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There different ways to measure the success of your email marketing or E-newsletter, but the most common and easiest understood metric is the Open Rate. Makes sense. If folks don’t open your message, they can’t be influenced by it!

But what about the simple brand awareness/recognition that you achieve by recipients simply seeing your piece in their inbox? (see, it’s complicated…)

So your open rate is obviously of supreme importance over the long term. It’s the first step towards “conversion”, whatever that may mean to you, and marketing success.

It is also fairly clear that you’ll never achieve a 100% rate, or anything close. Everyone’s time is too short and inbox too full for that to happen. But you shouldn’t spend much time worrying about the specific open rate, anyway. (What?? I thought you said it was vitally important a second ago? Bear with me for a moment.)

The reason the actual number is of limited significance is this: What constitutes a “good” rate? In comparison to what?

There are many different types of communications, both business-to-consumer and business-to-business. Business-oriented lists tend to have higher rates, partly because emails seen in the preview pane of Outlook (a common business email service) count as “opened”. Everyone has a different list profile, too.

If you send to a rented list of 100,000 people, and 10% (or 10,000) view your piece, that could be a smashing success. If however you send to your own personal house list of 50 addresses, and only 10 view your email (20%), you might consider this a failure!

What matters most is when or how your open rate changes from campaign to campaign. An increasing rate says you’re hitting the mark, a decreasing open rate points to a problem.

That said, there are certainly some tricks and tips that our writers have learned to improve open rates over time. We’ll share some of these in future posts to help you improve your rates, too!