We just launched a newsletter for a client and they are asking if there is an industry average or range for total HTML opened and Unique HTML opened. Thanks.
I think you need to educate your client (hard, I know...) that there are no meaningful industry averages as it depends on so many factors: the quality of the list in particular but also the sector, the recipient's job function/seniority, the subject line and how compelling the content and the call-to-action.
If you do come up with a benchmark, you'll set your client's expectations - better make sure you exceed them...
I would also question their specific interest in HTML opens. I've never been a fan of opens as a measure of performance as it's too flaky in my opinion - they don't measure plain text reads and they don't work with images blocked - even recording an open doesn't mean that the recipient is actually engaged.
I think it's better to focus on the segment that takes an action by clicking-through and also track them at the website end through web analytics (eg Google Analytics) using tracking parameters appended to the urls in the email.
With the addition of a url re-direct at the web end, you can also track visitors clicking through from the plain text version in analytics but without forcing them to see a horribly unattractive url in the email message!
Your client can then use the available email/web stats to compare each enewsletter to the previous i.e. is it improving, which is the much better measure of performance I think.
Hope that helps
Thank you for sharing your insights and wisdom on setting expectations on specific performance indicators.
I wish you well in your business launch and like your website (thus far)!
Raising The Standard, LLC
Thanks, though it's embarassing to admit that Blue Snapper's been in business for 9 years and so has our previous website (without any updates!) I think the expression is "The cobbler's children go barefoot..."
If I can help out with suggestions on measuring the performance of your eNewsletter, I'd be happy to - feel free to drop me a line.