How to Improve Email Metrics

How to Improve Email Metrics

July 2021 | Digital Marketing

There’s no right way to getting more opens and more clicks. Instead, many small changes can be combined to deliver the best results.

Regardless of whether you’re getting open rates of 30% or open rates of 10%, there is always room to improve the performance of your email campaigns. There’s no single way of getting more opens and more clicks. Instead, many small changes can be combined to deliver the best results.

To start with, it’s essential to choose the right metrics in your reports. The clickthrough and click-to-open rates should be number one priority. After all, your email campaigns are designed to drive engagement with your brand and your content. For the same reason, form conversions are critical for campaigns that include a form. Always key an eye on your bounceback rate. If your bounceback rate is more than 10%, then it’s probably time to clean your database.

Then there’s the open rate. Email opens are important, but the technologies used to measure it are unreliable. They work better on Gmail or iOS than they do on Outlook or Android. The only reliable benchmark for open rates, is your company and the campaigns you sent in the past. Industry benchmarks rarely consider regional or industry variations in subscriber behaviour, as well as the different mix of email clients when sending to different types of email audience.

Open Rates

To improve open rates, pay special attention to the Sender Name, Subject Line and Preview Text of every email. Each has a different role to play:

These three things work together to tell recipients what the email is about, and why it’s important to them. Make sure they tell a story.

Clickthrough Rates

Once contacts have opened your email, look at optimising your email content to improve clickthrough rates. Design is just as important as images or copy. People only skim read marketing emails, so the layout must be clean and simple. Separate different articles in a newsletter. Make sure the calls to action stand out, and clearly describe what they do. Never use click here. Perhaps the biggest difference can be made in the headline. Always include a text headline in your emails, even if you’ve also put copy in the banner. A lot of people don’t read banner text in marketing emails, even on emails they click or respond to. Instead, the headline is the first thing they look at when opening the email, so make it count.

Images are still an important way of building your brand and describing the tone or content of your email, but don’t rely on them. Image blockers are still a feature of many popular email clients, including Outlook. Where you do use images, make sure you always link them to somewhere relevant. Banner images often get more clicks than the call to action buttons.

As for copy, keep it short. Emails with 100-200 words work better than emails that extend to 500 words. Short copy doesn’t mean short sentences though. Engaging copy requires variety. Mix short, medium and long sentences together, then make sure the sentences flow and sound different when read. Your email is only a teaser for the call to action, think of it as an ad rather than as content in its own right.


The most significant improvements come from more personalised campaigns. Instead of sending the same newsletter to your entire database, use dynamic content to create multiple versions for different personas or different groups of customers. Even changing a few words in the subject line and email copy can increase clickthrough rates by 70%.

For nurture emails, use more targeted segments. Only send content when it’s directly relevant to the contact and their role. Even then, make sure to carefully select the best day and time for each email. Many people read marketing emails as soon as they see them, so if you send the email when people are busy, you’ll get a much lower open rate.

A/B Testing

Constant experimentation and a robust process for testing every change is key to finding out what motivates your customers and what doesn’t. Continuous improvement is the name of the game. Past results should become a guide to future performance.

Use A/B testing across all your campaigns to identify what improvements have the biggest effects. Create a second version of every email that is identical except for one small change. The change could be a different subject line, a different call to action or a slight tweak to the email layout. Then use the A/B Testing of your marketing automation platform in order to send each version of the email to a subset of your email segment. Finally, wait a few days and send the best performing version to the rest of the segment.

Repeat this process for every campaign and over time, you’ll discover the most effective methods for improving email metrics and precisely what causes contacts to open and click your campaigns. The secret to successful email campaigns is in your email metrics.

Banner Photo by Maxim Ilyahov / Unsplash

Written by
Marketing Operations Consultant and Solutions Architect at CRMT Digital specialising in marketing technology architecture. Advisor on marketing effectiveness and martech optimisation.