How many times have you lost sleep over open rates and click-through rates? As an e-mail marketer, you probably take these two metrics to gauge just how effective your marketing efforts are. Open rates and click-through rates are good measures because you could easily increase these using some best practices. If you have an e-mail service like Mail Dog, you can also gain insights on just how your e-mails are working. With the reports you get from Mail Dog, you do not only get to know the numbers, but you also get help on how to improve these numbers.
In 2011, MarketingProfs.com reported that open rates for all e-mails fell 9 percentage points to 17% in 2010. But taking a look at the different industries tracked by the report, it showed that those with the highest open rates at more than 20% are pharmaceutical, insurance, government and financial. Three industries that fell flat, registering only open rates of less than 10% are entertainment, retail and technology.
So while we have an accepted average of what a good open rate is, that can change depending on a lot of factors, including the industry your company belongs to. This means that a published average might not be applicable to your e-mail efforts because of the following factors that change what a good open rate is for you.
Factors Which Can Affect Your Open Rates
- The size of your address list.
Bigger lists are known to have lower open rates.
- The people in your list.
If your recipients are typically busy people, then you should not be worried about lower than average open rates.
- What you are sending.
Newsletters typically have higher open rates than marketing and sales messages.
- Images turned off by default.
Open rates are measured by tracking how many times a particular image in your e-mail was accessed. If the recipient turns off image loading on their e-mail clients by default, there is no way to know that unless they click on something in your e-mail.When looking for a benchmark for your open rates, try to look for an average that is relevant for your company. For example, if you are sending out marketing messages for a clothing line, take a look at the averages for the fashion industry.
Best Practices To Increase Open Rates
- Downsize your list.
Break down large lists into smaller ones so that you could further fine-tune your e-mail message and make sure that a larger percentage of your list is targeted and interested in what you have to offer.
- Use a sender and subject line that works.
These are the only two elements that push a recipient to read your mail, so make sure that you get a feel of what works for your lists. At the beginning, do some A/B testing on different subject lines and sender names to get to know what would drive more people to open your e-mail.
a. Do not use email@example.com as the sender name. Instead use a real employee’s name, such as Christine Mullaly. Better yet, set your list so that it looks like the e-mail came from the CEO or a known company representative.
b. Avoid using “free,” “reminder,” “help,” and “discount” in the subject line. Instead of saying Free Information on ABC Product, why not make it more interesting such as 4 Facts About ABC That You Can’t Live Without.
c. Provide the local area in your subjects, i.e. Try this great restaurant in New York City.
d. Do not reuse subject lines.
e. Short, simple and direct to the point subjects are the best.
- Avoid setting off spam filters.
Spam filters look for common phrases and words in your e-mail to determine whether it should be sent to the inbox or the spam folder. Do not use all capital letters and having too many exclamation points anywhere. Also, choose any one of Mail Dog’s e-mail templates to make sure that you do not use sloppy HTML, which would trigger spam filters.With Mail Dog’s reports, you can actually know which of your e-mails are opened and by who.Take into consideration if a lot of people from the same mailing service do not open your e-mail. For example, if you notice that in your list of 1,000 people, nobody with a yahoo.com or gmail.com e-mail account opened your e-mails. This might mean that your emails are being marked as spam, if they are delivered at all.
- Do not think that it’s a waste to remove an e-mail address.
Mail Dog’s reports tells you what e-mail addresses are not working for you: those that don’t get delivered, and those that do not consistently open your e-mail. You might want to remove these from your list, or try to engage them more by sending them a different type of e-mail that would tell you what they are interested in.
Click-through rates for all e-mails, according to a MarketingProfs.com article, averaged at 3%. With the lower number of open rates, it is not unusual to have a click-through rate that is in the single digits.
A higher click-through rate is indicative that you have a good e-mail marketing campaign. So if you have a lower CTR, do not fret, you may need to do some changes that could improve it.
Best Practices to Increase CTR
You could apply the best practices for improving open rates to your CTR, but in addition to that, you should:
- Optimize your e-mail for mobile devices
Your e-mail should be a teaser of what you sell. If you have a low CTR, you might be giving away too much in your e-mail that there is really no reason to click on any links to find out more. Either that or your e-mail is boring them. Another way to optimize your e-mail is to make sure that it displays well both on desktop computers and mobile phones.
- Tailor your newsletters by your users click-actions
Mail Dog’s reports tell you what links are being clicked and by whom. This should give you an idea on what type of links are working. Is it a graphical call to action button? Is it the link placed prominently on the page before scrolling down or the one at the bottom of the e-mail? You can take your cue from this insight and do more of what works for your recipients.
- Add plenty of links
Make it easier for your recipients to find a link in the screen that they are viewing and you are sure to increase your CTR. Some recipients might not even bother to scroll all the way down or up your e-mail to find a link to click.
- Check out your open rates and compare it to your CTR
Another insight you could gain from Mail Dog’s report is whether you need a better copywriter for your e-mail content. If you have good open rates but have a dismal CTR, then there must be something wrong with your content. If this is the case, you might want to write e-mail copy that packs a punch, or you might want to make sure that your call-to-action is strong. You might also want to create a sense of immediacy or urgency for your readers by offering a discount on a limited time basis.
A Quick Guide:
Average open, click-through and click-to-open rates that you can reference:
|INDUSTRY||Open||CTR||Click to Open Rate|
|Business Products and Services General||20.8||5.7||27.4|
|Business Publishing/Media General||22.6||5.5||24.5|
|Consumer Products CPG||16.5||8.9||53.8|
|Consumer Products Pharmaceutical||24.0||6.1||25.6|
|Consumer Publishing/Media General||15.2||6.5||43.0|
|Consumer Services General||18.1||3.9||21.6|
|Consumer Services Telecom||26.6||9.3||35.0|
|Financial Serviced CC/Banks||32.9||7.1||21.5|
|Financial Services General||37.4||6.7||18.0|
|Travel/Hospitality Travel Services||26.3||4.2||16.0|