7 Steps to Get Your Messages Opened

Sure, if patients are waiting for crucial results on serious conditions, regardless of what you say in your subject line, they will open it.  They’ve been anxious to get this email.

But what about all the messages you get out because they will be helpful to the readers; or the prospective patients that you are trying to attract?

Getting readers to open your messages are called simply enough, the “open rate”.  How do you increase it?

Did you know that 85% of viewers will delete your messages without even opening them if your subject line is boring, not relevant, and doesn’t stand out?

So, how do you increase your open rate?

Open Rate Strategy

The key to increasing your open rate is fixing your subject line and headline.

Here are some steps that you can follow.

1) Tell it Like it Is

No one wants to be drawn into a message only to find a major disconnect between the subject line and the message content. When someone feels tricked into opening the email, you are sure to boost your unsubscribes and spam reports….not exactly what you should be striving for! Forget about “Free Money”, “Good News”, “Tax Audit” and any headlines that raise the blood pressure. You won’t be getting the response you hope for.

2) Make it Personal

People respond to email that is addressed to them.  The message feels that it was meant for them instead of an email blast to the world.

According to The DMA 2014 Statistical Fact Book,  12.9% of emails with a personalized subject line were
opened compared to 9.8% which didn’t.

Consider what you know about your patients or subscribers.  Include the following data in the subject line to catch the eye of your reader:

  • First Name
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Medical Issues
  • Kids
  • Marital Status

3) Be Explicit

Studies show that headlines specific to email content perform the highest. Using numbers, results and percentages in the subject line perform the best. Don’t try to be clever, just answer the question for the reader “What’s In It for Me?”

4) Optimize the Email for Search Engines (SEO) and Readers

Incorporate your keywords into the subject line so that the search engines as well as your readers know what the message is all about.  Consider which words your audience is typing in when they are searching for the topic that you are writing about.  When someone is surfing and wants solutions to problems, having the topic in the subject line will surely get a click-through.

5) Keep it Short

Restrict your subject lines to 50 characters to prevent being cut off by many readers.  An incomplete line will be deleted as it fails to reflect your content and appears amateurish.

6) Optimal Word Count

According to a study by  Retention Science after evaluating more than 260 million delivered emails and 540 campaigns found:

  •  6-10 word Subject Lines have a 21% open rate
  • 5 or less words Subject Lines have a 16% open rate
  • 11-15 words Subject Lines have a 14% open rate

Word counts greater than 15 words were typically not opened.  Who has the patience for those?

Instead, delete all unnecessary words that don’t contribute to the meaning, and use symbols or abbreviations.

7) There is Still a place for Free


Yes, people do respond to this word.  It evokes curiosity, glee and greed all at the same time.  Having free in the subject line still works to get readers opening your emails.  The trick is to keep the email from being identified as spam and going to the spam box without ever being viewed.  Don’t make it all upper case or with an exclamation point.  Some people put dashes between the letters or a period to keep search engines from picking up on the word and don’t make it the first word in your subject line.

Perhaps you are thinking that as a professional, there is never a time when free could be or should be used.  This is actually not true.  You can still be ethical and not look cheesy by offering the following “free” items:

  • Free Case Study
  • Free Tip Sheet
  • Free Ebook
  • Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

This is information that you want to get out and offering it for free just makes it more attractive to obtain.

Try these steps and let us know in the comment box how it increased your numbers.

Til Next Time! The Medical Strategist




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