While it is important that you ensure your email deliverability is high, this does not mean that you stop there. The true success of your email marketing campaign is dependent on how much revenue is generated. Of course, you can’t generate revenue from your campaign if your recipients didn’t click on your links. And you can’t get clicks if your email wasn’t opened in the first place. So, even if all your emails land in the inbox, if the customers are not opening your email and clicking on the links, then your email marketing campaign is a failure. It is only logical, therefore, to assume that getting a high number of people to open your emails will increase your click-through rate. This means you better start finding ways to improve your email open rate.

What is an email open rate?

Before we get to anything else, we need to make sure we all understand what open rate in email marketing is. Most people assume that it is the number of people who open your email. This is partly true. But that’s not all. An email is considered open when one of two things happen when the reader opens your email:

  1. He or she enable images in your email to be displayed.
  2. He or she clicks on your link inside the email.

What does this mean? For example, the reader or the email provider has blocked images from displaying in their emails. Even if they do open the email, unless they click on the link, it won’t be tracked as an “open.”

How is this possible? Well, in email marketing, it is a standard practice to have a unique, transparent, single-pixel image embedded into the email that will be sent. This image is invisible and does not affect the design of the email content. What it does is that it serves as a tracker. When the image in your email is loaded, so does your image pixel. This occurrence is tracked and counted as an open. So, if you’re sending a text-only version of an email or the mailbox provider has blocked images from displaying, this unique single-pixel image won’t load and can’t be tracked. Thus, the need for a click on a link for the “open” to get tracked.

Ok, moving on. The next thing we should know is how the email open rate is calculated. The open rate is calculated by the number of unique opens divided by the number of emails sent excluding the number of emails that weren’t delivered (i.e. bounced). For example, you sent 100 emails and only 90 of them got delivered. Out of that 90, only 10 were tracked as opened. To calculate your open rate, you just need to divide 10 by 90 which gives your email campaign an open rate of 11%.

Why is Email Open Rate Important?

Now, why and how is the open rate important? The reason why this metric is so important is it allows you to see if your emails are being opened which is necessary for your email marketing campaign to be successful. But how is it important? Well, open rates can give you a better idea of how well your content is engaging your users. It helps you evaluate how healthy your relationship is with the customers on your mailing list. Are they even interested in what you are offering? It helps you determine if customers consider you a trusted source or spam. It also enables you to judge the quality of your mailing list. Are you sending emails to the right people? Most important of all, it gives you insight into the effectiveness of your subject line. It’s the first thing your recipients see. And it plays an integral part in whether the recipients will open the email or not.

What is a good open rate for email?

According to Epsilon, the average open rate across all industries during the 4th quarter of 2018 was 29.4%. Of course, if you take a look at the open rates for each industry, you’ll realize that the average open rates differ quite a lot. For example, as of March 2019, Constant Contact customers in the Accommodations industry (e.g. hotels, inns) had a total open rate of 15.77% while those in the Primary/Secondary Education industry has a total open rate of 25.54%. So, what is considered a good open rate for emails in the accommodation industry may not be considered good enough in the Education industry.

In short, if you want to know if your average email open rate is good, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using a benchmark that matters – the one that is relevant to your particular industry. If your open rate is close to the industry average, you’re doing great.

*You should take note that average open rates also differ depending on your country. In this article, we’re going to only mention average open rates in the US.

While using the industry average is a good starting point, your email lists aren’t the same as everyone else’s in the industry. This means that you’ll get more information about the effectiveness of our campaign by using your statistics as a benchmark and tracking your progress. This enables you to see what exactly is – and isn’t – working for you and your customers.

Increase Open rate

How to increase the open rate of email marketing campaigns?

Learning how to increase open rates on emails is pretty easy. It doesn’t require any heavy lifting. You can improve the open rate of your email campaign by taking these 3 steps:

#1: Invest in your subject line.

We’ve already mentioned how important your subject line is. It helps your recipient determine whether it’s worth his/her time to open your email. Your subject line should draw their attention.

There are several ways to make the subject line more interesting. One, make it more personal. According to research, personalized subject lines can increase your unique open rates by 37%. Two, use numbers in your subject line. Numbers can easily catch the attention of customers and create a sense of urgency, causing them to open your email. Statistics show that emails with subject lines that contain hard numbers have an open and replay rate of 52%.

Aside from making your subject line interesting, you should slim it down. Make sure that it is under 30 characters. Why? Most people read their email through their mobile phones (almost two-thirds of emails). Subject lines that are too long get truncated (only 4 to 7 words can be seen).

#2: Find the best time to send.

People open their inbox all the time. But they don’t always open all their unread emails at the same time. Research has shown that readers are more likely to open certain emails during different times of days. For example, based on the data gathered by Constant Contact for the first quarter of 2019, readers were most likely to open an email from the Accommodations industry on Mondays at 4 pm. If you’re from the fitness industry, sending an email at 10 p.m. on Sunday will increase your chances of getting your email read.

Of course, you’ll want to study your statistics to see when you get the highest open rates. It’s best to segment your list into 2 or 3 batches and find what works best for your customers.

#3: Segment your list.

Aside from personalizing your subject lines, you should also personalize your content. You can’t just broadcast all of your emails to every person on your list. It can annoy customers and cause them to consider you as spam. Instead, segment your list according to their interests, purchase history, location, and other factors. It means that any message you give them will contain information they are interested in and increase the probability of communicating with you.Studies suggest that doing so may cause your email marketing campaign to be 14.31 percent higher than non-segmented campaign.

#4: Use an email validation service.

If you’ve been studying about email marketing, then you should know that an email validation service allows you to clean up your email list. It removes spam traps and unknown users. So, how can you reach high open rates using email hygiene/email validation services? If you have a clean list, then it increases your chances of emails getting delivered to the right people which, in turn, improves your email open rates. Unqualified subscribers (e.g. wrong email addresses or people who have not given their consent to receive email from you) on your list can affect your sender’s reputation. Inactive subscribers, users who have not been engaging with your emails for quite some time, can also hurt your sender reputation. Poor sender reputation, in turn, can influence email deliverability. In simpler terms, sending emails to email addresses that should not be on your list can affect your sender reputation and cause you to become considered as spam. This lowers the chances of your email getting in the inbox which, of course, means a lower email open rate.

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