Winning The Inbox: Reviving Open Rates in a Crowded Email World

👉 Register to attend the 2024 CommerceNext Growth Show on June 11-13 in NYC to learn from 150+ industry leaders about ecommerce and retail growth.

In a world where billions of emails are sent every day, what kind of email can actually draw attention in an inbox? 

In our latest webinar, “Winning the Inbox: Reviving Open Rates in a Crowded Email World,” Engin Yilmaz (Director of Product Management at Red Sift) gave a presentation on BIMI, a new email marketing tactic to improve engagement rates, followed by a panel discussion with Anurag Kadyan (VP, Direct to Consumer & E-Commerce at S’well), Shawna Hausman (Chief Marketing Officer at Health-E Commerce), Houman Akhavan (Chief Marketing Officer at and Iain Hunneybell, Global Head of Information Security at (YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP) to cover best practices for email marketing.



Red Sift breaks up email success into three categories: deliverability, opens and clicks. Working to perfect an email program is difficult, and even with endless testing on subject lines, it’s hard to ensure open and click rates will be where you want them to be—that’s where BIMI comes into play.

What is BIMI?

BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) inserts your brand’s registered trademark in an email to display the logo for users to see. Google is currently piloting this program to help legitimize brand emails. BIMI complements authentication processes such as DMARC, DKIM and SPF. 

In order to apply for BIMI, your brand must be in compliance with DMARC, so make sure to have that sorted before you explore including BIMI.


Brands who already applied for BIMI and received their accreditation saw engagement rates improve by at least 10%. It’s a clear way to help your brand stand out as legitimate and one-up competitors in your field.




Defining a Successful Email Program

  • For Health-E Commerce, success is striking the right balance of education and timely content.
  • S’well focuses on the revenue from the emails and engagement of the consumer as well as any legal/technological standing issues.
  • makes the customer central to everything they do and believes that email can be one of the most profitable channels when a brand delivers the right message at the right time to users.
  • YOOX NET-A-PORTER emphasizes not only the importance of revenue, but also the increased brand awareness that happens through emails.

Creative in Email

With the world slowly starting to open up again, there is a lot of hope and positive energy among consumers. Build on that and create emails that have high excitement scores, with bold color and positive language. At the same time, people are starting to spend more time outdoors and offline, so create emails that are short and snappy.

One-to-one personalization is also an important tactic to integrate if it’s not already part of your strategy. We’re no longer in the days of batch and blast emails—updated technology means that marketers can and should use data to deliver more relevant messaging. Your consumers have a variety of interests, so your messages to them should also vary. Start small and create a roadmap to figure out how you want to slowly build up to more personalized messages.

Testing/Categorizing Subject Lines

There are so many ways you can test subject lines, from campaign type to CTA/keywords to emojis to personalization, and so much more. But, S’well recommends keeping things simple to avoid “analysis paralysis.” 

Start with a hypothesis for your subject lines testing and always keep in mind your ultimate goals. This will help narrow down which categories to focus on during any given time. 

For Health-E Commerce, sometimes it’s difficult to narrow down to only a two-way A/B test, so they will take the four or five great subject line ideas, test them with a small audience and roll out the winner in real time.  

Deliverability Issues (Spoiler Alert: You Likely Have Some)

During the webinar, Red Sift took a look at which companies attending the webinar were eligible for BIMI based on their DMARC and SPF qualifications—the numbers were quite low. This wasn’t surprising for Red Sift or YOOX NET-A-PORTER given their knowledge of how many brands have deliverability issues either because their messages are being filtered into spam or other reasons. 

It’s important for marketers to take the responsibility of upholding these standards and updating their email programs. There is an opportunity here to dive deeper into the marriage of marketing and technology and take ownership over the deliverability and overall success of your email marketing program. 

Improving CTR + Building Email Lists

Our panelists shared a few tips for CTR:

  • Use heat maps to see what people are actually clicking on.
  • Dig into the data to see the pieces driving engagement.
  • Understand that people’s preferences change quickly, so focus on the science and data and let that guide you into the creative part of email marketing.

If you want to grow your email list, make sure you position your brand in terms of the value you provide to the customer, incentivizing them to give an email address. It’s also just as important to focus on “stopping the leak” as acquisition—pay attention to your bounce and unsubscribe rates to find out how to keep your current list happy. Additionally, look to other channels like SMS that might be better suited towards customers who still want access to information about your brand but just need to consume it in a different way. 

Creating successful email campaigns is an iterative and tedious process, but hopefully with these tips you can implement some newness into your strategy. Make sure to stay in touch with CommerceNext as we continue hosting webinars to help your brand learn the newest and trendiest best marketing practices.