Understanding Your Open Rate

The Open Rate is the percentage of recipients who opened an email. It’s not perfectly accurate -- it simply can’t be due to how email works -- but it’s close.

What percentage of your list should you expect to see open your email? Somewhere between 15 to 25 percent.

Depending on your previous experience with email newsletters and marketing, this may not sound like a very high number. It’s important to have realistic expectations when considering your open rate. No commercial email is ever going to have a 100% open rate. Or an 80% rate. Or a 60% rate. Just as it’s highly unlikely that you’ve opened and read 100% or 80% or 60% of the commercial mail you’ve been sent.

If you’re seeing more opens than this? Well done!

If you’re seeing less than a 15% open rate, what’s wrong? Could be several things:

Your list may be a little old.
Subscribers are most engaged with you right after they’ve signed up for your list or become a customer. If it’s been several months since they’ve done either, then a sudden email (or group of emails) from you isn’t as likely to get their attention.

If your list old, there isn’t really anything you can do to fix that other than make sure your mail new subscribers more quickly in the future. But something you can do is start to drop people from your list if they don’t take action (either by opening the email or clicking a link) with your content after a couple of months.

You’re not consistently sending email to your subscribers.
While you don’t want to overwhelm people by mailing them every day, you do want to mail them often enough so that they remain interested in what you have to say.

How often is often enough? Write to your subscribers at least once a month. Twice a month would be even better. Once a week is ideal.

How much is too much? Every day or every other day is pushing it. It’s ideal to not send a bulk message to the same person more than twice a week.

People may not recognize who you are.
What name are you using in the From Label of your message? It absolutely must be a name your recipients will recognize if you want them to trust you and open it. If you own a business, but the people on your list mostly know you by your own name, the email should come from you. But if subscribers know you by your business name (or an older business name that doesn’t even match the current name), then you should use the name of that business.

Think about how you approach your own inbox: if you don’t recognize who sent an email, you’re almost certainly going to skip right over it, delete it, or maybe even mark it as spam.  

Your content might not be that engaging.
We all receive a ton of email, so why open anything that isn’t from a friend or relative? No one likes being bored, so you have to always ask yourself: Am I sending valuable content to my subscribers? How do you know what kind of content is valuable?


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