Wondering how your email open rates compare to other businesses?
Our email marketing partner, Constant Contact, released their May 2017 stats for email sends. Using data from their nearly 750,000 customers, they tracked open rates, click-through rates, bounces and unsubscribes across more than 35 different market segments. They’ve been tracking this data for several years now and release it to their partners and knowledgebase throughout the year.
In May 2017 the average email open rate across 35 industries was 16.85%.
The Top 5 Email Open Rates by Industry in May 2017
- Religious Organizations – 27.3% Open Rate
- Education (Primary/Secondary – 24.27% Open Rate
- Government Agency or Services – 23.22% Open Rate
- Child Care Services – 22.7% Open Rate
- Health and Social Services – 21.94% Open Rate
Not surprisingly, the businesses or organizations with the highest open rates primarily provide notifications that offer critical and timely information. You won’t find many solicitations or promotions from a government agency. Not surprisingly, these organizations traditionally have the highest click-through rates and the lowest unsubscribe rates.
When we dive a bit deeper, we see professional services and retail business numbers.
Accounting firms have a high email open rate (19.53%), typically due to the nature of the communication. Our customer’s highest click-through rates are typically around how-to articles and financial information related to their business. But remember, it’s all about the subject line; you have 2 seconds and 4-5 words to grab a reader’s attention.
Accounting is followed by Higher Education (18.73%), Personal Services (examples: dry cleaning, photography, housekeeping) (17.62%), Real Estate (17,5%), Fitness and Recreation (17.3%) and Health Professionals (17.29%).
Industries with Low Email Open Rates
The Constant Contact May Email Open Rate data shows Personal Trainers / Coaches at the bottom of the list with just an average 7.58% open rate. Interestingly, this segment also has a very low bounce rate. Why? It could be because of the personal nature of the business, where verbal communication and face-to-face interaction is occurring on a scheduled and regular basis.
Rounding out the bottom three industries with the lowest email open rates; Technology (10.02%) and Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations (10.68%).
How to Improve Your Email Open Rates
Getting good open rates is all about relevance and timing. Be sure to provide content that’s interesting to your customers. One of the best ways to do that is to segment your list from the start, so rather than sending one email to everyone, send targeted emails with more relevant content to groups or lists. A real estate agent knows that his customer for a first home probably isn’t looking for the $5,000,000 mansion on the north shore. You can use your Preferences Center to allow segmentation.
Keep in mind the transient nature of your customers. Many are on the go and use their phones as the primary way to read emails. Be sure your emails are formatted correctly so they can be read on a phone easily.
Finally, keep your email tight, snappy and interesting. Consumers don’t read, they scan, so your subject line and the layout of the words is critical. Use bullets and bunched words to create interesting phrases with links to deeper information.
While open rates are important, clicks can tell us more about interest and allow for dynamic segmenting. We’ll explore that in another post.