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How Can You Tell if Your Email Campaign is Working?

By Snap Agency December 4, 2020

According to the latest stats, 78% of marketers have seen a boost in email engagement in the last 12 months alone. Encouraging as that percentage may be, businesses shouldn’t take for granted that their emails reach and connect with the right people. In other words, conduct some research and let the data do the talking.

What are some quantitative measures of success for email campaigns and other standard email benchmarks marketing teams need to know? Today we’ll review just that.

Email Open Rate

Open rate is precisely what you would expect: what percentage of your subscribers actually open a specific email. While open rates don’t necessarily mean click-throughs or sales, they’re still valuable as far as email marketing performance goes.

As simple as open rates sound, they can be a little tricky to measure at times. For one, they tend to vary by industry. Government and nonprofit organizations reign supreme with a 25-30% open rate. These organizations often deliver vital information about our community and way of life, so their perceived importance gets them opened that much more. 

Emails that appear less urgent at first glance are usually opened less—food, beverage, and retail emails often wobble anywhere in the 13-15% range. Just to put it in perspective, the average open rate across all industries is around 22.5%.

Open rates also vary over time. What saw a lot of opens in 2019 might have dropped significantly in 2020. In other cases, open rates may have even skyrocketed; COVID-19 updates and insights, anyone? If your business has had a pretty steady open rate that’s started to shift dramatically, it’s time to figure out what events may have prompted such a change.

Click-Through Rate

As far as email campaign reporting goes, click-through rates are the jumping-off point from open rates. It’s only logical—you can’t have that click-through without an open in the first place!

When we talk about click-through rates, we don’t mean that every link in that email needs to be clicked. If your customer clicks at least one link, and that link brings them where you want it to (presumably to your site), then that’s a click-through. For any math whizzes out there, you can calculate your CTR today by taking the number of clicks, dividing that by the number of emails you sent, and multiplying your total by 100.

In the United States, the average click-through rate is 3.2%, with the top-performing brands hitting just above 9%. Similar to open rates, click-throughs depend significantly on both your industry and the period in time. Again, ask yourself what events may have triggered any percentage changes, should you notice them.

We also recommend examining the difference in your average open rate and CTR. There will be at least a little gap, with the open rates always being a tad higher. But are there ways you can close that gap even further? In other words, is there something in your email that initially attracts customers, but not enough for them to make the leap and visit your site? For example, maybe the title of your email caught your customer’s attention, but the discounts within just weren’t alluring enough for them to start browsing.

Email Conversion Rate

Ah, yes, conversion rates. The best of the best in email KPIs. No, seriously, they’re top-tier as far as performance benchmarks go. They go beyond open rates and click-throughs; with conversion rates, we’re talking actual, honest-to-goodness purchases. We use them to measure who started out merely visiting your site (or, in your case, who started as an email subscriber) and became a paying customer.

Again, it’s perfectly natural to have a much lower conversion rate than your open or click-through rate. After all, your customer may revisit that very email later or still need a little extra persuasion. Heck, many of us are strapped for cash during the pandemic as it is. That being said, it’s still entirely within your means to maintain and even boost your conversion rates in 2020 and 2021.

We know you’re curious: what is a good conversion rate? The average business hits anywhere from 2.25-2.5%, but we know you’re better than average. Can you see yourself setting goals for a 3 or 4% rate? If you feel particularly ambitious (and have prior evidence that this goal is within your reach), you could even shoot for a CTR as high as 5-7%.

Surprise, surprise, conversion rates vary by industry, too. Finance companies, for example, see exceptionally high averages, often hitting around 5%. Ecommerce, on the other hand, dips down to less than 2%. Ask yourself what’s a realistic email conversion goal based on your industry, and whether or not current events have altered, or could alter, those percentages in any way. 

Think about it: your customer has already made it this far, all thanks to your email. What still needs to change? The ease of navigating your site, perhaps? The discounts themselves? The customer service? If you’re not sure, it’s time to get to work!

Let’s Turn Those Subscribers Into Repeat Customers

Ready to join that 78% of marketers and see a boost in your email engagement this year? Great, that’s what we’re here for! Start a conversation with Snap Agency to talk about email open rates, click-throughs, conversions, and more. Don’t worry; we’re happy to help with the number-crunching.