Inevitably, we’re all bombarded with junk email. But, what’s the impact of this endless stream of marketing emails on our email marketing performance? Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question. But, if you’re curious about the impact of your unsubscribe rate and you want to know where you stand compared to your competitors, then this article is for you.
How Are My Emails Compared To My Competition’s Emails?
This question is pretty self-explanatory. If you want to know how your email marketing is performing compared to your competition, then all you need to do is look at their open rates. And, if you want an even more detailed analysis, then you can check out their unsubscribe rates too.
To put this into perspective, I compared my email performance to that of my competition over the last year, using Litmus and MarketingCharts. To keep things simple, I only compared our top-tier competitors, based on the number of subscribers they have.
Here’s what I found:
Overall, My Competitors’ Emails Are More Popular
Looking at the data in total, it’s clear that my competitors’ emails are performing better than mine. Their open rate was 2.2% higher (24.9% vs 22.7%) and their click-through rate was 0.2% higher (3.1% vs 2.9%).
This is consistent across all industries and regions, which means that if you’re not measuring and tracking the success of your email marketing, then you’re likely on the wrong track. The fact is that people are busier than ever before and they expect to receive information when they want it, where they want it and in an easily digestible format. And, as a result, they’re less likely to unsubscribe from emails that provide value. Email marketing should be a continuous learning experience for your team, because your customers have so much power over your business.
My Competitors’ Emails Are More Effective
To understand the impact of my competitors’ emails on my own performance, it’s important to examine the characteristics of the emails themselves. Comparing the data in Litmus, it’s clear that my competitors’ emails are more effective. Their open rate was 1.5% higher (25.3% vs 24%), their click-through rate was 2.4% higher (4.1% vs 2.7%) and their conversion rate (the percentage of people who click through and then take the desired action) was 4.9% higher (38.3% vs 33.4%).
What’s interesting is that many of these email marketing best practices come directly from my competitors, demonstrating the importance of staying at the forefront of email marketing.
In fact, I implemented many of these tactics myself, because I saw the benefits of using an email management tool like Litmus to get all my email marketing in order. I recommend you examine your own email performance, because it’ll tell you a lot about your strengths and weaknesses as an email marketer. And, when you do, you’ll be better positioned to improve your game.
People Open My Competitors’ Emails More Often
Another important characteristic of my competitors’ emails is that people open them more often. Their open rate was 2.2% higher (24.9% vs 22.7%) and, based on Litmus, this seems to be because people prefer to read emails on their mobile phones. On the other hand, I noticed that people frequently hit the “back” button on their smartphones, when they’re reading emails on them, which can impact the click-through rate of your email.
What’s important is that people are reading my competitors’ emails, because they work. In this case, it’s valuable information that people want and it lets them get things done. From an email marketing perspective, this is a good thing, because more people are opening your emails, which means you have more opportunities to get clicks and conversions. To put it simply: more business, more money.
My Competitors Have A Better Quality Subscriber Base
According to Litmus, my competitors’ subscribers have a better quality than mine. Their unsubscribe rate is 1.5% lower (12.8% vs 14.3%) and the median time between email marketing messages is 5.3 days lower (34 days vs 39.8 days).
While this might not seem like a popular opinion, I believe that a better quality subscriber base is a sign of a healthy email marketing campaign. When you have a large group of subscribers who are frustrated with your emails, it can indicate that you’re sending them too often or you’re not interesting enough to keep them engaged. However, having a higher proportion of engaged and less frustrated subscribers is a good indication that your email marketing is working and that you’re providing value.
As email marketers, it’s important to examine our competitors’ results, because they can give us a clear indication of how we’re doing and where we can improve. Of course, we want to get our own numbers too, which means we need to be measuring and tracking success, which is easier said than done. But, with careful measurement and the right tools, we can all get more accurate and actionable results.