Optimise your email campaigns for engagement and growth with these tips

When you’re new to email marketing, it’s easy to get caught up in looking only at how many subscribers you have. 

You work hard to grow your subscriber count, thinking that a big list correlates to more conversions … except that’s not quite how it works. 

A high subscriber count means little if your deliverability, click through rate, and the open rates are low. 

To grow your business through email marketing, these are the metrics you need to watch: 

Open Rate 

Your email open rate is the percentage of subscribers who opened your email. 

You’ll find that this is often an indication of the strength of your subject line and the relevancy of the subject matter for subscribers. Relevant content is more likely to be opened, read and acted upon, so an understanding of your audience and what content would appeal to them is key. 

You can improve your open rate by: 

  • Testing your subject line – try experimenting with different lengths, tone, and context 
  • Testing send day, time, and frequency of emails
  • Testing the sender name – personal name vs company name 
  • Improving segmentation to ensure content is highly relevant to the individual 
  • Gaining a better understanding of your customer and what content they’re interested in 

Click Through Rate (CTR) 

Your click through rate is the percentage of subscribers who clicked a link inside your email, as an average of the total emails sent. 

You’ll notice that this differs from the next number – the click to open rate – because it’s counted from the total emails sent, not total emails opened

The click through rate of your email campaign tells you how many subscribers visited your website from that email, and essentially how effective your email was. Because it’s counted from the total emails sent, this metric looks at how compelling both your subject line and content were.

You can improve your CTR by: 

  • Improving segmentation to ensure content and offers are relevant 
  • Designing clear and easily readable emails
  • Ensuring both subject line and email content are compelling and interesting to your subscribers 
  • Testing different calls to action to drive more clicks 

Click to Open Rate (CTOR) 

As mentioned above, your click to open rate is the percentage of subscribers who clicked a link inside your email from the total number of opened emails

This number will always be higher than your CTR, because it’s a percentage of a smaller pool. 

The CTOR tells you how effective the content of a particular email was at driving readers to your website, since it’s only looking at people who opened it. This can include the relevance of your content, readability, and calls to action. 

You can improve your click to open rate by:

  • A/B testing your call to action 
  • Ensuring your emails read well across different devices 
  • Improving segmentation and personalisation to deliver hyper-relevant content 
  • Using clear, simple design and engaging, easy-to-read copy 

Unsubscribe Rate 

This is the number of people who opt out from receiving any more emails from you, as a percentage of the total number sent in that campaign. 

A small number of unsubscribes is normal in any campaign, so don’t panic too much if this number never reaches zero. However, it is important to monitor your unsubscribes for spikes or trends. 

This information can tell you what topics, subject lines, or send patterns are pushing your audience away. Is the information not interesting enough? Hard to read? Too frequent? 

Sometimes, a high unsubscribe rate isn’t related to the quality of your emails, but the quality of your leads. If you’ve acquired a list of poor quality leads, you’ll be unlikely to keep or convert them no matter how hard you try. 

You can avoid or improve this by: 

  • Maintaining good list hygiene – deleting non-opening subscribers after a period of time, as well as old addresses 
  • Aligning lead generation campaigns with your email marketing strategy, so subscribers know what they’re signing up for 
  • Using a double opt-in process 
  • Segmenting your audience to deliver relevant information for their needs 

Bounce Rate 

Your bounce rate is the number of emails that couldn’t be delivered. These people didn’t receive your email at all, either due to an issue on their end or your end. 

There are two types of bounces – a hard bounce and a soft bounce: 

A hard bounce happens when there’s an error in the email address, the email address doesn’t exist, or the email server has blocked delivery.  

A soft bounce happens when the recipient’s mailbox is full, their email server is down, the email is too large, the email is blocked due to content, blocked due to spam issues, or cannot be sent for other technical or unknown reasons. 

You can improve your bounce rate by: 

  • Keeping good list hygiene
  • Using a double opt-in process
  • Avoiding spammy content or clickbait subject lines 
  • Removing invalid email addresses as you find them 
  • Avoiding purchased email lists or old email lists 

Deliverability Rate 

This is your ability to get your emails into your subscriber’s inboxes. It’s the percentage of emails delivered, from the total number sent. 

Deliverability can depend on several things including bounce rates, spam issues, and email sender quality. 

When your deliverability rating is good, your emails are more likely to be trusted by your recipient’s email server. Conversely, a poor deliverability rating can harm your entire campaign, no matter how good your content is. 

You can improve your deliverability rate by:

  • Using double opt-in processes
  • Making it easy to unsubscribe 
  • Avoiding bulk sending 
  • Avoiding sending too many images 
  • Avoiding sending from a free domain email address 


Email marketing thrives on engagement, and in order to grow over the long-term you need to measure and act on the metrics that matter for this. 

As a long-term strategy, don’t expect your results to shift overnight with optimisation. We aim to incrementally increase your results with each campaign, using data to tweak and test each aspect of your email marketing to build the results you seek. 

Keen to kickstart your email marketing? Call the Sprocket team today 

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