How to Calculate and Maximize Email Conversion Rate

Rob Browne Rob Browne  |  April 30, 2019

Every email in your newsletter carries an end goal.

If it didn’t, you wouldn’t be pouring so much time and effort into setting up a killer email newsletter and keeping your bounce rate low.

To measure how effective your newsletter is at pushing your subscribers to complete the goal, or, as we say in the biz, the call to action, of your emails, is a metric called conversion rate.

Let’s take a deeper dive into what conversion rate means for your newsletter, how to calculate it, and some strategies for achieving high conversion rates in your emails with conversion rate optimization.

Conversion rate: definition, how to calculate, how to maximize

You could have the design skills of Gehry or Whitman-esque prose in your email newsletter, but the success of your campaign boils down to how many of your subscribers achieve the goal action you’re pushing them to meet. Conversion rate is a simple and telling way to measure this effectiveness.

Conversion rate basics

In most cases, the conversion goal of your email campaign will be purchase-related or at least quantifiable in terms of further engagement with your brand. Conversion rate stresses the importance of being able to directly correlate the success of email marketing efforts to a hard number.

There is no established value or target range for what constitutes a “good” conversion rate. Conversion rates vary across industries and generally rely upon specific data points unique to your subscriber base.

The highest average email conversion rates are usually in industries such as legal services, publishing, and sports and recreation. These conversion rates typically fall in the 11-14% range. The lowest average conversion rates are in industries such as retail, automotive, and financial services, and are around 5%.

How to calculate conversion rate

Conversion rate is calculated with a fairly quick and simple equation. Divide the number of subscribers that completed the email’s goal by the number of successful email deliveries, and then multiply that quotient by 100 to find your conversion rate.

Here is a helpful visual to calculate the conversion rate of 250 conversions out of 970 successful email deliveries:

how to calculate conversion rate

How to maximize conversion rate

While there is no true standard for what a good or target conversion rate is across industries, you can measure the effectiveness of your conversion rate by digging into the data to see exactly where it is that you’re falling short.

Perfect your voice and tone

To keep your reader interested in your brand and convert them to completing your end goal, you’ll need to hold their attention and communicate the value of your email. An attention-catching subject line can help win a click from your subscribers over other emails in their inbox.

When composing the email, you’ll want to think of every sentence you craft as a way to draw your reader closer to a conversion. You’re quarterbacking a game-winning drive to the end zone of a conversion, and make sure that every component of your email is gaining yardage towards this end goal.

Segment your list

Grouping your recipients by demographics such as location, purchase history, or browsing activity can make your emails more effective and appealing to your readers. By tailoring your emails to specific readers, you can increase the relevance of your brand and offers to your readers, and in term boost both your newsletter’s open and conversion rates.

Another important strategy you can use in segmenting your email list is sending content that matches your recipients’ individual stages in your funnel. Acknowledging that there are different stages in the customer journey goes a long way in being able to personalize your emails and appeal directly to your recipients to address their current wants and needs. A recipient of a welcome email is different than one of a post-purchase thank you email, and recognizing this difference in how these recipients should be marketed to could give your conversion rate a huge boost.

Ensure a responsive design

More than half of emails are opened on a mobile device, and you’ll want to make sure that the way you design your emails is easy to read and warrants a click from your subscribers, be it via computer, tablet, or phone. To optimize your emails for mobile readers, try using a single column layout, keeping your writing concise, using larger fonts to improve readability, and creating CTA buttons that can fit in and appear perfectly across multiple types of inboxes. Also, make sure your email signature is easy to read on all devices. Enlisting the help of email signature software can help here!

See the Highest-Rated Email Signature Software, Free →

Direct recipients to a dedicated post-click landing page

Your campaign will need a post-click landing page that allows your readers to complete the conversion from your email. Make sure that this page aligns with the call-to-action you outlined in your email and provides clear instructions as to how your subscribers can complete this action.

Let’s get converting

Now that you’ve learned the basics of what conversion rate is, how to calculate it, and how to make sure it is as high of a percentage as possible, it’s time to put this to use. Remember that there is no tried and true single method to achieving a high conversion rate, and you can adjust your strategies to maximize your conversion rate based on the type of feedback and levels of conversion you’re seeing among your subscribers.  


Rob Browne

Rob is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 Crowd writing about all things marketing. Originally from New Jersey, he previously worked at an NYC-based business travel startup. (he/him/his)

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