Best Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2021

It’s a fact that 2021 benchmarks do not differ that greatly as compared to 2020, partly due to the fact that a pandemic is raging on. No matter the times, people eat, sleep, learn and live, so put into that context, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

That being said, government, nonprofit, and education top the charts once again. Government open rates have risen from 19.79% last year to 30.5% this year, nonprofit open rates - from 20.39% in 2019 to 25.2% this year and education open rates - from 18.9% in 2019 to 23.4% this year.

Consumer packaged goods have 14.5% open rates, while the poorest performing industries are Automotive and Aerospace (12.6%), Food (13.0%) and Beverage and Retail (13.9%).

As for CTRs, the Government has placed first again, with Real Estate, Design and Construction, and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting following behind.

These benchmarks have remained steady over the last two years, but unsubscriptions are on the rise (+0.08%) and bounce rates are on the decline (-0.36%).

At a glance:
Average open rate stands at 17.8%
Average CTO stands at 14.3%
Average CTR stands at 2.6%
Average unsubscribe rate stands at 0.1%
Average bounce rate stands at 0.7%

Email Marketing Campaign Elements Contributing to Overall Success

The success of email campaigns relies on multiple factors including the target audience. Manufacturing trends are sure to look a little different than retail trends. In that sense, communication is the most important element. Truth be told, it has always been, but digital times call for different approaches as eye-to-eye contact is not possible.

However, there are many elements contributing to marketing success that have remained fixed over years that often rely on common sense more than on some complex calculations and superb stratagems. In fact, SaaS companies, in particular, have been exploring them for years. Let’s take a look at them, briefly.

The Right Timing
Everything in life is all about the right time and place. In the case of email marketing and choosing the best email client, we know the right place, but it remains to determine the right timing for your email marketing campaigns.

As mentioned above, common sense matters more in this case than some obscure tricks. In fact, stats show clearly that brands targeting 9 to 5 workers would do best to time their email offers to arrive either around 10 AM or 1 PM.

For brands operating internationally, that means minding different time zones. Cultures may differ, but human psychology is human psychology. Messages on top are always spotted first. According to GetResponse, the majority of email opens happen within an hour of their arrival.

Best and Worst Days to Time Your Campaigns
According to various studies, the best days to send emails are - all of them! Depending on your goal (CTR, open rates, etc.), these are the stats:
Tuesday - highest open rates (18.3%)
All but Tuesday - lowest unsubscribe rates (0.1%)
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday - highest CTRs (2.6%)
Wednesday - lowest bounce rates (0.6%)
Thursday and Friday - highest click-to-open rates (14.4%)
Saturday - lowest open rates: (17.5%)
Tuesday - highest unsubscribe rates (0.2%)
Sunday - lowest click-to-open rates (14.2%)
Friday and Saturday - highest bounce rates (0.8%)
Wednesday and Saturday - lowest CTRs (2.5%)

The Right Subject Lines
Subject lines tell the recipient whether they should bother opening your message or not. That means that they mustn’t be cut (up to 60 chars), should be compelling and, overall, to the point. If you’re advertising a special offer, announce it in the subject line efficiently.

The same goes for the message body. While there’s no limit to the length of an email, the longer it is, the lower the chances of people reading it. Keep in mind that recipients tend to scan messages rather than read them, so make certain that your message is short, concise, and clear. Also make sure that the CTA stands out and is easily spottable at a mere glance.

There’s also something to be said about templates and other ways to really intrigue the reader. This can also apply to not just email, but to social media and beyond.

On top of being easily spottable, CTAs also need to be compelling and clear. State what will happen when the recipients click on the button. To that end, avoid generic text like “Click Here” or worse still “Click Here Now!”

CTAs should best feature a motivational message that is a natural conclusion of the offer you’re advertising and have already explained in the message body. In fact, those who are really motivated may also look into email automation options.

Lastly, Communicate

Communicate with your audience via all available channels. Ask for feedback, encourage communication, answer all queries, and manage your social media pages and performance ratings. The majority of interactions usually take place on social media, which have become the place where people post their questions, praise and complaints.

Make an effort to thank everyone for their support, address every complaint and answer all questions in a timely manner. People remain loyal to brands that care for their customers and offer real opportunities for learning more about their products and how to use them. After all, there are only two types of brands out there: trustworthy ones and those that act aggressively solely to promote sales. Be the first!

Author's Bio: 

Angela Ash is a professional writer and editor, who focuses on topics related to business, productivity, time management, mental health and travel. She also has her own travel blog and works with Flow SEO.