If I asked you to estimate the average open rate for your email marketing campaigns, what would you say? Would it be 25 percent? Maybe more?

Actually, if your response rates are anything like the industry averages recently published by email marketing service MailerMailer, just 10 percent of your contacts are actually opening the emails you send. Even worse, only 2 percent of those leads are engaging with the content in those emails.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement for email as a lead generation and nurturing tool, is it?

Actually, those numbers are more reflective of poor email technique and strategy. With some relatively simple adjustments, sales organizations can achieve far better response rates and yield much greater returns on their email lead-generation and nurturing investment. They just need to approach email a little bit more strategically.

Here are five tips to help you do exactly that:

Segment your list by role, needs, interest and pain points: In all likelihood, your database of leads is a diverse group of people with unique characteristics that can be grouped into distinctive micro-segments. Spend some time studying what those characteristics are—they might be roles, needs, interests and pains—and craft emails that are tailored specifically to the interests of each of those micro-segments.

Align your message with its corresponding segment: Once you’ve segmented your list, try to envision one contact from each segment and then write as if you’re having a one-to-one conversation with that person about his or her unique needs, interests or pains. Also, be sure to use words that are relevant and appropriate to each segment’s unique roles or responsibilities, such as “your staff” or “your IT administrator.”

Write like a human, not a robot: The more formal your email writing feels, the less likely it is that your leads will read it. So, rather than worrying about what your 7th grade English teacher taught you about one-sentence paragraphs or ending sentences with prepositions, try using conversational English in your emails. That will make your email content feel more personal and authentic.

Keep your emails brief: Very few people will take the time to read emails that are longer than a few sentences or paragraphs, particularly if you have yet to establish a relationship with them. It’s better to err on the side of being brief if that translates to your emails being opened more frequently. Once you’ve developed a deeper relationship with your contacts, you can begin to offer meatier content via email, blog post, social media or even a phone conversation, to name a few.

Get creative with subject lines: Unfortunately, this is where a lot of salespeople miss the boat. Rather than thinking from the perspective of what might pique a contact’s interest, they craft subject lines that are product or marketing related. And that approach all but ensures that the email will hit the delete barrier. Of course, creativity is only effective in the proper context. For example this one: “①Open ②Register ③Achieve 60%-plus Margins” clearly wants you to register for something. But, if you want contacts to open, read your email and reply, an alternative to the example above might be: “A strategy to achieve 60%-plus margins.”

Here’s the bottom line: While it may reflect the industry average, a 10 percent open rate isn’t good enough and you shouldn’t aspire to hit that number.

By making the tweaks above, you will be able to craft lead-generation messages that make your contacts feel as though they’re having an individual conversation with you. And, in the end, that will initiate much richer conversations, which almost always leads to more qualified sales prospects long term.

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the newly released book, “The Sales Magnet,” and the award winning book, “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.