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Email click-through rate: What is it and how can you improve it?

Email click-through rate (or email CTR) is one of the main email marketing metrics that shows the engagement of your target audience. If the email open rate reveals how many think that your email is worth their attention, then the email click-through rate shows whether your email can nudge people into action.

If you thought that the average email open rate numbers seemed small (around 15%), you‘re in for a shock. According to the email statistics in February 2017, the average email CTR is 6.86%. That said, rates vary by industry.

Keep reading and you will find out what influences email CTR and what steps you can take to improve it.


What is an email click-through rate?

Your email click-through rate or email CTR is the ratio of clicks on links in your campaign emails. However, email click-through rate is quite an obscure metric—a vast array of factors can influence it and, unfortunately, improving it might be out of your hands.

However, there are actions you can take that are likely to affect it.

Email CTR depends not only on the subject lines (which affect email open rates), calls to action and engaging copy. More subtle elements like link positioning, time of the day, email length and link emphasis (among others) can make or break your CTR.


Tell me your CTR and I‘ll tell you how effective your campaign is

Average email click-through rate is one of the key metrics to look at when assessing the efficiency of a particular email campaign.

A higher email click-through rate means a good email campaign. A lower email CTR doesn‘t necessarily mean that the email campaign was bad, merely that adjustments are needed.

Remember, the average email click-through rate depends on the industry, as well as the niche and nature of your email, and the purpose of the campaign. B2C newsletters tend to have lower email CTR, around 2-3%, while for B2B it is around 5%. Transactional emails have higher click-through rates than non-transactional ones.

If your email CTR has remained average or below average for some time, you need to do some work on email optimization. Any chance your emails have too much content and that receivers have no real reason to click-through?


What to do if your email CTR is low

Let‘s get to it! There are two paths you can take to increase click-through rate.

You can look at previous campaigns that delivered good results, analyze what you did and decide if there‘s anything you can copy to improve current click-through rates. This doesn‘t always work but it can serve as a temporary fix and reviewing previous campaigns can actually provide you with other new insights.

The other path is starting from scratch and taking a totally new approach to email campaigns and newsletter creating: one that is based on email marketing best practices that are deemed to ensure a good click-through rate.

Those include:

  • Sending out only relevant newsletters. When it comes to contact frequency, one has to walk the fine line between being top-of-mind and causing email fatigue. This line is highly individual and depends on the business you‘re in. However, the overall rule is: send out newsletters that your customers will find valuable. According to the DMA report, 75% of marketers send 1-5 messages a month overall, with most (35%) sending 2-3 messages.
  • Getting on board with responsive design. The majority of email opens occur on mobile devices, so not having a responsive design is just irresponsible.
  • Spicing up content, including sprinkling links generously throughout the email without going overboard. Remember that testing can put you on the right path, so use A/B split tests to assess which content gets the best results and reception from clients.
  • Working on your call to action, so that your clients know what you want them to do and how they will benefit.

In other words, try making the campaign as attractive as possible, so that the recipients have a reason to click and reach your preferred destination (your website or designated landing page).

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