Email marketing success is best analyzed in context with your competitors.

While every company has very distinct and personal goals that they want to hit with their email marketing strategy, understanding your performance as it relates to your industry and region can help you see where you’re excelling and where you might be trailing behind. From there, you can use these insights to drive future initiatives and better define what it means to succeed in your market.

To help you do it, we pulled information from nearly 10,000 Benchmark Email users to see how they’re performing with their emails and then broke it down by key factors so you can see how you compare. Here’s how to put that data to use — plus quick tips on what to do if you find yourself coming up short.

Making Sense of the Data

Our benchmarks report looked at a few crucial email metrics to help you see how you stack up, including average email open rates, bounce rates, and click rates. From there, we broke it down by industry and by region to help you further contextualize your performance.

Metrics can vary widely depending on where you are and what type of product or service you’re selling. For example, look at how average click rates compare from an industry like K-12 schools (5.55 percent) to manufacturing, logistics, and engineering (1.25 percent). If you’re in the latter industry, a 3  percent click rate would be well above-average, while if you’re in the former, it’s a definite cause for concern.

The data is just as stark when comparing regions. In the U.S., Benchmark users see an average open rate on their emails of 24.39 percent, which is a great percentage to hit — unless you live in Japan, that is, where the average open rate is 35.59 percent.

In all instances, reviewing your own metrics in relation to your industry and regional averages is a whole lot more telling than reviewing them in relation to overall averages. There’s a lot of competition out there, but the only competition that really matters to your bottom line is your direct competition. So as you look at the data, ask yourself how you compare where it counts. Are you performing worse than your competitors? Are you surpassing them? Are you well-aligned? Based on what you discover, it may be time to pat yourself on the back — or amp up your game.

What If Your Open Rate is Lower Than the Competition?

The fewer people you have opening your emails, the fewer people you have clicking through and converting. If your open rates are falling short, start here when making improvements:

Review your subject lines. A good first impression goes a long way. See if there are things you can do to improve your email subject lines, such as removing “spam” words or personalizing with the recipient’s name.

Ensure you have good deliverability practices. Look at your bounce rate and your sender score to see if email deliverability might be to blame for your low open rate. Check for CAN-SPAM compliance, too, since there’s a chance that you’re inadvertently sabotaging your messages from hitting your recipients’ inboxes even before you hit send.

What If Your Click Rate is Lower Than the Competition?

Emails are beneficial for staying top of mind with your audience, but for real success, you need click-through to your site as well. Here’s where to start if your click rate is leaving something to be desired:

  • Check your CTA. Your call-to-action should be clear on the page and clear in intent. If it’s difficult to find or it’s not directed toward a specific action, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that few people are clicking through.
  • Improve your email copy. It could be that your copy itself is failing to garner interest or efficiently engage your readers. Make your email copy dazzle by giving it some tweaks. Make it more valuable and more concise, and look at your emails that have performed the best to see what type of content tracks best with your audience.
  • Verify proper lead qualifications. Take a look at your contact lists to make sure you’re qualifying and segmenting your leads correctly. It’s possible that your lackluster click rate is due to improper email targeting and that you’re simply failing to get the right content in front of the right people.

You’re Doing Great

Here’s the thing: whether your emails are performing above average, below average, or sitting solidly in the center, taking the time to benchmark your performance means you’re paying attention — and that’s the first step in getting ahead.

Take what you learn and turn those insights into action. Sometimes, all it takes is a little modification to get the results you’re looking for, and every tactic you try is a learning experience that can benefit your business.