Average Open Rate For Email Marketing & How To Improve It?

In today’s digital world, email marketing stands as a robust mechanism for businesses to connect and interact with their customers. A crucial aspect that marketers pay attention to is the ‘Open Rate’.

But what does an average open rate signify? Why is it significant? And above all, how can you enhance it to ensure your email marketing campaigns are hitting the mark?

In this piece, we will explore these aspects, offering you a thorough understanding of the average open rate in email marketing and presenting effective strategies to enhance it.

Whether you’re an experienced marketer or a small business owner aiming to amplify your email marketing initiatives, this piece will equip you with valuable insights to elevate your open rates and ultimately, your revenue. Let’s dive in!

Open rate definition

The Open Rate is a crucial indicator in email marketing, signifying the proportion of emails that were opened out of the total number of emails sent. It’s computed as follows:

open rate email marketing

This metric quantifies the percentage of recipients who have opened an email from a specific campaign. The average open rate in email marketing generally falls between 20 and 25%, although this can fluctuate based on several factors.

For example, if the contact list is bought, the open rate usually doesn’t exceed 5%, but with double opt-in processes, the percentages can soar up to 50-60%.

The open rate is typically calculated using a tracking code embedded in the emails that records if they are opened. It’s crucial to note that the open rate can help ascertain the effectiveness of email subject lines and whether emails ended up in the recipient’s inbox or spam folder.

However, there are some concerns about the accuracy of open rate as a measure. Many webmail services and email clients block images by default, or the recipient may choose to receive text-only versions of an email. In both cases, no image call can be made, which further reduces the accuracy of the open rate measure.

Despite these concerns, many marketers use open rates as a relative measure, for example, to compare the performances of emails sent to similar recipient groups, but at different times or with different subject headers.

What are the average Open Rates across major industries?

Open rates can fluctuate greatly across diverse industries. Here are some industry-wise average open rates:

  • Real Estate: The real estate sector experiences an open rate of 32%.
  • Finance: The finance sector has an average open rate of 34.4%.
  • Health and Fitness: The health and fitness sector sees an open rate of 35%.
  • Manufacturing: The manufacturing sector experiences an open rate of 36.6%.
  • Media: The media sector has an average open rate of 31.5%.
  • Retail: The retail sector sees an open rate of 35.2%.
  • Computers and Electronics: This sector experiences an open rate of 37%.
  • Beauty and Personal Care: The beauty and personal care sector has an average open rate of 39.5%.
  • Architecture: The architecture sector sees an open rate of 36.5%.
  • Software and Web App: This sector experiences an open rate of 37.2%.

Please note that these are average figures based on opt-in email lists. The actual open rates can differ based on elements like the quality of the contact list, the pertinence of the content, and the effectiveness of the subject line.

The average open rate across all sectors is roughly 35.49%. However, this figure should be used as a comparative benchmark for your own email marketing performance rather than a definitive target to strive for.

Average Open Rates in Cold Emailing vs Email Marketing with opt-in email lists

Cold emailing and opt-in email marketing are two distinct approaches, each with its unique benefits and hurdles. Yet, a significant disparity becomes evident when comparing their open rates.

  • Cold Emailing: Cold emailing is a strategy where emails are sent to potential customers without any prior interaction or relationship with the sender. The average open rate for cold emails is typically around 20-30%. This lower rate can be due to several factors such as the recipient not recognizing the sender, finding the content irrelevant, or considering the email as spam.
  • Opt-in Email Lists: On the other hand, opt-in email lists are composed of individuals who have voluntarily given their email addresses and agreed to receive emails from a specific sender. The average open rate for a Business-to-Business (B2B) opted-in email marketing message is approximately 36%. This higher rate can be attributed to the fact that recipients have shown interest in the sender’s content and are therefore more inclined to open and engage with the emails.

In summary, while cold emailing has the potential to reach a wider audience, it often results in lower open rates compared to opt-in email marketing.

Hence, businesses should strategize their email marketing approach and strive to cultivate high-quality opt-in email lists for improved engagement and superior open rates.

The benefits of optimizing for better open rates

Open rate is one of the most important performance metrics in email marketing. Optimizing your open rates bring many clear benefits:

  • Understanding Your Audience: Open rates can provide insights into whether your email successfully reached your recipient’s inbox, if the right audience segment was targeted, if your email subject line was effective, and if your preheader text was captivating.
  • Boosted Engagement: An increase in open rates often correlates with an uptick in clicks, signifying that your audience is not just opening your emails, but also engaging with them.
  • Elevated Conversion Rates: With a larger number of people opening and interacting with your emails, the probability of them performing the desired action increases, leading to elevated conversion rates.
  • Increased Revenue: In essence, higher open rates can translate into increased revenue for your business. More opened emails mean more potential customers are getting exposed to your offerings.
  • Enhanced Sender Reputation: Email service providers monitor the number of your emails being opened. A consistently high open rate can bolster your sender reputation, thereby increasing the chances of your emails landing in the inbox rather than the spam folder.
  • Strengthened Customer Relationships: By enhancing your open rates, you’re effectively tailoring your email content to align with your audience’s interests, which can foster stronger customer relationships.

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Average Open Rate


How to optimize your campaigns for better Open Rate?

Enhancing your email campaigns for superior open rates can markedly boost your email marketing effectiveness. Here are some tactics to ponder:

1. Craft Compelling Subject Lines

Creating engaging subject lines is a skill that can notably enhance your email open rates. Here are some tactics to follow:

  • Leverage Powerful Words: Utilize words that have been shown to increase email open rates.
  • Steer Clear of Negative Words: Avoid words that could decrease open rates or activate spam filters.
  • Incorporate Numbers: Using numbers and data in your subject line can grab attention, convey a clear message about your offer, and set accurate expectations for your readers.
  • Maintain Optimal Length: Aim for a subject line length of 3-5 words to enhance your email open rates.
  • Experiment with Emojis: Consider adding an emoji to your subject line to make it stand out.
  • Try Title Case: Test using title case in your subject lines to see if it boosts open rates.
  • Adopt the Appropriate Tone: Ensure the tone of your subject line matches your audience.
  • Reflect Your Brand: Your subject line should embody your brand and the value you offer.
  • Preview Email Content: Your subject line should provide a glimpse into the content of the email.

2. Time Your Emails Right

Timing your emails accurately is a key factor in enhancing open rates. Here are some tactics to keep in mind:

  • Know Your Audience: The habits of your audience can guide you in determining the best time to send your emails.
  • Experiment with Timing: Try sending emails at various times of the day and week to identify when your emails achieve the highest open rates.
  • Account for Time Zones: If your audience spans multiple time zones, consider segmenting your email list by time zone and sending your emails at the best times for each segment.
  • Use Email Marketing Tools: Many email marketing tools offer features that enable you to automatically send emails at the ideal time for each recipient.
  • Review Your Data: Regularly check your email analytics to spot trends and adjust your sending times as needed.

Read our detailed guide on when you should send out your cold emails for optimal performance.

Remember, while timing is crucial, it’s just one aspect that can influence email open rates. The quality of your content, the relevance of your message, and the relationship with your recipients are also vital factors to consider.

3. Segment Your Subscribers

Segmenting your subscribers is an effective strategy for enhancing open rates in email marketing. Here are some methods to effectively categorize your email list:

  • Demographic Factors: Categorize your list based on demographic attributes like age, gender, location, and job title.
  • Interests: Use data on subscribers’ past behavior, such as website visits or previous purchases, to categorize your list based on interests.
  • Email Engagement Level: Categorize your subscribers based on their engagement level with your emails. For instance, you could have separate categories for subscribers who frequently open your emails and those who seldom do.
  • Stage in Customer Journey: Different customers are at different stages of the customer journey. Categorizing your list based on each subscriber’s stage can help you send more relevant emails.
  • Preferences: Ask your subscribers about their preferences. For example, you could ask them how often they want to receive emails from you or what types of content they are interested in.

Remember, the aim of segmenting your subscribers is to send more targeted and relevant emails. This can lead to higher open rates, click-through rates, and overall engagement with your email campaigns. However, it’s crucial to continually test and optimize your segmentation strategies to ensure they’re effective.

4. Adopt a Friendly Tone

The effectiveness of email marketing is largely determined by the open rates of the emails. A proven method to boost these rates is to use a friendly tone in your emails.

  • Address Recipients Personally: Using the recipient’s name can make the email feel more individualized and less like a generic advertisement.
  • Adopt a Conversational Style: Write as though you’re conversing with the recipient. This can make your emails more engaging and relatable.
  • Maintain Authenticity: Being genuine helps build trust. Be clear about your intentions and avoid language that sounds too promotional.
  • Incorporate Humor: Adding humor can make your emails more enjoyable and memorable for your audience.
  • Deliver Value: Ensure that each email offers value to the recipient, be it helpful information, exclusive offers, or updates about your business.
  • Include a Call to Action: Conclude with a clear call to action that prompts the recipient to engage more with your business.

The aim is to make recipients feel like they’re communicating with a friend rather than a corporate entity. This strategy can significantly enhance your open rates and ultimately increase conversion rates.

5. Deliver Value

Don’t just send emails out and hope for conversion. You will need to earn it! One of the most important factors to improve your email marketing campaigns’ open rates and overall performance is to ensure that each email sent offers something valuable to the recipient.

  • Audience Insight: Understanding the interests and needs of your audience can help you craft content that they find valuable. This could be educational content, industry updates, or useful tips.
  • Special Offers: Offering exclusive deals or discounts can add value to your emails. This not only motivates recipients to open your emails but also encourages interaction with your business.
  • Informative Content: Sharing helpful information or guides related to your business or industry can position your brand as a trusted source of knowledge.
  • Tailored Content: Content tailored based on the recipient’s preferences or past behavior can make them feel valued and increase the chances of them opening your emails.
  • Regular Updates: Consistent email updates can build anticipation among your audience and increase open rates. However, it’s crucial not to inundate your audience with too many emails.

The goal is to make recipients feel that opening and reading your emails is worth their time. This strategy can boost your open rates and ultimately lead to higher engagement and conversion rates.

6. Experiment with Subject Lines

By tweaking your subject lines, you can see a marked improvement in your email open rates. Here are some tactics you might want to try:

  • Tailoring: Tailoring subject lines to include the recipient’s name or details about their previous interactions can make them feel valued and more likely to open the email.
  • Creating Urgency: Subject lines that convey urgency can motivate recipients to open the email right away. Terms like “offer ends soon” or “limited time only” can work well.
  • Provoking Curiosity: A question or intriguing statement in the subject line can arouse curiosity, prompting recipients to open the email for more information.
  • Staying Relevant: It’s vital that your subject line accurately represents the email content. If it doesn’t, you risk increasing your unsubscribe rates.
  • A/B Testing: This involves sending two versions of an email with different subject lines to separate segments of your audience. The version with the higher open rate gives you insight into what works best for your audience.

It’s important to remember that different strategies work for different audiences. Continuous experimentation and adaptation based on results and audience feedback are key.

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7. Keep Your Email List Updated

Here are some methods to ensure your email list is up-to-date, leading to improved open rates:

  • Routine Clean-Up: Regularly purge your list of subscribers who remain inactive. If a subscriber hasn’t interacted with any of your emails for a considerable period, it might be time to let them go.
  • Re-engagement Efforts: Before you decide to remove inactive subscribers, attempt a re-engagement campaign. This could involve an enticing offer or exclusive content that could reignite their interest.
  • Double Opt-In Method: Implement a double opt-in procedure for new subscribers. This requires them to confirm their subscription, ensuring they are genuinely interested in your emails.
  • List Segmentation: Divide your email list into segments based on subscriber behavior or other relevant factors. This enables you to customize your content for each segment, leading to improved open rates.
  • Subscriber Information Updates: Encourage your subscribers to regularly update their information. This can help you stay in tune with any changes in their preferences or situations.

Always remember, having a smaller but engaged email list is far more beneficial than having a large list of disinterested subscribers. The focus should always be on quality rather than quantity.


Remember, enhancing open rates is an ongoing process that requires consistent testing and optimization.

While open rates are a crucial metric, they shouldn’t be the only measure of your email marketing strategy’s success. Consider multiple metrics and align them with the goals of your email marketing efforts.