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Email Marketing Benchmarks: 10 Industries & 5 Tips

Email Benchmarks For 10 Industries & 5 Tips For Improving Performance


Amongst inbound marketers, email marketing is an essential tool for connecting with prospects, contacts and leads, and while each brand and each industry will have a different approach to using email marketing, everyone should be measuring key metrics and seeking ways to improve them.

Two of the most important metrics are open rate and click-through, which provide a look at how many of your email recipients actually viewed the email and how many interacted with it to click through to your website. It is also essential to the health of future email campaigns to monitor your bounce rate, which is a direct indicator of the health of your email list.

But if you are just getting started, how do you know what constitutes a “good” response?

Email marketing service Constant Contact reports industry averages for nearly 3 dozen different industries each month (find their current report here). I’m just going to dig into 10 industries we at JONES know well to provide you email marketing benchmarks and share some ways your current process may be holding you back.

First, overall averages for all of the industries identified by Constant Contact, based on a March 6, 2018, update of their report:

  • Average open rate: 18.09 percent

  • Average click-through rate: 8 percent

  • Average bounce rate: 9.66 percent


In other words, you can expect a little less than 1 in 5 recipients to open your emails, and fewer than 1 in 10 to actually click through to your site. But those numbers are for all industries — when Constant Contact broke it out by identified industry, things look a lot different.

First, the bad news:

If you are in a field like ours (marketing and PR), your email marketing metrics may not look so great. The average open rate for marketing, advertising and public relations businesses? Only 10.77 percent. Ouch.

Even when you look at a slightly different professional B2B service category — “Consultant, Training (e.g. marketing, management)” — the open rate is still only 13.4 percent.

Click-through rates for each of those categories is also lower than the overall average at 6.26 percent and 7.75 percent, respectively.

So, while we know that our own emails have a tougher battle getting response, the good news is that for many of the industries we serve, the open and click-through rates are typically closer to the overall average, or even above.

They include:


Open rate

Click-through rate

Health & Social Services (e.g., hospitals, elder care, adoption services)



Health Professionals (e.g., physician, dentist, chiropractor)



Higher education (e.g., colleges, universities, trade schools)




Professional Services



Financial Advisor









Technology (e.g., web developer)




Incidentally, the categories with the highest open rates are those in which recipients are most likely to have a close personal connection: religious organizations (27%), primary and secondary schools (25.24%), civic and social memberships (24.38%) and government agencies or services (23.6%).

How do your current metrics compare with your industry’s averages? Are you looking for changes to help bump your numbers just a little more?

Here are 5 tips from our latest ebook: Email for Inbound: Do This, Not That.

1. Don’t just sell.

While 86 percent of consumers say they do want to receive emails from companies they work with at least monthly, those emails shouldn’t always be a push to purchase. Give recipients a reason to open emails and visit your site that doesn’t have to do with a transaction.

This could mean including links to useful blog posts and videos, downloadable templates or on-site calculators, or even a gallery of user-generated photos and other content that provides entertainment or inspiration.

Just as you balance your business blog content to provide that “just right” mix of information, education, inspiration and promotion, do the same with your marketing emails.


2. Personalize emails.

Just adding a first name to your emails can increase click-through rates from 5.8 to 7 percent, according to HubSpot. The company also found that adding a company name further increased click-through rates, in one test doubling CTR from 7.5 percent to 15 percent.

By speaking directly to your recipient, you increase the feeling of familiarity and trust. But don’t get carried away — thanks to today’s closed loop marketing and data collection capabilities, you may know a lot about a contact’s actions on your website, but that doesn’t mean you should get too familiar. Too much personalization can end up sounding creepy.


3. Target emails to a contact’s stage in the buying process.

Along with personalizing the text of your emails with a name or company name, segment your email lists so that recipients receive emails that match their position in the buying cycle. Doing so can increase conversion rates by as much as 72 percent.

For example, a lead who has downloaded only one of your inbound marketing offers — an introductory level ebook — should receive emails focused on providing education and information, and pointing toward a slightly more involved offer, such as a case study. But leads who have already accessed case studies and possibly even a program or services description should be pointed toward information on choosing a provider, accessing a free trial or scheduling a meeting.


4. Keep design simple and accessible.

We’ve talked about the importance of visuals in inbound marketing content (see here and here), and so it might seem natural to want to make marketing emails as visually striking as possible, especially when 2/3 of recipients say they prefer emails that are mostly images.

But the actual results tell a different story.

The reality is that nearly 45 percent of recipients, especially those using a work-provided email on company servers, may not even see your email images. HubSpot also found in its research that as the number of images in an email increased, the click-through rate actually decreased.


5. Include a high-visibility call-to-action button.

Using a call-to-action button, rather than a simple text link, can increase conversion rates by 28 percent.

It is also important to keep that button “above the fold” — meaning it is toward the top of the email where it will be visible even if the recipient doesn’t read all the way to the bottom.

As you create your email CTA buttons, follow the same best practices you would for CTAs on your website and blog:

  • Make the CTA obvious and easy to see.

  • Highlight the benefits of clicking through.

  • Keep the actual CTA copy strong and concise.


More on CTAs in these blog posts and downloadable resources:

Add these five changes to your next email marketing campaign’s “to-do” list, and find five more email marketing tips in our latest ebook: Email for Inbound: Do This, Not That. Then measure your next email campaign against your previous numbers and industry benchmarks. Tell us if you succeeded in improving performance and results.

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