The truth is that there is no specific answer that can be given to this question, but the open rate offers very useful information nonetheless. Open and click rates vary widely from industry to industry, campaign to campaign, and case to case. Each campaign is like a fingerprint in that it is affected by a unique combination of factors.
That said, there is a point when low open rates become a problem. Repeatedly sending to subscribers that do not engage with your emails will cause direct harm to the deliverability of future messages that you send. If your messages have less than a 10% open rate 48 hours after being sent, you should review your existing practices.
Why have my open rates declined over time?
Open rates are explicitly indicative of the practices implemented by the email sender. While it is true that some subscribers will inevitably lose interest, or their email turns into a junk email, you have much more of an impact on engagement than these agents of time.
- Sending Frequency - Inconsistently sending emails to your list can quickly cause engagement to decline. Subscribers may not be aware that you will be sending an email every day and become overwhelmed. Similarly, after not hearing from you for a week, some may forget they signed up in the first place and mark your message as spam. This is why properly setting expectations from the moment a subscriber signs up is crucial as they will come to expect an email from you rather than be surprised by one.
- Not Cleaning Your List - As previously stated, you will have subscribers that lose interest in your message content; this is unavoidable. Routinely cleaning your list of subscribers that are not engaging with your messages is necessary to maintain a healthy open rate.
- Not Updating Your Content - Sending the same message to your subscribers will cause complaints and a decline in engagement.
What can I do to improve my open rate?
- Launch a re-engagement campaign - Sending an email only to those subscribers who have not engaged with your content and asking if they are still interested in being subscribed to your list can help determine which addresses should be deleted from your list.
- Remove inactive subscribers - We provide the tools necessary to remove subscribers that are clearly not engaging with your content. Typically, subscribers that have not opened any emails in the past 6-12 months should be deleted.
- Solicit subscriber feedback - Giving your subscribers something to actively do with your message, as opposed to just reading it, is a great way to keep engagement trending upward. Take advantage of our Survey Template to see what your subscribers would like to hear about next, or utilize a third party survey platform, like SurveyMonkey, or Survey Funnel.
- 0% open rate - This is most likely due to the type of message that was sent. Open rate tracking is only possible for messages that include an HTML version, which is done automatically for messages created using the Drag & Drop email builder or HTML editor. If you are sending messages created in the Plain Text editor, we cannot track how many times that message is opened.
For more insight on how to optimize the effectiveness of your email campaigns, take a look at our Knowledge Base articles detailing Email Marketing Best Practices, Why your message is going to the spam folder, and how to lower your complaint rate.