Some key open rate findings
We have researched the results of more than 40,000 email campaigns and 900 million emails in a year that we sent for 150 of our clients. Here's what we found:
Leisure 10am-12pm or 10-11pm
Retail 10-11am or 4-6pm
Travel 3pm or 10-11pm
8% of emails are being opened on tablets
20% of emails are opened on smartphones
72% of emails are opened on computers
1. Finance with 36% opens
2. Retail and healthcare with 32% opens
3. Publishing and recruitment with 30% opens
1. B2B with 23% opens
2. Energy with 24% opens
3. Data and property with 24% opens
Types of campaign
Different types of email campaign will generate different results, so it's important you're able to apply the appropriate expectations. The first email to a cold prospect that has had no prior contact with your brand, for example, will have a far lower open rate than a monthly newsletter that your email list has signed up for or a special offer email for a product the recipient has previously purchased.
Cold acquisition emails - these are emails sent to a cold list of prospects, using a list that has presumably been purchased from a data supplier. Therefore, while the prospects become familiar with the brand, you can expect the open rates to be lower than other emails.
- these are emails (usually sent weekly or monthly) to a list of subscribers, usually to update your audience with company goings-on and other relevant content. As they have signed up for this email, you can expect the open rates to be higher than other emails.
- these are emails that usually stand-alone, and contain information about a particular event or offer. Once you have a template for these emails, building new emails for your latest offers is simple. Open rates should be consistent and depend on the quality of the offer and subject line.
- these are emails which are sent automatically to a recipient who perhaps has downloaded a guide, made a purchase or filled out an online form. They are usually personalised and part of an automated workflow of emails designed to nurture leads, sent over an extended period of time. Open rates rely on constant monitoring and tweaking of the workflow.
- these are emails sent after someone has performed an action, such as making a purchase, downloading content or completing a form. They usually contain a call-to-action to keep the recipient engaged with the brand.
What impacts the open rate?
If you're wondering why your emails aren't getting the open rates you're after, just think about your own email inbox. We all suffer from an overload in today's fast-paced business world, so it's easy for things to get overlooked and lost in the crowd. Therefore, you need a subject line that is up to the challenge.
Your subject line should engage the recipient immediately, either by being unique (avoiding cliché words) and by offering clear value. Whatever you say in your subject line should convince people that opening your email will improve their circumstances in one way or another, be it their personal life or business. Then you just have to make sure your email lives up to it!
The name your email appears to come from is often not given the same consideration that subject lines get, when in fact it's equally important. A lot of the time, recipients will check out the 'from name' before scanning the subject line. If they don't recognise the name, that email is likely to be deleted!
Therefore, it's important to remain consistent with the 'from name' you use for your campaigns. Some brands use the company name, others use a person's name; the important thing is that your recipients become familiar with the name you use, they begin to trust the sender, and understand the quality of content they'll get when they open.
Email marketing isn't just about creative design and a quality send list, it's also about timing. Your email might be perfect, but if you send it at the wrong time - when it won't see an immediate flux in opens, and ends up lost in traffic - then your hard work will not reap the rewards it deserves.
So when's the best time to send your email? Scroll back up and check out 'Some key open rate findings'.
Most importantly in all aspects of email marketing is the need to test, test and test again. You can take ideas from industry averages, but you'll never truly know what works best for your brand unless you A/B test different aspects of your email.
Before sending your email to your list in its entirety, take a small percentage (perhaps five or ten per cent, depending on how large your list is) that's big enough to give you a decent sample size. Then split this list into different sections - one for every subject line you want to trial. Send these emails first and use the results to determine which subject line you use for your final send.
Similarly, split your list up and send test emails at different times throughout a day or week until you feel you have found the time that works best for your emails. You might be surprised to discover when your recipients are the most receptive and more likely to engage; for example, emails from the finance sector are most likely to get opened in the early morning (7-10am), whereas emails from travel agents are more likely to get opened late at night (10-11pm).
It's far too easy for email marketers to become discouraged by the results of their campaigns. The objectives you set for yourself MUST be realistically achievable otherwise you're setting yourself up to fail. Having said that, you've still got to do what's being asked of you, and most of the time that means delivering high-quality leads (in B2B) or online conversions (B2C).
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