Nobody Knows How Many People Read Your Emails

blog nobody knows email

I hear the same thing whenever I’m talking with a prospect about their email marketing. “We have a great open rate, but it doesn’t seem like our emails are driving much engagement.” The truth is that nobody knows how many people read your emails. Open rates are deceiving, and it seems like there is a lot of confusion over how to determine the level of engagement your emails are getting. Let’s talk a bit about open rates versus click-through rates.

Open Rate

Open rate = opened emails ÷ emails delivered

Open Rate is the number of recipients or percentage of your mailing list who opened your email message. Open rates can be deceiving because it’s not a literal number. They’re really great to track as an overall trend line, but the truth is you don’t really know how many people actually opened your emails. What open rate tells you is how many people loaded a graphic in their email in the email client. And that’s not the same thing as how many opened the email and actually read it.

Whether or not you have images turned on in the email preview of your email dramatically affects the open rate.

If a recipient has images turned off, they could read your entire email and that won’t show up as opened or appear in the open rate. On the other hand, if they just scroll down through their messages and image email is turned on by default, it will show up as opened even though they may not have read the email at all. That’s why we look at open rates as a trend over time as opposed to an absolute number.

Click-Through Rate

Click-through Rate = Links Clicked in the Email ÷ Emails Delivered

The click-through rate is the average number of email recipients who clicked on a hyperlink in the email. This is a much stronger metric to look at when measuring how successful the engagement is on an email you send. Click through rate tells us how many people opened the email and clicked on a link. It’s showing a deeper level of engagement than open rate. A click-through rate is a hard number and that data is invaluable. You can use it to determine if your email list needs to be further segmented. It can help you create better content and continue to build your audience. And it is a great way to further qualify leads.

What’s a good click-through rate?

Clients & prospects ask me this all the time. In B2B, the average email click-through rate is around 5%. A higher click-through rate means the email had good engagement. But a lower number can be helpful too. It can show you where changes and adjustments need to be made.

Here are some things you can do to improve the click-through rate of your emails:

  • Create Great Content
    The key to good email marketing is to make sure you’re delivering high-value key insight-driven content that helps your audience solve the challenges and problems they’re facing. 64% of email recipients say they would open an email based solely on if they trusted the brand.
  • Be Mobile Responsive
    In 2019, 62% of email campaigns are being opened on a mobile device. It’s absolutely essential for both your website and your emails to be mobile-ready, especially in a B2B context.
  • Testing is Key
    You don’t want to stuff your email full of links, but maybe you don’t just want one link either. Experiment with different versions of the same email to determine the sweet spot that produces the optimal click-through rate.
  • Optimize Your Images
    60% of readers choose email image blocking by default. Making sure that the images you include in your email aren’t blocked can have a huge effect on both the open rate and the click-through rate.
  • Have a Strong Call to Action
    Make sure your audience knows what you want them to do by having a strong call to action.

Name Impression Matters

Just the impression of a prospect or client seeing your name in their inbox, again and again, has value by itself. Even if not everybody reads your emails, just the fact that you’re talking to them on a regular basis and reminding them that you’re there is important. We’ve had many prospects contact us months later when they’re finally ready to talk because we’ve stayed top of mind just by sending them regular emails.

Learn more by listening to our B2B Word of Mouth Marketing podcast.

All the best,

Bill Bice

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