✔️ You’ve familiarized yourself with email best practices.
✔️ You’ve identified a goal for your email campaign.
✔️ You’ve got your favorite ‘get sh*t done’ playlist going on Pandora.
✔️ And you’re ready to start writing your first email campaign.
But before you hit ‘send’ and deliver the first email to your list, there’s one more thing you need to think about: how you’ll measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns.
What should you expect as far as open rates, clickthrough rates (CTR), and unsubscribe rates? What’s good? What’s bad?
In this guide, we’ll go through the most important email KPIs to track and how to figure out each. Plus, we’ll reveal what they tell you about your email marketing effectiveness, so you can tweak accordingly.
Once we’ve covered the basics, we’ll provide you with benchmarks for each, so you know what to aim for. And we promise not to do it in an ‘accountant-y’ way. (No offense to our accountant, Tina, whom we love. 🥰)
Let’s get started.
The 4 KPIs You Need to Track, What They Tell You & How You Figure Them Out
#1 Open Rate (OR)
The open rate tells you the percentage of people who opened your email.
You can figure out this percentage by dividing the number of unique email opens (meaning you’re not counting multiple opens by the same individual) by the number of emails sent out, and then multiplying that number by 100.
OR = (# of unique email opens/# of emails sent)x 100
For example, if you sent your email to 500 people and your email marketing software showed 100 unique opens for that email, your open rate would be: 100/500 x 100 = 20%
#2 Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
The clickthrough rate tells you what percentage of people are clicking the links or calls-to-action in your emails. You can figure this out by dividing the number of people who clicked on a link in your email by the total number of emails sent, and multiplying by 100.
CTR = (# of clicks on links/# of emails sent) x 100
For example, if you sent your email to 500 people and 50 people clicked on a link or took action in that email, your CTR would be: 50/500 x 100 = 10%
#3 Click-to-Open Rate (CTOR)
Your click-to-open rate tells you what percentage of people who opened your emails actually took action and clicked a link. Instead of simply showing you open rates and CTR, it provides a more accurate picture of the effectiveness of your email. Here’s how you calculate it:
CTOR = (# of unique clicks/# of unique opens) x 100.
For example, if you sent your email to 500 people, 100 people opened it, and 50 people clicked on a link, your CTOR would be: 50/100 x 100 = 50%
#4 Unsubscribe Rate
Your unsubscribe rate tells you the percentage of people on your email list that hit the ‘unsubscribe’ button after receiving your email. You can figure this out by dividing the number of unsubscribes by the number of emails sent, and multiplying that number by 100.
UR = (# of unsubscribes/# of emails sent) x 100
For example, if you sent your email to 500 people and 5 unsubscribed, your unsubscribe rate would be: 5/500 x 100 = 1%
What’s a Good Open Rate, CTR, CTOR, and Unsubscribe Rate for Home Service Businesses Like HVAC and Chimney?
Okay, now you know how to calculate OR, CTR, CTOR, and UR, so you can measure the effectiveness of your HVAC, chimney, or other home service business email campaigns. But what numbers should you aim for? And if your numbers aren’t where you’d like them to be, what do you need to do to improve them?
According to Campaign Monitor, an Open Rate of 15-25% is a reasonable goal, while your CTR should sit somewhere around 2.5%, and your Unsubscribe Rate should be around 0.1%.
How Do You Improve Your Emails if Your Open Rates, CTRs, or Unsubscribe Rates Are Bad?
If your Open Rate is lower than you’d like it to be, what should you do?
- Take a look at your subject lines. Are they intriguing or boring? Are they clear about the intent and content of the email? If your subject lines don’t hook your customer or pique their curiosity in some way OR if they’re vague, they’re not doing their job. Which means your emails aren’t going to get opened. Use your subject lines to entice and intrigue, to give clients a reason to open your emails – and they will.
- Look at your ‘from’ name. Is it clear who the email is coming from? If your ‘from’ name is your name, does that mean anything to them, or should you change it to your company name? If they don’t know who the email is from, they’re not going to open and read it. So give your ‘from’ name some thought.
- Tweak your preheader text. Preheader text can tease what’s in your email and give clients another reason to open. So if you’re not getting as many opens as you’d like, think of customizing your preview text to something that works a little harder for the open.
- Consider your track record. In past emails, have you delivered on what you promised in the subject line? Or did you use click-bait-y subject lines just to get the open? If you were your own customer, would you feel better having read your emails or would you feel like you wasted time you’ll never get back? Be honest. You may need to work on regaining trust and building confidence that your emails are worth opening.
Need a refresher on what makes for a good subject line, preheader text, or from name? We put together an email best practices guide to help.
If your CTR is lower than you’d like it to be, what should you do?
- Revisit the body copy of your emails. Are you providing a lot of value to your clients in your body copy? Is it clear what’s in it for them or are your emails all about you? A good email will answer questions, provide context, tackle objections, and give clients the information they need to confidently take action.
- Check your CTAs. Every email should have one unique call-to-action. If you’re not telling your clients what to do next OR you’re asking them to do too many things, they’re not going to take action. That’s not my opinion, that’s science. It’s called cognitive overload and it leads to decision paralysis, because making no decision requires less work than parsing through and weighing 20 different options.
We’ve got some great tips on body copy and CTAs right here, just for you.
If your Unsubscribe Rate is higher than you’d like it to be, what should you do?
- Look at the number of emails you send, the content of the emails, and the frequency. If your clients are unsubscribing at high rates, chances are you’re either sending them too many emails too often, or you’re emailing them when you don’t really have much value to offer. Never send an email without good reason. Having a client’s email address and permission to email them is a privilege. Don’t abuse it. Don’t fill up their inboxes with junk or they’ll unsubscribe faster than you can say ‘Mini Split’.
- Do some list cleanup. If you’re getting a lot of unsubscribes, it may just be that you need to do some list cleanup. Are there people on your list who have been on it forever and never once engaged? Remove them. It might seem unwise to get rid of an email address that you may never get back, but if they aren’t responding or engaging, having them on your list will hurt your email marketing efforts more than it helps.
Determining the Best Frequency & Timing for Your Home Service Business Email Campaigns
Omnisend found that if you want the best Open Rates, Clickthrough Rates, and Sales Rates, you should consider launching an email campaign at the beginning of the month. The first 10 days of the month boast better performance for email marketing.
Okay, but is there a best day of the week to send emails?
GetResponse found that Open Rates, CTR, and CTOR hold pretty steady throughout the week, regardless of day. Because there’s no clear winner here, stick with whatever day works best for you — Or, test different days out and see if your Open Rates, CTRs, or CTORs are affected.
What about time? What time of day is best for opens and clickthroughs?
Here’s what GetResponse has to say:
- Open Rates: 4AM is the best time for Open Rates, followed by 9AM.
- CTR: The best time for CTR is 3AM followed closely by 6AM.
- CTOR: The best time for Click-to-Open Rates is 3AM, followed closely by 11PM and 6AM.
Okay, what the hell should you take from these numbers?
- People are up way too early or way too late, I’m not sure which.
- You might be better off sending out your emails in the early morning.
- You should test. There is no clear-cut takeaway on best time of day to send marketing emails, so try some different times out and see what works best with your audience.Your marketing automation software may be able to suggest a ‘best time’ based on your audience. If so, consider using their optimization suggestions and audience findings.
Keeping Your List Clean
One last thing before we go. Having unengaged people on your list is *bad* for all of the numbers above. So, if you want the best Open Rates, Clickthrough Rates, and Click-to-Open rates, you need to keep your list clean.
How do you do that?
- Make your Unsubscribe button/link easy to find. Your gut may tell you to hold on to email addresses, even if customers are disengaged. Don’t. Let go, like Elsa from Frozen. Make it easy for those who are uninterested in your emails to take themselves off your list, by putting an easy-to-find unsubscribe link or button in every email.
- Every 6 months or so, go through your list and see who hasn’t engaged with your emails in a while. Reach out to those people and ask them (politely) if they’d like to continue receiving emails from you. You can even use this opportunity to ask them what they would like to see more of (or less of) in your emails.
- Start deleting people from your list. Remember, the goal isn’t to have the biggest list – it’s to have the most engaged list.
Alright, you know how to measure email effectiveness and what to tweak if you’re not hitting your benchmark numbers. Now you’re ready to put email campaigns to work for your HVAC business, chimney business, or other home service business. Go get ’em, Tiger.
P.S. If you haven’t checked out our 2022 Guide to Email Marketing for HVAC Businesses, check it out. It’s chock-full of best practices, tips, stats, and examples and will help you get the most from your email marketing efforts.