Email Open Rates: What You Should be Looking for Depending on Your Industry


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When prospects open your emails, what they find inside might be your one chance to turn them from prospect to customer. Improving your email open rates, then, should be one of your most important marketing goals. When you learn what the ideal email open rates for your industry are, you’ll know how to gauge your performance against that benchmark.

2019’s Email Marketing Resurgence Demands Action 

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Tired of flirting with every shiny new toy that comes down the pipe, marketers are returning to email with a vengeance, says the American Marketing Association’s Courtenay Worcester in an April 2019 article.

It makes sense. Since recipients must opt in to receive emails from an organization, they’ve already shown interest in the brand and its products. In addition, email is easy to personalize, even for smaller businesses.

Low cost, high ROI, and especially the ability to integrate email into other channels, make email a must-have option if you want to get ahead of your competitors. To keep track of how your email marketing campaign is doing, there are several critical email metrics you need to keep your eye on.

Key Metrics for Email Marketing

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Think of your email subject line as the door to your business. If it’s inviting enough, your prospects will open the email to further engagement.

Email opens, therefore, are one of the most critical metrics for email marketing.

Once the prospects open the door, though, there are three critical metrics to keep track of as they move through the customer engagement process. As legendary copywriter Robert Bly points out in Entrepreneur, these are:

  • Your clickthrough rate: When what’s inside your email message is as convincing as the subject line, recipients will click the link in your email’s call-to-action to learn more about your product or service on your landing page. The clickthrough rate is the percentage of those recipients who do.

  • Your conversion rate: The percentage of prospects who not only read what’s on your sales page but also accept your offer. The offer doesn’t always have to be a sale, especially early in the process. Many customers—especially those who own businesses—want more information. Often the best tool for further engagement is to invite them to download a detailed e-book or register for a live presentation. Keep your offer focused on your customers’ needs to increase your conversion rate.

  • Your gross revenues: The revenue you generate in an active campaign depends on several factors: your mailing list’s size, your clickthrough rate, and your conversion rate. The last two factors are the most critical. Simply by moving the needle from one to ten percent on either of them increases your gross revenue by a factor of ten. Going from one to ten percent on both will multiply your revenue by a factor of 100.

Both the clickthrough rate and the conversion rate, though, depend on one thing: your email open rate.

Boost Email Open Rates with a Targeted Strategy

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When you look at the average industry rates, though, remember that these are only the averages. To excel at email marketing—and eventually increase your gross revenue—your open rate must go well beyond the average.

Well-known email provider MailChimp researched “millions of emails” they sent out for their clients, who range from solo entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms and in between. This research can provide you with a benchmark to measure your emails’ performance against.

To go beyond the average, we encourage our clients who use email providers to look at factors like timing, subject lines, segmentation, split (A/B) testing, and more accurate customer personas to improve their open rate. Here are some examples:

  • E-Commerce: This industry’s low (15.66%) open rate might reflect prospects’ aversion to sales pitches. When e-commerce companies create more accurate customer personas and segment emails to match their needs, subject lines can focus more on benefit.

  • Healthcare: Healthcare organizations’ 21.09% average open rate reflects the industry’s higher degree of trust as compared to more sales-oriented organizations. There’s always room for improvement, though. Timing email campaigns to coincide with holidays, such as the American Heart Association’s Valentine’s Day push to encourage both donations and heart checkups, can help increase opens.

  • Insurance: With a relatively high 20.99% open rate, the insurance industry also enjoys a high degree of trust. To improve that rate, though, insurers can find potential customers through targeting new home and car buyers in social media, offering them a buyers’ guide in exchange for their email address. Then, they can use omnipresent marketing to touch base with them through providing helpful information on social media and other channels to build familiarity, leading them to open the email that will soon appear in their inbox.

  • Marketing Agencies: Marketing agencies, like sales-oriented companies, have a lower (16.48%) open rate than many other industries. With more targeted customer research and personalized messaging, marketing companies can find just the right message to address potential clients’ specific marketing challenges, making them more likely to click on the subject line through to the agency’s landing page.

  • Real Estate: With a 19.67% open rate, real estate agencies, like insurers, can turn their average rate into a revenue-boosting one through a coordinated campaign that leverages customer research and social media to find eager buyers and sellers who can’t wait to click on their emails.

Whatever industry you’re in, we can help you find the baseline open rate for your industry and help you find a way to increase it—and boost your revenue in the process.

If that’s what you want for your business, it’s time for a free consultation. Get in touch to claim yours.