paragraphs, so you can provide visual breaks. This makes it much easier for your readers.

  • Include one call-to-action per email.

A lot of email recipients scan your email without reading all the copy - I promise. Having a clear call-to-action button that is easy to spot is important. You should place your CTA in a location where it makes sense for someone to click on it. You can have your call-to-action in multiple places but limit the actual "action" to just one thing.

  • Add alt text to your CTA image.

A lot of email clients block images by default -- including your CTA buttons. This means there is a decent amount of your audience who may not see your perfect CTA, and instead, they see this:


When you set an image’s alt text, you’re able to let the recipients who can’t view their images on their email know where to click to complete the action.

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You can edit the alt text in your email tool’s rich text editor, or you can manually enter it in the HTML editor of your email tool.

  • Hyperlink your emails images

Your primary goal in email marketing is to get people to click through to a web page. One way you can increase the clickthrough rates is by using hyperlinks rather than normal links.

Let’s say you’re wanting your readers to download an ebook. If you have a picture of your ebook in your email, with text beneath it that says “download here,” don’t just hyperlink the text - hyperlink the picture, too. Try to give your readers as many opportunities as possible to download your ebook.

  • Include noticeable text links

It’s always a good idea to link your featured offer several times in your email using CTA buttons and images, but it’s also a good idea to make your links noticeable.  You can do this by bolding the text, underlining, the text, and or, changing the color of the text.

  • Place at least one clickable item above the fold.

Placing one or more of your clickable elements near the beginning of your email is especially useful for mobile users. Typically, mobile requires a lot of scrolling (along with pinching, squinting, and zooming, right?). Being able to give a recipient something actionable early on can lead to more clicks - especially in an environment like mobile.

  • Avoid background images.

This tip is especially important if any of your target buyers use Outlook as an email client. Microsoft Outlook doesn’t recognize background images at all, and they are the fifth-most used email client

Instead of a background image, you can use a background color, and then use images in sections throughout your email.

  • Add social sharing buttons

If you want to increase clicks, you want to add sharing buttons rather than follow buttons. Sharing buttons will allow your email recipients to pass along the offer URL in your email to their own circle. Follow buttons will prompt them to Like, follow, or add your company on their social media channels.

  • Simplify sharing with ready-made tweets.

When you make it easy for people to take action, they are more likely to do so.

And to make it easy on you, you can use the ClickToTweet free custom tweet link generator. You can type in your tweet and the desired, trackable destination URL, as well as hashtags.

As you can see, there are many ways to improve your email marketing strategy. No matter what type of business you’re in or how much time and money you have available for investing in yourself, these 15 tips will help take your email marketing efforts from good to great. In the end, it all boils down to one thing- improving conversion rates. No, it’s not an easy task but with consistency and proper optimization, this goal becomes more achievable.

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