The Importance of Click Rates in Your Email Marketing Campaign

Click rates are one of the most basic metrics in email marketing. They can tell you how much your customers actually engage with your emails. Find out more about them in this article, along with ways on how to improve them.

Gracija Atanasovska

Content Writer

Click rates (or click-through rates - abbreviated as CTR), along with open rates, are one of the most common metrics in email marketing with which you measure user engagement with a particular email campaign.

Even though CTR is common practice and sounds fairly simple, that doesn’t mean that it can’t leave you wondering what click rates are, how important they are, and how you should interpret them.

But that’s why I created this article! Here I want to tell you all about CTR so you can reap the benefits from this metric in your email campaign.

Let’s begin!

What Exactly Are Click-Through Rates?

The click-through rate (or CTR) is a metric that measures how many of your recipients click through the emails you send them compared to the overall number of emails you send.

It basically shows the relation between the emails opened and the number of clicks made on the links present inside of those emails.

Why Is CTR Important?

CTR is calculated in percentages and it’s a good indication of how much users/recipients engage with your email campaigns. It’s a way of telling how many of them not only open the emails you send them, but actually go through them and follow the links included.

What Is an Average Click-Through Rate?

There isn’t only one CTR benchmark - in fact, they differ from industry to industry. Usually, emails in the business and financial sector have a low CTR of about 2.59%, while legal emails have the lowest CTR according to OptinMonster with 1.04%.

On the other hand, email campaigns oriented at hobbies have higher CTRs, somewhere between 4.78% and 5.13%, according to various statistics. Sports emails have one of the highest CTR’s with a whopping 7.49% industry average according to OptinMonster’s data.

What Is a Good Click-Through Rate?

A good click-through rate will depend, again, on the particular industry you’re in. And the truth is, there isn’t one magic number that you can hold on to and say yeah, this is the one I want.

The best thing to do is to explore what is the average or optimal CTR for your industry and try to stick to those numbers, maybe even aim a little higher, if you can.

But, remember, it’s not always important to have the highest possible CTR. As long as you keep to the industry’s average you’ll be doing just fine.

How Important Are Click-Through Rates for Your Overall Email Campaign Strategy?

Metrics are important for measuring the overall success of your email campaign. They can help you find out which elements of that campaign you should work on more, and which ones you excel at.

That being said, many marketers wonder whether open rates and click-through rates can give you an accurate say in whether an email campaign is successful or not.

But the main thing you have to know is that there isn’t only one or two metrics that can give a precise verdict on whether your campaign is good or not. You should always consult multiple different metrics when you’re measuring your email campaign’s overall success, and you should always have in mind your company’s business goals in mind, as well as the nature of your industry.

CTR measures your overall engagement rate and it helps you see how effective your email content was (along with the subject line and the pre-header) in drawing in users and eliciting some sort of action.

Sure, having your emails open at high rates is great. Everybody likes a high score. But, you have to ask yourself a question - are these openings driving more sales as well? Are they helping me build leads, and expanding brand awareness? If the answer is no, then you should rethink your opinion on the ultimate importance of high open and click-through rates.

CTR helps you understand how your emails are being received in your user’s inboxes. However, as you can see, it’s not the ultimate metric.

What Is the Main Goal of the Click-Through Rate?

As I mentioned earlier, the main goal of the CTR is to measure user engagement. What this means is that through these click-through rates, you’ll be better able to understand how well your email campaign performs in the following areas:

  • Email content (design and the body of the text).
  • Overall interest in your brand as well as potential email fatigue.
  • The strategic placement of your links, as well as link count.
  • The type of media you include in your email accounts.

These are all important elements of CTR and of the overall impression your emails make on your audience. When you look at them separately you will know what to improve and what to leave as is - you know, if you see any problems in your click-through rates.

How Can You Measure Your Click-Through Rate?

You can easily determine your click-through rate by dividing the number of received clicks in your emails by the number of times your email was delivered successfully. Then, you take the number you get and you multiply it by 100 so you can get the proper percentage.

The equation should look like this: click-through-rates-equation

Source: CampaignMonitor.com

Of course, you won’t have to do this by yourself when you’re measuring an email campaign’s success. This is just to show you how it’s done. Any decent email marketing software or platform will do that for you instead.

Knowing the Difference Between Unique Link Clicks and All Link Clicks

The click-through rate consists, mainly, of two types of link clicks. The one is called unique link clicks, and the other is called all link clicks. Basically, there are two ways to track these link clicks.

So what’s the difference?

Well, unique link clicks help you track the one click a user makes on a link. If there are more links, it’ll tell you the one click on the different links. It’s designed to tell you the general percentage of recipients clicking through an email.

All link clicks, however, measure all clicks made in the email, regardless if the same link was clicked once or several times. This metric gives you the ratio of the emails you’ve sent compared to the visits made to your site afterward.

Emails Sent and Emails Delivered

Now, there’s also a difference between the emails you’ve sent and the emails that have been delivered.

The CTR formulas that use the “emails sent” metric will give you a CTR that is smaller than or at least equal to the emails delivered. The reason for this is because this metric doesn’t take into account the email bounces, so naturally, it will make up for a greater overall CTR result.

The “emails delivered” metric calculated the emails that have been sent, but it takes out the number of emails bounced.

Both CTR options work, of course. However, if you want a metric that stays close to emails that have actually reached your customers’ inboxes, then it’s a good idea to stick with the CTR that uses the “emails delivered” metric in its calculations.

How Can You Improve Your Click-Through Rates?

As you’re starting out with your email campaign, it’s normal to see low or below-average open rates at first.

The click-through rate often depends on your content’s usefulness. If your content is useful to your recipients, they’ll want to open it more and go through the links you’ve provided them. The key is, then, in making more useful and more user-friendly, responsive content.

Next, I want to give you a couple of tips on how you can tweak your email campaign so you can get a higher CTR score.

Make More Effective Links

I bet you’ve seen the notorious “click here” in countless emails that have somehow ended up in your inbox. Heck, you may have considered using it yourself.

Well if you have, I suggest you shy away from it and just don’t do it. Why? Well, for one, it’s too vague and unclear, and it creates distrust in your customers about your email content. It makes your email look more like spam than like a regular, relevant email. A lot of people will just opt out of clicking the “click here” and move on to something more specific and informative.

Instead, try to make your links more precise and descriptive of what they offer, yet also concise. Also, don’t link to information that’s not relevant to the thing you were talking about or information that’s totally different from what you’ve signaled in the link and the text. If you’re linking to a particular business or service, make sure to link directly to their site, instead of your own homepage.

Embed More Links in Your Email

Of course, you won’t be able to do this in every email campaign, but it’s a good idea to use it when you can.

You can do this even when you want to have multiple links leading to the same content - yes, in the same campaign, too. This is actually very helpful for email campaigns that have one CTA - aka one call to action, like, for example, donation campaigns.

With donation campaigns, you can disperse the donation buttons in different areas of your email’s body. So, instead of just having one donation link, you can have several of them, and that, in fact, makes it more likely for your readers and subscribers to open those links and even make a donation.

Test Your Content With A/B Testing

A/B testing can help you out in a lot of different areas of your email campaign, and that includes CTRs as well.

How can you do this? Well, it’s easy. The only thing you need to do is send different versions of the same email campaign to your subscribers (but not all the versions to all your subscribers!), and then keep track of the engagement rate.

After the testing ends, you’ll be able to see which version of the campaign performed better than the others and use that one for your email campaigns. And, it will also allow you to improve the weak points of your email campaign.

Format Your Emails the Right Way

Formatting your emails right is as important as nailing the right content of your email body. It’s simple - the better you’re emails are formatted, the more readers you’re going to have.

What does this mean? What elements of email formatting you should pay attention to:

  • Make your emails responsive, aka mobile-friendly. At least 50% of people first open their emails on mobile devices, such as smartphones. And this means that a mobile-friendly email campaign is essential if you want a successful email campaign. If your emails don’t open well or don’t look well on mobile devices, there’s a good chance that they’ll either be abandoned or maybe even deleted.
  • Don’t put your main info in the email’s images. Images often get blocked in emails, so it’s definitely not a good idea to place your key info in them. It makes your messages less accessible, and it makes it harder for your clients to get the info they need or want to see.
  • Take care of the email width. Email width is an important part of email formatting. Emails that show up too narrow or too wide on mobile devices just don’t look good or appealing to the eye, and they also look unprofessional, which makes users much less likely to read them. So, when you work on formatting, make sure your emails properly adjust to all (or almost all) screen sizes and mobile devices.
  • Break up the email text for readability. If your emails are usually long, make them easier to read for your users. One idea is to break them up into subheadings - you know, like you would do with a blog post.

Improve Your Email Content

The content is what keeps your users engaged once they open the email. The content is also what will keep them coming back and clicking on the links you provide. And this means only one thing - you have to make it worthy of reading!

Here are some tweaks you can do to your email content and make it more effective in turn:

  • Make the emails interactive. Including GIFs and videos is a way to make emails more interactive and immediately catch your reader’s attention. The downside to this is that your emails will be heavier and harder to open, and sometimes may not even open sometimes. But if you can pull it off, it’s a good idea to try.
  • Include images. Images are one of the elements in the email body that can make it immediately arresting. People easily and quickly respond to visual stimulation, and these emails tend to get opened more.
  • Ask your readers for some feedback. It’s always good to hear what your readers have to say about the content you deliver them. Ask them what they think you should improve about your emails. Just make sure to make it a quick and short survey or poll - nobody likes to waste too much time on that stuff.
  • Include numbers. This is especially important for emails that contain lots of data in them.
  • Include buttons for social sharing. Social sharing buttons can also increase your click rate.
  • Include some kind of incentive. People love to get free stuff or bonuses. For example, why not try and include a subscriber bonus in one of your emails?

Segment and Personalize Your Emails

Segmenting and personalization are one of the most important things you have to take care of in your email campaign.

If you’re sending email campaigns to all the people on your email list, then stop. Not all of your subscribers will be interested in the info you send them, which is why it’s so important to segment your email lists.

What this means is that you take that one big list of subscribers’ email addresses that you have and you make a bunch of smaller lists based on different criteria such as demographics (age, gender, nationality), geolocation, habits and hobbies, activities on your site, past purchases, etc. You can also do this by asking your readers to select fields of interest during the opt-in process. That way you can have a clear idea of what they’re interested in even during the early days of their subscription.

If you want people to click and open links in your email body then you better make your links relevant and informative for the right readers.

Personalization is another thing you have to pay attention to because it also affects open rates and click rates. People want to feel like they’re appreciated by your company/business - that they’re not seen as just a number, but a person with their own interests and ideas.

And that’s where personalization comes in. Personalization isn’t just using your customer’s name in the subject line and the email body. It also means using the unique data gathered about each customer in a way that will help you make a special marketing experience for each individual.

Send Your Emails at the Right Time

Timing is everything - this is a common saying in life, and it’s applicable for all sorts of business endeavors, email marketing being one of them.

Sending your emails at the right time can make a huge difference in whether your readers open the emails or not.

That being said, the best time - generally speaking - for sending emails is in the morning from 10-11 am, and also after the usual lunch break, from about 1-3 pm. Of course, you have to be mindful of the different time zones of your clients when you’re sending the emails.

And what about the best days? Well, Tuesday is considered as the best work week day in which you should send emails. After that comes Thursday and Wednesday. The weekend isn’t generally thought to be the best time to send emails and should be avoided.

Of course, email sending times also depend on the type of business you’re in. This means you have to experiment a little bit in order to find the best one that suits your business.

Also, you have to be mindful of the frequency of your emails. It’s not good to send too much or too little - the one will result in low open and click rates, and the other in your emails ending up in the spam section.

Work on Your Sender Reputation and Sender Score

Click rates also depend on the deliverability of your emails and whether internet providers actually trust you.

If you want to keep a good and reputable image with the ISPs (internet service providers) then it’s best to work on your sender score and sender reputation.

Also, you should never use a no-reply address. Instead, always opt to use a normal address or even possibly an address where there’s a personal name, like from an employee at your business or company, in order to make it more personal.

You can also include a sender photo, so your readers can see that it is indeed an actual human being they’re interacting with. For more professional emails, you can even put an electronic personal signature at the end of the email.

And then there are also the social media links you can include at the end of the email, which are also good for boosting click rates.

Build Customer Loyalty and Customer Trust

Building customer trust and loyalty is vital for any business, as it has a huge impact on lifetime customer value and helps companies stimulate interest in their products or services and generate leads.

If you work on customer loyalty, you’re also working on customer retention. And the more people stick to your business and your business emails, the more they open them and the more they go through them.

Work on Your CTAs (Call to Action)

A well-crafted call to action can make all the difference. If you want your CTA to be super effective, include only one and make sure it’s precise and clear. Don’t confuse your readers with multiple CTAs in one email.

Also, putting the CTA on the right side inside the email body seems to increase the click-through rate. So have that in mind as well.

Resend Email Campaigns

Yes, you can do this. This is often a part of the testing stage, where you send different email campaigns, with minor or major tweaks to see which one works best.

Resending email campaigns will make it more likely for your recipients to actually open them and go through them.

Just don’t be afraid to experiment more the second time around. Use a different time, a different subject line, a different call to action… How can you know if something will work or not if you don’t try it?

Clean Your Email Lists

Your email lists will vary from year to year. Heck, it’s estimated that they have a natural churn rate of about 25% to 30% each year.

This is because some people will unsubscribe from your emails. In this percentage, there are also the people who just don’t get to see your emails because they somehow end up in the spam folder, or because they simply don’t check their inbox that often.

Take a look at some of the techniques you can use to clean your email lists:

  • Putting an option where people can receive fewer emails from you (aka the so-called “opt-down” option).
  • Using segmentation and personalization.
  • Sending your subscribers re-engagement emails.

You can also just simply remove subscribers who haven’t checked your emails in a while from your list. Digital marketing platforms, like Bento, can easily help you filter out any inactive users from your email lists. That way your lists will be populated only with people who are more likely to open your emails and thus boost the click-through rate.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article helped you in figuring out CTR rates, why they’re important, how to measure them, and how to improve them. As you were able to see, there were lots of ways you could improve your click-through rates.

Remember, email metrics shouldn’t be considered individually - they give the best and clearest result of your email campaign’s success when analyzed together. Review your analytical reports and also test different versions of your campaigns so you can know which one will work best on your users.

Be that as it may, they’re very important when it comes to locating the flaws of your email campaign, and they also do a good job at telling you how your email campaigns should look and behave. This means that you should always maintain good email etiquette!

Open rates and click-through rates will improve and rise when you give your users good quality content that has been personalized and segmented according to their individual needs - content that they find relevant, informative, and also - equally important - timely.


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