Do you know what is a good open rate for email and how your open rate compares to your competitors?
Does it feel like you’re just sending emails into the void? Maybe you know that you need an email list, but you’re not sure what to do with it.
Email marketing can feel like that sometimes, but the good news is it doesn’t have to be complicated!
Clients want to drive traffic to their website to get new sign-ups for their email newsletter with the hope that these leads will convert into new customers. However, these sign-ups don’t offer a lot of value if your newsletter campaigns aren’t encouraging sales, loyalty, referrals, or some other revenue-driving outcome.
As SEO and email marketing often work together to drive business goals, we’ve decided to go into the nitty-gritty for a better understanding of what is a good open rate for email and how you can improve it to motivate your customers.
What Is An Email Open Rate?
The email open rate is defined as how many recipients open an email after receiving it. The email open rate is calculated by:
(opened emails / emails delivered) x 100.
Some calculations also factor in the number of bounced emails and subtract that number from the total email recipients. Lucky for us, technology does all the math for you. Most email marketing platforms automatically calculate the email open rate and list it alongside other important metrics for each email campaign.
Average Email Open Rates
To stand apart from the crowd, you need to work on your email marketing strategy by building trust and creating engaging content. While industry averages shouldn’t limit you, they can be helpful for getting a gauge of where the rest of your competition likely stands.
We’ve included this graph from HubSpot that shows open rate averages for email by industry.
What Is A Good Email Open Rate?
Your open rate is one of the biggest considerations when determining the success of a marketing campaign. While a good rate my vary by industry and may vary even more depending on your business and historical campaign averages, the general rule is to aim for an open rate of around 21% or higher.
Remember, this is just an average benchmark, and the goals of your organization may differ depending on the rates you’ve had in the past and the size of your email lists. Above all, you want to focus on building a quality email list of engaged subscribers and providing them with quality content.
Why Are Email Open Rates Important
Sure, email marketing is one of the oldest marketing channels. But this oldie is also a goodie.
Despite a seemingly archaic format, email marketing consistently demonstrates a powerful ROI. Depending on the study, email marketing can yield a 3,800%–4,400% return on investment. That means for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you have the potential to get back $38–$44! (Influencer Marketing Hub)
It might be one of the oldest digital marketing channels, but it’s still kicking! So how can you take advantage of this? You guessed it: keep an eye on your open rates.
Open rates for email are a great indicator of how engaged your email subscribers are in your content and your brand. A low open rate could mean your content is lacking or you’re reaching the wrong people. A healthy rate means subscribers are picking up what you’re putting down – and are, in turn, more likely to convert into paying customers.
How To Track Your Email Open Rate
Most email marketing programs like MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Kalviyo will automatically keep track of open rates and other valuable metrics. Reviewing your program’s analytics dashboard should give you a good idea of how your rates have changed over time and across segments.
You can also track your email open rates in Google Analytics to glean deeper insights such as:
- Time email visitors spend on your website.
- The number of pages email visitors look at.
- Sales or service requests contributed by email visitors.
By keeping track of your email open rate over time, you can get a sense of what’s working and what’s not. Pay particular attention to the following:
- Newsletter topics
- Subject lines
- Send date (day of the week)
- Send time
You may find that emails sent on a Monday morning have a higher open rate than those sent on a Sunday. Use that information and schedule your most important emails for Monday mornings. Another example could be that subject lines that ask a question are opened more frequently. Use that strategy when writing subject lines in the future.
Keep an ongoing list of what kind of content generates the highest open rates, and audit it monthly!
How To Increase Open Rates for Email
Are your email newsletter open rates less than ideal? Don’t despair! Here are 5 simple things you can do to boost the open rate on your campaigns:
1. Clean Your Address Book
Before you start changing everything at once, take a look at your address book. It’s possible that there’s nothing wrong with your content, subject lines, or timing. If your address book is filled with unengaged subscribers, low-quality email leads, or (worst of all) purchased email lists, your open rates will suffer.
Purge your email lists regularly by deleting subscribers with very low engagement. By preserving only your high-quality leads, you’ll see better open rates, better conversion, and a cheaper email plan! Why pay for extra subscribers that don’t care about your content anyway?
2. Segment Your Audience
If your business has multiple divisions, or if you’re in the habit of sending different types of content, then you should definitely be segmenting your audience. This is all about targeting subscribers and sending them the type of content they care about most.
We all know that in marketing, personalization is key. Sending audience-specific emails creates stronger campaigns than if you’re just sending a ton of generic emails.
If you have a very large list without any obvious differences between subscribers, then you can segment based on location, engagement levels, or website activity. Even this level of segmentation will usually yield better open rates and conversion – provided you personalize the email content too!
3. A/B Test Your Subject Lines
The subject line of your email is the most important first impression you make. If it’s boring or repetitive, you risk having your emails deleted or marked as junk.
Try creating subject lines that focus on a benefit to the recipient or one that piques their curiosity and compels them to find out more by opening the email. By creating urgency and “FOMO” (fear of missing out), recipients are more likely to open the email right away.
Another way to gather data on subject line success is by creating A/B tests.
All modern email marketing platforms should provide this feature. The email platform will divide your audience or segment in half, sending group A one email and group B the other. This allows you to send two identical emails with different subject lines to see which one generates a higher open rate. You can A/B test many different factors, from subject lines, CTAs, and the content itself.
Remember to only change ONE thing per test. Otherwise, you won’t know which change brought about the better results.
4. Brand Your Newsletters
Every digital asset you share with the world should have your company branding. You want your emails to look like your website so that customers recognize and trust you. If your emails are missing out on key elements, like your brand logo, recipients are more likely to be scared off and mark your email as Spam.
You can also brand your From line so that subscribers will recognize you in their inbox. This is easily done in the settings of your email marketing platform. Branding your From line means that when you send an email, it will appear as From: Business Name. Placing your brand, product, or service in the From line help to build familiarity and credibility over time.
5. Look At Your Email Campaign Schedule
If you’re sending emails every day, your audience might get worn out. Inversely, if you only send out one email per year, your audience will likely forget about you. It’s important to strike the right balance between too often and too sparingly for your email list.
Consider the purpose of your messages, and don’t be afraid to ask recipients how often they want to receive emails! If you have a lot of email segments, you can also give them the option of selecting which type of emails they want to subscribe to. This helps keep your audience engaged and your open rates high!
Now that you’re a master of email open rates, why not learn about Click Through Rates for your website in SERP results?
Looking For More SEO Insights?
Our team of experts here at 1st on the List are happy to help!