9 min read

Email Marketing: What Is A Good Open Rate?

Written by Andriy Boychuk
9 min read

Your open rate is one of the most critical email marketing statistics.

After all, people can’t click on links and buy your products if they don’t open the email, so this open rate is one of your preliminary indicators of potential success.

The question is, though, what is a good email marketing open rate?

On average, the open rate generally sits around 20 percent, which is a good starting point for determining your campaign’s success. However, that’s just part of the picture. Review email marketing open rates for your industry to see where you sit.

Then, find out how to benchmark your open rate and what you can do to improve yours.

What is a Good Email Marketing Rate for Each Industry?

Email open rates vary by industry.

The benchmarks for some industries sit below the average, while others will exceed them. Comparing your open rate to your industry’s benchmark will give you a much better idea of how your campaign is performing.

Remember, this is just a starting point, though; you don’t want to stop improving your camping just because you hit the benchmark. 

You want to be better than average so you can excel.

Industries with Email Open Rates Up to 20 Percent

First, let’s look at the industries that have average email open rates that sit at or below 20 percent.

HubSpot analyzed 19,033 emails from various industries to check open rates and discovered that, at a 19-percent open rate, the electronics industry has the lowest benchmark. Business services and software both sit at 20 percent.

Industries Bringing Up the Average

While business services, software, and electronics might lag behind the curve, other industries have much higher benchmarks. HubSpot’s review found that media and entertainment, telecommunications, and the health industry all boast open rates of 21 percent.

Retail, financial services, and manufacturing exceed that with an average open rate of 23 percent. Education is next at 25 percent, and the real estate and construction industries enjoy a 26 percent open rate.

How to Benchmark Your Email Open Rates

The average rate for your industry gives you a better idea of what you should shoot for regarding your own open rates. You can create a benchmark for your business and then incorporate some strategies to get more people to open your emails.

Begin by looking at your marketing statistics for the last year. Start with the number of emails you sent and then divide that by the number of opens: this number is your open rate. Compare it to your industry’s benchmark to see how you’re performing.

What is a Good Email Marketing Open Rate for Your Business?

After you have your personal benchmark and the average open rate for your industry, you can set a goal.

Let’s say that your industry average is 20 percent and your personal benchmark is 18 percent. Your first goal would be to hit the industry average benchmark. 

Don’t stop there. When you reach that goal, move the goalposts further along.

How to Reach Your Goal Email Marketing Open Rate

You can improve your open rates and reach your goals by making some adjustments. 

First, though, you need to analyze a graph of your open rates, checking for anomalies.

Look for any significant changes that occurred and the reason behind the increase or decrease. If you had a significant increase or decrease in open rates, check the email you sent to see why. 

Did you make a big announcement that everyone wanted to see? That could lead to a higher than usual open rate.

On the other hand, maybe you sent an off-topic email that was completely ignored. After looking at anomalies in the pattern, you can easily see what your audience likes and dislikes.

Your audience also provides lots of information with smaller open rate increases and decreases. Look for patterns to find out which emails historically have high and low open rates for your business. You might discover that your discount emails always have high open rates, but your newsletters have low open rates, for example.

Reviewing your previous open rates will help you adjust your campaign, but don’t stop there. Look back at your campaign to see how many emails you sent. 

Companies that send too few or too many emails each month tend to have lower email marketing open rates. Send between 16-30 emails per month to improve your rates. If you only send a handful of emails, people might forget about you and ignore the messages. However, if you send more than 30, you risk annoying your subscribers. 

You also need to think about your subject line.

The subject line and open rate are directly correlated, so improve your subject line to get better results.

Short subject lines tend to perform better than longer ones, so don’t exceed 50 characters, including spaces. 

Make sure the subject line tells the reader what’s inside the email. Include action-oriented verbs in the subject line, and include personalization when possible. 

Most importantly, segment your lists and test subject lines. Each market is different, so you need to run tests to find out what appeals to your subscribers.

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