Do Email Open Rates Matter?
When I first got into email marketing, I was obsessed with open rates.
I would send an email and then wait breathlessly while the stats started to roll in.
I asked other email marketers what their open rates were to see how I stacked up.
If I wrote a good subject line and my opens spiked, I did a little fist pump and felt good about myself for 2 days.
And when my subject line tanked, I sulked.
Over time, though, I gradually stopped paying attention.
The more emails I sent, the more I noticed that my open rates would vary a LOT depending on different factors.
The subject line was the biggie, of course. A really amazing subject line could easily bump my open rates by 5-10% or more.
But there are literally dozens of other factors, including:
- How the list was built
- How frequently you email the list
- The industry or niche the list represents
- The time of day, the day of the week, the season of the year
- How many emails get flagged as spam by Gmail and Yahoo!
Many of those factors are beyond my control, so obsessing about opens just leads to frustration.
But there's an even bigger reason that I largely ignore my open rates now:
Open rates often have ZERO bearing on sales.
Now people DO have to open the emails before they can buy. That much is true.
But all an open means is that you've grabbed someone's attention.
Here's the key:
All attention is NOT created equally.
It matters WHOSE attention you grab.
If you flag down the wrong part of your audience, it can actually hurt your sales.
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