Marketing & lead generation

3 Reasons to Benchmark Your Email Marketing Efforts

5 min read · Listen

Despite the sea of innovation that has swept the digital marketing universe in the past decade or so, emails still pull weight as a no-brainer in digital marketing discussions due to their low-cost-high-ROI utility for the average marketer. And the stats back this up—for every email marketing dollar, businesses earn between $32 and $45 in return. For context, the average return per dollar spent on digital marketing is between $5 and $10. 

Unlike other digital ad media (pop-ups, web banners, etc.), which are usually intrusive, and branded a 'nuisance' for most audiences, marketing emails only ever reach people who signal some form of interest (think, signing up a lead gen form). The initial consent makes a world of difference if you're looking to convert them through emails. 

Even then, how do you accurately tell how well your emails are performing? With marketing media this effective, it is not inconceivable that seemingly high numbers can lull businesses into a false sense of security. But here's the kicker: when it comes to how well your emails perform, benchmarking may well be what averts the catastrophic consequence of a bloated sense of assuredness or a creeping, unjustified fear that your email strategy is all doom and gloom. 

In this post, we'll closely examine how, through email benchmarking, marketers can defeat the demons of uncertainty, helping them stay on top of their game by simply weighing the results of their email marketing against internal & industry benchmarks.

What is an email-marketing benchmark?

Email marketing benchmarks are metrics with which businesses can evaluate the success of their email marketing efforts. Most large organisations already collect the requisite data. 

Without a speciality all-in-one digital marketing system like efficy Marketing, one might struggle with benchmarking. But before we dig into that, let's outline a few cardinal email marketing metrics for benchmarking:

  • Open rate

Email open rate is the primary benchmark. It indicates what percentage of the audience of an email campaign opened the emails they received. 

The higher it is, the better. And low figures might indicate cooling interest, which you can reignite using more catchy subject lines that break the ice better with your subscribers. You can also try personalising the subject line of your emails to increase the likelihood that your email resonates. (Pro-tip: use the recipient's name)

  • Click-through rate

Besides reporting how many email recipients engage with your emails, this metric calculates how many recipients—compared with the total number of subscribers that received the mails—clicked to engage with either links or images that you embedded in the emails. 

Similar to this is the click-to-open rate, which also measures the percentage of recipients who opened links or images but compared against only the number of subscribers who actually opened the mails.

  • Unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe rate indicates how many subscribers opt-out of receiving emails from you. It's usually reported after every email campaign. It has to be expected, seeing as it is impossible to please everyone, but monitoring it can help you find what emails work best.

  • Conversion rate

Probably the most consequential metric of all. Your conversion rate is… well, how many recipients convert upon reading your emails records how many recipients became customers that made actual purchases. It measures the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.

  • Bounce rate

When email accounts become disused or are incorrectly imputed, emails sent to them are not delivered. In such a case, these emails are said to have bounced. There are a variety of reasons why an email bounces. The most common reason is that the recipient's mailbox is full and can't accept any more messages. Other reasons include a misspelt email address, a mailbox that doesn't exist, or an email server that is temporarily unavailable. 

The bounce rate helps you keep track of how many such defective addresses are on your email list; so that you can correct or do away with them as may be necessary. 



Why is benchmarking important?

Imagine being satisfied with 20% conversion rates in high season when your competitors are recording more than 60% conversion rates on their email campaigns. 

When dealing with email marketing data, in relation to in-house benchmarks alone, there is a tendency for marketers to unknowingly settle for long hanging fruits or lose sight of the big picture due to a lack of useful insight. 

As a matter of necessity, and for long-term profitability, companies need to track their email marketing metrics not only internally, but also routinely compare their data with that of their specific industry. It is only with such insights that they can then make necessary tweaks that set them on the right path. 

Whether current metrics are below-par in your industry or you're looking to blow your competition out of the water, benchmarking is your compass. There are three core reasons why companies need to benchmark email marketing efforts.

  • Email benchmarking enables businesses to identify the strong points in their strategy and the chinks in their armour, allowing them to make necessary adjustments in time for better results.
  • Without cold hard data, marketers tend to be caught up in the apparent brilliance of their efforts, and this hinders objectivity. The insights obtained from email benchmarking provide a scientific method for reviewing marketing strategies on their merits.
  • Email benchmarking empowers marketers to keep abreast with the realities of their industry, enabling them to set goals in alignment with those realities. Otherwise, they might get siloed – set goals that are at variance with market realities.

How to benchmark your email campaigns!

When using benchmarks, it's essential to choose the right ones. Not all benchmarks are created equal, and you'll want to focus on those most relevant to your own business. For example, if you're a B2B firm, you may want to compare your results against other B2B businesses rather than against the averages for D2C or companies operating other business models. 

Now that we have established the importance of benchmarking in email marketing, how do you go about it?

  • First, track and process the metrics listed above, detailing subscribers' responses to your marketing emails.
  • Compare this data to previous internal data.
  • Then, compare new internal metrics to industry standards.

To gift you with some straight-from-the-source insight to give you a good sense of where you stand in the grand scheme of your email marketing, we have published our email benchmark report  gathered from subscriber response to all the emails that our customers sent in 2022. 

These insights help you hit bull's eye when benchmarking your marketing metrics. 
Oh, and did we mention that it's downloadable for free? 


On your mark, set… Goal!

Email remains one of the most rewarding marketing channels. And with access to hard data, companies can sharpen their email chops and develop strategies that weaponise email tactics that yield the best results. So, marketers can get even more out of their email campaigns. 

Roughly 306 billion emails were sent and received in the last year, and of that number, 5 billion were sent from our customers, with an average open rate of 25.6%. By comparison, our competitors averaged 22.1%. 

By providing an indispensable tool in the marketing tech stack of our esteemed clients, we provide not only an all-in-one digital email-marketing platform but also a CRM platform that is purpose-built to help you inspire and nurture customer loyalty. Why don't you book a demo today?