8 Strategies to Increase Your Email Response Rate

email response rate cover with a sign to give thanks

Email response rate measures the percentage of your emails that receive a response. This metric shows the customer satisfaction levels and the success of your marketing strategy.

Although not every email requires a response, a low response rate indicates trouble regarding customer engagement levels in relevant cases. 

We know how to do better, and that’s why we’ve decided to go through every aspect of email response rate — what it means, how to calculate it, facts and strategies to increase your response rates, and overcoming common pitfalls.

What is an Email Campaign Response Rate?

Email response rate is the percentage of responses you receive from the total emails you send. 

To calculate this metric, senders use this formula:

Number of email responses you receive / Total number of emails that reach your target audience × 100

For example, if you have 200 delivered emails and 10 of the recipients respond to those emails, your email response rate would be 5% (10/200 × 100).

A high email response rate shows that your audiences find your email content engaging and relevant. That said, only specific emails require a response.

Emails That Require a ResponseEmails That Don’t Need a Response
Meeting invitationsEmail newsletters
Collaboration requestsShipping notifications
Feedback or survey responsesAppointment confirmations
Event RSVPsMarketing promotions
Emails that require a response vs emails that don’t

Remember, in the case of email deliverability issues, the email response rate might not be accurate. Because when emails get flagged as spam and don’t reach your audience, your response rate is bound to be low.

When calculating your email response rate, understand the number of bounced and undelivered emails.

What is a Good Email Response Rate?

A good response rate depends on several factors, such as your industry type, email timing, and email content. 90% of emails that get a reply, get it within 2 days of sending it. And 50% of people respond to work emails within 2 hours. 

Many qualified marketers believe a good email response rate is around 10%. However, for cold emails, the average response rate is close to 7%

While cold emails seem like an easy way to establish an emailing practice, we believe it’s not the best approach. Cold emailing is strictly prohibited at Campaign Refinery — we automatically close user accounts that indulge in this practice. 

We value the safety of our senders and their subscribers. That’s why we only work with responsible and quality senders. 

While you may find cold emails as part of this post, we’ve chosen to mention it as an illustrative subject, and we don’t recommend this practice whatsoever. 

Email Response Rate — Use Cases

Whether you’re sending a promotion or a sales outreach email, there are many ways you can use email response rate:

  1. Marketing campaigns: You can assess the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns based on how many people reply to your emails. 
  2. Sales outreach: Response rate acts as a scoring system to determine the success of generating leads, appointments, and conversions.
  3. Customer support: You can also find out how many people actively hold customer support conversations.

Analyzing the response rate helps you refine your email marketing campaigns and produce content that your audience looks forward to. This is why tracking this metric has the potential to generate more leads and sales.

Why Is It Important to Track Your Email Response Rate?

Email response rate facilitates lead generation and sales. It shows which of your subscribers are loyal so you can strategize your email campaigns accordingly.

Here are 5 ways response rate impacts your overall email marketing:

  1. Helps you make strategic decisions: Response rates help you segregate qualified and highly interested leads from disengaged customers, saving resources and time. 
  2. Assists with performance benchmarking: When you set benchmarks for your response rate, it’s easier to establish realistic goals for your email marketing performance.
  3. Shows customer engagement levels: It shows what type of email content interests your audience and solves their challenges.
  4. Allows lead generation and sales: Monitoring the email response rate shows which subscribers are loyal to your brand, helping you focus your efforts on them.
  5. Determines your email marketing ROI: Receiving a high number of responses for your email campaigns ensures a better email marketing ROI. 

Despite your best efforts, factors such as ineffective content can lower your response rates. Knowing the reasons for lower response rates will help you solidify your marketing strategy.

Reasons Your Email Response Rate is Lower Than Expected

Here are 6 reasons your response rate may be taking a hit:

  1. Ineffective subject lines: If your subject lines are irrelevant, bland, or salesy, subscribers likely won’t interact with your emails. 
  2. Irrelevant content: Not having relevant email content or call-to-action can make your subscribers lose interest in your emails. 
  3. Poor timing: If you schedule your email campaigns on a holiday at 10 pm, you won’t have enough email metrics to track. Timing is a crucial factor in determining the open rate and response rate.
  4. Lack of personalization: When you send the same email content to everyone on your email list, the content will not resonate with your subscribers, leaving you with a low response rate. This is especially true if you purchase email lists instead of building your own.
  5. Inactive subscribers: If you last cleaned your email list a while ago, it’s only natural your response rate will suffer. These disengaged subscribers probably don’t use their email addresses anymore or are not interested in your offers. Bombarding them with your email campaigns will do no good; for your email campaign metrics.
  6. Too many promotions: Although your subscribers voluntarily signed up to your email lists, they can become frustrated with too many promotional emails

You will likely lose a high percentage of subscribers by not measuring your response rates, eventually hurting your ROI. 

Follow these analysis methods to improve your response rates and keep your subscribers engaged.

How to Boost Your Email Response Rate

Improving your response rate is a process that needs strategic practices to make your emails more engaging and appealing. Here are 8 actionable tips to help you improve your email response rate.

Understand Your Leads

The most important part of sending email campaigns is to know if your recipients are the right people for them. Create an ideal customer profile and use it as a checklist to see who fits your criteria

You can gather potential customer information from:

  • Website visits,
  • Email subscriptions, 
  • Social media.

Qualified leads are already looking for a solution to their problem and are more likely to use your products or services. Plus, they are ready to buy, which means it takes less time to convince and convert them into customers. 

Personalize Your Emails 

72% of the subscribers only respond to marketing messages that are exclusively created for them. Including recipients’ first names has become a bare minimum — companies use varied personalization techniques to connect with customers and grow their brands.

Use the following techniques to enhance your customer relationship:

Personalization Technique Purpose
Dynamic content Tailor your email campaigns based on subscriber preferences, past interactions, and purchase history.
Segmented email lists Send targeted email lists based on subscriber demographics, interests, and preferences. 
Personalized recommendations Provide product or content recommendations based on a customer’s previous interaction or purchase history. 
Behavioral triggers Set up automated email triggers based on user behavior such as website visits, cart behavior, and downloads. 
Location-based personalization Tailor emails as per subscriber location such as local events, weather, or region-specific promotions. 
Email Personalization Techniques 

Time and location are major components that influence your email personalization. If your audiences are from different age groups, tailor your email content accordingly. For example, Gen Z and millennials expect different things from your email campaigns. In fact, 70% of millennials are frustrated with brands sending them irrelevant content. To get a higher response rate, ensure you send unique emails to each of your target segments.

Send Emails at the Right Time 

Marketing emails have higher open rates on Mondays and Tuesdays between 10 am and 1 pm. Similarly, different email campaign types perform better at different times. Tailor your timing and frequency based on the email campaign type and your audience preferences.

The best way to maximize your email reach is to send them when your audiences are the most active. To gather this data, you must study and test different timings with your subscribers. Analyze your past email campaign metrics and find patterns with the highest engagement rates. This will give you information on audience preferences and engagement times.

Segmentation Strategies

You can also use the following steps to segment your target audience the right way:

Segmentation Type Description
Demographics Age, group, gender, income, household, etc. This data influences your audience’s needs, habits, and preferences.
Behavior Find where your audiences spend the most time online. It could be your website, social media, or other relevant mediums. Consider how their lifestyle can impact their decision-making.
Interests Knowing what your target audiences like helps you create relevant and interesting content.
GoalsIf you know your audience’s pain points and goals, you can customize email content to solve their challenges.
Values If your audiences only buy eco-friendly products, it’ll help drive your emails in that direction.
Knowledge level Are your audiences familiar with your products or services. Knowing this will enable you to educate them accordingly.
User segmentation types

Segmentation strategies play a vital role in understanding what your target audience is looking for. You can focus on your past data or research your competitors’s target audiences to get a better understanding of this process. Using social media for your brand, you can collect user information from there too.

Build Trust With Your Sender Name 

Would you open emails from a stranger? If you answered no, your audience likely won’t open yours too. Your customers look forward to receiving emails from your brand name — use opt-in emails and build a valid email list. 

Most importantly, choose a recognizable sender name and send all your email campaigns using that name. This will gradually build trust with your subscribers and ISPs.

Then, you can enjoy more attention from your audiences, a better sender reputation, and a high email deliverability rate. 

Using the same sender name in every email you send builds trust with your audience, ensuring they feel safe enough to reply to your emails. Also, when you use a real person’s name instead of a company name, your emails will feel more personal, urging your subscribers to interact with your emails.

Choose Valuable Information Over Promotions

The first few emails are an opportunity to build a rapport with your subscribers and cultivate a long-term readership. You don’t want to send promotions and frustrate them, instead, send valuable information such as blog articles, industry news, and technical interviews, if any.

However, be mindful of the phrases and words you use in the subject lines. Words like ”immediately”, “buy direct”, etc can trigger spam filters and skip your subscribers’ inboxes. You can also use urgency to increase subscriber curiosity and participation.

We’ll share examples of subject lines to help you develop your own:

Type of Subject Line ExamplePurpose
Curiosity inducing “Guess what we have in store for you?”Intrigues the subscriber and increases curiosity 
Personalization “Emma, here’s an exclusive deal, just for you”Gives your emails a personal touch 
Urgency/scarcity “Offer valid till 10 pm today”The scarcity effect encourages subscribers to act fast
Question “John, what would you do differently?”Engages the recipient and encourages them to reply
Emoji enhanced “🥳New year, new you”Emojis create a warm and refreshing feeling 
Social proof“Join 10k satisfied customers”Reviews and testimonials act as a trust star for your brand
Types of subject lines with examples

You can also create mystery, exclusive access, seasonal, instructional, and news-style subject lines to increase customer participation in your emails.

Optimize Your Emails

85% of the users use smartphones to access emails. Not optimizing your emails for mobiles could mean losing out on a large segment of customers. 

Here are ways you can optimize your emails:

  • Avoid sending long emails where readers have to endlessly scroll through their phones,
  • Keep your subject lines short — up to 30 characters,
  • Check if the images are the correct size for mobiles,
  • Check how your emails look on mobiles before sending it to your email list.

Further, use clear and focused language. If your email marketing newsletter is about ‘saving money’ don’t talk about the job prospects. Highlight important information and keep your email structure easy to read.

Utilize Follow-up Emails 

When timed correctly, follow-up emails maximize the chances of your subscribers responding to your emails. A good rule is to send one follow-up reminder for general emails and 2-3 reminders for important emails. 

You can also use question or quiz-type emails to interest the subscribers and get a reply from them. Open-ended questions like “Are you looking for something like this?” perform well since they usually solve a pain point and encourage the recipient to respond. You may also ask for their opinions and input for your brand or a personal experience that you encountered. 

Use a Clear Call-to-action

Tell your customers what they should do after reading your email; click here to reply or initiate a conversation. Include action words like “hit reply and ask us anything.” 

Follow these tips to write clear and effective CTAs:

  • Include a command verb like “buy now,” “Call us,” “Read,” or “Discover,”
  • Avoid industry jargon and complicated phrases,
  • Use larger fonts and colors to make CTAs pop,
  • Place the CTA below the email header for maximum efficiency,
  • Create a sense of urgency – “Limited deals,” “10% off till tomorrow”,
  • Optimize your CTAs for mobiles.

Personalized CTAs perform 202% better than the basic CTAs. A good method is to use one CTA per email and place it in prominent places, like right below the image or after a short email body copy.

Your email response rate depends on many factors, but strategizing your approach will ensure this metric stays high. 

Industry-Specific Strategies to Increase Email Response Rate

The email response rate could vary across industries due to audience demographics, the nature of products/services, and overall competition. Here’s a guideline to increase email responses for each industry type.


  • Personalize product recommendations based on past purchases or browsing history.
  • Offer support for customer concerns and queries.
  • Use scarcity and urgency tactics to encourage questions and create FOMO.
  • Offer exclusive discounts to incentivize replies.
  • Implement an abandoned cart email sequence to entice recipients to reply.


  • Address specific pain points recipients face in their work or industry.
  • Offer a free consultation or demo to increase the likelihood of email responses.
  • Divide recipients based on job title, industry, or company size to deliver targeted messages.


  • Incorporate user-generated content to build anticipation and trust with your products.
  • Use emotional storytelling to incite a response.
  • Leverage interactive content such as quizzes and games to enhance customer interest. You can use Campaign Refinery’s Engagement Gamification feature to increase open rates, click rates, and, eventually, email responses.
  • Create compelling subject lines and creative designs to gain audience attention.

Financial Sector

  • Focus on building relationships through valuable and educational content.
  • Use personalized recommendations based on the recipient’s financial goals and transactions history.
  • Include limited-time offers to create a sense of urgency.

Healthcare Sector

  • Provide educational content around healthcare and wellness to build expertise.
  • Tailor messages based on healthcare needs and expectations.
  • Include clear call-to-actions to access resources or schedule appointments.

Technology and SaaS

  • Highlight product features and updates that directly address the recipient’s pain points and needs.
  • Offer free trials and demos for recipients to understand your product value.
  • Use personalized incentives and re-targeted campaigns to encourage customers to purchase.

The best way is to highlight your key features and solve common customer challenges in email marketing campaigns. This will eventually increase trust, and more people will reply to your emails.

Although many people follow cold emailing practices to increase email responses, it’s harmful, especially with the security updates Gmail and Yahoo announced, active as of February 1.

There are better ways to get more leads and achieve a higher ROI, which you can read about below.

A Gift for You — Increase Email Response Rate With LMM

High-quality leads obtained through targeted lead-generation efforts and opt-in means are more likely to engage with your emails and respond to them.

Once you know the secret to winning more leads, you never have to turn to cold emails. 

Campaign Refinery aims to provide all serious email marketers with sophisticated tools and features to increase their email marketing revenue. 

And we have a special OFFER for you — gain beta access to one of our leading resources on increasing open rates and click rates of your lead magnets.

Download the Lead Magnet Multiplier Short Course! 

With one trick inside the course, you can achieve up to 756% more clicks to your lead magnet. 

While many factors influence the success of your email response rate, your follow-up strategy is the most important. That means automating your email campaigns to send tailored content to relevant audiences. Should you do it manually? You can, but we don’t recommend it; instead, use email automation software to send emails at the right time.

Campaign Refinery Helps You Send Email That Inspire Response

The email open rate can often influence email response rates — they collectively demonstrate the effectiveness of your email campaigns. A higher open rate also indicates that the emails have been reaching your audiences, keeping your email deliverability intact.

At Campaign Refinery, we ensure the highest deliverability rate for our clients. Consistently, our clients report an increase in their email deliverability rate, of up to 6x since the sign-up. 

We make this happen with our sophisticated automatic list cleaning tool and powerful automation system.

In a nutshell, Campaign Refinery makes sending highly focused and personalized email campaigns easy, wholly based on your email usage and not your email list size.

We invite you to apply and become a client, and we would be happy to help you grow your email subscribers and email revenue the right way!

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