There could be plenty of reasons why you could be seeing low open rates for your campaigns, and while most of the are quite simple - you need to ensure your accounts and campaigns are configured in the best possible way to maximise your open rates.
Check this Deliverability Cheat Sheet that includes recommendations on your Account's and Campaign's settings. Make sure you have reviewed all the features and from there you can apply the fixes where necessary.
Beyond that, your open rates can vary from campaign to campaign based on your own offer and copy - so tracking open rates is not always the ideal form to gauge the performance. The true KPI would be the responses received. 🤝
There are different opinions on if you should keep open tracking enabled or will it increase the reply rate and perceived deliverability with open tracking disabled. The open tracking pixel could technically hurt deliverability, but it is difficult to gauge the extent of it.
So it does depends on users whether they prefer to have the proper stats or they don't really have a preference for it. I believe you can always test it from your side if you see improved campaign performance / reply rates with the open tracking disabled.
You can check your deliverability score (and if everything is set up correctly) by going to your sequence editor, clicking on 'preview email', then on 'check deliverability score'.
💡 Here are some tips to keep in mind -
✅ Based on our experience, our process is monitoring campaigns daily and if the open rate for those campaigns is below 40-50%, we lower the volume of the campaign until it's back up there. Essentially, we scale based on the Open Rate and not based on days.
✅ If open rates are really bad (20%ish) then we pause the campaigns for 1-2 weeks and relaunch them and slowly scale up.
✅ You want to check bounces and lead source, so you don't get over 2% bounce rate on your leads.
✅ We buy and warmup new domains every month as a backup, for scaling and just because most domains see a deliverability drop at some point. This way you're always safe even if some domains gets burned fully. This is a general industry pracitce and is completely optional.
✅ Biggest impact is on the accounts themselves, so you want to monitor them daily and we're seeing that 2-3-4 months in all pure cold email accounts suffer from lower deliverability.
✅ We recommend switching up copy often and using spintax so the content that goes out is unique.
📉 Here are some reasons why you could have low open rates -
❌ Email accounts not set up properly
If you do not have SPF, DKIM, DMARC set up properly for your accounts, that could negatively impact deliverability.
❌ Bad subject lines
If your subject line is generic, salesy and not targeted, there’s less chance people will open it.
❌ Email account not warmed up enough or not using warm-up.
If you haven’t warmed up your emails for at least 2-3 weeks before sending cold email you might see lower open rates. Your own domain’s reputation and how old it is, along with the reputation of your sending accounts affect your deliverability.
❌ Email account sending too many emails
If you’re sending too many emails you might get flagged and most of your emails will end up in spam and won’t be opened.
❌ Using Spam words
Don’t use words from this list
❌ Non personalised Email
If it’s obvious from the email snippet that the email is generic and not targeted, there’s lower chance of being opened.
❌ Unverified Lead List
If you don’t verify your email lists there are going to be a lot of email accounts that don’t exist and bounce, which means your open rate is lower.
❌ Using Images in your Copy
Using images might cause more of your emails go into spam and lower deliverability.
❌ Using Link in your copy
Using links might cause more of your emails go into spam and lower deliverability.
❌ Your open rate tracking is off
This one’s obvious
❌ Not using custom tracking domain
Not using custom tracking domain mean you’re using the same tracking domain as other people and that won’t get you as good of a deliverability as using your own custom tracking domain.
If the domain associated with your email addresses, custom tracking domain, or any links associated included in your email body are on a blacklist, that will negatively impact deliverability.
❌ Using generic email
Using info@company vs name@company
❌ Sending at wrong times
If you send email after work hours, over the weekend or on holidays, people will open them less.
❌ Reputation of email service provider's IP
While most major providers (like Google, Outlook, etc.) automatically take care of the sending server’s IP reputation, this could yet be another reason for low deliverability. Please make sure your email service provider’s IP address is not in a blacklist.
❌ Pixel Disabled by certain email clients
Certain email clients, like the iPhone's stock Mail app, for example, have privacy settings on that remove the loading of images by default (to prevent tracking). In case that happens, a tracking event will not get fired. This is an industry-wide problem regardless of which email open tracking tool you use.
❌ Your email’s domain being on a blacklist or pointing to blacklisted IP
This usually happens when you don’t change your default name-servers.
❌ Your email’s domain not pointing to an actual website
To fix this, we recommend you to point to your main business website by adding a cname record (make sure to use SSL in this case) or by redirecting this domain to your main website.
❌ Your email’s domain not having SSL
Tip - Using Cloudflare will give you a free SSL certificate for your domain.