How can email marketing benchmark data shape your strategy?

Email marketing can be a highly profitable addition to your marketing strategy. According to one study, consumers prefer email communications over other forms of marketing communication. Even after the onslaught of GDPR-compliance emails, email open and click rates remain strong.

If you’re currently running email marketing campaigns for your business, you’re likely aware of the of benchmark data. It’s the data that lets you know the best day of the week to send emails, or the best time of day to send your company newsletter.

Campaign Monitor recently shared the results of their analysis of over 30 billion emails. On top of offering insights into the average email KPIs, they also offer a breakdown by industry.

Why do we care about email marketing benchmarks?

Benchmark data can help to inform decisions within your own company. It’s also helpful to know if you’re on track. If the average click through rate for your industry is much higher than you are achieving, then you know you need to make changes. But if you’re outperforming the average, then you know you’ve stumbled on a secret ingredient to success.

That said, comparing your email marketing efforts to the average benchmark figures can be problematic. For example, if you were to take the advice that Thursday is the best day for sending your emails based on the average open rate of 18.6% then you might be missing key insight.

If you are in the real estate, design and construction business, the average open rate on a Thursday is 19.3% but this jumps to 20.6% on Monday. In this instance, industry-specific data offers far greater insight into the behaviour of those you are trying to reach.

The highs and the lows

Perhaps the first place to start when analysing data of this nature is to look at the outliers. Not only looking at the sectors that perform incredibly well, but also the sectors that really struggle. Marketing in the B2C sector is often considered “easy”. How hard can it be to sell £1 tacos to hungry customers on a Tuesday? Well, according to the stats, it’s much harder than it seems!

The Food and Beverage sector has some of the lowest engagement metrics. The open rate for this industry is just 15.48% compared to the global average of 17.92%. The click through rate is 10.69% which is far lower than the global average of 14.10%. And for the Food and Beverage industry, Tuesday happens to have one of the lowest open rates (14.0%). The only day worse than this is Saturday, when open rates drop to just 12.8%. So, a Taco Tuesday promotion might not be the easiest sell, after all.

You might be surprised to learn that B2B industries typically have much higher average engagement rates. Agriculture, Forest, Fishing and Hunting enjoys an average open rate of 20.13%. When we look at stats like the click-to-open rate (which compares the number of unique opens to the number of unique clicks) Real Estate, Design and Construction comes out on top at 22.89%.

Email Marketing Benchmark Data

How can this influence your campaign strategy?

The first step is to look at your existing campaign data and see how you stack up against your industry.

– Our list is above the industry benchmark average

Remember that email open rates and click rates are only one part of a bigger picture. They might be valuable engagement metrics, but this isn’t the full story.

Can you attribute any sales to your email marketing activity? Are the users who land on your website from email engaging with your website content or do they immediately drop off?

High email engagement metrics are an invitation to consider the entire user journey. Where do users go after they click through to your site and how can you use this engagement to drive more sales?

– Our list is below the industry benchmark average

If your list drops below the industry benchmark, there are a so many steps you can take to improve. The important thing is that industry benchmarks let your know that there is room for improvement.

Below average open rate

  • Consider how you could change your subject lines
  • Check the sign up process to make sure people know what to expect
  • Consider the main reason for your emails, do you know the purpose?
  • Test the best time and day to send to your list

Below average click-through rate

Higher than average unsubscribe rates

  • Ensure two-step verification is in place
  • Segment your email lists for better targeting
  • Implement an automated on-boarding process so people know what to expect
  • Clean your list to boost performance

Higher than average bounce rate