You might encounter a mystery when you check your open rates. Along with the standard opens from each of your readers, you might find a few people who open your message more than once.

Why would someone open your email more than once?

The answer is simple: There are four different kinds of people who are reading your emails, and each of them has a different reason for multiple opens.

Let’s look at these four readers and figure out why your emails are getting opened so often.

The Rabid Fan

This Person…
Loves your business and loves your emails. This customer values your content so much they keep going back for more.

Should make it easy for these customers to spread the love. They’re obviously excited about your business, so put them to work for you. Add social sharing buttons to your emails so your rabid fan-types can spread their favorite articles and emails to their friends, giving your business more exposure in the process.

The Email Sharer

This Person…
Values your content enough that they think it will be useful to someone else, too. When that person’s friend opens the email, it’s counted as an open from the original subscriber’s email address.

Should encourage all your readers to forward your emails if they find them fun or helpful (Unless your email campaign is part of a special, “members-only” package). Make it pay off even more for you by linking to your sign up page at the end of every email. That way, if your email gets forwarded around, the “forwardees” can join your list if they also find your message useful.

The Mobile Reader

This Person…
Likes your emails enough to open them on the go, but might not be able to read your email easily on a small smartphone screen.

This means two things for your email campaign, one good and one not-as-good, but fixable. The good part: your customer likes your email enough to read it a second time at home on the computer with a bigger screen. The bad part: this probably means your emails aren’t easy to read on a mobile device, making it less convenient for your readers.

Should follow these mobile design tips to make your emails easier to read on the small screen.

The Preview Pane-er

This Person…
Isn’t actually opening your email several times. For people with preview panes enabled in their email programs, your email can display in the preview widow as they scroll through messages in their inbox.

Open rates are calculated using a tiny, invisible image embedded in your email (your email service does this automatically). Each time the image gets loaded, it’s counted as an open. Because of this, those preview pane “fly-bys” display as opens, even though your message wasn’t fully opened and possibly not even read.

Can address these preview pane readers by making sure your most important information is at the top of your message. We have some tips for preview pane design you can keep in mind to make sure your message gets across, even if the email isn’t officially “opened.”

The Comic Sharer

Share this knowledge with your friends! Understanding who’s reading your emails can help you make your campaign even better:

4 kinds of people reading your email

Discussion time: Are multiple opens important to you? Or do you only pay attention to unique opens? Why do you value one or the other?