You spend months working on a new product and perfecting your promotional email series — yet when you hit send, no one opens your email.

Your email open rate is an incredibly important metric to track in email marketing. Email open rates can give you a sense of the overall health of your account. It tells you whether or not your contacts are interested in and engaging with the emails you’re sending.

If you’re sending out a new promotional series and no one’s opening it, you probably won’t be making any sales. In this blog, you’ll learn five tips to ensure that never happens.

What is a good email open rate?

Email open rates

An email open rate average is the percentage of contacts that opened a sent email.

Your open rate is calculated by dividing the number of people who opened it by the number of people who received it. Note that all sent emails are considered, even those that end up in the spam or promotions folder.

What is a good open rate for email? A “good” open rate ranges from 17% to 21%, but it can be much higher. 

Triggered emails and autoresponders, for example, have a higher open rate since the user is performing an action to receive that email. Since a contact is expecting the email, they are more likely to open it.

Contact engagement directly impacts email deliverability, so it’s important to consistently monitor your open rates. Let’s dig into a few other metrics you should also keep an eye on.

Account metrics to watch (in addition to email open rates)

Email open rates are incredibly important — but if your contacts aren’t taking action after opening your emails, then you might have a problem. You should keep track of not only who is opening your emails, but also how they’re interacting with your campaign.

At a quick glance, the following metrics can tell you how your email account is performing:

What is a good email open rate
  • Open rate: A sent email has been opened.
  • Click-through rate: The number of emails that have been clicked on over the number of delivered emails.
  • Click-to-open rate: The number of emails that have been clicked on over the number of opened emails.
  • Unsubscribes: The percentage of contacts that unsubscribe from an email.
  • Spam rate: The percentage of contacts that mark an email as spam.

The table below shows what a “good” open and click-through rate should be. These figures apply to every email sent, regardless of it being a one-off campaign or in an automation.

Different automations may have different open and click-through rates. Your newsletter emails, for example, could have lower rates than your triggered campaigns.

Here are a few example benchmarks for specific automation/campaigns:

5 Tips to Increase Your Email Opens

Now let’s work on keeping those open rates high. Here are five tips to make sure your contacts are opening your emails.

1. Optimize Your Subject Line with CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer

Your subject line is the very first thing your contact will see when your email hits their inbox. This is your chance to hook them in.

CoSchedule has a free headline analyzer that you can use to create better subject lines. 

Your goal is to make your email stand out among the rest of the messages in their inbox. Headline Analyzer will look at your subject line and help you make improvements.

2. Send Only to Engaged Contacts

Your contact engagement tells you whether your marketing strategies are working. Engagement management means you’re tracking how your contacts are interacting with your emails and websites.

It also helps you identify the contacts who are no longer engaging with your emails. It is recommended that you reduce or stop sending emails to disengaged contacts, as unopened emails can hurt your sending authority.

Instead, you can try to re-engage them through different channels like Facebook ads.

3. Test Your Spam Rating with Mail-Tester

If your emails are marked as spam, your contacts may never see them. The more you work on improving your email deliverability, the less likely your emails will fall into the spam folder.

You can check your spam rating with this free online tool. From your ActiveCampaign account, you’ll go into an automation and send a test email to the address provided. In turn, the tool will tell you how likely your emails are to be marked as spam.

Tip: You shouldn’t include “spammy” language in your emails. Avoid writing in ALL CAPS, exclamation points, dollar signs, and overusing words like “free.”

4. Send Consistent Content

Consistency helps boost your email open rates because if your contacts know when to expect your emails, they are more likely to look out for them.

A content calendar can help you build a consistent email sending schedule. When building your first email calendar, try focusing on the following types of campaigns:

Broadcasts of Free & Valuable Content

The purpose of a Broadcast campaign is to provide non-promotional, free, high-value content. This includes any type of content marketing, such as new blog posts, podcast updates, or upcoming events.

You don’t have to send the same Broadcasts to every single contact. In fact, the more personalized your broadcasts, the higher your open rates will be. Subscription management allows you to know what contacts do or do not want to receive more information on.

You can also segment your list according to your contacts’ behavior. For example, you may have a contact who signed up for a free email marketing tool, which tells you that the contact is interested in email marketing tips, such as this blog post.

Subscription management and segmenting will determine what broadcasts your contacts receive.

Special Offers and Promotions

Your Special Offers & Promotions campaigns will deliver promotional content. This includes new offers, product or service launches, or affiliate launches.

You should also use tags to segment your contacts for these campaigns — such as if they joined a waitlist for a product — and only send the promotional content they’re interested in.

Note: It’s important to include an opt-out option for contacts during promotional sequences so that if they’re not interested in the product, they can opt out of receiving information about it without unsubscribing from your full list.

Customer-Only Communications 

Customer-Only Campaigns are tailored for your paying customers. These emails could include product updates, new features, or special customer-only promotions.

Within these communications, you can use tags to segment your contacts based on what they have purchased as well as their interest in additional products or services.

5. Keep Up with Subscription Settings

Regardless of your email marketing tool, subscription management is a critical component of your account setup. Subscription management allows for your contacts to pick and choose what communication they want to receive.

You can segment your list and only send your contacts emails about the topics, products, or services they’re interested in.

This is an often overlooked component of your account, and without it, you could see detrimental impacts on your email open rates.

What is Subscription Management?

Subscription management is the strategy behind your email marketing that allows a contact to opt-in or out of different email campaigns.

Regardless of your list size, subscription management is extremely important in ensuring that your contacts receive the information they want when they want it. Some customers may not want a weekly e-newsletter. Some may only want to hear about new product releases.

Without a subscription management strategy in place, you are more likely to experience spam complaints, delivery outside of the inbox, and reduced open and click rates. This can hurt your deliverability and severely impact your open rates.

Remember opt-in is a legal requirement in most countries.

What is a good open rate for email

In Conclusion

Your email open rates tell you if your contacts are actually interested in the information you’re sending them. It can directly impact your email deliverability, so it’s a metric you want to stay on top of.

Overall, you should optimize your subject line, focus on engaged contacts, check your spam rating, stay consistent, and leverage subscription management to keep your open rates up.

If you have any questions as you start implementing these tips, drop them below.

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