At Red Branch Media, one of our mottos is “never stop learning.” Every single day, we strive to know more and do better than the previous day, and that goes double for our email campaigns. In order to send better, more effective campaigns, we are always looking back at our past sends to determine what went wrong and what went right.Curious as to how the @RedBranch #email team measures past success? Find out here: Click To Tweet
But we don’t just guess—we use several different metrics to determine which emails were successful and which ones flopped. These are open rates, click-through rates and unsubscribe rates. There are a hundred more things we use to determine success, but these are the big (and most important) three. Let’s look at them in a bit more detail:
The number of opens an email gets divided by the total number of sends.
Industry Average for Marketing & Advertising: 17.81%
Open rate depends on one thing: Your subject line. It’s the gateway your audience has to pass through before they can even see your content or read what great things you have to offer. If your open rate is bad, everything else will be too. That’s why in email we write from the subject line, down.
As you’ve seen, the average open rate for marketing is pretty low; Not all industries are created equal. When measuring your own email campaign success, it’s important to measure it against your own industry, because you might be doing better than you initially thought. The sports industry, for example, has an average open rate of over 25%. If you’re not achieving that in marketing, you’re not failing!
A secondary measurement in the open rate is the number of hard opens. Basically, how many people actually opened your email? A 90% open rate might be easier to hit if you’re only sending to 10 people. Don’t get me wrong, you’re definitely doing something right, but it’s unlikely your business will be successful with only 9 readers. Don’t let a high open rate lull you into a false sense of security: this is a great time to push for more leads.
The number of clicks in an email divided by the number of opens.
Industry Average for Marketing & Advertising: 1.92%
Your click-through rate is dependent on a lot of things: how relevant the content is, how the design resonates with your audience, if your call to action (CTA) is clear, actionable and visible, plus more. Screw up just one of them and your CTR can tank fast.
If open rates seemed low to you, the average for click rates are probably shocking. Just think: how often do you actually open an email and click on a link inside it? Probably not very often. Again, it depends on a lot on your audience and what you’re sending to them. Keep striving for greatness, but don’t get discouraged if your rates aren’t improving by leaps and bounds.
Tip: Focus on one or two actionable CTAs in an email, but no more. You don’t want your audience to be overwhelmed by options.
The number of people who clicked “unsubscribe” divided by the number of sends.
Industry Average for Marketing & Advertising: 0.28%
When people are no longer interested in your emails, they’ll click that little “unsubscribe” button that’s legally required at the bottom of every email. Obviously, you want your unsubscribe rate to be low, but it’s not a completely negative thing. You also don’t want to send your content to people who aren’t interested in it—that looks bad for your company. As long as the unsubscribe rate stays consistently on the low end, it’s nothing to worry about.
However, you should keep an eye out for spikes of unsubscribe activity. That likely means you need to adjust your content to be more interesting and relevant to your target audience. Keeping an eye on your unsubscribe rate is a great way to get a pulse on how your audience is feeling.
We all want to be great the first time, every time. Unfortunately, no matter how we try, no matter how many tests we send, that isn’t always going to be the case. That’s why we have to keep an eye on our metrics and always work to figure out what we could be doing better.
In marketing, you have to get used to the idea that your work is never finished. There’s always something more to be learned and something that can be improved. That’s why at Red Branch Media our success is always relative: because we know we’ll be even more successful next time.
Want to share in our success? Check out RBM’s email team and work with us!