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Marketing 360® Blog

Interpreting & Increasing Your Email Open Rate

Post By Robyn Rivera | Email & SMS Marketing

When it comes to email marketing, there’s no shortage of metrics you could be keeping track of.

There’s the conversion rate, which helps to determine how persuasive your marketing emails are. There’s the average revenue per email sent, which tells you how effective your campaign is at generating revenue. There’s the click-through-rate, which tells you how effective your email design, content, and call to action are. Then, there’s the email open rate, which tells you the rate at which your readers are opening your emails.

In a previous blog, I talked about how email open rate wasn’t the best metric to keep track of, because it can be misleading. After all, the fact that someone opened your email doesn’t mean that they were swayed by it or even read it. But, there’s a lot of valuable information that you can learn from your email open rate.

A few things you can learn from your email open rate: How effective your subjects are – The subject line of a marketing email has a direct impact on how many people open it.
How up to date your mailing list is – Some people who sign up for your mailing list are never going to open your emails, or they may have opened them in the past but haven’t in months or even years. Your email open rate will tell you when it’s time to trim the fat and update your mailing list.
How much your readers value the information you’re providing – If you’ve proven to your readers that your content is worth their time rather than just another email for the spam folder, they’ll be more likely to keep reading it, which means that they’ll keep opening your emails.

How to interpret your email open rate.

While I do stand by my stance in my previous blog post that email open rate is a bit of a vanity metric and can be misleading if you don’t know what you’re looking for, there is a caveat (there always is). The truth is that your email open rate can be incredibly helpful when you know how to interpret it properly and how to use the information you find to improve your campaign.

What kind of email open rate should you shoot for?

The average email open rate is between 15 and 25 percent; however, this can change depending on the type of email you’re sending, as well as the industry you’re in.

There are many different types of emails you’re likely utilizing in your email marketing campaigns, and some will have a higher open rate than others. For example, triggered emails — which get sent when a trigger event occurs, such as an abandoned cart or an order has been completed — have an average open rate that’s more like 45 percent, as do autoresponders. Emails that aren’t requested or triggered by something a visitor does on your website, like newsletters, have a much lower average open rate — approximately 22 percent.

The industry you’re in can also affect what kind of email open rate you can expect. E-commerce emails, for example, have an average open rate that’s closer to 15 percent; whereas, health and fitness emails have an open rate that’s closer to 25 percent.

How to increase your email open rate.

#1. Optimize your subject line.

When it comes to your email open rate, almost nothing is more important than your subject line. You need your email subject line to be catchy and grab the attention of your readers. In order to do that, you need to first understand your audience.

#2. Make the subject line personal.

Using a personalized subject line in your emails makes them 26 percent more likely to actually be opened. Personalization can mean a lot of things, including the reader’s first name, interests, birthday, anniversary, location, or even transaction history, just to name a few.

#3. Use emojis in your subject line.

Emojis aren’t just for SMS conversations anymore. Although many business owners see emojis as unprofessional, they may help to increase your email open rate. In fact, 56 percent of brands that use emojis in their subject lines have seen an increase in their unique open rates.

#4. A/B test your subject line.

Making small changes can make a huge difference, but in order to figure out which changes actually increase your open rate, you need to A/B test it. A few things that you should test to boost your open rate include the verbiage in the subject line and the from name, just to name a couple.

#5. Make it relevant.

No one is going to open your marketing emails if they aren’t relevant to them. Always ensure that your subject line (and the content in the email) in every email is relevant.

#6. Experiment with different send times and days.

Believe it or not, the percentage of people who open your emails can actually change depending on when you send them. The three best days to send out emails for your open rate, according to 14 studies, are Tuesday, Thursday, and Wednesday — in that order. And, the best times are 10 AM, 8 PM, 2 PM, and 6 AM. Keep in mind that these dates in times aren’t set in stone. Make sure that you experiment with your own email marketing campaign to figure out the best times for you.

#7. Segment your mailing list.

By grouping your mailing list into smaller segments will allow you to send more personalized emails to each segment, which will increase the relevance of every email as well as your email open rate.

#8. Clean out your mailing list periodically.

Some people — no matter what time or day you send the email or how relevant and personal it is to them — will never open your emails, and that’s OK. But, there’s no point in leaving them in your mailing list; it will only hurt your open rate. Make sure that you keep your email list up to date with only people who at least occasionally open your emails.


Want help boosting your email open rate or any other aspect of your email marketing campaign? Learn what our team can do for you online today.