Your Email Marketing Conversion Rate and How to Improve It

Your Email Marketing Conversion Rate and How to Improve It

You’ve been executing email campaigns for a while, but you aren’t seeing an improvement in your email conversion rate.

What could be the cause? 

Instead of simply going through a checklist of best practices, you need to work backward to gain a better understanding of what factors influence your email marketing conversion rate. 

What is an Email Marketing Conversion Rate?

First, let’s try to understand what an email marketing conversion rate is so you know exactly what to measure.

Simply put, it is a crucial email marketing KPI to measure the percentage of recipients who convert.

A conversion in this case involves taking the desired action such as signing up for something, downloading something, or even purchasing something. The action depends on your specific conversion goal.

For instance, if you send out emails to notify people about your latest research report, your conversion goal may be to drive downloads.

So the amount of people who received your email vs. the amount of people who downloaded the report would help you determine your conversion rate.

The actual formula would look something like this:

Total number of downloads/Total amount of email deliveries X 100       

So let’s say you send your email to 1500 people, out of which 1300 were delivered. Out of all the deliveries, 450 people downloaded the report. So your conversion rate here would be approximately 32%.

Once you determine your average conversion rate for all of your emails, you’ll be able to compare it against the industry benchmarks to understand where you stand.

Factors that Affect Your Email Marketing Conversion Rate

If your email marketing conversion rate is lower than the industry average, it’s time you look at the factors that could affect it so that you can improve it. These are some of the most common factors that could affect the conversion rate of your emails:

#1: Email Subject Line

Before you can convert your email recipients, you need to get them to open your emails first. It doesn’t matter if you have the most exciting offers if people don’t open the email in the first place.

So increasing your email open rate is a crucial step to increasing your conversion rate. And your email subject line is the first thing you can improve to achieve this goal.

In fact, a Litmus and Fluent study found that 32% of respondents looked at the subject line first to decide whether an email is worth opening.

Litmus and Fluent

Image Source: Litmus

Start focusing on creating catchier subject lines that will get more people to open your emails if you want to increase your email marketing conversion rate. But make sure each subject line is relevant to the email content and value offer.

You can use tools like the CoSchedule Email Subject Line Tester to analyze the potential of your subject lines before sending them out.

#2: Value Offer/Email Content

Your email content should effectively convey the value of your offer if you want to increase your email marketing conversion rate.

Unless they see some value in what you’re offering, your recipients may simply close the email and go on with their day. So if you’re failing to drive significant conversions, you should take another look at your email content to see what you can improve.

Are you putting yourself in the customer’s shoes? Could you explain how the offer is relevant to the recipient more effectively? Are you clearly highlighting how they can benefit from taking the desired action?

Blatantly promoting the product or service features without any second thought about how they are relevant to the recipient won’t yield many conversions.

Instead, you should try to determine the recipients’ pain points and where they will derive the most value out of your offer. Use these insights to create your email content and present your value proposition more effectively.

The following email promoting Dropbox Paper shows an excellent example of compelling email content. As you can see, they have focused the copy on how the product can be of use to the recipient, clearly establishing its value and relevance for the prospect.

Value Offer Email Content

To find out what kind of value offer or copy works best, you can run a test with multiple variations and analyze their performance using UTM parameters.

You can use to create UTM templates that you can easily customize for each variation. This will save you a lot that you would have otherwise spent on creating multiple variations of UTM parameters that are unique to each value offer or copy.

It also goes without saying that your email design should be appealing and functional, with a responsive design that looks good on any device. Otherwise, you could miss out on a huge chunk of recipients who are opening your emails on their mobiles and tablets.

#3: Landing Page

You landing page is another critical factor that influences your email marketing conversion rate. Once people click on your link in the email, you should direct them to a landing page that’s relevant to the source.

However, it’s not enough that this landing page is relevant to the offer. It should also have an appealing design coupled with compelling copy that will drive conversions.

If you’re getting a ton of click-through but your email marketing conversion rate remains stagnant, it’s time you reconsider your landing page. You could test out different changes like:

  1. Changing the forms to reduce the number of form fields. Perhaps you’re asking for too much information and annoying your prospects in the process.
  2. Creating more compelling copy with persuasive words. Just like in your email copy, your landing page copy should present your product’s value in a way that’s relatable for the audience.
  3. Reducing the number of graphic design elements. Perhaps you’re adding too many elements that your audience finds distracting.
  4. Changing the background image. You could test out different images and see what works best in driving conversions.

#4: List Size and Quality

You may have thousands of contacts in your mailing list, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a high conversion rate. The health of your mailing list is extremely important to improve your email marketing conversion rate.

Are you really reaching a quality audience? Or are you even reaching valid inboxes in the first place?

If you’re getting a high bounce rate, you may be sending emails to inactive or invalid email addresses or people with full inboxes.

When this happens, your email marketing conversion rate is going to drastically decrease because you’re not reaching people in the first place. But the more valid addresses you reach, the better your chances of driving conversions.

So make sure that you do an occasional list cleaning to remove bad addresses from your list. You can use tools like Free List Check, NeverBounce,or Aeroleads for this.


Image Source: NeverBounce

#5: Segmentation/Personalization

Your email recipients aren’t all the same – they may have different pain points and therefore, different motivators for their purchases. So taking a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t going to do you much good if you want to increase your email marketing conversion rate.

You should start segmenting your list to deliver a more personalized experience to each recipient. This will also ensure that they each relevant messaging that will compel them to take action. In fact, segmented campaigns have resulted in 760% higher revenue for marketers.

It’s crucial that you send out emails personalized according to the individual experiences and buyer journeys of your recipients. You could even personalize your emails according to their interests based on their past behavior.

HitRecord, for instance, sends out suggestions for projects and challenges based on a user’s interests.

Final Thoughts

Take care of these critical elements when designing your next email campaign to drive higher conversions. In addition to creating relevant and compelling email content, you should carefully test different elements of your landing page. And of course, your first goal should be to get more people to open your emails by using captivating subject lines.

Got any more ideas on how to increase email marketing conversion rates? Let us know in the comments below.

Dan McGaw

Dan McGaw is an award-winning entrepreneur and speaker. He is the founder and CEO of, a marketing technology and analytics agency, and the creator of, a campaign management and data governance tool. Named one of the godfathers of the marketing technology stack and one of original growth hackers, Dan has decades of experience in digital marketing, technology, and analytics. (His team won’t let him take this out even though he says it makes him sound old.)

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