One of the best features of email marketing is being able to know exactly how many people have opened an email, also known as the open rate. Most other marketing mediums fail to offer this level of insight into the success of a campaign.
Understanding the importance of the open rate and what makes a good open rate for email marketing is essential to monitoring campaigns, evaluating them, and designing even better-performing campaigns in the future.
Some people say that marketing is a mixture of art and science: the copy, the images, and the design can all be seen as art while the data, like an open rate, provides the science.
If marketing data gets you excited like a shot of coffee straight to the veins, then this is the article for you. But even if it doesn’t, learning the ins-and-outs of marketing data is an integral part of designing winning campaigns and cannot be neglected.
Read on to discover more about open rates, what makes a good open rate for email marketing, and how you can use open rate data to tailor your marketing:
What is the average open rate for email campaigns?
Nailing down an average open rate is somewhat difficult because it can vary from industry to industry.
However, the average open rate usually hovers between 15% and 25%. The open rate is calculated by dividing the number of unique opens by the number of bounced emails minus the number of bounced emails. Multiplied by 100, that gives the percentage of opens.
If you are consistently falling below this average, then you’ll want to discover what could be preventing people from taking that step to open your email in order to be able to improve your results and bring in more revenue.
What makes people open an email?
Transforming your below-average open rate into a good open rate for email marketing simply boils down to one thing: getting more people to open your emails. That means optimizing your subject line and preheader text, the first things a subscriber will see when your email lands in their inbox.
You need your subject line to inspire your subscribers to take the next step. Is your subject line written in a way that people can’t resist? There are a number of ways to craft effective email subject lines, but follow these basic guidelines to increase your email open rate:
1. Keep it short and sweet.
Save the big sell job for the body of the email. Also, remember that 75% of people claim they use their smartphone to check email most often. This means less screen real estate for long subject lines. A prematurely cut-off subject line could leave out important details and cause a subscriber to direct your email right into the trash bin.
2. Create a sense of urgency.
Of course, you don’t want to create false hype because that will only cause people to stop taking your urgency seriously in future emails. Use the subject line to make it clear that this email cannot wait to be read.
3. Avoid any words that sound like spam.
Email users have been conditioned to avoid suspicious sounding email subjects and you definitely don’t want your email campaign to end up in the spam folder alongside scammers. Make the subject line of your email clear and easy to understand.
4. Add personalization to your email campaigns.
A person is much more likely to open an email they feel is personalized specifically for them. This could be as simple as including their name in the subject line or sending out regular emails for special events like birthdays.
Source: Really Good Emails
Why are email open rates up but revenue isn’t?
Let’s say your email campaigns perform well when it comes to the open rate. You hover near the top of the average open rate at around 25%. However, you are not noticing any change in sales. How could this be?
Email open rate is a very valuable piece of data because it can help you pinpoint the weakness in your marketing funnel. If your open rates are high but your bottom line is unchanged, then there is a problem somewhere within the funnel.
Since the open rate is high, we can assume that the subject lines are well-written. People obviously saw enough value in the subject line of the email to decide to read further. After opening the email, subscribers should follow the marketing funnel by visiting your website, putting an item or service into their shopping cart, and then making a purchase. Somewhere along the line, you’re losing people and examining the data can help you determine where the problem occurs in your customer journey.
For example, subscribers may open the email at a high rate, but you fail to notice an increase in your website traffic. This reveals that the message within the email wasn’t effective enough to convince people to visit your website.
Other marketers may notice a high open rate, increased traffic, but no increase in sales. This could reflect poor website layout, non-competitive prices, poor product selection, or any number of other issues. Once the problem has been identified, you can go about fixing it.
However, you can’t fix a problem when you don’t know it exists, which is why tracking data like your email open rate is so important.
How do you email open rates over time?
An email open rate is a snapshot look at a specific email marketing campaign. However, you can also use your open rate to determine the behavior of your subscribers over time. As you track email open rates from campaign to campaign, you can begin to identify trends and, if needed, make necessary changes before a trend becomes a problem.
The obvious trend you want to be wary of is a trend that shows decreasing email open rates over time, a clear sign of fatigue among subscribers. This shows that your subscribers are becoming less excited about your content, your company, or maybe both. If the trend doesn’t change, then they may decide to unsubscribe completely.
So, how can you combat fatigue? First, you need to analyze the types of emails you are sending and how often. Constant emails with similar sell messages are no longer unique and exciting but, rather, expected. If your subscriber already knows what’ll be in your email before they even open it, then they have no reason to open it.
Next, you need to create a solution to the problem. How do you bring them back to being the dedicated subscribers that they used to be?
It may be as simple as changing things up. Try using your email campaigns to promote high-value content, like blogs or videos subscribers may find helpful. Remember, every email campaign doesn’t necessarily have to be a sales campaign.
In addition to watching for long-term trends, monitoring email open rates over time helps you identify which campaigns consistently get the best responses. If you notice that subscribers respond strongly to video content, then you may want to incorporate more into your emails when appropriate, leading to more opens, more clicks, and more conversions.
Source: Really Good Emails
The email open rate is an incredibly important statistic for marketers. Comparing your numbers to the average can help you understand how your emails are performing, as long as you keep in mind that the average varies based on industry.
Tracking changes in your open rates over time and comparing open rates with traffic or revenue increases can give you valuable insight into what is going well with your marketing and what could be improved. After all, your marketing is only as good as your weakest results.
When you know where your results fall short, you can focus on improving them, leading to better ROI, greater traffic, and overall brand loyalty from the audience that matters most, your customers.