Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are turning to email marketing more than before, and a lot of them are predominantly handling their email efforts in-house. This does create something of an issue, however; a few recent reports indicate that SMB marketers aren’t as informed on the basics of email as they’d like to be. It can be daunting--there’s a lot to learn, especially when it comes to understanding metrics. From which metrics are most valuable to how to set goals for their metrics in different areas, it’s a lot to learn. Today we’re going to tackle open rates. Site Impact’s experts keep on top of the metrics not just in terms of industry standards, but within particular verticals as well, and today we’re sharing the basics on one key measure of success.
Of all of the metrics that you can use to evaluate your email marketing performance, open rate is one of the most straightforward. Open rates tell you how many people out of everyone you send to are opening your emails. This tells you a lot about how your email marketing campaigns are performing; it can also be an early warning for when your campaigns aren’t performing, and start you down the road towards figuring out why. And obviously: no one is going to be in any position to click the link in your email without first opening it.
As with most metrics, it’s not difficult to calculate your open rates--provided you have the right data. Most email marketing agencies include open rates in the metrics they provide to clients; Site Impact included. From the raw data, you can calculate your open rate on a campaign by taking the number of subscribers you sent to, minus the bounce rate, compared to the number of subscribers who opened the email. To put it in simple math terms, the open rate is:
The number of emails read / (number of emails sent - number of bounced emails) x 100. But as mentioned, most reputable email marketing agencies you could work with will provide this metric automatically.
Even if you have your open rates, and look at them consistently, the metric doesn’t matter unless you have something to compare it to. Of course, open rates tend to vary from industry to industry, vertical to vertical. Open rates for banks are different from open rates for grocery stores, which are different from open rates for food delivery services, and so on. But there are some generalities you can apply, no matter what your business specializes in. The lowest open rate you should accept without changing anything significant in your email marketing campaign is 20%, according to multiple experts. Meanwhile, open rates above 40% are considered a massive success. One way to get perspective on the metric is to check for average open rates in your industry; but you should also be looking at your own, and setting your own benchmarks based on your previous campaigns’ performance.
Open rates are one of the most vital methods for gauging the success of your email marketing efforts, but like many metrics it can be hard to understand if you’re new to the channel. By keeping track of your open rates, and comparing them to the standards in your industry, you can make informed decisions about your email marketing campaigns and strategies. Contact Site Impact to hear how we can help you keep your open rates high.