Measure and Maximize Your Open and Click-Through Rates

The biggest issue with businesses who use email marketing is that they don’t always set goals before sending emails. You cannot send emails just for the sake of it; you need to have a goal attached with it.

No matter if the goal is to attract more subscribers, make them read your blog, or just buy the product you are aiming to sell; if the goals are not set, you will not be able to track the success of your campaign. In addition, you will not be able to optimize your future email marketing campaigns without these goals.

Why Measure Success?

This is a natural question when it comes to email marketing and the answer can be long and complicated, but there are three major reasons why measuring success is important.

  1. It’s a Process: Unlike design, coding or email content, email marketing itself is a science. If you practice, measure and optimize it on a regular basis, you will get better at it every time.
  2. It indicates problems: When you measure your email marketing progress, you have a better understanding of areas for improvement and will be able to make wiser decisions based on data, not assumptions.
  3. It tracks your progress: When you measure the progress at the end of an email marketing campaign, it will give you a clear and statistical idea of how it is performing and how it influences your sales over the weeks and months.

The next step is to work out the metrics that you need to focus on in order to measure the success of the campaign.

Important Metrics to Consider

Here are a few of the important metrics to consider when it comes to email marketing metrics.

Open Rate

One of the most important metrics you should know about when using email marketing is the open rate. Not everyone is going to open that email when you send it to your subscriber’s list. According to data by Smart Insight, 22.87% is the average open rate among most industries.

Improving the open rate is always possible and you should invest time on achieving this.  Try and test sender names and subject lines on subscribers to see what is working as these have a huge impact on the number of people who open your email. By improving the open rate, you’ll see an increase in click-through rates and conversions.

No matter what your campaign’s open rate is, there is always the opportunity to build on that number. Here are some tips that can be used to increase the open rate of your campaign:

  • A/B test your subject line to see what works better. You can always change it based on the demographics and age groups you are targeting.
  • Personalize your emails by using the name of the recipient in the subject line
  • Try testing sender’s name (personal or brand name) and see what affects your open rate positively.
  • The days you send the email may have a direct impact on your open rate. Try different days and see what day is best for you.

 Click-Through Rate

Click-through rate is another metric that needs to be considered in order to measure the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign.

No matter what your target goal is, there must be a call to action in the email. Your list of subscribers are not all going to click a link, but a call to action will definitely increase your chances.

Data suggests that 3.26% of subscribers will click on the email and perform the action. This sounds like a small number, but if you have a big list of email subscribers, the click-through rate can be high, which then leads to a higher conversion rate.

You can optimize the CTR by doing the following:

  • Include social media buttons in the email so that you can increase the reach and CTR of the email.
  • Always A/B test the position of the call to action as this will have a strong impact on your CTR.
  • People prefer clicking on things they like. Try creating tailored content for your audience and see how your CTR takes a positive shift.
  • Again, personalization is the key to increasing CTR.

How to Improve Open and Click-Through Rates

We have already discussed the problems you might encounter with email marketing. You have already set your email goals, and you are creating content that is tailored for your audience which has resulted in a good click-through rate but is this the end of the game?

Not quite. Remember, email marketing is a science, and in order to be good at it you need to continuously optimize and test different ideas to see what is working for your audience.

I test 6 ideas on a regular basis in order to increase my open and click-through rate.

Test Your Subject Line

When you send an email, the subject line is the first thing a person sees before he or she decides if they will open the email or not.  The idea is to A/B test the subject line on a continuous basis and see how it works among your subscriber’s list.

subject line is a local brand in Pakistan.  I love them because of their email subject line. They try to personalize it as much as possible, keeping mobile as well as desktop users in mind.

Personalization is key, and if you can personalize your email subject line, the open rate can increase more than you ever thought possible. We’ll discuss this further in next week’s post.

Test Sender’s Name

This is one idea that I have personally used and the impact on the open rate was huge. The idea is to use a different name and see what works well with your audience.

Senders name

If you’re a big brand, you can easily go with your brand name, but with smaller and newer brands, it is important to give a more personal touch.

If a customer reacts after looking at the email, they will be more confident talking to you as they already know the person they are communicating with through email; whilst increasing your open and click-through rate.

Include Social Sharing Buttons in the Email

Econsultancy published a study which found emails containing around 3 social sharing buttons tend to get 55% higher click-through rate, compared to the emails that contain no social sharing buttons at all. Utilizing social sharing buttons allows people to share your information with their social networks.

social share buttons

Create a Sense of Urgency

One of the principles outlined by Robert B Cialdini is the principle of scarcity which most big brands like Quick Sprout and Expedia use on their own websites to improve conversions. We can use the same idea on email marketing campaigns to increase the open and click-through rate of the email campaign.


The idea is to use graphics and content within the email that create a sense of urgency either by playing around with time or limited stock (if you are selling products).

Remember, don’t fake it with your subscriber. This will not only increase the bounce rate of your email campaign but will also result in people unsubscribing from the list.

Mobile Optimized

I have seen some great emails that do not receive great results just because they were not mobile optimized.


This applies not only to your email content, but also to your subject line as well.  You need to make sure that when someone opens your email on their phone; they get the full subject line so choose your first few words wisely.


There are tons of tool that can help you collect the numbers, so that you can make sense of the them. Here are few of the tools you can use

Mail Chimp

Mail Chimp is email marketing software that allows you to create and send the email to your list all under one platform. When the tool sends an email to the list, you can track the number of people who open the email, the number of people that click on the email and the number of subscribers and unsubscribers.

You can use this handful of information to measure the right metrics as well as improve your conversions. You can also see the percentage of recipients who respond positively and use that data to increase it by optimizing certain areas within your email marketing campaign.

Vertical Response

Want more data? You might need to move to Vertical Response, especially if you have a big list that is segmented to multiple ages and demographics. In addition to the information that Mail Chimp provides, Vertical Response provide extra information like bounce rates (soft and hard).

For a small list this is may not be very important information, but for larger lists, you probably need this data to clean your list and set expectations in terms of response.

There are many available tools but the tools mentioned above will give you a significant amount of data.

Email marketing requires continuous testing and experimentation to see what is working for you and your recipients.

If you are using email marketing software like Mail Chimp and Get Response, your A/B testing will be much easier, and you can master your email marketing campaign more efficiently. By making the time to review your strategy and reports with regular testing you’ll be sure to get the most out of your campaigns.