Email Benchmarks

January 20, 2012 Chris Leonard

These benchmarks are based off industry standards for typical emails sent. However, these should just be the beginning of your metric and benchmark equation. The other more important metrics that need to be evaluated are your own revenue, leads generated, cost savings, number of conversions, opens, etc. and how they measure up to your overall company goals. Look at your own company history and find a baseline, a starting point, then begin to audit and evaluate all your marketing programs and effectiveness based upon that. Below are averages gathered from many different sources and compiled into one easy to read document. Please keep in mind, these should be used only as a starting point and not the only benchmark you set.

Open Rates

Open rates are often used as a starting point for all benchmarks, however with the evolution of mobile devices and other email factors, these numbers are not always accurate. Below are some baseline open rate statistics:

  • Prospecting emails to fresh lists typically receive open rates of 9%-15%.
  • Customers and in-house lists typically receive open rates of 18%-22%.
  • Industry Specific Open Rates – Here are some industry specific open rate benchmarks. Transportation (17.6%), Non-Profit (15.2%) and Consulting (14.9%) are the top performers in 2010 while Media (8%), Restaurant (8%) and Medical (7.1%) have the lowest email open rates.

Click Rates

Click rates are a better metric to benchmark, but they can be skewed drastically depending upon industry, call to action, content, etc.

  • Prospecting emails to fresh lists typically receive CTRs of 2.8%-3.2%.
  • Customers and in-house Lists on average receive CTRs of 3%-11%.
  • Industry Specific Click Rates- On average, industries with high click rates which also correlated with high open rates included Transportation (4.6%) and Consulting (3-4.5%); while Media (1.8%), Medical (0.9 -1.1%) and Restaurant (0.4%) generated fewer clicks mirroring their low email open rates.

Stabilization (Cumulative)

Once an email campaign has been sent, email marketers can expect their open rates to peak within the first two hours after delivery. This is then followed by a sloping decline for the next 48 hours. After 48 hours, the numbers will drop significantly.

Send Times

For business to business emails the best times to send emails seem to vary depending on the study performed. Consistently we have seen the best open and click through rates based on the recommendations below

Best Day to Send

  • The best open rates occur on Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday.

Best Time of Day to Send

  • Best time of day to send is on or before 6am, 10am-12pm or late in the evening.
  • Emails sent before 9 a.m. dramatically lift click-through rates.
  • Early-bird East coast execs respond to email before their workday officially begins.
  • In general, it appears the best time of day to send B2B emails is early in the morning between 12:00 am and 8:15 am. If your goal is to achieve the highest open rate.

Number of Days per Week to Send

  •  No more than once a week. You will know if that is over the threshold for your customers or prospects if you start to see a climb in unsubscribe rates.

A Few More Metrics to Consider

A few other metrics you should be tracking based on your own company goals and targets:

  • List Growth Rate- To calculate this rate, take all your unsubscribes and invalids and subtract them from all your “net new” contacts. Then divide that by the original list size.
  • Conversion Rate- This is a very important factor to consider. You can be sending and interacting with tons of prospects, but if none are converting, you are not being effective.

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