Increasing your email marketing open rates can lead to increased sales. But what is even a realistic open rate to aim for? Below are industry averages from previous years as well as some tips for how you can increase your open rates.
Average Email Marketing Open Rates (All Industries, All Types Of Emails)
First Half 2008 = 13.2%
Second Half 2008 = 12.5%
First Half 2009 = 12.0%
Second Half 2009 = 11.2%
Source: Mailer Mailer, Email Marketing Metrics Report - July 2010 Edition
Estimated 2011 Average Open Rate = 10%
I was unable to find this report updated for 2010 or 2011 numbers. I guess I will have to wait until July 2011 to get 2010 results. I think this still paints a very good picture though. You can definitely see there is a downward trend. I would suspect that this is a result of more and more emails being sent. Don't think more emails are being sent....here is a great article showing how the number of emails people are receiving at work is increasing. The article is titled Email Overload: What Went Wrong. It is crazy to think the amount of emails people receive at work has almost doubled over only about 4 years. It is no surprise email open rates are on a decline. If the above open rate trend has continued I would propose that today the average open rate would be around 10%.
Profitworks Email Marketing Open Rates To Date
2010 = 18% (3,742 sent, 658 opened)
2011 = 16% (2,248 sent, 362 opened)
I am disappointed to see that my open rate has fallen from 2010 but I am pleased that my open rates are significantly above the averages. My 2011 open rates may also be lower than 2010 as the 2010 number includes a larger number of survey emails to existing customers which usually have a significantly higher open rate. I hope to reverse this trend though over the rest of 2011 as I do more A/B testing and learn more about email marketing.
Tips To Increase Open Rates
Some key findings from the same Mailer Mailer, Email Marketing Metrics Report - July 2010 Edition report provide some great insights into how you can increase your open rate
1. Use subject lines under 35 characters
Emails with subject lines less then 35 characters received a 52% higher open rate. I think this makes sense, after 35 characters a subject line looks very long and I think people view long subject lines as most likely being spam.
2. Make your messages more personal
Using personalization within messages resulted in a 7% higher open rate and an 80% higher click through rate. At first this did not make sense as a name in the message will not be seen until after the email is opened so I did not see how this could affect an open rate. I then realized this is for emails that are sent the to the same recipients on a set pattern such as a newsletter. This makes sense. If the newsletter is addressed specifically to the recipient (ie "Hi Chris,") it will feel more personal and they will be more willing to open it the next time around.
3. Use a question in the subject line
From my own research I have found this to deliver around a 40% higher open rate than using a statement.
If you are currently using an email system that does not give you all of the above tracking statistics or is limiting your email marketing efforts in some other way I would highly recommend you upgrade your email marketing system. Having statistics and other tools like auto-responders is critical to improving your marketing efforts. There are a bunch of low cost options on the web. Two that I usually recommend are Aweber or Constant Contact. Both systems are low cost, easy to learn and very effective to use. I think Aweber also has an offer on right now where you can sign up for a one month trial for $1. For websites built on Joomla the email marketing program Acymailing is also a great option.
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My name is Chris R. Keller. I work at Profitworks Small Business Services helping various B2B small businesses in Waterloo and Kitchener Ontario generate new customers. If you are interested in generating new customers for your B2B small businesses enter your email in the box provided below and click the "Send Me Free Updates" button. You will then receive free updates from this blog.
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