Open Rates on an Email Blast

Posted by | February 10, 2010 | Marketing Advice | 2 Comments

A lot of time is being spent on creating and sending email blast to customers and prospects today mainly because it is affordable. A service company can create and send an email blast in as little as 2-3 hours the first time around and 45-60 minutes for additional emails, depending on how much content they have inserted. Some email blast companies even offer free accounts, like MailChimp (a list under 500). So its cost effective and simple to use software, emailing is a great way to reach customers. The one problem that most companies I’ve talked to have had is getting their customers to open and view their email. This is known as “open rates.”The higher your open rate, the more viewers read or glanced at your email newsletter.

If you create a beautiful and well thought-out email campaign only to get low open rate, it can be quite discouraging. I wish I can share good news, but email marketing typically does not produce high open rates. Consumers are getting use to hitting the delete button when they see a familiar email come into their inbox. I believe there can be a couple of ways to increase your opening rate. The first way is simple: 1) Have a good list with loyal customers/fans. Think about it, what emails do you open on a regular basis? I tend to open emails from, Apple and Peets Coffee. Why? Because I buy from them and they have good content. I use to open emails from LL Bean until I started receiving an email a week. I thought it was getting out of hand and unsubscribed. So, make sure you have the right people subscribed to your emails and make sure your content is very useful and interesting to your audience.

The second way I believe you can increase your open rate is by having a good “Title.” Most professional writers and journalist, I’ve heard, spend the same or more time thinking of the title of their article as they do on the research and writing of the article. It is the same for an email campaign. Think carefully about what will strike the interest of your readers. I recently put together an email blast for an organization that had a painting tip that mentioned a bank and marketing. So, because my readers were painters I titled the email blast, “Talk to your bank about advertising.” We got a 40% open rate. The industry standard for a non-profit is about 19%. The next email blast, we got a 45% open rate due to another fun and creative title. Am I happy with a 40% open rate? Absolutely! Some emails end up going into the spam box, and there is nothing you can do about it (without paying extra!).

Finally, is it possible to get a very high open rate such as 75%? To be honest, I don’t know. I’ve never seen an open rate above 65%. If you have a list of 20 people who are absolute raving fans of your company, it might be possible to get 75%…but realistically, I’d say you have a very successful campaign if you are above 25%.Also, if you have a low open rate it means you are either sending too many emails to often, don’t have a good list or a clever title.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


  • Gregg Maloley says:

    I sell floor covering products to health clubs, Y’s, corporations, condos, etc. I represent several companies. I am trying to reach the end user to ascertain more leads and potential sales. I would like to contract with a company that can offer me a monthly marketing plan of email blasts, etc. I would target the New England states and the state of Florida. My goal is to work with a turnkey company that can supply list; compose email and send blast. Please advise.
    Thank you,
    Gregg Maloley
    (781) 727-8250

  • David Chism says:

    Gregg, thanks for reaching out. My colleague, Richard, should be contacting you soon. We can purchase email list, but it is something we have steered away from, because I have not found them to be helpful. It actually is very expensive too. You have to hire an email marketing company that has permission-based list, and the ROI is very low.

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