Numbers, figures, and data may not be the most exciting and creative bit of marketing; but that’s what helps us know if our plans are working.

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach out to customers, potential customers and leads. It is a direct way to get information about your business into their personal space: their inbox.

But to really know if the email being sent out is driving action or at least getting noticed, you need to analyze your email marketing metrics. Let’s start with the metric we call “open rate”.

Email open rate: What is it? How do I measure it? What is a good open rate for email? How can I increase email open rate?

Have you found yourself asking these questions? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Let’s start from the ground up.

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What is an email open rate?

Open rate for email marketing shows us the number of email recipients who opened the email. This is analyzed in percentages.

For example, if your email open rate shows 60% that means if you sent emails to 100 subscribers, 60 of them were opened. The other 40 emails remained unopened.

Yes, it’s that simple and direct. Email open rate is the measurement of how many of your emails were opened. The effectiveness of the email from there on and whether it compelled people to take further action, is measured with different metrics such as email click-through rate and conversion rate.

Once you master email measurement you can get a lot more from it and drive more business.

What aspects affect an email open rate?

Now that we know what an email open rate is, it is also important to know what different aspects affect an email open rate. Taking a close look at these variables can help you interpret your email campaign results and gain insight into how you stack up against the industry average email open rate, easily and effectively.

Open rate can be influenced by the following parameters:

1. Subject lines

The email subject line is one of the very first things that your recipients see. If the subject line is too weak, vague or irrelevant chances are your email will not be opened by your subscribers.

2. Sender information

Who is sending the email and how easily the recipient recognizes the sender information is another aspect that impacts email open rate. Are emails coming from your CEO’s name and email address or your brand’s name? Testing the sender information on your email marketing campaigns is a great way to see what name your email subscribers resonate with most.

3. Bad timing

Maybe all is perfect but the only thing bringing down your email open rate is bad timing. You may be sending out your emails at the wrong time and this can have an adverse effect on the open rate of your marketing emails. Find the best time to send emails before you send.

4. Segmentation

If you are not segmenting your subscriber list, you will end up sending irrelevant marketing emails to people who may soon stop opening your emails altogether. Segmenting your email list and using tags helps to be more relevant and thus more valuable to your email recipients.

What is a good open rate for email?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions by email marketers, business owners, and entrepreneurs alike.

The simple answer to this is that anything between a 15-25 % is a good email open rate.

However, it’s not that straightforward.

To truly analyze an email open rate and see what really works with your customers, it’s always best to differentiate between open rates on mobile devices, desktop and tablets.

Additionally, every industry in itself has different email marketing benchmarks, and knowing these average industry rates for email is a good place to start.

As reported by Smart Insights, the average open rate across all the industries was 24.7% in 2017.

If you have been wondering how to make your emails more effective or are confused why your emails aren’t driving the results you expected, the best thing to do is start using email tracking software to get all the data you need to make your email campaigns stronger and more effective.

How will email tracking software help? It will enable you to:

  • Pull in-depth engagement reports to access open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, and more.
  • Compare different email campaigns to see what works best
  • Segment contacts to increase relevancy and better results
  • Access reports, data and all supporting email marketing metrics in one place
  • Integrate directly into your Constant Contact account

Good email open rates come with consistent effort

The truth about email open rates is that they get better over time with consistency and just the right amount of hard work.

Consider email marketing as a recipe for your favorite dish. Every ingredient you add has its own flavor and adds to the overall taste.

When looking at the many metrics to analyze the effectiveness of email marketing, all metrics are equally important and deserve equal attention.

It doesn’t matter which email performance metric works best for your business, but only how many people you can get to take the desired action.

But hey, can you make a Pizza without a base?

Email open rates are the very base to your email marketing campaign because no matter how compelling and attractive the offers and information within your emails are, it’s of no use if your customers aren’t even opening them.

That said, give it time. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

You can’t expect a 100% email open rate with the very first campaign or even within the first few ones.

Consistency, persistence, creativity, testing, analyzing, segmenting- these are the ingredients that slowly mix together to create a dish that is not just delicious but an absolute hit amongst your customers.

How to increase email open rate

That brings us to our final question- how does one go ahead and grow from here?

When understanding how to increase your email open rate, you first need to understand and analyze the existing email metrics and data you have in order to know where you are and where you want to go. Here’s how:

First, clean up your subscriber list.

Is your list updated? Are those emails still valid? Are the people on your contact list potential customers? Current customers?

Cleaning up your contact list through a simple re-engagement campaign will not just let you know who your real customers are, but also save you from being ‘junked’ and sent to the spam folder over time.

Send a confirmation email, something like,

‘Hey! We noticed you have not been opening our emails. Would you like to continue receiving our newsletter/promotions?’

This will give your customers a chance to walk out or take notice and hurry back in. And, this gives you a chance to increase your email open rate and have only the really interested, quality contacts on your list.

Second, it’s time to sort out your contact list.

Consider this, you are a passionate biker and often visit this online store to buy biking and safety gear. The same store keeps sending you promotional emails that offer discounts on DIY Candle Making Kits.

Now there are chances that you like both biking and candle making, but that can’t stand true for all biking enthusiasts.

The mistake this store is making is being irrelevant, and that happens when you don’t segment your contact list.

Segmentation allows you to send the right message to the right person.

Third, start experimenting.

Now imagine you are getting ready for an Audrey Hepburn theme party. You put on a classic black gown and add a tiara and lace gloves to complete the look.

You then experiment with your styling and ditch the classic look for a crisp white blouse, a pleated skirt, and pearls.

What you are doing here is seeing which look works better.

Do the same with your email marketing campaigns with A/B Testing. You basically create two looks for the same campaign- look A and look B- to see which one gets more attention.

You can do this to test what subject line, images, and creatives work better with your customer base.

Fourth, sit back and analyze.

When working towards increasing your email open rate you need to constantly sit back, analyze and change strategies along the way.

A recent survey showed that 39% marketers reported higher open rates with segmented lists.

When you see such data, you need to analyze how and if you are segmenting your lists.

Analyzing data will allow you to see the areas that need more attention, the metrics that are working well, and those that need to be resolved.

Are you ready to increase your email open rate?

Are you ready to shift the focus from just sending emails to sending emails that really work?

Start by measuring your email open rate, because frankly, that’s where it all begins. You know you have a great product and you are sure that what’s inside the email is valuable. So why leave any stone unturned in making sure that your email is opened and read?

Your email open rate is like a gateway to increased revenue, better engagement and the cherry on the top: the success of your business.

Email open rate: understand it, analyze it, increase it, master it… NAIL IT!

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