Unlock ROI: The Key to Maximizing Your Email Marketing Conversion Rate

Email marketing conversion rate with coins flying

Email marketing is a dynamic, cost-effective, and highly engaging tool that contributes greatly to the revenues of businesses across the world. If the only goal of emails was to share information with potential customers, your job would be too simple. 

But emails are the perfect opportunity to pitch to your subscribers, inform them about a product/service, or clock a sale. And if you’re tracking your sales, you would want to know how much money you’re spending on email marketing and what kind of returns it’s giving you — and that is exactly what your email marketing conversion rate tells you. 

Join us as we examine this exciting topic and share pointers to improve yours!



What Is a Conversion In Email Marketing?

In email marketing, a “conversion” refers to a specific action you want a recipient of your email to take, typically in response to your message or call to action (CTA). 

This action can vary depending on your campaign’s goals and objectives but often includes actions such as making a purchase, subscribing to your weekly emails, filling out a contact form, downloading a resource, or any other activity that’s a part of your marketing objectives. 

Ultimately, a conversion is a successful outcome; it indicates the recipient has moved further down your marketing funnel. It tells you that a potential lead is showing interest and is taking a step toward becoming a customer or a loyal follower of your brand. Understanding and optimizing for conversions is a fundamental aspect of an effective email marketing strategy.


What Is Email Marketing Conversion Rate?

The email marketing conversion rate is a crucial metric that evaluates the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. It represents the percentage of recipients who have taken a specific desired action — such as buying your product, signing up for a newsletter, or completing any other goal. 

Essentially, it quantifies the success of your emails in persuading subscribers to take that pivotal next step, turning them into customers and even loyal followers of your brand.


Why You Should Care About Your Email Conversion Rate: ROI

According to market projections, email marketing revenue is expected to hit $12.5 billion in 2024 and cross $18 billion by 2027.

Email marketing revenue trajectory. Source

As an email marketer, you probably already know about the excellent ROI that email marketing offers; compared to other marketing channels, the returns are significantly higher. For example, a large chunk of a company’s marketing budget is typically eaten up by expensive channels like social media and paid advertising. 

The benefits are not just conversions but also visibility and engagement — while your email conversions are 3X those of social media, your emails are 5X more likely to be read than Facebook posts you create, according to Neal Schaffer.

Email marketing is an efficient and cost-effective method of snagging sales. The best part? It’s permission-based, and you can personalize your emails for specific customers to improve your sales pitches further! 


The Link Between Email Conversion Rate and ROI

When your email campaigns have a high conversion rate, it means that a larger percentage of recipients are taking the desired actions, such as making a purchase, signing up for a service, or downloading a resource.

If you observe a high conversion rate, this indicates the revenue generated from your campaigns significantly outweighs the costs, resulting in a positive ROI. This means you are making more money from your email campaigns than you are spending on them, making your investment in email marketing profitable.


How to Calculate Your Email Conversion Rate

It’s pretty simple. Here’s an example: If you sent 100 emails to leads, how many were successfully converted? This ratio is your email marketing conversion rate. It represents the percentage of email recipients who took the desired action on the specific goal of your email campaign. Note that conversions can vary depending on the campaign’s objectives.

There’s a simple formula that helps calculate the email conversion rate. In this equation, let’s say “X” is the number of converted leads and “Y” is the total number of delivered emails (some marketers even use total sent emails as the base).

Email Marketing Conversion Rate = (X/Y) * 100

In short, divide your conversions by the total number of delivered emails and multiply that by 100 to get your conversion percentage.

By tracking and analyzing your conversion rates, you can assess the success of your campaigns, make data-driven changes, and fine-tune your email marketing strategy to achieve better results.


What Is a Good Email Marketing Conversion Rate In 2024?

If you’re calculating a benchmark email conversion rate for your business, it can vary depending on various factors. This includes your industry, the type of email campaign, your target audience, and the quality of your email list. 

As an example — in 2022, the average email marketing conversion rate across industries was 8.17%. However, what’s considered a “good” conversion rate is subjective and can be influenced by your specific goals and circumstances.

Here’s a good way to go about measuring yours:

  1. Industry benchmarks: Research industry-specific benchmarks to get a sense of what is typical for your sector. Different industries have varying conversion rate averages.
  2. Previous performance: Assess your historical email marketing campaign performance. What were your previous conversion rates, and have you seen improvement over time? Your own performance history is a valuable reference point.
  3. Campaign type: The type of email campaign you’re running can significantly affect the expected conversion rate. For example, transactional emails will give you higher conversion rates than promotional newsletters.
  4. Target audience: The preferences and behavior of your target audience play a crucial role. A highly engaged and targeted list is more likely to yield higher conversion rates.
  5. Campaign objectives: Your campaign goals also influence what’s considered a good conversion rate. For some campaigns, a 2% conversion rate might be excellent, while for others, a 10% conversion rate may be the goal.

In summary, what constitutes a good email conversion rate in 2024 will depend on your unique goals. Monitor your performance, adjust your strategies, and aim to improve your conversion rates over time to achieve the best results.


Relationship Between Open Rates, Clickthrough Rates, and Conversions

Are you confused about your emails having high open rates but poor conversion rates? Or maybe it’s the other way around — you get better conversions from emails with low open rates. And what if you’re seeing high open rates, high CTRs, but low conversions?

We want to discuss the relationship between these three.

MetricDescription
Open ratesOpen rates indicate the percentage of recipients who opened your email.While open rates are an important metric, they don’t guarantee conversions.
Clickthrough rates (CTR)Conversions are the ultimate goal of your email marketing campaigns. A successful conversion means your email successfully attracted attention (open) and engagement (click) and also persuaded your recipients to act.
ConversionsOpen rates indicate the percentage of recipients who opened your email. While open rates are an important metric, they don’t guarantee conversions.
Relationship between open rates, clickthrough rates, and conversions

The relationship between these metrics can be summarized as follows: High open rates can lead to high CTR, and high CTR can, in turn, lead to high conversion rates


Do Higher Open Rates Always Mean Higher Conversions?

Here are a few points that explain the complex relationship between open rates, CTRs, and conversions:

  1. Correlation does not mean causation. Yes, higher open rates would greatly increase your chances of a conversion, but it is not a guarantee. Not all your openers will click, and not all the clickers will convert. 
  2. Your email content, relevance, timing, and alignment of your message with your reader’s needs and interests play a significant role in the transition from opens to clicks and from clicks to conversions. Analyze your data to find the drop-off point and fix it.
  3. While open rates, clickthrough rates, and conversions are essential metrics, it’s crucial to look at them in combination with other email marketing metrics like bounce rates, unsubscribe rates, and revenue per email to get a holistic view of your campaign’s performance.

And that is why you should continuously use analytics to adjust your email campaigns. A well-crafted, relevant, and compelling email that engages recipients and guides them toward your CTA is more likely to result in higher conversion rates.


Why Is Your Email Marketing Conversion Rate So Low?

A low email marketing conversion rate can be attributed to several factors, so let’s look at some of the most common ones:

  • Deliverability issues: If your emails end up in your recipients’ spam folder or are not delivered, your conversion rate will suffer. Ensure your emails comply with ESPs’ guidelines.
  • Irrelevant content: If your content doesn’t resonate with your target audience or fails to address their needs and interests, readers are less likely to take action.
  • Ineffective subject lines: A subject line is the first thing your recipients see, and a lackluster or misleading subject line can discourage them from opening your email.
  • Poor design: Unappealing, cluttered, or difficult-to-read email design can deter your subscribers from engaging with your content or taking action.
  • Unoptimized CTAs: Unclear or buried CTAs can make it challenging for your recipients to know what action to take. CTAs should be clear, compelling, and prominently placed. Work on your copywriting!
  • Weak incentives: Insufficient value propositions in your email content can make your subscribers less likely to convert. 
  • Timing and frequency: Sending emails at the wrong times or bombarding your recipients with too many emails can lead to reduced engagement and conversions.
  • Lack of personalization: Personalized emails that address your readers by name and offer tailored content tend to perform better. Generic, one-size-fits-all messages will not resonate with your audience!
  • Unsegmented lists: Not segmenting your email list to send targeted content to specific groups can result in sending irrelevant content to recipients.
  • Lack of trust: If your subscribers don’t trust your brand or have concerns about privacy and security, they may be hesitant to take action.

If you’re guilty of any of these, it’s a good time to head back to the drawing board and start from scratch. 


Before You Fix Your Email Conversion Rate

Before you figure out how to bump up your conversion numbers, you must first check if your emails are reaching the inbox in the first place. In short, fix your email deliverability.

Here are the guidelines to follow to improve your deliverability:

  • Use a trusted ESP: Choose a reputable ESP that adheres to email best practices, as this can positively impact your sender reputation.
  • Sender reputation: Have you kept an eye on your sender score or sender reputation? A low sender reputation is the easiest way to send your emails to the spam folder. This is why we’re super picky about the clients we want at Campaign Refinery — it’s tough to achieve sender reputation, and we only work with customers who practice excellent email etiquette. In return, ESPs consider emails sent from our platform to be of the highest grade.
  • Authenticate your domain: Implement authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC on your domain to verify that your emails come from a legitimate source and are not spoofed. We require all Campaign Refinery clients to include these security protocols on their domains before they can send emails from our platform!
  • Maintain a clean email list: Regularly clean your email list to remove invalid or inactive email addresses. High bounce rates can negatively affect deliverability. Our clients tackle this using our automated list-cleaning feature, which does all of the heavy lifting for them!
  • Use double opt-in: Implement double opt-in for your email subscribers to ensure people on your list genuinely want to receive your emails.
  • Send relevant content: Create engaging and valuable email content that aligns with your subscribers’ interests. Irrelevant or low-quality content can quickly spike your unsubscribe rate, and you may see more spam reports, too.
  • Monitor engagement: Keep an eye on metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. ISPs often use engagement data to determine whether your emails are wanted.
  • Manage complaints: Make it easy for your recipients to unsubscribe from your emails and promptly honor unsubscribe requests. High complaint rates can damage your sender reputation.
  • Sending frequency: Be mindful of your email sending frequency. Sending too many emails too quickly can raise red flags with ISPs. 
  • Avoid spam triggers: Refrain from spammy keywords, excessive capitalization, and excessive punctuation in your subject lines and email content.
  • Monitor blacklists: Regularly check if your sending IP or domain is listed on email blacklists. If you find your IP or domain on a blacklist, take steps to remove it.
  • Monitor feedback loops: Sign up for feedback loops provided by major ISPs to receive notifications of complaints from your subscribers and promptly address them.

By implementing these practices and focusing on sender reputation, engagement, and list quality, you can improve your email deliverability. With excellent deliverability in place, you can now focus on improving your conversion rates — so let’s get right to it.


How to Improve Your Email Conversion Rate

Improving your email conversion rate is essential for the success of your email marketing campaigns.

Here are some effective strategies to boost it: 

  1. Compelling subject lines: Grab your readers’ attention with intriguing and relevant subject lines. A compelling subject line can significantly increase email open rates, which, in turn, can lead to higher conversions.
  2. Personalization: Tailor your email content to the recipient’s preferences, demographics, and past interactions. Personalization can make your subscribers feel more valued and engaged.
  3. Segment your email lists: Segment your email list based on recipient behavior, interests, and demographics. Sending more targeted content increases the likelihood of recipients taking action.
  4. Clear and convincing CTAs: Ensure your CTAs are prominent, clear, and compelling. Make it easy for recipients to understand what action you want them to take.
  5. Optimized design: Create visually appealing and mobile-responsive email templates. A well-designed email can improve user experience and engagement.
  6. A/B testing: Experiment with different elements of your emails, such as subject lines, CTA buttons, images, and content, to see what resonates best with your audience.
  7. Test your landing pages: The landing page is where you close your sale. A/B test it and make changes until it becomes the perfect landing page.
  8. Provide valuable content: Offer content that is valuable and relevant to your readers. Solve their problems, address their needs, and offer solutions.
  9. Email sequences: Creating an effective and well-oiled email sequence can have a huge impact on your conversions. Depending on where the subscriber is in your marketing funnel, target accordingly.
  10. Test send times: Determine the best times and days to send your emails by testing different send times. This can increase the likelihood of recipients seeing and acting on your emails.
  11. Share customer testimonials: Including customer reviews, testimonials, or case studies in your emails can build trust and credibility.
  12. Smoothen the conversion process: Make the conversion process as easy as possible. Ensure your customer can find on the landing page what your email promised. Minimize the number of steps and required fields.
  13. Follow-up: Implement a well-planned email follow-up strategy for those who haven’t converted. Sometimes, it takes multiple touches to lead to a conversion.
  14. Analyze data: Continuously analyze the performance of your email campaigns. Examine where you’re losing customers. Pay attention to conversion rates and make data-driven adjustments.
  15. Offer incentives: Provide incentives, such as discounts or exclusive offers, to encourage conversions. Limited-time deals can create a sense of urgency.

By implementing these strategies and constantly fine-tuning your email marketing campaigns, you can improve your email conversion rate, drive better results, and maximize the return on your email marketing efforts.


Conversion Rates with Campaign Refinery

At Campaign Refinery, we’re all about supercharging your email conversions. With our segmentation tools, cutting-edge analytics, and advanced automation mechanisms, you’ll see higher open rates, more clicks, and superior conversion rates.

Let’s look at the top features at Campaign Refinery that help our clients hit their revenue goals:

  • Our automated list-cleaning feature will greatly boost your deliverability rates by removing invalid emails and spam traps.
  • The sender reputation of our clients is off the charts.
  • We have engagement tools like our gamification feature, which racks up 76.37% open rates and a CTR of 72.76%
  • Our Evergreen Flash Sales unlock conversion rates you’ve never seen before. It’s that good!
  • Our email sequence builder is simple yet incredibly powerful, helping you design the ultimate conversion email sequence.

With Campaign Refinery, you can craft engaging emails that captivate your audience, prompt them to take action, and boost your conversion rate.


What Types of Email Campaigns Have the Best Conversion Rate? 

The conversion rate for emails can vary widely depending on factors such as industry, target audience, campaign goals, and the quality of your email list. However, certain types of campaigns have higher conversion rates on average. 

Let’s look at this aggregated data from 2016-2023, compiled by Barilliance. Here’s a table showing us the conversion rates by type of campaign:

TypeDescriptionConversion Rate
Email My Cart (EMC)Email that is sent after a customer has added an item to their cart and abandons the checkout24.58%
Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)Authentication emails18.72%
Visitor TriggeredEmails sent to visitors who browsed through your site15.13%
Back-in-Stock These emails notify customers of a product that is now back in stock13.91%
Post-purchase emailsThese messages build trust with customers who just completed a purchase, but it’s also an opportunity to inform them of other items they may be interested in8.51%
Conversion rates of different email campaigns

Let’s expand on the email types above and also share tips on other emails that you can send to improve your conversion rates:

  • Abandoned cart: Abandoned cart emails are highly effective at recovering potential sales. When a customer adds items to their cart but doesn’t complete the purchase, a well-timed and well-crafted email reminder can often lead to conversions.
  • Post-purchase email: After a customer has made a purchase, post-purchase emails can encourage repeat business and upselling by offering related products, seeking reviews, or providing exclusive discounts to loyal customers.
  • Flash sales: Emails promoting limited-time offers or flash sales create a sense of urgency, encouraging recipients to act quickly to take advantage of a discount or special deal. At Campaign Refinery, our clients have seen stellar conversion rates using our Evergreen Flash Sales!
  • Lead nurturing campaigns: Lead nurturing emails, which provide valuable content and information to leads at different stages of the sales funnel, can lead to conversions as recipients move closer to making a buying decision.
  • Product recommendations: Emails that provide personalized product recommendations based on a recipient’s past behavior and preferences are known to have high conversion rates, especially in the e-commerce industry.
  • Event invites: Email campaigns inviting recipients to attend events or workshops can achieve high conversion rates when recipients register or sign up to attend.
  • Referrals and loyalty programs: Emails that encourage customers to refer friends or join loyalty programs often lead to conversions as recipients take action to earn prizes or discounts.
  • Personalized promos: Sending personalized promotions based on a recipient’s past behavior and preferences can significantly boost conversion rates, as the offers align with the recipient’s interests.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these campaigns can vary from one business to another, so pick the one best suited for yours. What works best for you will depend on your industry, target audience, and specific goals. 

Regularly analyzing your email marketing metrics and conducting A/B testing can help you determine which campaigns drive the highest conversion rates.


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