Improving Email Open Rates

November 12, 2010 by Dinesh Raju in General Good Stuff

Since we’re running a bunch of referral marketing campaigns, we end up sending out quite a lot of email. A hefty enough number that we got around to wondering what was really happening to all these emails. Were any of them even getting read? (Yes, they were!)

We decided to look at the stats for the last 1000 emails that were sent out by ReferralCandy. 51.3% were opened and read. Um, okay. Is that good? What are the industry averages for marketing emails anyway?

After a little digging, we found this insightful post by everyone’s favorite email marketing monkey. Scanning through the open rates of the various industries in the Mailchimp article, we see a peak of about 36.6%. Of course, Mailchimp has been around a lot longer than we have. Their stats are based on millions of emails. But it’s still interesting that ours have a significantly higher rate.

Why do we get better rates?
The increase is most likely because the emails we send out don’t really seem like marketing emails. Our referral campaign emails are sent out immediately after a sale is made at the merchant’s online store.

This means that the referral email is received by the customer along with the invoice right after the purchase. So the email feels a lot like a follow up to the invoice. And customers would be more receptive since the experience with the retailer is still fresh in their mind.

Send emails after you’ve interacted with your customer.
What does that mean if you’re trying to boost the open rates of your emails to customers? Aim to the send the email right after a customer interaction. This could be after he or she buys something or when you’ve just answered a support question. Hopefully this little tidbit will help you increase those open rates!

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Dinesh Raju

Dinesh is CEO and co-founder of ReferralCandy. During his time in Carnegie Mellon, he sweet-talked robots into playing soccer. He can occasionally be found taming the office Wifi network and exploring new frontiers on Spotify.