Why Email Marketing Response Rates are Important & How to Improve Them

Email Marketing


Email marketing is an effective digital marketing channel for small, medium and large businesses because it reaches current and future customers in a place that they visit every day – their email inbox.

It has been shown to be one of the most effective ways in which to reach an audience compared to other marketing channels. Not only does it provide the opportunity to get your message in front of your current and future customers, but it is also cost-effective and delivers high levels of return on investment across different niches on a consistent basis.

Part of this is due to its ability to provide relatively high response rates and user engagement. This performance can be further enhanced through detailed analysis and refinement in order to provide targeted content that you know appeals to your recipients and that will further improve your campaign’s performance metrics.

But what exactly is a good response rate for email marketing? And how can it be improved to deliver an even greater return on investment?

What is Considered a Good Email Marketing Response Rate?

Many people say to aim for approximately 10% as a starting point.

However, email marketing response rates tend to vary depending on the types of communication that are sent out by a company. For example, if you are sending service communications, you are unlikely to get many, if any, responses to your email as the information is informing users of a company update and does not require a reply.

For other types of emails, while response rates are not everything, they are important as they show how engaged your audience is with your campaigns and your company in general.  They help you to better understand the bigger picture and generate leads to deliver a strong return on investment.

However, if you are more experienced at email marketing and have a substantial database to work with, then it goes without saying that the response rate is going to be higher and possibly around 20%, if not even more impressive.

Another important metric to look at is your open rate and use this as a guide as to what exactly you should be expecting in terms of your email response rate.


Your open rates give you a clear idea of the recipients that are most engaged with your brand and responding to your emails as they arrive in their inboxes. If your email campaigns are well optimised, then in turn it means that these people should also be taking action and responding to the content of your emails.

Therefore, if your response rates are significantly lower than your open rates, you know that there is work to be done to optimise your emails and to create more compelling content and call to actions. This helps in driving quality traffic to your website and generating leads, and ultimately, more revenue for your business in the long-term.

How to Improve Email Response Rates

Take some time to analyse the subject lines of your emails as this is your audiences’ first touchpoint with your brand – if it isn’t captivating and encouraging your audience to take action, then it should be one of the first aspects of your campaign that you make changes to.

When we consider that around half of your recipients will open an email based upon the subject line alone, this certainly makes the case for spending time optimising and perfecting your approach.

A good starting point is to ensure that your email subject lines are personalised to the recipient, such as their personal name or company. This level of personalised marketing is now more in demand and helps to ensure that you develop a connection with that recipient and encouraging them to open the email.

Following on from this, look at your content and ensure that you are paying attention to the following:

  • Keep it simple and avoid overloading the body of your email with too much content and ensure that you are not trying to communicate more than one message.
  • When too many objectives are attempted as part of an email marketing campaign it can end up diluting the message that you are trying to convey and the key campaign objectives.
  • Build and maintain your credibility by including relevant data points and avoiding claims that could be considered over the top and generic.
  • Ensure that you make your recipients feel that they would be missing out if they did not claim or redeem your offer and back this up with a clear call to action.

Of course, it is no good if you are not sending relevant content to the right people, which is why it is important that your email marketing lists are analysed and segmented based upon your users’ interests and demographics.

This will mean that you are sending the right content to the right people and you know that your campaigns are going to have a higher chance of success in the medium to long-term and have a stronger return on investment.

Finally, take some time to look over the format of your emails and the way in which they are presented. A well thought out email that looks professional will go a long way in ensuring that you are improving your email response rate and generating quality traffic through to your website.