How to bring up a snowballing open rate

HubSpot Product Team

When your open rate is low it can be due 1) Poor engagement, 2) Unmonitored inboxes, or 3) Disinteresting subject lines.


In my experience as a HubSpot email consultant number one is by far the most prevalent. People often ask, how can a low open rate be caused by poor engagement aka. a low open rate?


The issue starts if you become known to have a low open rate by ISP's like Gmail and/or Outlook (who provide 62% of all inboxes out there). Once you get this reputation they will start filterring your emails to the spam folder. This obviously causes an even lower open rate, and the issue starts to snowball.





The only way to break out of this cycle is to increase overall open rate by suppressing the contacts who will not open moving forward. How do you know which contacts won't open in the future. Well, unless your Emailstradamus you don't know 100%. However, the best way to take an educated guess is to make a list of the contacts you are currently sending to that haven't ever opened an email from you. Chances are overwhelming that those contacts will continue to not open email.


You can create a HubSpot list of these contacts using the Last marketing email opened date and Marketing emails delivered properties:


Last marketing email opened date is unknown


"But what about the brand new contacts? They haven't had a chance to open yet. I don't want to suppress them." To fix our list for this segment we will want to use a HubSpot default property called Marketing emails delivered. This property increments by one for each email a contact is delivered:


Marketing emails delivered >  X


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OK so now we have the list. What do we do with it? Well the most important thing is to stop sending email to these people. They are dragging down your overall open rate. Suppressing this list mitigates the risk that your future email will go to the spam folder.


Option 2 - If you would like to try one more email before giving up on these folks, then you may be inspired by one of these 9 slick re-engagament campaigns. Otherwise just let them go. 🙂

6 Replies 6
Thought Leader

Excellent post @paxton. Thanks for that.


Would you guys have any info on the impact of sending to those same unengaged contacts using the same email domain, but from another platform?


We've heard tale (from a Vertical Response user) that they beat HubSpot open rates by sending from another platform (using the same email domain). However, this flies in the face of everything we've ever read (or heard) about how email domain reputation follows from platform to platform.


Any news would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.



Note: The date of each post here is increasingly important as HubSpot evolves to be the #1 CRM platform of choice world-wide.

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Hope that helps.


Be well,

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HubSpot Product Team

Hey @MFrankJohnson,

When you change providers any data that ISP's (inbox providers) have on you associated with your domain will not change. However, ISP's also keep sending reputation data associated with IP address and that will be subject to change.


Different ESP's can track opens differently. It mostly comes down to how/if you look for bots. HubSpot will filter out engagement that is clearly from a robot. I do not know if, or how, Vertical Response open tracking may work differently.

HubSpot Product Team

Thanks (as always) for lending your expertise here @paxton!


Tagging a few of our members who have had questions / contributions r.e. email open rates: @bbradley@miker@Hedge@Allison_Moser, @Benzinga, @bkapitzky@Jems212 



How would you respond to an alarmingly poor "open rate" posted here:

TL;DR - significant percentage of known contacts who always respond to our direct emails, are not receiving emails sent from Hubspot.

HubSpot Product Team

If you make a list given the criteria above how many contacts appear on it?


Ultimately, if you stop sending to whatever amount of contacts that is (which have an ROI of virtually 0) your overall open rate will rise, and you will minimize spam folder placement and/or bouncing due to graymail.


Also, DKIM is a no brainer. In your post you mentioned that MXtoolbox failed DKIM. Please ensure that you have set up both the TXT and the two CNAME records for proper DKIM authentication, and that those values match what is in your domain manager exactly


HubSpot Product Team