Posted by Hannah Lapin ● Jul 9, 2020 9:00:00 AM

4 Factors Impacting Open Rate

Lots of Emails

How many emails do you get in a day, and what makes you decide to open them, delete them immediately or mark them as spam? This is the essence of open rate, a metric that measures the percent of email recipients who open a given email.

For instance, if you send an email to 500 people and 50 open it, your email has a 10% open rate. Though email open rates vary by industry, Constant Contact says 16% is a good initial goal. So, how can you get 6% more people to open your email? Email open rates are an art, and there are several factors that go into the millisecond decision of whether or not to open an email. Let’s dive in to four of these factors and see how they play out in the real estate industry: subject line, time of day, sender, and quality of your list.

Subject Line

A subject line is the first text you see about the content of an email. 

Subject Line-1

This is really an opportunity to draw in your audience. Here are some best practices to implement into your subject lines:

  • Keep it short. Most email providers only show up to 50 characters of your subject line. Further, shorter subject lines draw attention faster. Which is catchier? “New Low Rates!” or “Visio Lending, the nation’s leader in rental loans, is offering our borrowers lower rates.” As a rule of thumb, Constant Contact suggests aiming for 4-7 words.
  • Be clear and concise without over-promising. Your subject line should convey what your email is about and not be misleading. Which is more trustworthy? “New Low Rates and Product Offerings” or “Best Rates and Products in the World”
  • Avoid excessive punctuation. Do not over use all caps or exclamation marks. Does this seem eye catching and reliable? “New Low Rates!!!!!!!!!!!!” or “LOW RATES AND HIGH LTVS”

Time of Day 

Are you more likely to open an email at 10 AM or at 1 AM? On a Saturday or a Monday? We researched several trusted industry sources to see the best time to send an email:

  • MailChimp: Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 10 AM and 12 PM
  • SevenAtoms: Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday between 9 AM and 5 PM
  • VerticalResponse: Weekends early morning or late at night

All of these brands are incredibly trust-worthy, so which is right? The answer is, it doesn't matter what works best for these brands but what works best for YOUR brand. Think about what you know about your email list and their habits. Are they busiest in the mornings, evenings, etc.? Then do some testing to see if you can determine the optimal email time for highest engagement.

Example of impact on time of day


The email address you send your emails as and who you list your names as matters. Let's look at what to do and the impact of each.

  • Name: It is important to put a recognizable name. For example, I send out all of Visio's marketing emails, but I do not put "Hannah Lapin" as the sender. Instead, we put "Visio Lending," since we have brand recognition.
  • Email Address: It is important that you use an email address that can take replies, so your audience can engage with your email. Do not use a "no-reply" email address.

Quality of Your Email List

If you want your audience to open your emails, make sure they actually want to hear from you. The key to do this is to organically build contacts and trust. Purchased lists are not only less likely to engage with your emails, but also could hurt your reputation as a sender in mail groups like Google and Outlook. If you are flagged as spam too much, email providers will block you.

In order to improve your open rates and monitor your sending time, we recommend signing up for an email marketing platform with reporting capabilities, such as Constant Contact.  Sign up for your FREE 60-day trial here. For additional marketing tools, see our Marketing Solutions Resource Page

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Related: 7 Components of a Social Media Marketing Strategy, Why Small Businesses Need Email Marketing Platforms

Topics: Brokers, Real Estate Marketing, Broker Marketing