Here’s a scenario in which you may often find yourself: You’re at the office sitting typing away furiously on your laptop trying to push a product launch email out the door in the next 20 minutes — or it won’t coincide with all of your other channels.
Finally, you finish. You save our work and send out a quick test email. Mercifully, everyone gets back to you quickly. Nothing but compliments.
“That preview text was killer!”
“That design is perfect.”
Compliments are always great, and you nervously hit the send button. There. The email is sent. Your boss will be happy, and you can finally get to work on everything else you have to do.
A few hours later, you’re curious. You log back into your email marketing platform, probably MailChimp or Emma. To your disappointment, you find the email has performed dismally.
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You sent the email to tens of thousands of people, and you’re sitting pretty at a 20% open rate. But the click rate is terrible, at only 1%. How did this happen? Surely you can’t show this to your boss.
You begin to ponder: Is a 1 percent click rate normal? Is this email performing worse than the rest in the industry?
To answer those questions, let’s look at a few industry email benchmarks.
According to MailChimp, the average open rate in the travel and transportation industry is at 20.86%. They also have an average click-through rate of 2.52%.
Now let’s look to another, more detailed benchmark report from SilverPop.
Since there are such broad categories in this benchmark report, I’m assuming SilverPop placed the trucking industry under industrial manufacturing and services. It’s broad, and these services will probably include supply chain management, so let’s look there.
According to this report, the mean open rate is at 22.2%. They also show the median open rate at 19.7%, with a top quartile of 38.1%. They also include a mean click-through rate of 3.2%, a median rate of 1.8%, and a top quartile rate of 8.7%.
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Now that we have these benchmarks, you know that your email from earlier didn’t have a great click-through rate. It’s actually falling in the bottom half, somewhere between the median and bottom quartile (0.3%).
How do you improve your click-through rate?
You’re standing at about average on open rate, but your click-through rate is bad. Here are a few best practices to help you stand out and ultimately increase your open rate.
1. Use a call-to-action.
If you’re wanting your audience to click-through an email and visit a page, you need to ask them to do so. It’s important that you only have one call-to-action in every email and limit secondary responses.
2. Make things personal.
Consider using a contact’s first name and other personal pronouns. This will help make your email look more tailored to each reader. Most marketing automation or email platforms will allow you to add in a smart field with ease.
3. Use the title to highlight what your audience gains from opening your email.
We’ve found that adding in the type of content to a subject line may decrease the number of opens, but drastically increases click-throughs.
4. Keep your content short.
People often don’t have the time or attention span to read long paragraphs in their inbox. Use email as a preview for what your audience can expect to see. This way they’ll be tempted to click onto your site to learn more.
5. Email timing is extremely important, so pay attention to when you’re sending an email.
Most businesses will generally send mail on weekday afternoons. Consider testing the times at which you send emails. This can help you avoid landing in swamped email inboxes during the busiest part of the day.
6. When in doubt, A/B test.
A/B testing your emails can be powerful. Audiences differ in their preferences. By testing the copy, headlines, buttons, and design of your emails, you can make sure you understand the best way to communicate with your audience.
The email you worked hard on didn’t perform well. Trust me, it happens to the best of us. But that doesn’t mean you give up. On the contrary, you should be spurred to work harder. By applying a few best practices, you are setting yourself up for success.
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