How to measure and improve the impact of your marketing emails

Marketing in the time of coronavirus is a unique experience, but one thing remains consistent: marketing to your existing leads and customers is a good way to generate new or repeat business without spending too much money. Early data also indicates that email engagement is rising during the pandemic, making email marketing an affordable, effective way to reach customers right now. In addition, after an initial boost in March and early April, email volume has been consistent or even less than the same time in previous years, making now a good time to reach people when they aren’t overwhelmed with other messages.

Of course, it isn’t enough to send a message out to your list and wait for the sales to roll in. That’s why it’s important to think strategically, test, and improve all your marketing efforts – especially email.

Understanding Industry Benchmarks for Marketing Emails

Before you can begin measuring the success of your marketing emails, it’s important to understand what standard performance looks like for your industry. MailChimp, a leading email marketing platform, has compiled benchmarks that include average unique open, click, and bounce rates for 45 industries with lists of 1,000 or more contacts. Here’s a look at benchmarks for some of our clients’ industries:

Industry Average Open Rate Average Click Rate
Business & Finance 21.56% 2.72%
Education & Training 23.42% 2.90%
Hobbies 27.74% 5.01%
Legal 22.00% 2.81%
Media & Publishing 22.15% 4.62%
Non-Profit 25.17% 2.79%
Recruitment & Staffing 21.14% 2.53%
Software & Web App 21.29% 2.45%
Average for All Industries 21.33% 2.62%

One easy way to see how your marketing emails measure up is to compare your metrics to the benchmarks for your industry.

Of course, benchmarks can illustrate how much engagement an email receives, but it’s also important that you connect your marketing emails to any new leads or profits they generate. Take a look at our recent blog on marketing ROI to learn more about tracking leads and sales from your campaigns.

Following Best Practices for Marketing Emails

Now that you understand what your marketing email performance should look like, let’s review some best practices to help you achieve and exceed those benchmarks.

How Often Should I Email My List? According to a SmartRMail survey, companies that email their lists 1-2 times per week have higher open and click rates.

  • When is the Best Time to Send Marketing Emails? It’s more difficult to measure the best time to send your marketing emails. Marketing consultants used to recommend Tuesday through Thursday, between 8am and 10am, but an increasing mobile society has led to people opening and clicking on links in emails at all hours of the day and night. The best practice now says to experiment with your list to see when your messages get the best engagement; you might be surprised at the results.
  • What Should My Marketing Emails Look Like? Make sure your email template matches your brand to avoid any confusion from customers or leads. If you don’t have a professional designer on staff, many popular email platforms will help you customize your template to fit your brand guidelines.

How Do I Write a Good Email Subject? Keep the subject of your email brief, clear, and engaging. Experts suggest 3-5 word subjects perform best, but as with everything in marketing, A/B testing can help determine exactly what works for your audience.

  • What Should I Include in My Emails? Conversational tones tend to work best in email, but don’t take too long to tell your readers what they need to know and why they should care. Always make sure to include a clear, concise call-to-action in your message; you can perform an A/B test to find the best placement for your CTA.
  • How do I Avoid Mistakes in Marketing Emails? Whatever you do, don’t send an email to your list without first testing to make sure everything looks good and works the way you intended. Check for misspellings, broken links, images that won’t load, and other visual or typographical errors. Take your time and avoid the embarrassment of sending an email that looks unprofessional or frustrates your customers.

Trouble-Shooting Your Marketing Emails

If you’re experiencing low performance, there are several things to consider. As with all marketing, testing different ideas, offers, and designs is a great way to figure out what resonates best with your audience.

How to Fix Low Open Rates

Low open rates can be a result of several factors. Try experimenting with:

  • Subject: If your subjects are generally long, try something shorter and more punchy. Consider including a special offer in the subject line itself.
  • Day or Time: In our connected world, it’s nearly impossible to predict when your contacts might open an email. Try sending later at night or earlier in the morning to see if you can trigger a change in performance. If you’re in B2B sales, consider sending your message on a weekend when someone may be receiving less work-related email.

Be aware, also, that email open rates are notoriously unreliable. Emails can be recorded as unopened even when they have been viewed, since many email programs show a preview of the email in a separate pane. Recording as open also requires a pixel image to load, so users who have images disabled won’t count as opens even if they read your whole message.

How to Fix Low Click Rates

If people are opening your email but not clicking on your links, you can try the following ideas:

  • Try a different call-to-action. Test different offers to see what your audience finds most appealing.
  • Move the placement of your CTA. We like to make sure it’s one of the first things a reader sees, but different placements may work for different audiences.
  • Make sure your CTA is visible. If you’re using an image button, some users might not see it at all. Make sure to use a text link as well.

Do you need help finding the flaws in your marketing emails and making significant improvements? Talk to a member of our team today to learn more about how we can help with email marketing.