Benchmarks Set for Email Marketing Efforts

By Bob West


There once was a day when direct mail represented a critical part of many (if not most) companies’ marketing efforts. Direct mail’s popularity has waned over the years for numerous reasons, chief among them being the value of email-based direct marketing.


We at Meister Media have witnessed the shift of dollars toward email efforts first hand we’ll send approximately 50% more emails on behalf of clients this year than we did in 2013. Collecting metrics on an effort performance is one feature marketers appreciate about email as a marketing tool, and analyzing the metrics from 300+ edirect messages we sent this year provides a range of insights for companies looking to reach these growers and retailers, including:

  • Subject lines tend to deliver the highest open rates when they speak directly to value to the recipient. For example, the subject line “Control multiple diseases with one application” clearly identifies the value to a grower while the subject line, New fungicide X now available could be used on the same effort without really giving the recipient a compelling reason to open the email.
  • Featuring more links in an edirect typically results in more click-through visits to your website. (Self evident? Perhaps, but we certainly see companies send an edirect containing just one link while their goal with the effort is driving click-through visits to their website.)

But the primary learning I want to share in this post has to do with the numbers themselves. What sort of performance can you expect from an edirect you send out? Here are our overall benchmark figures from sending more than 300 efforts on behalf of our clients this year:


# Delivered # of Unique Opens Open Rate # of Gross Opens # of Clicks Click-through Rate*
4,113 702 17.1% 1,113 72 1.75%


Note that click-through rate is defined here as the total number of clicks divided by the total number of emails delivered. Many marketers also track click-to-open, which is the total number of clicks divided by unique opens. Meister Media used to use this metric as well, although we changed in 2014 to reflect the industry norm. The benchmark click-to-open for an effort we sent in 2014 would be 10.3%.

So, what do these numbers tell us, particularly when compared to the 2013 benchmarks?

  1. More companies are employing email marketing, and they are sending an increasing number of efforts.
  2. Companies continue refining their lists. The average number of delivereds for a 2013 send was 4,899, so our clients were more targeted in 2014 and rented an average of 15% fewer emails from us on each send.
  3. Performance on individual efforts can and will vary dramatically. Some edirects produced open rates of nearly 30% and clicks through rates nearing 5% in 2014. Quality, focused content that will help your audience will engage them.

We’ve also updated benchmark metrics on edirect performance for each of the industries Meister Media serves — just let me or your sales rep know if you’d like to see those numbers.


For more information on edirects, check out these blog posts:

Email Marketing: How Does it Work?

The Best Subject Line Length for Opens is:

Why A / B Testing Matters in Your Email Marketing

Designing Effective Email Blasts


Bob West is the Director of Interactive Sales for Meister Media, and he sees every edirect the company sends out for its clients. To talk about how you can add email marketing to your efforts, contact Bob at 440-602-9129 or