Measuring Your Email Marketing: What’s a Good Open Rate?

Any expert email marketer will tell you that data is king. Analysing all the numbers behind your email marketing efforts is crucial to fine-tuning your strategy. And arguably one of the most important data points to pay attention to? Your email open rate.

What is an open rate?

Your open rate is essentially the percentage of people who open your email. A high average email open rate means you’re doing a number of things right, like timing your sends well and writing enticing subject lines. A lower rate means you have a bit of work to do.

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What’s a good average email open rate?

Probably a lot lower than you think. In school, 50 percent means you flunked. But in the world of open rates, 50 percent is passing with soaring colours—landing you top marks. (For you math geeks, a 50 percent open rate is around four standard deviations above the average). Campaign Monitor reports email open rates in the UK are 17.5 percent on average.

Just think about how you go through your email every day—outside of the personal ones, you probably move the lion’s share to an archive or read-later folder. You only open email marketing messages when they really grab you.

So what should you shoot for? Average email open rates vary widely across industries and with the type of message you’re sending (a huge sale may bring more people to click, for example). But generally, you’re riding high if you hit 20 percent.

How to improve your average email open rate

If your average email open rate isn’t very high, don’t get discouraged; there are simple, proven strategies for improving your email open rates. A key to making your email marketing stand out among an inbox full of marketing messages is to convey a sense of urgency. The best email subject lines might use words like “time-sensitive”, “act”, and “fast”. Also, personalisation is more important than you might imagine.

People will dismiss a generic subject line without a thought, but when the recipient’s name is in the subject line, your chances of them opening it go up. Using names or topics of interest to the recipient can make your email marketing feel more personalised. It indicates that you care about them and want to grow the relationship. But don’t get too wordy in the subject line, as the most opened emails have subject lines between 40 and 50 characters.

While being careful about how many words you use, you should also choose those words wisely. Humour, urgency, and storytelling are powerful tools, and you want to avoid sounding spammy at all costs. Words like “no fees”, “get paid”, and “subscribe now” can be red flags that get your email sent directly to the spam folder. Take a look at our tips and tricks for writing irresistible emails with the perfect subject line.

If you’re not there yet, there’s a lot you can do to improve your average open rates. A crystal-clear, actionable subject line goes a long way, as does targeting your sends to the people who will be the most interested in your message (for example, your loyal customers versus ones you want to re-engage). And email marketing is just one of many effective strategies to drive sales to your website. Square Marketing includes email marketing tools where you can not only see how many people opened your email and how many clicked to learn more but also how many made purchases as a result.

By improving email open rates, you can also improve your online presence, making it easier for you to sell online. Square eCommerce tools offer everything you need to set your business up online—from accepting payments on your website to selling on social media.