Email open rates can vary depending on a host of factors, but the average across all email marketing campaigns tends to range between 20% and 30%. It's important to interpret open rates correctly. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Open rates rise over time. This is simply because not everyone checks or opens their email right away.
- It is possible for someone to open your email without it ever showing up in your campaign report. Email clients that have image loading turned off will not report the hit back to our servers. As such, the reported open rate may be slightly lower than the "actual" open rate.
- If your campaign report indicates that a recipient did not open your email, it is still possible that they did, in fact open it. See the above bullet point for the reason why.
- If your campaign report indicates that a recipient did not open your email, it does not mean that the email went to their spam folder or was undelivered, nor does it mean that you should send it to them again. It is most likely that the recipient received the email but has not opened it (yet).
Improving Open Rates
Highly engaged mailing lists and/or great content can see open rates over 50%. Here are some suggestions for how you can improve your open rates:
Remove Inactive Subscribers
Consider removing (or unsubscribing) people from your list who have gone inactive. Inactive (or "unengaged") means that perhaps they have not opened an email from you in over six months or a year. Your list may be smaller, but you'll be reaching the people who really are interested. There are a variety of ways you can identify your active and inactive subscribers in Direct Mail:
- You can use the Addresses > Show Columns > Number of Emails Opened menu item
- You can select a recipient in the Addresses tab and click Get Info in the toolbar
- You can use the Find Addresses feature
Consider Campaign Frequency
Consider the frequency with which you send email newsletters. Each mailing list is different, but you may find that sending to your mailing list too frequently (e.g. multiple times a week) is resulting in "list fatigue". Most lists actually see engagement go down as the frequency of their campaigns goes up. You may get better results if you reduce the number of times you send per month.
Consider Content Length
Consider the length of your emails. Most people devote only a few seconds to skimming each email. You might find better results with shorter emails that have noticeable, impactful headlines and short, catchy subject lines.
Consider a mobile-friendly template. You may want to try using a template in Direct Mail that is more readable on small screens. Here is a list of mobile-optimized templates.
Pick a Good Time to Send
Weekdays are always better than weekends. Beyond that, however, time of day does not seem to have much impact on open rates.
Improve Your Calls to Action
Check out this help article on how you can improve the calls to action that you might have in your email.
Protect Your Email Reputation
The last thing you want is for your email to be routed to the spam folder. By following best practices, you can safeguard your email reputation and help make sure your emails land in the inbox. Learn more about email reputation.
Strategies to Avoid
Here are some strategies that are not effective in improving open rates:
- Breaking your email campaign up into smaller batches (i.e. sending to three groups of 100 instead of 1 group of 300)
- Sending via your own email server instead of e3 Delivery Service or a dedicated server
- Sending the same message over and over again