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What Is a Good Open Rate for My Email Marketing Campaign?

Email marketing is growing at an astounding rate. And with recent statistics showing that 97% of small businesses use email marketing to communicate with their customers, the need for a strategic campaign is undeniable. So while a vast majority of practices across the country have now implemented some form of game plan for sending emails to their patients, the real trick is in being able to measure that plan’s success and improve your ability to target patient needs. One of the main tools used to calculate email marketing effectiveness is called an open rate.

What is an Open Rate?

An email open rate is a percentage used to represent the number of people who opened an email and took action, such as enabling images or clicking on a link. While it is not a completely accurate measurement of actual email readership, an open rate can be a useful indicator of how effective your campaign is. The percentage is calculated by dividing the number of email messages opened by the number of email messages delivered.

State of the Industry

According to an “Email Marketing Metrics Report” from MailerMailer®, the past few years have seen a 61% increase in email volume per subscriber, meaning your patients are getting bombarded with a flood of solicitations each day. The same study also shows a continued decline in email open rates, bottoming out at 11.2% in 2009. As the number of emails in a person’s inbox rises, the likelihood that they will be able to open and interact with each one starts to diminish.

Unfortunately, the medical field has one of the lowest email open rates at just 7.1%. The good news is that despite a low open rate, more patients than ever before are now utilizing the Internet to tap into the vast supply of healthcare information available online. Taking the time to consider and understand your patients’ needs can be vital in establishing the right campaign for your practice.

How to Increase Open Rates

Here are a few brief tips on how to help improve your open rates and put quality, relevant emails in front of your patients. For even more information, check out our previous blog post on Tips for Reaching Your Patients Better Through Email.

Don’t Be Spammy

  • Avoid using lots of exclamation points, ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, and phrases like “Free Limited Time Offer”

Take Advantage of the Subject Line

  • Use a city name or location
  • Keep it short
  • Change up the title so your emails don’t get repetitive

Understand Timing

  • Try experimenting by sending out your emails at different times of day to see which one allows for the most visibility for your patients

Refine, Refine, Refine

  • Remove email contacts who are bouncing back your messages
  • Create a second, more targeted campaign for those subscribers who consistently do not open your emails
  • Make it easy for people to sign up for your newsletter/email blasts
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Keith Humes


Keith Humes is Rosemont Media's CEO and Founder. Since 1998 Keith has been at the forefront of Internet Marketing with Surgeons and Dentists. He continues to stay ahead of the curve and offers innovative insights to the world of healthcare marketing. Keith also lectures nationally at leading industry events, such as the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the Dallas Rhinoplasty Symposium.

Keith is an avid fisherman and master-griller. Next to fishing, Keith’s favorite activities include surfing, and spending time with family & friends.