How to Nearly DOUBLE Your Email Open Rate Overnight

This One Simple Strategy is So Easy to Use (And Almost No One Does It)

A few months ago, I nearly doubled the number of people who open my emails. Doing so required no new skills, almost no extra time, and was incredibly easy to implement. How’d I do it? Keep reading to find out.

Double your email open rates

NOTE: Mark Sieverkropp from my team wrote a related post on how to use mailing to unopens in affiliate campaigns. Click Here to read it now.

Email marketing is an affiliate’s number one tool. There is no doubting or disputing that.

The more people you have on your list, the better (as a general rule). The more people who open those emails, the better (always). And the more people who click the links, the more sales you will make.

So nearly doubling my open rates (and click rates) is a BIG FREAKING DEAL!

How I Increased My Open Rates by 76.7% Overnight

Two years ago, I began studying copywriting with Ray Edwards. That drastically increased my open rates and click rates.

When I implemented his strategies, my open rates climbed a little (about 25%) which was great. And my click rates almost doubled!

And while I highly recommend you learn the skill of copywriting, that is not the simple strategy to nearly double your open rates overnight. Learning copywriting takes time. This strategy works instantly!

The simple strategy I implemented was this: I mailed to my unopens.

Every single email was re-sent, some multiple times.

Yep, that was it. It takes less than two minutes to schedule a re-send and the number of people reading my emails went up 76.7%!

Below, I’ll share how I do this, but first, here’s a look at how rare this practice actually is, even among the top online marketers.

My Poll of 57 Online Marketers – Do You Mail to Your Unopens?

I recently conducted a poll of online marketers. These marketers ranged from part-time bloggers with less than 1,000 email subscribers to multi-million dollar businesses with 100,000+ people on their lists.

Here’s what I found about mailing to unopens:

Only 16% regularly mailed their unopens. This meant they did so on more than half of their emails.

22% did so on 25-50% of their emails.

7% did so on occasion (less than 25% of the time).

55% had never done so.

More shocking is that even if I looked at only the top marketers making more than $100,000 per year, the numbers were almost exactly the same. Of the 40 people who made more than $100,000 the year before:

20% regularly mailed unopens.

20% did so on 25-50% of their emails.

15% did so on occasion.

45% never did.

These findings were surprising until I thought about my own experience.

I’d been in online marketing for more than a decade and I fell into the 3rd category (barely). I only emailed my unopens approximately once out of every twenty emails (about 5% of the time).

In other words, I was leaving a lot of traffic and money on the table.

How to Mail Your Unopens the Right Way

The technical side of things is actually very easy. Whether you use MailChimp, AWeber, ConvertKit, InfusionSoft, or another program, most email marketing programs offer the option to send to a segment of your list based on whether they opened an email.

Here’s an example from MailChimp:

Sending email to unopens in mailchimp

It takes only an extra ten seconds to select the segment you want to send to. In this case, I am sending the email to everyone who did not open the July 19th email.

FAQ About Mailing to Unopens

As I shared this with a group of fellow online marketers, three questions came up frequently. You might have these same questions now, so I’ll answer them below.

When should I send the second email?

We like to re-send the email 2-3 weeks after the original. This gives people time to open and reduces the chance that they get a duplicate email.

We work this into our content calendar so that no one gets a re-send on the same day as another email. For us, this means we usually send Tuesday emails on Fridays or Saturdays and Thursday emails on Sundays and Mondays.

Here’s what it looks like in our content calendar:

How to resend unopened emails

Should I do this on every email?

Yes, as long as the email is still timely.

It would make no sense to re-send your “Happy Thanksgiving” email, of course. But otherwise, we re-send every email that makes sense, whether it be a blog post or a promotional email.

What should I send?

We mix it up a bit depending on the subject matter.

Sometimes we send a “RE: Reply” email, where we simply put “RE:” in front of the original subject line. Or we “forward” the email by putting “FW:” in front of the original subject line. When you do this, make sure to include a note at the beginning of the email such as, “This post really resonated with people and I didn’t want you to miss it.”

You can also rewrite the subject line and the content of the email, depending on how it performed originally.

NOTE: Re-send emails are also a great time to test things. We tend to use more emojis and ‘weird’ subject lines on the re-sends just to see what happens.

The great thing about this strategy is you can implement it RIGHT NOW! In fact, here is my challenge to you:

Go find an email you sent in the past 2-4 weeks and re-send it to the unopens. Right now! Then report the results below in the comments.

Question: Are you re-sending your emails to unopens? What results have you seen? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Free Affiliate Training from Matt McWilliams

23 thoughts on “How to Nearly DOUBLE Your Email Open Rate Overnight

  1. Alinka Rutkowska says:

    This is an excellent (and often neglected – as your stats confirm) strategy!

  2. #TotallyAwesome piece of advice. Thank you Matt.

  3. I love this, Matt. It’s crossed my mind that I wish those people would’ve seen it, but never that it was actually ok to send it again. The change of days makes so much sense, too. I’m looking forward to seeing how this works out for me! Thanks!

    • Awesome Pam! If you wait 2+ weeks and often change the subject line, there should be NO fear of resending it.

      Let me know how it works for you!

  4. Great advice.
    I do it myself (not often enough) and it works like a charm 🙂
    I’ll make sure to include it in my calendar, your example rocks!

    Thanks Matt!

  5. Vaida Yes says:

    Love it! Thanks for explaining how simple mailing to unopens is and showing the results in %! As allways, Matt, the best read of a day 🙂

  6. I’ve done this a few times but I haven’t made it a regular practice and goodness I don’t know why not! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  7. Cloris Kylie says:

    I’ll be definitely testing this out. Thank you, Matt!

  8. Great post, Matt! It had actually occurred to me about year ago that mailing a second time to the same list (in the hopes of encouraging additional subscribers to open this time) might be a good idea. But then I contacted Mailchimp and asked them whether I could resend the SAME campaign message a second time to the same list, and include whatever new opens might take place in my overall open (etc) rates. They said no – that I could certainly send the same message again, but that I’d need to create a new Campaign doing that, and that I could not combine my open rates. Now that I know I can create a segment comprised of those who did not open my last Campaign message, at least I have another way of putting this message out a second time and hoping for an increase in overall open rate. Too bad I still (apparently) have no way of tallying a final overall open rate. Thanks again for this great idea!

    • Hey Robert,

      Not sure who you talked to there, but they are wrong…maybe they are TECHNICALLY correct, but wrong in principle.

      Yes, you have to create a new campaign but that is a technicality. It accomplishes the same thing and only takes a moment to do.

      That said, I prefer to chance it up a bit. If they didn’t open the first time, I don’t want to just re-send the same thing.

      And you can easily figure out the overall open rate by doing some quick math. For example if you have 100 subscribers and 30 open the first time, you are emailing 70 the second time. If 20 open, that means 50 total people opened, for a 50% overall open rate.

      Hope that helps!

  9. Wendy Nicole Anderson says:

    This was good because I normally mail out to the unopens within 24 hours and I realized I am doing this too soon. Thanks for this

  10. Matt, I gotta say, since you originally published this article, I’ve come back to it again and again to be reminded how exactly to accomplish this using Mailchimp. This may well be the most useful blog article I’ve ever read! Thanks so much for your great suggestion on this. 🙂

    • That is saying something there Robert 🙂

      Thank you and keep using it to do awesome stuff!

  11. This is fantastic. I’ve been trawling your blog and it’s fabulous stuff! I would love to have you on my podcast – look for Baby Got Booked in iTunes. I’m a long time former journalist who teaches entrepreneurs how to DIY their PR. For the podcast, I tend to interview folks who are either working in the media, have used the media to great success or are instances of “being” an amazing story. I think your content would help my audience monetize their media better. Your expertise builds on my own skillset. Let me know! Email team (at) babygotbooked (dot) com

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