Email marketing is an integral advertising strategy, no matter how well-established your brand is. It’s one of the primary channels through which existing and new clients are called to action. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your email campaigns are performing at their peak.
Investing time and money into email campaigns that generate little to no business will do you more harm than good. Especially in the long run.
If you’re new to email marketing, you need to understand email marketing benchmarks and how they can provide invaluable insight into the success of your campaigns. These statistics paint an important picture that lets you know where you might need to make changes.
How do they do this?
By giving you access to data that demonstrates the industry standard for certain criteria, such as your delivery rate, open rate, CTOR, click-through rate, conversion rate, and unsubscribe rate. If these terms don’t mean much to you yet, don’t worry. This article takes a more in-depth look at email marketing benchmarks and how to use them.
Delivery and Deliverability Rate
Your email delivery rate is the rate at which email providers like Gmail or Yahoo allow mail onto their servers and don’t bounce them. However, even if your email reaches the provider’s servers, it doesn’t mean that it’s reaching the recipient’s inbox. Your emails may end up in the spam or junk folders and remain ignored.
This is where the deliverability rate comes in. Deliverability measures how many emails actually end up in recipients inboxes.
A good deliverability rate is considered around 95%. To attain a high rate your campaign should follow these best practice principles:
- Keep your mailing list up to date: Around 30% of people change their email addresses every year. Keep your email lists current. If there’s been no interaction in 6-12 months, remove the address from your database.
- Focus on customer segmentation: Subscriber segmentation determines who you send your mails to. Try to target customers who have expressed interest in a particular area – and tailor emails to this segment.
- Avoid spammy subjects and keywords: By steering clear of spammy subject lines and keywords you’ll decrease the chances of your email getting flagged as spam.
Email Open Rate
Simply put, your email open rate is a representation of how many recipients actually opened your marketing email.
If your open rate seems low, remember that the average open rate across the board is around 18%.
While email marketing is an essential tool for business growth, it’s akin to casting a wide net. Most of the fish you want to snag won’t get reeled in. But the ones you do reel in make up for it.
So, how do you know what your open rate is?
Open Rate = (Opened x 100) ÷ Delivered
If your open rate beats the average of 18%, congratulations!
Keep doing what you’re doing. Although, it may be worthwhile to compare your open rate to others of the same industry. Depending on what field you’re in, open rates can differ by 10-15%.
If your open rate is significantly lower than the industry average, you might need to take some steps to address the falling interest.
- Subject lines: The subject line is the first thing your subscribers see when they look at your email in their inboxes. You want this to be something attention-grabbing, but not overly cliché. Remember, you’re trying to stoke your subscriber’s curiosity. Play on their fear of missing out, their humour, their vanity, make them feel like deleting this email would be a mistake.
- Preheader text: Your preheader text is the next thing subscribers look at to determine whether they want to read your email. So, make sure that it contains something relevant and convincing. The preheader text follows the subject line and serves as a preview of the email’s content. Here, you want to include a brief outline of your email’s major selling points.
- Segmentation and personalization: Dividing your subscribers into target demographics is an important practice. An email targeted at 18–24-year-old women will likely not perform well across the board. Segmenting your audience allows for greater personalization and translates into higher levels of engagement.
Email Click-Through Rate
They’ve opened your email.
Obviously, this group of subscribers will be quite a bit smaller than those who only opened the email. Your email click-through rate is a good indicator of how engaging and convincing the content of your email is. The overall average sits between 2-3%. This may not sound like much. But in an email campaign that spans hundreds of thousands of people, this is a significant chunk of potential business.
- Strong segments: Always strive to keep your email content as personalized as possible. Develop robust segmentation practices to ensure that your subscribers are receiving information that is relevant and interesting to them. Content that is too broad or misses the mark will likely earn you an unsubscribe.
- Strong branding: Your brand voice should be conveyed consistently in your emails. This includes the tone and content of your text. It is important to figure out what attitude you want to use in approaching subscribers, and then stick to it. This may involve humour, sympathy, excitement, or whatever personality fits with your brand.
- Incentives: Subscribers need good reasons to stop what they are doing to navigate to your website. A simple statement of information is not going to cut it. Discounts, special offers, rewards for recommendations, limited edition products—these are the kinds of incentives that will make a person choose to spend their time checking out what you have to offer. They are likely receiving at least ten other similar emails per day, so strive to stand out.
Click to Open rates (CTOR) are often confused with open and click-through rates. CTOR is essentially the metric that measures engagement. It measures the performance of the content in the email and compares the number of people that opened the mail with those that took the next step, and clicked the CTA or link that took them to the next stage of the customer journey.
To measure your campaigns CTOR you can use the following equation:
CTOR = (Users Who Clicked x 100) ÷ Email Opens.
The conversion rate measures the aim of your entire campaign. It tells you how many customers took the desired action. The action they take depends on your conversion goal and this is decided upfront.
Conversion goals may be purchase-related and measure how many customers followed the sales funnel and complete a purchase. Or it may be lead related and result in a potential customer becoming a hot lead.
To calculate an email campaign’s conversion rate you:
Conversion Rate = (Conversions ÷ Clicks) × 100
Unsubscribe Rate and Bounce Rate
Your unsubscribe rate reflects the portion of recipients who decided to opt-out of receiving further emails from you. This statistic reflects the type of impact your campaign is having.
A high unsubscribe rate (roughly 0.2% or higher) indicates a problematic level of disinterest. Users that unsubscribe do so for various reasons—irrelevant content, too many emails, spammy buzzwords, and more.
- Don’t overdo it: If subscribers receive multiple emails per day from your organization, they will rapidly become fed-up with you clogging up their inboxes. Keep your marketing emails down to a maximum of once per week and try to get them out between Tuesdays and Thursdays. Studies indicate that people are less likely to open marketing emails from Friday through Monday.
- Automate: Using automated email marketing services is a great way to build relationships with your subscribers in the long term. They will come to recognize and trust your marketing.
- Watch your bounce rate: Your bounce rate indicates how many emails failed to deliver to their intended email addresses. Out-of-date lists will include emails that are no longer active, and it is important to weed these out regularly to avoid wasting resources.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective, easy ways of reaching your target audience. But in order for emails to be effective direct marketing tools, you need to know how they’re performing.
By benchmarking specifics like the open, click-through, and unsubscribe rates, you can gain a greater insight into what marketing is working. And what isn’t.
Data plays a major role in the success of any email marketing campaign. Having specific benchmarks in place makes it easier to create campaigns with a high return on investment (ROI). This high ROI is what every marketing campaign aims to achieve, and it’s within reach if you adjust your campaigns according to the expected benchmarks.