When it comes to email marketing, a lot of people get discouraged because their campaigns aren’t getting enough clicks or conversions. To make things more confusing, it’s hard to know what ‘good’ rates are, so your campaigns might be underperforming without you even knowing about it.
The good news is there are plenty of numbers out there when it comes to email marketing statistics. If you know what the industry standards are, then you’ll be able to figure out if you need to retool your campaigns or if they’re doing just fine.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through some important email marketing metrics, including click-through rates and conversions. Then we’ll talk about how to improve them if your numbers aren’t quite where you’d like them to be. Let’s talk numbers!
What Rates Should Your Email Marketing Campaigns Be Getting?
Let’s dive right into the numbers. According to multiple email marketing platforms and other sources, the average open rate for campaigns is somewhere around 20%. That number, of course, varies depending on what type of email campaign we’re talking about. Here are some numbers from specific industries, focusing on email open rates:
- Business and finance: 20.47%
- Creative services and agencies: 21.59%
- Ecommerce: 15.66%
- Education and training: 21.80%
- Marketing and advertising: 16.48%
Those numbers tell us a lot. The first thing you’ll notice is 20% isn’t that high. If you have a subscribers list that contains a 1,000 emails, just about 200 people will open your campaigns on average. Secondly, that percentage starts to dip to around 15% for emails with a marketing or sales angle, as you can see from the numbers above.
We can attribute this fact to a lot of people outright ignoring emails they consider to be ‘salesy’. Think about it as if you were trying to sell vacuums door to door – a lot of people would outright ignore you, and that’s OK. You might not be able to engage everyone you come across, however, you can more than make up for it with the percentage of people that do pay attention to you.
Moving on, getting people to open your emails is important. However, a lot of times, you’ll create campaigns with the sole purpose of converting readers. For example, you might be promoting a product, an online course, or just want to get more people to visit your site. All those actions fall under the category of ‘conversions,’ and when it comes to email marketing, we call them click-throughs.
As you might imagine, usually it’s only a tiny percentage of people that convert from your email marketing campaigns. That’s a hard truth, but the thing is, it repeats itself across most fields. Let’s revisit the same industries we talked about earlier, only this time focusing on click-throughs:
- Business and finance: 2.73%
- Creative services and agencies: 2.61%
- Ecommerce: 2.32%
- Education and training: 2.63%
- Marketing and advertising: 1.92%
Surprisingly enough, click-throughs remain fairly consistent across most industries. You’d imagine the rates for ecommerce and marketing conversions would be significantly lower. However, just getting people to open your emails is half the battle. If you win it, they might already be primed to convert.
In my experience, it’s very rare to run campaigns that get anything above 3-4% when it comes to conversions, particularly the larger your email list gets. In fact, 3-4% is pretty darn great, and if you crack 5%, then you need to sit down and analyze what you did so you can try and replicate it.
To sum it up, you don’t need to worry if the majority of your subscribers aren’t opening your emails. That’s par for the course for all industries. As long as your open rate is somewhere around 20% you’re doing just fine. When it comes to conversions, the same applies. If you’re getting a rate below 1% consistently, then you need to revisit the drawing board. However, anything above that means you’re doing just fine.
3 Ways to Improve Your Email Campaign’s Click-through and Conversion Rates
Even if your numbers are looking good, there’s always room for improvement. Increasing your open rates and click-throughs even just a few decimals can be quite significant, so let’s talk about how to pump those numbers up.
1. A/B Test Your Email Titles
When you get a new email, the first two things you notice is who sent it and what its headline is. If it’s a message from a friend, you’re probably going to open it anyway, so they don’t need to worry about picking the right title.
However, when a website or a business contacts you via email, the title becomes that much more critical. A lot of people will never open emails if the title isn’t compelling, so you need to test what works and what doesn’t.
As you send more campaigns, you’ll get the hang of creating better titles. However, with the right email marketing platform, you’ll also get access to tools that enable you to split test titles so that you can collect data faster. If you’re not taking advantage of those tools, you’re missing out!
2. Try New Types of Content to Increase Engagement
If you’re running a blog, most of your emails will probably be collections of new posts and the occasional blast to promote products or services. The problem is, the longer someone subscribes to your emails for, the more they get used to the type of content you send.
To put it simply, you need to shake things up every once in a while if you don’t want people to get bored and stop opening your emails. For a blog, you might want to try sending exclusive content via email or sharing links to other articles you found interesting. There are plenty of ways to keep your email campaigns fun, so don’t be afraid to try out something new.
3. ‘Clean’ Your Email List From Time to Time
In some cases, no matter how hard you try, you’ll run into subscribers you just can’t crack. I have signed up for plenty of email lists which I later realized I wasn’t at all interested in.
From time to time, I’ll go on an unsubscribe binge to keep my inbox clean. However, if you’re the one sending out the emails, it can be worth your time to clean your list of subscribers so you can weed out all the people who never interact with your messages.
Taking emails out of your list may sound counterproductive. However, it’s a great way to get your numbers up, and it saves people from having to unsubscribe (which a lot of them won’t). What a lot of businesses do is send out emails like this one, to check if you’re still interested in receiving messages:
This type of email can get people paying attention again, and it also provides them with a quick out, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Even the most successful email marketing campaigns often don’t get conversion rates that go beyond one or two percent. That sounds discouraging, but it’s logical if you consider those campaigns go out to thousands of users sometimes. If you can talk hundreds of people into converting with just a single email, then you might as well be a wizard.
If your email marketing numbers aren’t quite where they should be, there are a few things you can do to improve them, such as:
- A/B test your email titles.
- Try new types of content to increase engagement.
- Clean your email list from time to time.
As for how to A/B test your email titles, plenty of platforms provide you with the option to do so. For example, Constant Contact enables you to run tests using multiple titles so you can figure out what works best.