My last campaign was sent to 350 contacts who have had direct contact with us through business or exhibitions. The campaign snapshot says we had 105 opens, and 45 bounced.
Firstly, this seems a low open rate for what should be an audience actively interested in our services. Am I being unrealistic here?
I've been reading up on spam filters and am considering that the content was possibly blocked for a number of subscribers. Would that be represented by a 'not opened' mark or a 'bounced'?
There are too many variables to narrow down how realistic an open rate should be. Every product & service is different, and every audience will respond in a different way. As I've told many clients, "the time of the day and which way the wind blows can determine how well your campaign does".
Also, your subject line (and the preview pane for some) can make or break an e-mail campaign real quick.
If that doesn't satisfy your thirst for a straight answer, then here are some conservative estimates:
People who don't know you - 5-20%
People who know you but haven't used your service - 15-40%+
People who have used your service - 20%+
Don't forget that those with images disabled (a good chunk of the market) will not show as an open. Also, if people find your e-mails to be.. well.. boring or not grabbing their attention, there's a good chance they'll delete what you send in the future without unsubscribing.
The best way to judge an e-mail campaign is by the action requested and the action taken. Click-through rates are a nice measurement, although rates can vary greatly on those too.
Just remember - Not everyone was prepared to receive your message at that moment, not everyone cares to view it at that moment (or ever for some), not every spam filter will let you walk through the door, and not everyone feels the need to click every link they come across. :-)
Thank you BThies, a very comprehensive answer.
It makes me question why CM chooses to show click through rates as a percentage of opened campaigns when this open figure is likely far from accurate. Choosing to calculate click throughs from (total sent minus bounced) seems a more logical way to do this. This is probably for a separate topic though :)