How Do You Increase Email Open Rate and Email Click Rate?

The Gated Team
January 19, 2023

Start by changing how you quantify email success rates

As a marketer, you’re well aware of the importance of open and click rates for quantifying a campaign’s success.

According to Outreach [*]:

An open rate at or above 27% is considered good for B2C focused campaigns. And for B2B campaigns, a good open rate is at or above 20.8%. 

And according to Influencer Marketing Hub [*]:

The average email open rate across industries is 17%.

As for stats on the amount of users who actually engage with an email, a response rate of 2.9% is considered successful in B2C campaigns according to Outreach. Campaign Monitor notes that average clickthrough rates are higher in general for B2B (3.2%) than for B2C (2.1%).

"So what?" you might say.

Well, one of the takeaways from these stats is that you have to send a high volume of emails nowadays in order to approach those "good" benchmarks.

For example, Active Campaign recommends sending 4-6 emails just for the initial outreach sequence. And subsequently, the number of emails sent in a sequence gets higher as marketers and sellers try to improve their open rates and clickthrough rates.

So, you end up with more and more emails flooding more and more people's inboxes – a less-than-stellar experience for both senders and recipients (similar to the one Alex Boyd, CEO of RevenueZen, wrote in his confessional). Many sales and marketing teams rationalize this kind of email sequence activity as “brand awareness”, meaning that even if the customer doesn’t open the email, they still somehow see the company’s name (fuzzy logic, isn't it?).

Gated’s innovative approach to email means senders stack up against less competition in customer inboxes and thus, see much higher reply rates. In fact, we’ve seen an average reply rate of greater than 50% for senders who donate via Gated to the person they're trying to reach.

While it's one thing to answer the question "How do you increase email open and click rates?" using our own product data, it's another to hear answers from a CMO and VP of Revenue:

Both Rex and Latané shared their thoughts as part of Gated's "Unlock" roundtable series. Here are their insights:

Latané Conant: Mass Email is "Tarnishing Your Brand"

According to 6sense CMO and author Latané Conant, "As marketers, we've gone way, way too far [where we] we think it's performance-based marketing like 'Oh, I didn't get quite as many opens, but I got one open 'Yay!' But, you forget about all those people that don't like it. And, it's tarnishing your brand at the same time and there's no way for marketers to measure the damage that [mass emailing] does."

She continues, "There's only a way to to measure we got one open, and so people keep doing it and doing it."

And as if you needed more proof of lazy marketing and sales teams repeatedly sending bad mass emails, Conant shared that she has 21,388 unopened emails and 2,216 unread texts – those senders clearly need to work on standing out in emails (and use Gated to help them improve email open and click rates).

Key takeaway from Latané: Revamp and simplify your email nurture and drip campaigns – no one needs 17 emails send to them over the span of three months. It's not only annoying, but it makes your brand look spammy.

Rex Bibertson: "Give Control Back to the People Receiving Emails"

Rex Bibertson, Director of Sales and Marketing at Opensense (now VP Revenue at Sweet Fish Media), added to Conant's thoughts: "If we can give that control back to the people who are receiving emails, then we can say, 'Hey, there's an incentive for you to do a good job here because you're significantly more likely to receive a response which is ultimately why you sent the email in the first place."

He further notes that "the marginal cost of sending millions of spam emails is zero, [while] the marginal benefit is however many people open and click. So yes, it costs us nothing, so we are incentivizing the wrong behaviors." This kind of behavior, according to Bibertson, has gotten worse with the COVID pandemic.

Key takeaway from Rex: Email senders must always keep their recipients in mind and be considerate of how their emails will be received. You'll get higher email open rates and email clickthrough rates by optimizing for writing emails that people will actually read and click in (a "no duh" statement, we know, but shockingly simple and straightforward).

Watch and listen the rest of Latané and Rex's takes on mass emails in the roundtable below.

You can also learn more about Latané's philosophy and thoughts on marketing in her book No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls: The Next Generation of Account Based Sales and Marketing. And, you can learn more about Rex's people-first sales philosophy in his book Outbound Sales, No Fluff.

The Bottom Line: Marketers and Sellers Need to Write Emails that Respect and Provide Value to Their Readers

At risk of making this takeaway sound like another platitude, we can't emphasize enough that people will want to read your emails if they know you consistently deliver value and inform (even delight!) them. Just look at the hundreds of thousands of subscribers who read popular daily and weekly newsletters like Morning Brew and HubSpot's newsletters.

And, like Latané and Rex have alluded to, you need to keep your audience in mind at all times, i.e., put your prospective customer and customers first, always.

Originally published: January 16, 2022

Author Jacob McPherson is a member of Gated's content team and founder of Cement Media Inc.

Photo by Christin Hume via Unsplash.