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If there’s one email marketing metric that you need to give your utmost attention to, it’s your average email open rate. Think about it. Your entire campaign hinges on whether your subscribers open your emails or not. And that’s exactly why you need to do everything in your power to improve your email open rates.
So what are open rates and why should you bother with them?
Average email open rate, in terms of email marketing, refers to the percentage of subscribers who opened an email campaign. For example, if you send a campaign out to 10,000 subscribers and 4,500 subscribers open the campaign, your average open rate would be 45%.
However, if there are instances of bounced or undelivered emails, you’ll have to subtract them from your number of total emails sent. Say, in our above example, 300 emails bounced. Your email open rate will then be (9,700/4,500)X100 = 46.39%.
While many marketers put more effort into improving their clickthrough rates, that is putting the cart before the horse if your average open rate is low. Your first port of call in improving your campaigns should always be improving your open rates. Just a slight increase could result in a boost in sales and revenue.
So why is it important to keep track of your open rates?
Your average open rate is an important metric to keep tabs on as it reveals a number of important things, some of them being:
One important factor that your email opens reveal is the state of your email list. If your email list is “unhealthy”, your open rates will plummet. Conversely, good open rates indicate a healthy email list.
Another reason for keeping tabs on your open rate is that it also shows how good your relationship with your customers is. A declining average open rate indicates that your relationship with your customers is going south. Knowing this will help you implement a campaign to help improve customer relationships.
Let’s face it, your subscribers only open your emails for one reason – they find your content valuable. Therefore, a healthy average open rate is a good indicator that your subscribers find your content useful. Once your open rates start dipping, review your c0ontent for any weaknesses.At the end of the day, the most important reason you need to seriously take note of your average open rate is that it’s the difference between your business succeeding or sinking.
I’m sure by now you’re wondering what a good average open rate is. Well, in all honesty, that question doesn’t have a clear cut answer. That’s because open rates are influenced by a number of factors, some of which include:
And this is why you need to understand industry average open rates. These will help you set benchmarks for your own campaigns. Mailchimp’s research revealed that the average open rate across all industries stood at 21.33%. Other interesting takeaways from the report include:
One reason the industries with the highest open rates enjoy such opens is that they are hyper-relevant in terms of what their subscribers are looking for.
So what’s the average open rate in your industry?
Check out Mailchimp’s report and use it to gauge the performance of your campaigns. Remember, it’s not about competing with your industry average open rate – rather, use it as a yardstick to help you improve your campaigns.
|Agriculture and Food Services||Beauty and Personal Care||Business and Finance||Computers and Electronics||Creative Services/Agency||E-Commerce||Education and Training||Entertainment and Events||Games||Government||Health and Fitness||Home and Garden||Insurance||Manufacturing||Marketing and Advertising||Media and Publishing||Medical, Dental, and Healthcare||Non-Profit||Real Estate||Restaurant||Software and Web App|
Now that you understand what average open rate means and its implications on your campaigns, let’s dive into how you can help improve this important metric.
One reason email marketing is so powerful is that it is permission-based. Permission-based marketing means your audience gives you explicit consent to communicate with them concerning the products and services you provide.
When it comes to email marketing, that consent is given when a person subscribes to your email list.Click to preview
While this may seem like an easy thing to do, it does have it’s landmines. For example, you’ll have to ensure that you’re GDPR compliant. Failure to do so could result in your business being on the wrong end of the law. To ensure proper opt-in, ensure you use double opt-in when signing up new subscribers. Single and implicit opt-in could result in a subscriber ignoring future emails or reporting you for spam. This could especially happen if all they wanted from you was one thing, say a downloadable resource, for example.
By following opt-in best practices, you ensure that the quality of your list is good, and that results in good open rates
Once people have signed up for your email list, don’t assume they’ll remain engaged. Research shows that email lists decay by an average of 22% every year. This is exactly why you need to manage your email list – very carefully. Besides the email decay reducing your average open rate, it could also lead to other consequences such as:
So how do you manage and maintain a healthy email list?
Consider these few tips and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy email list and higher open rates:
Regularly maintaining your email list will help you see a great improvement in your open rates. Remember, a healthy email list always results in higher engagement, which is a result of good open rates.
Read More about these 30 strategies for email list building
It goes without saying, if your emails don’t reach their intended destinations, they won’t be opened. In fact, according to a report by Sendgrid, 21% of opt-in emails never reach the inbox. This is why you need to work on ensuring your deliverability rates are high.
So how can you improve your deliverability?
Here are a few pointers:
Segmenting your email list according to subscriber interest gives you a powerful opportunity to cross-sell or upsell. Because the customers in this segment already bought (or showed interest in) a certain product, chances of a well-crafted and highly targeted email can lead them to buy again.
This method of segmentation is especially powerful as:
Email deliverability is a crucial part of improving your average open rate. If it seems like a daunting undertaking, enlist the help of professionals like Inbox Army to help you with it.
Now that your emails have made it into your subscribers’ inboxes, your open rates will automatically improve, right?
Once your emails reach their destination, one of the most critical elements that can drastically improve your average open rate is your subject line.
Your subject line, short as it is, is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal when it comes to improving your open rates. This is why you have to ensure your subject line hooks your readers and compels them to open your email. To do that:
Nailing your subject lines is important when it comes to getting people to click and open your emails. Enlist the help of a great copywriter to help you. Remember, you’re competing with at least 120 other emails in your subscribers’ inbox – in a single day.
Read More about subject lines that get opened easily
Next to the subject line, your pre-header text is the other most important element that helps your subscribers decide whether they want to open your email or not. Preheader text is to your email what the “Johnson Box” was to snail mail. It is a concise summary of what your email is all about and is placed next to or under the subject line. It is another opportunity for you to pitch your email to your reader.
If the pre-header is designed well, more people will open your email.
So, what makes for good preheader text?
Here are some tips for crafting a preheader that will help you improve your average open rate:
When people see the preview of your email in your inbox, you have limited real estate to convince them to open. Used well, this limited real estate (preheader text) can make the difference between an open and an email that disappears into the dark corners of the inbox.
Particularly when onboarding new subscribers (through a welcome campaign), it’s important to let them know what to expect in subsequent emails.Click to preview
How does this impact your average email open rate?
People want to know what they should expect from you. By clearly setting expectations at the beginning, you:
Not only is it important to set expectations, but make sure to meet them as well. Nothing puts subscribers off more than not getting what they’d been promised in a welcome email.
We’ve already talked about personalization in passing. But what is personalization and how does it influence your average open rate.Click to preview
Contrary to popular belief, Email Marketing personalization doesn’t just end with including the recipient’s name in the subject line. Personalization goes further than this and also includes creating content that is:
When your subscribers feel like you know them well and deliver content tailored for them, they’ll definitely consume your content regularly. Your average open rate will shoot through the roof.
Why did your subscribers give you the privilege of being able to reach their inboxes?
In most cases, it’s because you promised to be delivering valuable content to them. And that’s exactly what you need to do. Failure to do so will result in your email open rates tanking.
On the flipside, consistently delivering value in your content will result in an improvement of your average open rate. And here’s how you can ensure that every email you send will be value-packed:
When your subscribers know that every email you send will benefit them, they’ll religiously open your emails.
When it comes to getting your emails opened, timing is everything – well, almost.Click to preview
While there’s no particular day or time that has been proven to increase open rates, it’s advisable to send emails at a time when your subscribers are awake and alert. In most cases, when an email lands in their mailbox, it will likely go unnoticed.
However, getting a notification while they’re awake instills an element of urgency, leading to – you guessed it, an open.
So how do you get the perfect timing?
Through experimentation. Try out different times for each of your segments and see which time gives you the best open rates. However, note that a few factors contribute to your timing, factors such as:
So, check your segments and test, test, test until you find the perfect sending time.
With over 40% of emails being consumed on mobile devices, you just have to ensure all your email templates are mobile responsive. But that’s not the only stat that proves the importance of ensuring your campaigns are mobile-friendly. Consider these 2 (among many):
As long as a subscriber does not engage with your emails for a pre-determined period of time (usually 6 months), they are classified as being inactive. Action needs to be taken with these as they can negatively impact your campaigns and, more importantly, your sender reputation. And that’s one of the main reasons you need to create a segment in your email list for inactive subscribers.
Being mobile responsive is no longer an option. If you want to increase your average open rate, it’s mandatory.
Sure you’re sending emails on behalf of your business. But does that necessarily mean you should use your business’s name in the “from” field?
Well, if you want to increase your opens, it’s best you use a “from” name your recipients will connect to emotionally. And usually, that will be a first name. Here’s an example from CoSchedule:Click to preview
By personalizing the “from” field, the reader will feel like they’re talking to a real person and not just a business. This will influence more readers to open your emails and, of course, improve your open rates. It will also reduce the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam.
Another great way to improve your average email open rates is to run a re-engagement campaign. Re-engagement simply means running a campaign to get inactive subscribers to start engaging with your emails again.Click to preview
In order to nail your engagement campaign:
Running a re-engagement will not only get your open rates to increase, but it will also positively impact your bottom line.
This is where many small businesses miss it. They create a campaign and run it without A/B testing. A/B testing is simply the (good) practice of testing certain elements of your emails to ensure you send the version that is more effective. Elements you should test include:
Create variations of your email and test it by sending it to small portions of your list. The one that drives the more opens (and clickthroughs) is the one you should send to the rest of your list/segment.
Ready to improve your average open rate?
Not so fast.
Before you run off and implement the above tips, let’s quickly clear a few land mines out of the way. Yes, I’m talking bout bad email marketing practices that are harming your campaigns. Let’s get to them, shall we?
One of the worst practices that can lead to your email campaigns tanking is buying or renting an email list. No matter how tempting it is to buy an email list, growing your own is always better. While buying a list may seem like the fastest way of boosting your campaigns, it will cost you in terms of:
At the end of the day, buying an email list is not a shortcut to success, rather, it’s sabotaging your success.
Broadcasting a promotion to an entire list is probably the most common mistake that can hurt your marketing. Because broadcast emails are too generic, they don’t elicit a response in a large section of your audience. Rather than sending a one-size-fits-all email, segment your email list and send personalized campaigns. When a campaign is personalized, it drives more opens, clickthroughs, and ultimately, results.
Number 3 on our list of “bad email habits” is using “no-reply” in your email address field. That just kills relationships.
Your audience will interpret it to mean you do all the talking in the relationship, and their views don’t matter. Your customers need to know that they can easily reach you when they need you. Seeing “no-reply” is a deal-breaker that can cause them to look for another brand that will give them an open communication channel.
No one likes being tricked into making a decision. Yet many marketers play this trick on their customers by using click-baity subject lines. Never promise something in your subject line that you can’t fulfill in your email. This is a total turnoff that could lead to spam reports.
When a person subscribes to your email list, you need to launch a welcome series immediately. No, it won’t make you look desperate, rather, it will show your subscriber that you’re excited to have them in your “family”.
Never, for any reason, delay in sending your welcome campaign. Immediately after they sign up, send the first email. This way, your name and brand will stick in the minds. They won’t have to struggle to remember you when you next send an email.
Improving your average open rate is a critical component of e-commerce success. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not as difficult as it may seem you just need to know how to go about it.
If you need help running and executing email campaigns that move your revenue needle up, don’t hesitate to give us a shout.
In order for your email campaigns to be successful, your emails must first get opened.
Open rates not only tell you whether or not your email campaign is successful, they can also indicate what the problem may be
Content Quality: One of the first things you can learn from your open rate is whether or not your email content is good. If you have a high open rate but a low CTR or conversion rate, that means lots of subscribers are seeing your emails but aren’t being swayed by them. But if your open rate is low and your CTR and conversion rate are high, that means the email content is good but people aren’t actually seeing your emails. In the former case, you should focus on improving the quality of your email content. In the latter, you should focus on increasing open rates
Subject Line Quality: The open rate can indicate how good your subject line is. According to research by Super Office, 33% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. If your open rate is low, then your subject line may need work. But if the open rate is high, that’s a good indication that the subject line is capturing the attention and interest of your subscribers
Delivery Timing: Timing can have a large impact on whether or not your emails get opened.Studies show that emails sent on certain days of the week (Tuesday and Friday) and at certain times of the day (3:00pm) get opened more. But the optimal delivery time varies from industry to industry as well as audience to audience. If your open rate is low, try sending your campaigns at different times of the day and days of the week to find what works best
Delivery Rate: ESPs calculate open rates by dividing the number of people who opened an email by the number of emails that were actually delivered. For example, let’s assume you send out 100 emails. 50 of those emails get opened, but 20 of them bounce. That means your open rate is 62.5% (50/80) as opposed to 50% (50/100). This can make it seem as if you have a high open rate even though your total opens doesn’t reflect that. If your open rate and total opens paint two different pictures, try improving your email delivery rate
Email List Quality: Low open rates can also indicate that your list quality is poor. This can mean that your subscribers aren’t interested in you or your business or that you have outdated email addresses in your list (email addresses that are no longer being used). If your open rates and click through rates are decreasing while your spam complaints and unsubscribes are increasing, then that may indicate poor list quality and you should consider scrubbing your email list
The following are some statistics about average email open rates for different types of emails:
|Email Type||Avg. Open Rate||Source|
|Action-Triggered Emails||45% – 55%||Expert Sender|
|Cart Abandonment Emails||18.64%||Barilliance|
|Order Follow-Up||46.1%||Marketing Insider Group|
|Inactive User/Customer||38.9%||Marketing Insider Group|
ESPs calculate open rates by dividing the number of recipients who open an email by the total number of people who received the email.
For example, if you send 100 emails and 50 of them get opened, then your open rate is 50%.
It’s also important to note that ESPs only count emails that actually make it to a subscriber’s inbox. Emails that bounce don’t count.
So if you send 100 emails, 80 of those emails get delivered, and 50 get opened, then your open rate is 62.5%.
According to research by Super Office, 33% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. If your open rate is low, that may mean your subject line is ineffective.
But your low open rates can also be due to a variety of other factors, including:
Getting your emails read starts with getting your emails opened. You need to grab your subscriber’s interest, then deliver with quality content.
While there are many techniques you can use to get more people to read your emails, start with these powerful methods:
When it comes to conversions, the quality of your email content is far more important than the length.
However, NYU and MIT Professors who studied 5 years worth of email data found that shorter emails are more likely to receive a response. This is likely due to the fact that:
That last point is the most important. Rather than focusing on email length, you should focus on creating clear and concise email copy. Try using these 7 rules for writing clearly and concisely in emails.
Check your email service provider. All ESPs tell you your email open rate (emails opened ÷ emails delivered), click-through rate, which subscribers opened your email, and more.
An email marketing campaign will boost sales depending upon the type of campaign and whether it’s done correctly.
If properly executed, most email marketing campaigns can yield an increase in sales. But some campaigns are more likely to boost sales than others, including:
To execute these campaigns correctly, hire an email marketing expert or an email marketing agency with a proven track record (like Inbox Army).
At its core, reducing your unsubscribe rate is about keeping your subscribers happy.
To keep subscribers happy, try the following:
The cost of your email marketing operation will depend upon a variety of factors, including:
It’s difficult to get good data about how much the average company spends on email marketing, as estimates vary widely.
But as an email marketing agency, we advise all of our clients and consults to invest at least $1,500 – $2,000 per month in email marketing to get good results.
Get in touch to start a conversation.