Email Marketing – Interpreting Your Results | June 13th, 2011

Email marketing has become pretty mainstream over the past couple years, but it is still confusing territory for many small business owners. We’ve covered some of the basics of creating email marketing campaigns, and building your email subscriber list in previous issues, but what about after the email has been sent? How do you analyze the results? Here’s some information to help you interpret the results of your email campaigns.

If you’re using Constant Contact or a similar email marketing product, you should be able to view the results of your mailing after it has been sent. Your data will include:

The open rate.
The open rate is the number of recipients to whom you sent an email that opened it. Not all email programs will allow the tracking data to be processed, so the recorded open rate is not always 100% accurate, but it should still give you a pretty good idea.

The bounce rate.
The bounce rate is the number of people to whom you sent an email that could not receive it. Emails can be bounced for various reasons. The most common reason is for a non-existent address, which means the email address doesn’t exist or may have been canceled. Other reasons are: undeliverable due to the server being unavailable at the time; the mailbox was full; or your email was blocked by the recipient, which is very common in large companies. The email could also have been recorded as bounced if the recipient has an out of office auto-reply set up. In this case the email was actually received, but it would have been recorded as a bounce.

The click-through rate.
The click-through rate is the number of people who opened the email and clicked at least one link in the email.

All the above rates are usually reported as a percentage. It is easy to get discouraged by low percentages, but you may be surprised to find that your emails have average, or even above average, open and/or click-through rates. Below are some standard open, bounce, and click-through rates by industry. The results were compiled by Constant Contact. They examined over 200 million emails, so their analysis is probably pretty accurate.

Business Type Open Rate Bounce Rate Click-Through Rate
Accountant 14.0% 5.5% 14.5%
Art Gallery 21.9% 6.0% 10.6%
Association 18.5% 6.2% 11.0%
Communications 8.5% 2.0% 8.9%
Consultant 13.6% 8.0% 12.0%
Crafts 27.0% 3.4% 22.1%
Education and Services 18.6% 5.9% 15.1%
Entertainment 17.0% 5.3% 10.8%
Event Planning 16.6% 5.9% 12.2%
Franchise 19.3% 5.9% 12.5%
Government Agency 23.0% 6.5% 14.7%
Hotel, Inn, B&B 19.8% 5.4% 13.9%
Legal Services 18.2% 7.8% 13.0%
Manufacturing & Distribution 18.0% 7.0% 13.1%
Marketing/PR 11.0% 6.4% 13.5%
Medical Services 16.7% 5.3% 13.3%
Non-profit 20.0% 5.9% 12.3%
Office Supplies 16.5% 1.9% 9.4%
Personal Services 18.0% 7.6% 12.6%
Products & Services 16.0% 6.4% 12.2%
Professional Services 15.4% 6.6% 13.0%
Publishing 18.1% 4.5% 27.6%
Real Estate 14.8% 7.6% 10.4%
Religious Organization 22.4% 4.6% 9.8%
Restaurant/Bar/Catering 18.4% 6.0% 6.6%
Retail 17.7% 4.3% 15.7%
Salon/Spa 15.0% 6.9% 7.0%
Sports & Recreation 17.5% 5.9% 12.3%
Technology 15.0% 7.3% 10.9%
Transportation 18.9% 5.1% 13.8%
Travel & Tourism 15.5% 5.9% 11.6%
Web Developer 17.4% 5.8% 16.4%
Other 17.7% 5.4% 17.8%

Want Monday Morning Kick Start’s results? Last week: 34.1% open, 2.8% bounce, and 31.9% click through.

What do you do now that you know how you compare with the rest of the nation? If you’re above average – keep up the good work. If you’re below average, start playing around with better subject lines and content to grab your reader’s interest, and hopefully you’ll start to see your numbers soar!

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