It’s not enough to just send emails to your list.
To be able to get the most out of your email marketing campaigns, you need to understand the levers at your disposal so you can improve the metrics that matter most.
And there’s plenty that email marketers can do to influence (and improve!) open and conversion rates.
But first, you need to understand the basics of email marketing strategy.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
Types of emails and their average open rates
When it comes to improving your email marketing performance, it’s not one size fits all. There are a lot of nuances you should consider before you make a split-second judgment and decide to overhaul your entire email marketing strategy.
Because your open rate isn’t going to be the same across the different types of emails in your arsenal.
So, let’s cover 6 of the most common email types and their average open rates so you can use these benchmarks as a jumping-off point when it comes to measuring your own email performance and marketing efforts.
Just remember that your email open rates aren’t always going to align perfectly with these figures. And while benchmarks are a great place to start, you know your business best. So use these numbers as a guide, but set your own goals for all email marketing campaigns based on any historical data you have.
A welcome email is exactly what you’d think. It’s an email that goes out immediately after a new subscriber joins your email list. And because your business is so top of mind at that point (and you likely offered these new subscribers an incentive to join), welcome emails have a staggering 50% average open rate.
So it’s worth spending the time to make sure your welcome email, first and foremost, delivers on the promise you made. So whether you offer a 10% off coupon code, free shipping or piece of content, make sure your subscribers are getting the information they came for immediately.
Then you can focus on one of the first steps in the lead nurturing process — building the foundation of your relationship by introducing yourself and your business by telling your story. Because remember: people want to support other people, not faceless service providers. So make sure you’re shining a light on yourself as the founder and why you started your store.
And after you have your first welcome email up and running, you can turn it into a 3-part series. But the most important thing is that you have at least one welcome email live ASAP.
Abandoned cart emails
An abandoned cart email is meant to recover the carts of your site visitors who leave your store with unpurchased items still sitting in their carts — which just means you send a targeted email reminding them about their cart in an attempt to get them to come back and complete their purchase.
Sometimes this means offering a discount code to get first-time buyers who haven’t purchased from you before over the hump. Other times, it means a series of reminders with or without coupons.
When it comes to the average open rate for abandoned cart emails, it sits around 45%. Much higher than many other types of emails because the intent is so high.
Remember: these visitors are only getting your abandoned cart email because they got far enough through the journey on your store to add one or more items to their carts, so there’s clear interest, and sometimes a quick reminder is all it takes to drive them back to complete their order.
Again, you can turn your abandoned cart email into a series, but the most important thing is that you have one email live to try to turn buyers who’ve never purchased from you before into paying customers.
Customer winback emails
A customer winback email is an automated email that triggers if a customer hasn’t purchased from you after a certain amount of time, with the idea you can leverage an offer to bring these past customers back again.
Which of course means many businesses offer discounts and incentives in their email marketing campaigns to motivate their customers to come back and shop again. But because these customers haven’t purchased from you in a while, it’s no surprise that the average open rate for a customer winback email only hovers around 12%.
So yes, you absolutely should focus on email automation and send your customers a winback email (or series of emails), but don’t let a lower-than-average open rate discourage you. These are customers who weren’t highly engaged with your brand anyway. But it’s worth a shot to try to win them back.
Promotional emails and newsletters
While there is a difference between promotional emails and newsletters, if you’re just getting one of your first email marketing campaigns off the ground, you’re likely going to bucket these two types of emails into the same category.
Promotional emails and newsletters are both one-off email types, which means they’re not just another marketing automation tactic.
And while your promotional emails are definitely meant to drive sales, your newsletter-type emails should build trust, educate, and entertain email subscribers.
If you use Gmail for your personal email, go check the promotions tab. Chances are, you have an unbelievable number of promotional emails from brands you’ve subscribed to. Things like sales, free gifts with purchase, free shipping offers, and so much more.
Your digital marketing campaign could include newsletters focused on current events or holidays your audience is passionate about. Just remember that the primary CTA in every great email can’t be to sell, sell, sell. It will get old and your subscribers will stop opening your messages. So mix in heartfelt newsletters to continue building a solid relationship with your audience.
The average open rate for promotional emails and newsletters is right around 20%.
Transactional emails include order confirmations, shipping notifications, receipts, account updates, password resets, and more.
Just think about how you interact with these types of emails in your own day to day life. You’re probably much more likely to open an order confirmation or shipping notification email than you are to open a one-off, promotional email.
Well, the same is true for your customers. The average open rate for transactional emails is somewhere between 80-85%. That’s crazy high.
So use these transactional emails in your email marketing campaigns as an opportunity to stand out. Don’t just send an ordinary order confirmation email. Add some personality to your messaging, make an effort to create a branded email design, and use it as your chance to build a stronger relationship with your customers. Be thoughtful and add value and your customers will notice.
Purchase follow-up emails
Purchase follow-up emails are the best emails for those who wish to keep customers engaged after they’ve purchased from your store.
You can share anything from “how to” guides for their purchase, to a nice thank you for supporting a small business note. You can even ask for a review on a recent purchase, the options are endless.
And because these emails are only sent to highly engaged customers who’ve purchased from you recently, the average open rate is higher than average, sitting at 38%.
Now that you’ve seen a variety of email types as well as their average open rates, you can see just how much open rates vary. But there are a handful of things you should think about to increase your open rates no matter what kind of email you’re sending.
Successful email marketing campaigns: 7 tips to increase open rates
Your subscribers’ inboxes are probably crazy. Packed with offers and newsletters from every brand they’ve ever subscribed to. Which means the competition for getting them to open your emails is fierce.
Luckily, there are many different ways you can improve your chances of standing out in the inbox and improving your open rates. Keep reading for 7 tips to help you increase your open rates and run successful email marketing campaigns.
Welcome new subscribers
Every new opt-in should receive a welcome email (or series) sent automatically. You want to deliver on the promise you made to get them there (a coupon or free shipping code, for example), but you should also use it as an opportunity to welcome them to your business and make them feel connected to you, the founder, and the brand.
Before you scope out your welcome email (or series of emails), ask yourself a question: “what are the four or five things people need to know to buy our product?” Your answers should shape what the story you tell in your welcome emails, giving users a strong value proposition at every touchpoint that will guide them into making a purchase. This will help new contacts learn more about your brand as they make their purchase decision.
Engaging with and warming these new subscribers up to your business will get them familiar with your store and improve the chances that they open your emails.
Nurture existing subscribers
Welcoming your new subscribers to your community is just the beginning. If you don’t continue to nurture your subscribers (and just send them promotional emails around big holidays, like Black Friday), they’re never going to take the time to open your emails.
Because remember: they’re getting emails from other brands every single day. So if you don’t send emails consistently your subscribers will probably forget about you and your business, especially if they’ve never purchased from you before.
So make sure your email marketing campaigns are based on consistent schedules. Send newsletters and promotions to your list of existing subscribers on a regular basis. Whether you’re promoting a new offer or product, regular communication will strengthen your relationship and help your subscribers look forward to receiving your emails (which means they’ll be more likely to open).
Experiment with subject lines
There are several factors that influence your open rate, but one of the most prominent is your subject line. Think of your subject line as the bait to hook your subscribers and get them to open your email.
And after all the work you put in to prepare your email marketing campaigns, you want that bait to be strong. That’s why we always recommend performing a/b testing and experimenting with your subject lines. Even a small test can give you invaluable insights that will help you improve open rates over time. Then, you’ll be able to spot trends for your best-performing emails and really lean into what works best.
Write catchy preview text
Your preview text is probably the most underrated way to influence the open rate for your emails. Catchy preview text that reinforces (or adds to) your subject line can help push someone over the edge to open your email.
So take the time to include preview text for every email you send. And make sure it doesn’t include “Unsubscribe” (you’d be surprised how many emails include that in the preview text since it’s pulling in from the footer.
Test your sender name
Like your subject line and preview text, the sender name you use can have an impact on your open rate. So rather than just sending emails from your business name, try sending them from [Your Name] at [Business Name] (example: Lauren from Privy).
Using a real person’s name as the sender name for your emails reminds subscribers that someone is there behind the scenes and they’ll start to associate a name (and hopefully a face!) with the business. The more connected your subscribers feel to you, the more likely they are to open your emails (and support your brand).
Test your send times
When your messages show up in subscribers’ inboxes can influence whether or not they open or not. But you’ll never know the optimal day or time to send your emails unless you test it.
Consider split testing or switching up your one-off schedule to see how engagement changes based on the day of week and time of day.
Segment your email list
We’ve talked about the many variables that impact your email open rate performance and the success of your email marketing campaigns, but the most important one to keep in mind is the audience you’re sending to.
If you send an email to a large list of disengaged subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in months, you’re likely going to see a below average open rate.
So before writing your email or thinking about a/b testing, you need to think about WHO the email is going to. The more relevant your message is to your audience, the more likely it will resonate with your audience, the more likely they’ll open your messages.
For example, if you have a VIP list for your most valuable customers, include something like “VIP-only” or any language that makes it clear not everyone is getting this offer in the subject line and preview text.
What are email conversion rates?
Your email conversion rate is the percentage of subscribers that take an action because of your email.
So while your open rate is a strong indicator of how good your subject line, preview text and segmentation are, your conversion rate will tell you how successful you were in actually getting your subscribers to take whatever action you were encouraging them to take in your email: making a purchase, checking out your latest piece of content, entering a giveaway, you should have a CTA in every single email you send.
And while there’s no magic formula for improving your email conversion rates, there are a handful of things you can focus on to have an impact and make sure you run only successful email marketing campaigns.
5 email marketing tips to increase conversion rates
It’s simple. The more people who take action after reading your emails, the better. Whether you’re pointing readers to a blog post, new product, or secret sale, the higher the conversion rate, the more successful you’ll be.
But increasing your email conversion rate isn’t always straightforward. So use these 5 tips to get started with your email marketing campaigns, and watch your conversion rate improve over time.
1. Personalize your email copy
A personalized email that’s relevant to your readers is much more likely to drive engagement than a generic email that goes out to your entire list.
The more you can make it feel like the message was written specifically for them, the more likely readers are to follow through with the ask you’re making, AKA convert.
2. A/B test your call to action (CTA)
We talked about testing your send time and subject line to get subscribers to open your email, so why stop there?
Now that you have people reading your emails, you want to make sure they’re actually taking the specific action you want them to. So, why not put your CTA to a test? Trying out a different language, button colors, placement, etc. will help you figure out what works with your audience. And these insights will only help you improve conversion rates in future email marketing campaigns.
3. Have a strong offer
If your subject line is the bait to get subscribers to read your email, think of your offer as the bait to drive a conversion. The better your offer, the lower the bounce rate, and the higher your conversion rate will be.
Think about this: if you offered to pay anyone who clicked on your email $5, the conversion rate would probably be pretty high. Whether you’re offering a discount, free shipping, exclusive content, etc. remember that a strong offer equals better conversion.
4. Capture opportunities in transactional emails
One of the most underrated email types for ecommerce merchants are transactional emails. These are the types of emails that go out to confirm a purchase or provide a shipping update. And while these are super important to communicate your update with customers, you should also think about how you can use these emails to inspire action.
Especially because transactional emails have strong open rates. So they’re likely getting more eyeballs on them than other email types. Which means they’re a prime opportunity to incorporate a cross-sell or another offer to keep them coming back.
5. Consider the website experience
At this point, you’ve put so much effort into getting users to open your email, read it, and then click on your CTA. So make sure when they make it to your store, the experience is user-friendly and the landing pages are well optimized.
Because if your subscribers follow your CTA but your store is messy and all over the place, chances are they’re going to bounce. Don’t crash and burn at the finish line. Make it as easy as possible for your subscribers to follow through on the ask.
Level up your email marketing campaigns with Privy
Now that you have a handful of email marketing tips, find out how you can put them into play to create engaging emails that your subscribers open and take action on consistently.
With Privy as one of the email marketing tools in your arsenal, you’ll get an all-in-one email marketing platform that will make it incredibly easy to turn your existing traffic into subscribers, send one-off newsletters, and automate flows that will bring in sales 24/7.
Build (and grow) your email list
Whether you’re starting from scratch or you already have a solid number of subscribers on your email list for upcoming email marketing campaigns, you should always be thinking about what you can do to capture more of the traffic that’s already coming to your store and turning that traffic into subscribers you can build relationships with and nurture over time.
With Privy, you can customize popups, flyouts, and spin to wins to build and grow your email list. So you can bring in more sales with every email you send. Because a bigger list = more revenue.
Engage customers with professional emails
Creating professional-looking emails is simple with Privy’s drag and drop editor. Build your own from scratch or get started ASAP with customizable email templates that fit perfectly with your brand.
Whether you’re just starting out and this is one of your first email marketing campaigns or you’ve been at it for years, Privy can help you create emails your subscribers will open and engage with.
Offer sweet deals with email coupons
With Privy, you can create master and unique coupon codes that automatically sync with your emails. That way, you can send automatic reminders and encourage subscribers to take action.
Save 10-20% of abandoned carts
Abandoned carts are part of life as an ecommerce business. But abandoned cart emails can help you save 10-20% of abandoned carts automatically 24/7.
With Privy, you can get your abandoned cart emails up and running in minutes. So you can start saving more sales ASAP.
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