Understanding Email Marketing Stats

by | Jan 18, 2018 | Blog, How To, Nonprofit

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways of engaging a prior audience, but there is a catch... They only engage if they are interested in what you send. And, if they are not interested, they may unsubscribe. Essentially, if you honor the Inbox which someone has given you access to, you're in the right spot, even when some people unsubscribe. When you create a great message, you get a lot of almost-free traffic to your website or product funnel.

Let's take a look at a few of the most common metrics in email marketing and what they mean.

Email Opens or "Open Rate"

Email Opens are the number of recipients that opened the email. The "Open Rate" is the percentage. This is important to monitor because a great subject and an interested audience will open more of the emails you send. Pay attention to the emails you send that get the highest "Open Rate" and look to emulate what worked about the subject line in future emails.

Our best performing emails end up with an open rate of 60% to 80%.

We generally find that a list "settles in" at a certain rate for most emails. This varies by audience, topic, and the value of the content you send.

Link Clicks or "Click Rate"

This is a count or percentage based on recipients who opened the email. This may also be shown as a percentage of total recipients who clicked a link. Either way, this is an excellent gauge of whether the people who read the email were inspired to actually take an action and convert for you. Converting a recipient to an Open to a Click is the goal of email marketing.

Now, from this point forward in the recipient life cycle, it is the responsibility of wherever they were sent (like a website or landing page) to convert the person to a client or customer.

Our best emails get a 50% or better Click Rate.


This is the number of recipients who clicked the unsubscribe button after opening the email. These people will be included in "Opens" above but not "Link Clicks" unless they clicked a link other than "unsubscribe". High unsubscribes are a problem because it means you are not adding value to the recipient and they don't want to take the time to delete the emails coming from you any more. Certain emails may result in a higher unsubscribe rate than others. Look at the emails with the lowest unsubscribe rate and figure out how to give your audience more of that.

In our experience, an email that "honors the inbox" gets less than 0.5% unsubscribes. We don't want to see anything over 1%, except maybe for the first 1-2 emails in a sequence, since recipients may have been caught by our signup hook and not actually want the emails.


Putting this all together you can now watch the statistics for each email and understand what the recipients liked and didn't like.

If you're considering email platforms for your business or organization I suggest you take a look at two platforms, both of which we use at AssetLab Marketing for our own brands.

  1. ConvertKit - A paid email platform with excellent features
  2. MailChimp - A free and paid platform with growing features and improving usability

ConvertKit provides a premier set of features and costs $30/month for up to 1000 email addresses.

MailChimp has a free tier, up to 2000 list records (different than an email address) and then switches to paid. The features and usability of the website are significantly behind ConvertKit.

Note: The links here are affiliate links and AssetLab Academy gets a commission if you become a paying customer.

Okay, I get it, it's time to start figuring out…