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How to improve your email open rates

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How to increase your email open rates

3 Steps to improve your email open rates this week

Have you ever received an email, read the subject line and saved the email for later…. Only to find months later that you have hundreds of unread emails, and then you just end up deleting them all? No? It that just me?

Hello, my name is Holli, and I am an email hoarder.

It’s funny because I know how critical open rates are to email marketers and yet sometimes I just can’t get around to reading all the goodness in my inbox! Today we are talking about how to re-engage subscribers like me. Get them to either open and interact with your emails or unsubscribe.

First things first

Unsubscribes are not {always} a bad thing! I love when customers self-select what information they need and when they are done receiving it. Ever hear the phrase, “I would rather have four quarters than one-hundred pennies?” It’s the whole quality over quantity theory. I believe we would all rather have 1000 readers opening and interacting with our emails than a list of 10000 subscribers where only 10% are communicating. Why? Because if you have the latter, your deliverability rates are suffering and there’s a good chance you will start to get placed in the spam filter…. and no one wants to be there! It’s crowded and dark and dull!

So how do you get your readers to either open or unsubscribe?

Before we answer that, you need to decide what an appropriate definition of non-engaged is for you? How many unopened emails before someone falls into this category?  AWeber suggests six months of inactivity is a good cutoff point. However, with products like apartments, which are rather seasonal ‘purchases,’  12 months is a better hard cap. It’s totally going to depend on what and how often you are nurturing these leads

A little courting never hurt…

Once you’ve determined who is on your inactive or ’emotionally unsubscribed’ list, you’ve got to try to draw them back. Think of 3 emails that you can send in succession to see if they still have some interest. Is there an incentive you would like to offer? {This could be for your community or related goods and services such as a moving company} Another option is to provide helpful information in a downloadable format and see who bites.

Your second email can be a reminder of how they ended up receiving your email in the first place. Perhaps they subscribed to be the first to know about specials, floor plan releases, etc. Let them know if they don’t take any action in an allotted amount of time {48-72 hours}; they will be unsubscribed.

The final email is the ‘we’re breaking up” email. Funny enough, this is the one where we get the most re-engagement. This email is a notification that the reader is removed from your email list, but gives them one final opportunity to stay ‘in the know.’

Customers might want to stay on your list but many not be engaging for some reasons. Maybe they are just in a different part of the client life cycle? Perhaps they have moved on from apartment hunter to resident. In that case, they are probably still interested in neighborhood information, but not necessarily what move-in specials you are offering. Give them a chance to choose the information they would still like to receive.

For those customers that do come back around and do want to stay on your list, take an opportunity to

1) to thank them for their continued readership


2) ask them what they are interested in reading.

It’s not over…yet

So let’s talk about those that still don’t open the re-engagement campaign. As painful as it is, it’s time to remove the unengaged from the list. Apparently, the unsubscribes have made it clear that they are done with you. For those that are unengaged, there could be some reasons they aren’t opening your emails.

But, don’t throw away those valuable contacts you’ve spent so much money acquiring! It’s time to start the relationship fresh, with a social retargeting campaign. There’s a chance they just forgot who you were.  Now is also a splendid time to change up the messaging if your community has transitioned.

Let’s say you were a lease-up and now you’re stabilized.  A retargeting campaign leveraging all the great reviews from your current tenants could be just the social proof this prospect needed to see. Designing a branding campaign to reintroduce yourself gives them that one last chance to realize what they’ve been missing. 😉

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About The Author


Not one to settle for status quo, Holli has spent her 20 year career shaking up the multifamily industry. From creating unheard of building amenities to designing lounge-like leasing centers, to major Pinterest fails in the kitchen, she is ever experimenting. It’s no surprise that she created a new way to match apartment renters with their perfect home. Holli is a featured speaker and session facilitator at regional and national industry conferences. When she’s not brainstorming the next marketing campaign, you can find Holli testing the limits of bottomless brunch or climbing the Peloton Leaderboard!


  1. garry

    Thanks for the tips and brief tutorial , quite helpful in getting the help regarding the service to improve the email open rate.

  2. ummed

    Thanks for the info for “HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR EMAIL OPEN RATES” I will apply these tips for my email.


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