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You may be wondering: What is a good email open rate for 2019? And how about click-through rates? Are they related? Can these metrics be improved?

In other words, you may be worrying about your upcoming campaigns.

If you’re concerned that 2019 may be a challenging year for digital marketing, don’t worry. We have answers to simplify the months ahead.

Email marketing: Still a workhorse for digital marketing initiatives

You may be wondering whether 2019 is going to be a tough digital marketing landscape with all the online advertising clutter. While it’s true that some aspects of digital marketing are much harder than they used to be, that’s not the case across the board.

For example, gaining exposure for your Facebook page posts is much more difficult now than in the past. Facebook changed their algorithms in recent years to make unpaid posts less visible to followers. (Facebook, of course, wants your business to spend money on their ad services.)

What about email?

Email, surprisingly, continues to see great results in the online marketing world since your emails reach customers directly. There’s no need to concern yourself with ever-changing algorithms in order to be seen.

A review of important email metrics

As a digital marketer, you want to know if your email campaigns are on target or failing. The more information and data you can gather about actual customer engagement with your email campaigns, the better.

By tracking email delivery rates, open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, and more, you can better understand what you’re doing right, and what might be going wrong in your email marketing.

When using Campaign Monitor and some of other email service providers, you get access to some of the most detailed email analytics in the industry.

But it’s important to be clear on what these metrics actually track. For example: Do you know what a bounce rate is vs. a delivery rate?

Let’s take a look at some common email metrics you need to know.

What’s the difference between delivery rates and bounce rates?

Delivery rate refers to the percentage of emails that reach their intended inboxes. It’s not the same as an open rate (which we’ll talk about below). It simply means the email was successfully delivered.

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of emails that bounce back. An unsuccessful delivery isn’t necessarily counted in the bounce rate. An email actually has to bounce (return to your email program) to count as part of the bounce rate. Emails can go undelivered because of a number of things, like an issue with the mail server.

Bounce rates can include soft and hard bounces. If a person has a temporary stoppage of email, most likely due to a full email box, that’s a soft bounce. A hard bounce is for an email address that no longer exists. You should try to keep your bounce rate under 2%.

What’s a good email open rate for 2019? What about click-through rates?

The open rate is the percentage of people who open your email. The click-through rate, on the other hand, is the percentage of subscribers who click a link within your email.

Out of the two, the click-through rate is the most important metric for lead generation. If people read your emails but fail to take the action you want (visiting your site and buying/donating), then your emails still have some work to do. High open rates, however, are valuable when trying to build brand awareness and relationships.

You’re probably looking for a “good” open rate or click-through rate, but good rates actually depend upon your particular industry. (See the rates for your industry here.) It also depends on the type of device–mobile or desktop.

Open rates have been historically better on desktop computers than mobile devices. However, mobile email marketing has gained traction over the last decade, as you probably understand from first-hand experience. Almost half of all emails are read on mobile devices now, meaning mobile could potentially dominate email marketing.

Open rates also depend on the type of email campaign: triggered, autoresponder, and newsletter. Triggered (requested emails) and autoresponders, of course, get higher open rates (45.70% and 34.80%) than newsletters (22.83%).

Click-through rates, depending on the industry, can range from 1% to almost 5%. Expect a click-through rate of 2.5%, but shoot for at least 4% as a goal (unless it’s just not feasible for your industry).

Pro tip: if you see a company claiming it gets a click-through rate of 10% or more, be suspicious. Click-through rates are naturally lower than this because emails must first get into inboxes and be opened.

Categories like hobbies and publishing tend to get higher click-throughs, which makes sense. For example, a content website that sends relevant new articles would probably get a higher average click-through rate than something solely promotion-based.

To get the best idea of what your business should be targeting for click-through rates, do some research on your industry.

What is CTOR (click-to-open rate)?

Your click-to-open rate or CTOR is another critical metric to track, even more than your open rate. The CTOR is a measure of how many click-throughs your opened emails are receiving. Click-through rates are based on clicks per subscribers. CTOR tracks clicks per opens (or reads).

In other words, CTOR measures the effectiveness of your email copy. Once people open your email, how many people take action?

For example, let’s say that you have one campaign where 1,000 emails were opened, but 10 people clicked (1% CTOR). In another campaign, 500 emails were opened, with 10 people clicking (2% CTOR). Which campaign is more effective? The second one. This effectiveness is what click-to-open rates chart.

And, in actuality, both of these campaigns were fairly ineffective–you really want a CTOR of 20 to 30% when promoting something. For triggered emails, it should be even higher, perhaps 30 to 40%.

Wondering how to improve your CTOR or any of these metrics now that you know what they are? Keep reading.

How to improve your email open rates, click-through rates, and CTOR

Ultimately, the goal of improving your email metrics such as opens, click-through rates, and CTOR is to improve sales. (Or, in the case of some online publishers, improve traffic to improve sales of advertising.)

You could create the most-read newsletter on the planet, but remember, it also needs monetization.

Here are three main points to consider when trying to improve your email marketing metrics for 2019:

1. Set realistic goals

As we talked about above, a good click-through rate is 4%. Don’t set a ridiculous goal like 100%. Unless your campaign only has a single faithful subscriber, it’s unlikely you’ll reach this kind of goal.

2. Write great copy

You need to add value to your email marketing campaigns. Don’t just slam subscribers with sales pitches.

Write high-quality, informative copy. Check out Campaign Monitor’s guide to cultivating loyal readers from your email newsletter.

3. Run A/B campaigns to test your copy

Don’t just guess about what type of copy works. Test it. Use A/B testing to see which version of your copy gets more customer engagement.

You might need to do this multiple times to get the right tone for your email campaign or newsletter. Even if your campaigns are doing pretty well, this testing should also be done periodically to ensure your emails still have the desired effect.

4. Clean up your lists periodically

If you’re getting low delivery rates and high bounce rates, it’s time to clean up your email list. Get rid of the dead weight. Sometimes, you can improve your email effectiveness by reducing the size of your list.

Send an email to your subscribers, inviting them to opt-in and continue hearing from you. While you don’t necessarily need to drop everyone who neglects to respond immediately, you can put non-responders into a “lapsed segment” and look at other strategies to re-engage them.

Wrap up

To summarize, knowing your open rates, click-through rates, and CTOR stats can improve your email marketing campaigns. At the ver least, understanding these metrics will let you know when you need to sit down and revamp your email marketing strategy.

The good news is, email marketing is still a great way to market in 2019. Just remember:

  1. Set realistic goals
  2. Write good copy
  3. Run A/B campaigns to test your copy
  4. Clean up your lists periodically

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a leg up over your competition.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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