Achieve Better Cold Email Open Rates with These Steps

Email open rates are one of the leading metrics B2B companies use in their email campaigns. Many organizations track their email open rates, along with  other key metrics, to measure how well their email marketing campaigns worked. The average email open rate for all industries according to a survey conducted by Mailchimp is 21.33%. The higher the open rate, the higher the campaign’s success. An open rate of 30% would be considered a top-tier score, while an open rate of 50% would mean your email campaign passed with flying colors.

Mailchimp’s report on open rates also breaks down rates and includes four other email marketing metrics by industry. For example, a few average include:

  • 15.68% Ecommerce
  • 20.92% Telecommunications 
  • 21.72% Medical, dental and healthcare 
  • 27.74% Hobbies

Outbound vs. Inbound Email Open Rates

It should be noted, though, that Mailchimp’s industry average stat is for emails sent to subscriber lists. For example, emails sent from blogs that have collected names of people and companies that requested to receive their emails. When viewed in that context, achieving only 21.33% would seem a bit low. 

At the risk of tooting our own horn, two of our most recent cold email marketing campaigns achieved open rates that would make many marketers’ heads spin. Cold emails are emails that go to prospects who have, to that point, had no relationship with the email sender. So, it would be reasonable to assume that cold emails would garner a lower open rate than emails sent to a subscriber list.

Not so for our clients! We’re proud to report that two of our new clients achieved open rates at the “flying colors” level.

One of the clients is a Florida-based e-commerce services company. Its first Acceler8now cold email campaign achieved a whopping 77% open rate. 

Our second highest cold email open rate this year was for a Wisconsin-based telecom company. That cold email marketing campaign achieved a 50% open rate — which is truly eye-popping!

Outbound Strategies Connecting you to Untapped Markets

Write a Grand Slam Subject Line to Improve Your Email Open Rate

Truth be told, if people open your cold emails, it’s probably because something you said in the email subject line grabbed their attention. That’s why having a professional writer craft your emails is so important. An experienced cold email writer knows what words and phrases people are attracted to, and their experience can set you apart from the many, many (think: hundreds) other emails filling a busy business person's mailbox. It’s truly a unique craft that takes both skill and time to master. 

According to OptinMonster, 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. What’s more, 69% of email recipients will report an email as spam based solely on the subject line. Those facts speak loudly to how critical  your cold email subject lines are.

OptinMonster found that great subject lines fall into several specific categories. Here are a few examples: 

Pain points

You have to understand your buyer personas, and that means knowing their biggest pain points. When you understand their challenges, you can speak directly to them. After all, we are all looking for someone to solve our pain points. So, if you’ve got the remedy, announce it in your cold subject lines! 

Examples include:

    • From Uber: “Since we can’t all win the lottery…”
    • From Evernote: “Stop wasting time on mindless work”

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

Is your product or service scarce (limited availability) or urgency (limited time)? If so, FOMO is a good subject line approach. 

Examples include:

  • From Guess: “Tonight only: A denim lover’s dream”
  • From JetBlue: “You’re missing out on points.”


Is there a “cliffhanger” angle to your message, something that your cold email recipients just have to know? If so, the curiosity angle might be a great subject line approach for your next campaign. 

Examples include:

  • From Digital Marketer: “Is this the hottest career in marketing?”
  • From Refinery29: “10 bizarre money habits making Millennials richer”


Greed may be a harsh word. Let’s just say smart value shoppers love sales, discounts and special offers. After all, who among us can pass up a great deal — especially if it’s something you want or need? So broadcast your special pricing right upfront in your cold email subject line. 

Examples include:

  • From HP: “Flash. Sale. Alert.”
  • From Guess: “25% off your favorites”

If you want to build a bigger sales pipeline filled with highly motivated prospects who will actually open your emails, give us a call. We’ve got the experience and knowhow it takes to deliver the business world’s best cold email open rates.