Email marketing remains one of the cheapest, most versatile and most effective marketing tools available, especially when you’ve taken the time to build quality lists and strategize your campaigns well. But how do you know just how good your email campaigns are? Depending on what you need it to do, there are a few different email conversion rate benchmarks to consider.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that email marketing isn’t just about sales. There are several different kinds of marketing campaign you can undertake using an email platform, and each of these measures success differently. That said, there are still a number of key email marketing metrics you can look at to work out if your campaign was successful. We’re highlighting the six most important ones.
1. Delivery rate
What it is: The percentage of emails that were successfully delivered to the intended recipient’s mailbox.
Why it’s important: Even though email campaigns are, in general, fairly inexpensive, you want to reach as many people as possible. Whatever methods you choose to build your email marketing lists, you don’t want to waste time with lists full of broken links, dead email addresses and potential clients who have moved on. The more emails reach their intended destination, the cleaner your email list is, and the better the chance that you’ll succeed. This email marketing metric shows you exactly how many potential customers you have reached.
How to measure it: Subtract the bounce rate (in point 2) from the total number of emails sent and use this to calculate the percentage of mails delivered. You should have a delivery rate of 95% or higher, otherwise it’s time to re-evaluate your email lists.
Tip: We recommend cleaning up your email marketing lists regularly, to keep your email delivery rate as high as possible.
2. Bounce rate
What it is: The percentage of emails that did not reach the intended recipient. There are two kinds of bounce rates: hard bounces result from email addresses that don’t exist, whether they were invalid to begin with, or have been closed down; soft bounces are those that temporarily can’t be delivered, often because a server is down, or a mailbox is full.
Why it’s important: This email marketing KPI again points to the usefulness and validity of your email marketing lists. It’s important to email performance, because it shows you whether your list is up to date and clean, or whether you need to rework it.
How to measure it: Your email analytics tools should show you how many emails were returned, and should also show which were hard bounces and which were soft bounces. Hard bounces should account for no more than 3% of the total number of emails sent, and your overall bounce rate shouldn’t be more than 5%.
Tip: Use the bounce rate information to streamline your lists after every campaign. This will help keep your delivery rates high.
3. Open rate
What it is: The percentage of people who opened the email once it was delivered to them.
Why it’s important: Whether you deliver one hundred emails, or twenty thousand emails, to generate email conversions, you need people to open them. This measure will show you whether your subject lines and the email headers that show in preview panes have done their job in enticing people to read the email.
How to measure it: Your email marketing reports will show you the percentage of people who opened the email. This figure should be between 20% and 40% - if it is lower than this, you need to re-evaluate the style and content of your subject lines and email headers.
4. Click-through rate
What it is: The percentage of people who click on your call to action link or button.
Why it’s important: This is where you get down to the nitty-gritty of the efficacy of your email campaign. Enticing, convincing copy and design will encourage people to click for more information, to subscribe, or to take up the offer. These are usually through links to your website or an affiliate.
How to measure it: When you’re looking at your analytics, the email click-through rate may surprise you. According to this email marketing benchmark report issued by MailChimp, if you’re hovering around 2%-3% click-through rate, you’re not doing too badly at all.
Tip: Take the time to compare industry-specific email marketing benchmarks – they can vary quite significantly.
5. Conversion rate
What it is: The percentage of email recipients who followed through to your end goal.
Why it’s important: Your campaign could have one of many different aims – it could lead to a free e-book download, a request to subscribe to a newsletter, or even the sale of a service or product. Whatever the specific goal of your campaign, when an email recipient takes you up on the offer, they are a conversion. This is the end goal of your campaign, and it’s important to know how well your campaign succeeded, so that you can learn from your successes (and failures).
How to measure it: Email generally outperforms just about all other marketing methods when it comes to conversions. That said, you can expect around 1.5%-2.5% conversion on an excellent campaign – don’t start panicking at those figures, those are normal.
6. Unsubscribe rate
What it is: The percentage of people who unsubscribe from your mailing list.
Why it’s important: You want to lose as few potential customers as possible. Nonetheless, it is to be expected that, each time you send out a mass email campaign to a mailing list, you will have some people who prefer to opt out of receiving mail from you. This could be for any of several reasons, including that they’re simply not interested in your industry. However, it could also be a good indicator of whether your emails come across as spammy – which is one thing you don’t want, as this could result in getting blocked on mail servers. The unsubscribe rate is useful as a measure for when you are doing things wrong.
How to measure it: An acceptable unsubscribe rate is around 2% maximum. If you’re seeing higher rates than that, it means you’re doing something to annoy people, which can be detrimental to your business.
Are you surprised by the realistic conversion rates? Were you hoping they’d be much higher? Tell us in the comments below.
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