What Is A Good Email Open Rate And How To Improve It

One of the vital email performance metrics you should track is the open rate. It’s a good practice to compare your company indicators to other industry average email open rates in your niche. If you know how your rivals’ emails tend to succeed, then you have a framework for assessing your campaigns.

But you should track your email open rates not just to see your place among the competitors but also to test and analyze different methods of improvement. None of the other metrics – click-throughs, forwards, or unsubscribes – matter in your analytics if your emails are not getting opened at all.

If you don’t have steady open rate numbers, even the most elaborate campaign is doomed to fail. This is why, in this article, we’ll explain what is considered by marketers to be a good email open rate and how to increase this indicator in your campaigns if you feel it’s insufficient.

Outline:

How to calculate your email open rate

First, let’s discover how to calculate your email open rate and compare it to your rivals’ statistics.

Some email providers track and analyze email opens for their users. However, in all cases, you should know how to calculate your campaigns’ email open rate. Just divide the number of unique opens by the odds between the emails sent and the number of bounces:

Email open rate formula

In other words, your email open rate is the percentage of recipients who opened your letter out of all people who received it in their inbox.

What is a good email open rate?

Marketing experts consider 20.94% to be an averagely good email open rate. Your specific campaign will depend on the quality of your recipient list, subject line, and the industry average email open rate for your niche. For instance, for non-profit organizations, it’s 25%, while for the automotive and aerospace industries, it’s only 12,6%.

Email statistics in 2020 by industries and by day

Here are some average email open rate statistics for various market fields in 2020. We hope this data will help you achieve better progress with your campaigns.

Median email benchmarks for all industries

  • Median open rate: 17.8%
  • Median click-through rate: 2.6%
  • Median click-to-open rate: 14.3%
  • Median unsubscribe rate: 0.1%
  • Median bounce rate: 0.7%

Open rates for all market fields by industries and day of the week

This table shows open rates by day of the week and industries internationally. Top industries include government (average of 30.5%), non-profit (average of 25.2%), and education (average of 23.4%).

Open rates by industry and day of the week
Source: Campaign Monitor

Taking median indicators across all campaigns sent out globally by companies from all market niches, you can analyze how these mailouts succeed by day of the week. As we see, the most fruitful day with the highest email opens is Tuesday (18.3%). The least successful day with the worst email open rates is Saturday (17.5%).

Benchmark averages by day
Source: Campaign Monitor

These indicators are a good starting point for analyzing the challenge and setting your goals, so make the most of your email marketing records and metrics. It will help you understand what works (and what doesn’t) for your email campaigns. But keep in mind that every email sequence is unique, even in the same market niche. 

How to analyze your open rates systematically

After studying the median open rate for mailouts in your business field, it’s time to discover how to analyze the results you have at the moment in order to set a practical goal for your future email drip campaigns.

Businesses perform several actions to benchmark email open rates of their campaigns:

Collect your email open statistics from the previous months

Analyze every message you’ve sent over the recent quarter or year. Outline the diagrams of your email opens for each letter to your leads. You can also track other indicators you want to analyze, such as click-through rate, unsubscribes, etc.

Collect your email open statistics from the previous months

Calculate your median open rate

Now, you can establish your average open rate for the last several months or quarters. To do so, sum up all the indicators and divide this figure by the number of letters you mailed out throughout that period. The result will show your baseline reference level. It’s a useful thing to also set reference levels for your other metrics.

Analyze positive and negative deviations

There might be emails that overperformed and letters that failed to reach the median open rate. Analyze why they had a surpassing or poor performance in comparison to other campaigns. Keep records of each deviation from the average and each theory why it happened.

Analyze positive and negative deviations

Identify logical patterns

Check if there are any repeating patterns. Does a specific topic show a good response from readers? Are there subject lines that have poor performance? How does the mailout timing affect progress? Do people prefer a particular time of the day to open your letters? What kind of triggers in your subject lines showed higher or lower results? 

Make records and use these ideas to improve your next email campaigns.

Possible reasons emails have low open rates

Your campaigns might have email open rates that are way below the industry average. In this case, it’s necessary to find the reason and solution for the problem. Several factors can cause poor email open rates:

Dull subject lines

Focus on formulating catchy and eloquent subject lines for your letters. It will make recipients curious about what’s behind the headline and urge them to open your message. After all, 47% of emails are opened based on the subject line alone.

Spam and buzz words

Some emails may end up in the spam folder because of one simple reason – spam words. We’ve compiled a list of more than 500 words that you better avoid while sending your email campaigns. Some examples are “free,” “bonus,” “cheap,” “deal,” “zero percent,” etc.

A failure to qualify subscribers

If you bought a list of email contacts, you can expect that your indicators will be considerably below the industry median line. Email lists with non-qualified subscribers might have incomplete data or addresses that no longer exist. This will lead to a higher bounce rate and damage your sender reputation.

Instead, use trusted tools like Snov.io to find high-quality prospective leads in your niche. They often offer an email verifier feature that will help you get rid of old and invalid emails.

Email verifier - try for free

Unhealthy email lists

All your efforts in building email lists can go down the drain when you don’t keep them clean. If you have many idle contacts who don’t open any of your emails, it will only damage your delivery indicators, and your email open numbers will fall as well. Remove inactive subscribers or send a re-engagement campaign to them.

No segmentation

If you send the same email copy to all the contacts on your list, you’ll never get a sufficient engagement rate. Meanwhile, segmentation in email campaigns can lead to a 14.31% higher open rate.

Tracking problems

The tracking mechanism that marks a letter as opened is far from being perfect. An email body contains a tiny graphics pixel, and the loading of this pixel determines whether the email is regarded as opened or not. Many issues might cause the graphics image to not load in the letter.

Usually, email clients block pictures by default. Besides, some mobile or tablet email clients can only receive the plain-text version of the letter, which doesn’t support the tracking image download option.

Always ask your leads to add your email address to their “contact list” or in their “safe sender” list. This way, the graphic image will be loaded automatically. Besides, avoid using PNG images as they aren’t compatible with many email apps. Use JPEG images instead.

These most common mistakes can lead to poor email open rates. Now let’s discover how to eliminate such flaws and improve your open rate stats.

How to boost your email open rates

Marketing experts suggest several ways to improve open rates in your email drip campaigns:

1. Qualify your lists of contacts

The obvious key to boosting your metrics is not to send letters to unsuitable people at all. For example, you may target only the audience that provided their email addresses in exchange for a valuable offer through your website’s opt-in form.

Such lead magnets may include checklists, discounts, ebooks, free classes and trials, demos, toolkits, etc. This way, your prospects have already shown interest in what you’re offering, so it’s less likely that they won’t engage with you. 

Lead magnet example
Lead magnet example (Source: Social Triggers)

Remember, your target is to obtain an email list filled with engaged and qualified leads. It’s much better to get a small list of people that are interested in your products or services than a long list of prospects that don’t care about your business.

2. Segment your list

This is the next step you should take after building your email lists. Don’t repeat the same mistake many marketers make, which is sending generic emails to all subscribers. This isn’t an effective way to organize email campaigns, and it won’t bring any results.

Make sure you segment your contact database according to the readers’ interests, location, purchase history, recent trends, etc. Consequently, your subscribers will be more excited to get your letters and be more engaged with your whole email sequence.

Besides, apart from improving your email open rates, segmented campaigns can generate a 760% increase in revenue.

3. Deliver high-quality content

Send relevant and engaging content, and your open rates will fly up. Conversely, if you’re only pumping your subscribers’ mailbox with the information they can easily find elsewhere – or worse, advertisements – your next letters will end up in the spam folder or trash bin. Sharing high-quality content not too often is one of the most effective ways to keep open rates high.

4. Get your timing and frequency right

Speaking about frequency, it’s common for both B2B and B2C marketers to contact their clients only 2-3 times per month. This doesn’t overload the inbox and provides just enough value for your subscribers to stay engaged.

The timing of your mailouts is also crucial for boosting your email open statistics. Marketers have noticed that the peak open times are 10-11 am. However, the most practical approach is to study your statistical data to notice when your readers are the most engaged.

Average email opens by hour
Source: Hubspot

5. Send from a person, not a company

When thinking whether to open an email, contacts first check if they recognize the sender. A business letter may be immediately marked as a promotion, and your email can be deleted. A letter that seems to be sent from a real person looks more humane, personalized, and has much higher chances to get opened.

6. Use the “From” field responsibly

This is a continuation of the previous point. Don’t change the sender name too often. It can confuse recipients, and they will be much more likely to move your email to a trash bin or even report your message as spam. If you absolutely have to, save the logical link with the company’s name. For example:

  • Anne from [Company Name]
  • Marl at [Company Name]

7. Use different types of subject lines

Subject lines play the most significant role in your email open statistics, as they trigger your audience to click the message and check what’s in the letter. So, why not experiment and use different types of them?

For example, they might seem dull and unimaginative, but straightforward subject lines are classic. They simply indicate what is written in the email, and readers open such letters because this information is something they want to get. For example, “How to generate 10K followers in 2 weeks” is a direct subject line.

Conversely, a subject line that sparks curiosity urges readers to click because it contains words that trigger subscribers’ emotions, making them excited to discover what’s inside the letter. Still, it’s important not to over-hype it. A good example of a curiosity subject line is “Three mistakes that prove you aren’t doing marketing right.” 

Some other subject line types include:

  • Subject lines that communicate urgency or scarcity
  • Subject lines that contain free offers
  • Subject lines with a question in them
  • Subject lines with case studies
  • Subject lines that highlight recent news

Apply different approaches in your email drip campaigns. It will help your letters remain exciting and relevant for your readers and boost your email opens.

8. Personalize your email subject lines

Personalization is a simple yet effective tool. Do the research and include a piece of information or a phrase relevant to specific subscribers. Keep it short and friendly. Fewer words are easier to understand.

For example, if your prospect’s social media profile suggests they love sports, your subject line might mention sports-related terms, e.g., “Score high and never drop the ball with these 5 sales tricks”.

9. Don’t overuse exclamation marks or all caps

In most cases, nothing bad will happen if your outreach letter doesn’t get opened. So, don’t express despair or panic with a subject line like “IMPORTANT!!!”. It will only annoy the recipient and make them doubt your trustworthiness. 

10. Optimize email subject lines for mobile

People open about 67% of all emails in mailboxes on mobile phones. However, figures still depend upon your target readers, email type, and business offer.

To get higher email opens on smartphones, formulate your email subject lines concisely – up to 20-30 characters – so that smartphone users can read them. Take a look at how the text looks on mobile screens before approving it. 

11. A/B test your subject lines

A/B testing is based on a simple concept of comparing two ideas and letting your readers determine which one they prefer. Most email drip campaign providers like Snov.io allow you to A/B test your emails, making it easy to compare your subject lines’ effectiveness.

Determine what you want to compare. Select one variable that you assume will have a strong impact on open rates and conversion. For example, you can A/B test specific wording, the length of your subject line, personalization approaches, various offers, or the use of emojis.

12. Clean up inactive subscribers

As we’ve mentioned, passive contacts in your list of subscribers will damage your deliverability. Remove inactive addresses from your list. Try using a list cleaning service or do it manually.

If you haven’t seen any reaction from a contact in the past 6 months or so, send a win-back email sequence to re-engage them. If they still don’t react, unsubscribe them or move their address to a different list that you contact seldom.

Wrapping it up

Email statistics are important for effective marketing. They supply you with useful data about the productivity of your email campaigns. Email benchmarks allow you to analyze how your campaigns succeed compared to the industry average email open rate in your niche. Besides, you can find new ways to enhance your marketing strategy and work on boosting your results.

We hope that with our tips and tricks, you can benchmark and boost your email open rates. From time to time, you can get back to your industry average statistics to see how you grow compared to your competitors, make conclusions, set reasonable goals for developing your open rates, and work on that.

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