Email Marketing: How to calculate email open rates


email marketingMost B2B companies engage in some form of email marketing. It is a vital sales and marketing tool to generating leads. One question that comes up frequently is how to accurately calculate email open rates. Whether it’s an email to a subscriber or a prospecting email, the rate of email opens are a leading indicator to the success of your email campaign.  Here’s how we do it:

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Most email/campaign tools will give you all the information to calculate open rate. For example, if you sent out 100 emails, 20 bounced, and 10 were opened, you would have an open rate of 12.5%.

What you should know about the email open rate metric

Every time you send out an email campaign, whether you are using MailChimp, SugarCRM, or some other tool, they place a piece of code in the email that get’s triggered when the email is opened by the intended recipient. The piece of code embedded in the email is not always registered as we would like them to be. For this reason, email opens rates are never 100% accurate.

For instance, an ‘Open” can only be registered if the intended recipient has HTML enabled on their email client. So in this case, if someone has HTML email disabled, it would not register as an “Open.” Additionally, a text only email would not register as an “Open”. Another problem with the accuracy of email open rates is that some email clients have a preview pane that automatically download the html email without the recipient actually reading the email (thus recording an erroneous “Open”).

The bottom line is that you should use the email open rate as an indicator of how many people have read your email. It’s not exact. As you launch more email campaigns to similar audiences you’ll be able to see a trend and identify average open rates to those target audiences. Use it as a baseline and play around with subject lines and compelling content to try to boost your open rates.

Email marketing campaigns to B2B audiences can be tricky. Want a way to manage it without the stress? Find out if outsourced marketing is right for you!

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