Your open rate is an indication of brand recognition. Your click rate is one indication of whether your newsletter actually gets read. (How many newsletters do you open without reading?) Getting read is what raises your reputation and prompts interaction.
I dislike generalizing about the relationships between list size, content type, length, frequency, and open rates. Among our clients, we have lists of 200 subscribers to over 10,000, and frequencies that vary from weekly to quarterly. This means we see a wide variation in statistics, too.
Industry averages (graph in this post):
- open rate – 20%
- click rate – 4%
Please don’t judge your own newsletter’s success based on a comparison with these. (Who wants to be average anyway?) There are many things that impact your open and click rates. I encourage you to also look at the number of contacts who opened/clicked, and what they clicked on.
The easiest of these measures to improve is your click rate. There’s a clear correlation between the number of links in a newsletter and the number of clicks: more links = more clicks. Don’t frivolously add links; use them strategically. Then watch to see what your readers are clicking on, and interested in.
Of course, your newsletter should be doing more for you than providing stats to look at. A high open rate means nothing if nobody is reading and acting.