What is a Good Email Open Rate and How to Increase Yours?

Artem Tunik -

email open ratesThe efficiency of the email marketing defines a range of metrics. One of them is the open rate. It shows how many receivers have actually opened the email you sent them. It is performed in the percentage comparing the number of the letters you sent and how many of them were read. To define what is a good email open rate you need to use the data of your industry. Compare your numbers with the results of your competitors and you will see whether you are in the right direction.Why? That is one of the criteria of the campaign that defines its success and shows whether you design it right.

What Is The Average Open Rate For Email Marketing?

As we already mentioned, the numbers depend on the industry and the type of campaign.The average open rate can be about 30%. For instance, the emails of the business that specializes in sports and leagues have 55,9% while in healthcare sector this metrics can be up to 23%. Of course, every business and campaign is unique, but you need always to be aware of the numbers of your competitors and use them as a starting point for your improvements.

The more important thing here is the analysis of the received info. The numbers can vary depending on the type of campaign, but it can be used to define what your subscribers accept and what ignore.

How To Calculate Your Average Open Rate?

It may sound like a great deal, but the rate can be calculated really easy. The metrics are equal to the number of reading emails divided by the number of sent ones minus the bounced ones.

To find out what is your average email open rate, you need to use data from a few campaigns you had. Add all the rates and divide them by the number of campaigns. If you had conducted plenty of campaigns, you can use info from the last 15-20 ones. But you need to count every campaign from the chosen period otherwise the results will be biased. So, we hope you get the idea and will be able to get the right data for analysis.

What signals that your campaign needs some improvements? You need to take actions when you have 3% click-through rate from the more than 10,000 subscribers. There can be a number of reasons why your results are not the one you can be proud of. So let’s take a closer look at the most common mistakes that lead to the low open rates (with recommendations as well).

9 Typical Fails That Can Ruin Your Click to Open Rate

As we already found out, calculation the open rate is not a complicated task. Moreover, many email marketers ignore these metrics. This attitude leads to the set of mistakes that can ruin your success.

  1. You are not on a whitelist.

Due to the numerous spam filters, the emails from the unknown users can be sent to the spam folder without even informing your subscribers about new mail. That is why you need to ask your receivers to whitelist your emails in order to set the decent mail exchange. You need to take actions in your hands and to help people to do this. You can provide users with the instructions on the Thank you page after they finish the registration or use the Click Trigger or List Builder pop-up. And it will help you with your click to open rate too.

  1. The low quality of your email list.

When it comes to the email list, it is all not about the quantity but quality. Since many subscribers use fake emails for signing in, by adding them to your list you harm your open rate. Also, letters can become inactive or forgotten with time. Mistakes happen to, especially when it comes to hand-written addresses. To clean your email list you need to check the bounce rates. The regular validation can serve a great deal as well.

  1. Emails were not optimized for mobile reading.

More and more people check their mail from their portable devices. It is due to the lack of time. Your subscribers can read your emails when they have time: in a traffic jam, when using the public transport, waiting in a line and even while using the bathroom (if you know what we mean). That is why mobile email optimizing is not the thing you can neglect. And the great part of it is not the content of the email, but the things person sees before opening. You need to make sure they see and understand the “From” line, the subject line is not long too much to be visible on the phone etc. Testing here can be really helpful for leveling you the mobile email open rates.

  1. Your subscribers are not ready to receive your letters.

As well as in whitelisting, you need to inform receivers about frequency and the content of your emails so they will be ready for the definite type of your material. It is also good for building relationships with your prospects

  1. The wrong sender of the emails.

It is up to you what email address to use (your own or of the company’s name). It depends on the type of your business though. If you are running your own business, it is reasonable to use your name in the “From” line. It will look like friendly emails and the receiver will likely read it as the letter will be considered as the one sent from a real person (which is true). But if your brand name is more famous than yours, that take advantage of using it instead. The main task is to make it clear for the receiver.

  1. You miss the chances and select the wrong timing.

The absence of the email sequence and timetable leads to the low email open rates. As long as you get the subscribers you need to heat their interest and make them got used to your letters. Also, you can set the wrong days and time of the day so the receivers will not be active enough to read your emails. You need to select the schedule in accordance with results of studying of your target audience.

  1. You selected the wrong targets for your emails.

When you receive something about gardening while you are interested in music only, you are unlikely to open such email. Segmentation of email list is not a waste of time. The open rate directly depends on the people who eventually receive your message. There are plenty of features you can use for segmentation. Automate this process in order to define the people who truly interested in your materials.

  1. Poor subject lines do not attract the reader.

Do regular A/B testing to select the proper variants and sort off the bad ones. Follow the limits of character, but use them to the fullest. Also, avoid “catchy” phrases that detect the commercial purpose of the email. Such words like “perfect”, “good” etc. decrease the open rates as well, so do not overuse them in subject lines and the letters. The definition of “working” words has changed.

  1. Your emails are too formal.

People tend to read emails from friends and family first. So your task is to become alike. Writing emails and subject lines in atoo formal way can serve a wrong deal here. Robotic language spoils the whole impression.Your task here is to create a trust between you and the subscriber. Emoji, smiles, hashtags and other elements of the regular internet conversation are acceptable even in B2B letters.

9 Easy Ways to Improve Your Email Open Rates

After sorting off the wrong actions that can harm your rate we are moving to the useful tips that are obligatory to follow if you want to have a decent metrics eventually.

  1. Segment your subscribers.

The receiver base the decision to read the email or not on its relevance to his or her interests. The experience shows that segmentation helps to increase the open rate and decrease the unsubscribe cases. This leads to better conversion and eventually the success of the campaign. Use the info about the subscribers’ behavior, the types of product they order. Demographics can be used for the same purposes as well.

  1. Refresh your list.

It is a normal process when users become inactive, change their addresses and lost interest in your emails. You need to clean your list from such “citizens”. But first, you need to send then the last letter just to make sure there is no chance to engage them again. With active subscribers, you need to maintain the communication as well. Ask them about their opinion on your content, timing and other stuff they want to change and you will be able to improve email open rates.

  1. Remember about spam filters.

They are becoming even more sophisticated and accurate. But as everything in life, they have its flaws so even the best letters can be marked as spam. Our task here is to eliminate all possible factors we can control and keep the address reputation clean. So make sure the list of subscribers consists of the ones who opted-in. Use good IPs and verified domains. Apply whitelisting option and provide the easy opt-out option.

  1. Create an attractive and meaningful subject line.

This aspect we have mentioned as well. This is everything when it comes to attracting the subscribers to read your letter. So make the best of it and use this opportunity for improving your open rate.Typical formulas for subject lines are not working the way they did at the beginning of the email marketing. Now the rate can even suffer from the bad lines. Your task here is to get the receiver interested. You can intrigue subscribers, use numbers, jokes and use the simple style.

  1. Tailor the timing of your campaign.

We have already mentioned the scheduling of the campaign. It is true that the time you send your email directly correlates with the open rate numbers. When your subscribers are sleeping or busy or something, they are more likely to delete or ignore your letter. So A/B testing helps you to define the most appropriate time for emailing in your case and increase open rates.

  1. Personalization is a thing.

Obviously, you write to plenty of people. But they need to feel like having a personal communication. You must understand the pain points and interests of your target receiver and use your knowledge to make every email more interesting. As soon as the subscriber realizes that your letters refer to his or her interests, your open rate for the next ones will grow for sure. Ask for feedback as well to improve your approach. Soon you will define your open rate growing.

  1. Content is of all importance.

It must go without saying that on your way to the high open rates you need to provide your subscribers with excellent, interesting and relevant content. The happier they are after reading your email, the more likely they read your next letter. Do not send stuff just to send something. Make them meaningful, with new materials that help to solve the main points of your audience.

  1. Use some jokes if it is appropriate.

When we communicate with friends and family, we use humor to endear people around. The same thing works in emails. Open rate depends on how you make the readers feel. You do not have to invent completely new jokes and write the entire stand-up performance. Just a hint of well-knows internet jokes or the old puns can make the reader smile. It is our task at this point.


Most of these rules do not require much money or time. But they can really improve the situation when you see the rate is lower than you expected. Use this article as a checklist for what you have or have not to do. Do not forget to check the statistics of your competitors as well. Such simple aspect as subject lines or more complicated as adjusting your emails to the mobile users have a different effect, but definitely, need to be implemented in your campaign planning. Define what is a good open rate for email (that you use for your purposes) and follow your goals.

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