2023 Email Marketing for Manufacturers: Benchmarks and Statistics

Author: Alison Fox

Email Marketing Benchmarks and Statistics to Improve Your 2023 Strategy

Email may seem like an “old school” marketing strategy, but statistics and marketers agree email remains one of the most effective marketing channels.

With 4 billion daily email users, there’s no question email marketing can benefit your manufacturing business. In 2021, 77% of marketers noticed increased email engagement and a $36 return on investment (ROI) for every dollar spent!

Below, we dive into the email marketing metrics for 2022, giving insight into what’s working in email marketing and how the manufacturing industry compares. We also provide a comprehensive overview of ways you can improve your manufacturing business’s email marketing campaign in 2023.

Keep reading to learn more! 

Email Marketing Benchmarks and Stats for Manufacturers 

Measuring open, click, and bounce rates are all powerful metrics to determine if your emails resonate with your audience. These metrics are a great place to start if you’re looking to see where the manufacturing industry stands against others and where you can improve your marketing email campaign strategy.

It’s important to note email benchmarks vary significantly across industries, so you shouldn’t compare your manufacturing benchmarks to other industries like advertising and marketing but rather use the numbers as a guide.

Let’s dive into the data!

Benchmark Your Performance

Open Rate Benchmarks

An email open rate is the percentage of subscribers who have opened an email.

According to Mail Chimp’s 2022 Email Benchmark Report, the average email open rate is 21.33% across all industries, which is an increase compared to this 2020 email benchmark data report, which listed the average open rate as 17.8%.

The 2022 report found that government-related emails had the highest open rate of 28.77%, and other industries, such as e-commerce, came in as low as 15%.

The manufacturing industry had an average open rate of 19.82% — that’s pretty good!

Click-Through Rate (CTR) Benchmarks

An email click-through rate (CTR) is the number of subscribers who click on one or more links in your email.

The average CTR across all industries in 2022 was 2.62%, which is comparable to 2020’s CTR rate of 2.60%.

The hobbies industry took the lead with a CTR rate of 5.01%, and the restaurant industry had the lowest CTR with 1.34%. The manufacturing industry had a CTR of 2.18% — just below the average.

HubSpot’s 2022 Email Benchmark Data found 30.7% of marketers agreed new product/feature announcements have the highest CTR, and another 30.7% said the same about special offers and promotional emails. These numbers suggest readers are more likely to view emails with helpful information about how your company can provide value to them.

Bounce Rate Benchmarks

Bounce rate is the percentage of email addresses your campaign could not deliver because the recipient’s server returned them.

Measuring your bounce rate is integral to any email campaign because email providers and anti-spam networks monitor undeliverable emails and use that data to determine if they’ll accept your future emails.

The 2022 Mail Chimp’s Email Marketing report splits bounce rate averages into soft and hard bounces:

  • Soft bounce is a temporary situation where an email bounced due to an inbox being full or a server being down. These bounces tend to resolve over time, but you should still keep an eye on them.
  • Hard bounce occurs when there’s an invalid email address or an email address doesn’t exist, which is a permanent situation.  Email addresses that issue a hard bounce should be removed from your list.

According to the report, the hard bounce average across all industries came in at 0.40%, while soft bounces totaled 0.58%. This percentage increased compared to this 2020 report, which combines hard and soft bounces into one category with a total average of 0.70%.

The manufacturing industry’s 2022 hard bounce rate was estimated to be 0.72%, and the soft bounce rate was 1.18%. While the manufacturing industry had higher bounce rates than the average, don’t fret — we’ll explain ways you can reduce your email bounce rate and increase your open and click-through rates in your 2023 email marketing campaign!

Did you know you can compare your company’s email bounce rate against 400+ businesses (for free) in a B2B HubSpot Email Marketing Benchmark Group? Join today to receive invite-only access to our new HubSpot Email Marketing for Manufacturing Companies Benchmark Group! 

How To Improve Your Manufacturing Email Marketing Metrics 

Understanding email marketing metrics is vital in determining how email campaigns perform, how to personalize email content for your readers, and understand your subscriber’s actions.

Tracking the most influential metrics, such as open rate, CTR, and bounce rate, allows you to see if you’re hitting your marketing goals for your manufacturing business. These metrics can show you if your subscribers enjoy the content they receive and areas where you can improve.

Below, we highlight key ways you can improve your manufacturing email metrics.

Increase email open rate

Your email open rate directly results from your manufacturing business’s brand reputation and other factors on your email list. When analyzing your open rate, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your subscribers trust you? This study shows emails from a personal name rather than a generic address or company name (support@, sales@) can increase open rates by 35%. Sending an email from a specific contact person, such as “Bob@”, gives your email a personal touch that resonates with readers.
  • Have you sent quality emails in the past? First impressions are everything. Consider your previous emails and newsletters. Were they too frequent? Was the tone right? Were they well received? Were they helpful to readers? These factors can determine if subscribers decide to open any future emails.

Improving your email subject lines

Another factor to consider when analyzing your open rate is your email subject line. Your subject line is the first thing readers see, and it should spark interest and motivate them to open the email and keep reading.

When creating your next email subject line, consider these best practices:

  • Limit characters — Shorter is better. Using between 4-8 words is recommended, and statistics show 7 words is the sweet spot. It’s important to note most mobile devices only display 30-40 characters of a subject line. A subject line that is too long may get cut off on a reader’s device, and they may choose to ignore it.
  • Use a Brand Emoji — Adding emojis to your subject line allows you to convey a message or mood using a single character, but make sure to keep your emoji relevant to the subject line and body of your email. For example:
    • An HVAC manufacturer may use the subject line “Beat The Heat *sun emoji* With New AC” during summer.
    • A tool manufacturer could use the subject line “Check Out Our Latest Tools *hammer emoji*.”
    • A paint manufacturer could use the subject line “You’ll Love *heart eye emoji* These New Colors” to display emotion.
  • Ask Questions — Questions are a great way to invoke curiosity and grab your reader’s attention. Keep your question open-ended. For example:
    • “Is Your Lack of Data Hurting Your Profitability?”
    • “Do You Have The Right Aquarium For Your Fish?”
  • Address pain points — We all want answers to our problems. Subject lines revolving around pain points motivate your audience to keep reading. Point out an issue a reader may be facing, and show them you have a solution. For example:
    • “Leaky Faucet? We’ve Got You Covered.”
    • “5 Tips For Saving Money on Lighting.” 

Increase email click-through rates

According to Hubspot, 35.9% of marketers feel improving their click-through rate is one of the biggest challenges with email marketing.

A key piece of advice for improving click-through rates is to focus on your email’s Call-to-Action (CTA), a hyperlink or button within your email’s text that encourages your reader to take direct action (visiting a webpage, downloading an eBook, etc.).

Your CTAs are your chance to guide your readers where you want them to go, ultimately improving your CTR. Make sure to keep email CTAs creative while also offering clear direction. Focusing on placement and CTA design (button or text) is also important.  

Improving your CTAs

The following are ways you can optimize your CTAs to help boost your CTR:

  • Place a CTA before the scroll — The average person's attention span is about 8 seconds. Having your CTA at the top of the message will draw immediate attention and entice your audience to take action.
  • Place a CTA after the fold — After scrolling, the initial CTA disappears, and the reader is not likely to scroll back to the top. Offering a second CTA after the fold gives the user another chance to take action and make their way to your website.
  • Keep your CTA enticing — We’ve all seen boring CTAs like “Buy Now” or “Learn More.” Having an enticing CTA that also showcases the benefits of your product or services can do wonders. For example:
    • Borning: “Learn More!”
    • Enticing: “Yes, I want to learn how to grow my business!”
  • Consider using multiple CTAs — Your Primary CTA is the main action you’d like your reader to take. It should stand out from the rest of the email and be the central focus of your message. Although, adding a secondary CTA provides your readers with an alternative opportunity if they aren’t interested in the primary CTA.

Pro-tip: While it’s good to provide readers with multiple CTAs, don’t overwhelm them with too many options, and always ensure all CTA buttons and links are easy to find in your message.

Increase conversion rates

While a click-through rate is the total number of clicks from an email to a webpage, a conversion rate is how many website visitors complete an action once they land on the website. A high conversion rate indicates you are creating effective email content, CTAs, and website copy.

If you’re struggling with a low conversion rate, applying the below tips can turn your readers into customers.

  • Make sure the click matches the CTA:
    • You want your CTA to be engaging and motivate your audience to keep reading, but it should also be relevant and showcase your user's desired end goal.
    • Choose language that clearly states the desired action. For example, “Get on the Guest List” or “Download Resource Now” are direct and to the point.
    • Create landing pages specific to your CTAs. You shouldn’t make your readers dig through your website to find what they’re looking for after clicking on a CTA.
  • Make sure your email content is valuable and useful:
    • Your readers should gain something by reading your email. Tell readers how you can solve their pain points and how your product will benefit them.
    • Throw in some incentives like bonus downloads, coupons, or free webinars to allure your audience. Different users will be drawn to different incentives, so send various offers to different groups and see what resonates best.
    • Updating your reader with news and development in your industry, announcing any new products or services, and highlighting any events or changes in your organizations are all great opportunities to keep your email content valuable and fresh.
  • Ensure your conversation matches your brand:
    • Marketing is an extension of your brand, so it’s vital to keep your email’s tone and content consistent. You can gain the trust of your audience and keep them coming back for more by being personable yet professional.
    • Educating your viewers is an essential step in the marketing wheel and crucial in manufacturing marketing. Your audience wants to know more about the tools and technology you’re using. Providing information to your readers can help gain their trust and build your brand reputation.

Want to test your landing page conversion rates? Click here!

Decrease Bounce Rates

You should always pay attention to your email bounce rate, as it indicates the quality of your email subscriber list. A low bounce rate is desired and suggests a healthy and engaged audience, while high bounce rates are a sign something is wrong.

An email can be bounced for a number of reasons, including a change in jobs or retirement, a name change, or switching email providers. Keeping your email lists clean by “scrubbing” them (removing unengaged subscribers) can help keep your bounce rate low.

Outside of decreasing bounce rates, keeping a clean email list can also help:

  • Limit unsubscribers — A high-volume email list means a higher chance of readers becoming uninterested and unsubscribing. By removing subscribers who are no longer engaged and unresponsive to re-engagement, you are beating them to the punch.
  • Decrease spam complaints — If your emails are continually marked as spam, an email provider may flag your account for sending unwanted emails. This may cause your deliverability rate to drop, so it’s a good idea to monitor spam complaints and remove email addresses marking your messages as spam.
  • Keep costs down — Email service providers often tier their pricing by the number of emails sent. Removing inactive subscribers means more money in your pocket!

Tips and advice for keeping a clean email list

  • Identify if a bounce is hard or soft. Remove emails with a hard bounce from your lists, but keep an eye on soft bounces as they may resolve over time.
  • While a subscriber is inactive, you shouldn’t rush to remove them from your list. Set criteria to determine how long they haven’t engaged to ensure enough time has passed before removing them.
  • Try re-engaging inactive subscribers by placing them on a special email list and building a strategy to regain their interests. Consider using discount codes or personalized subject lines to re-engage. If these efforts are unsuccessful over a set amount of time or after attempted re-engagement emails, remove the email from your list.
  • Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to segment email lists automatically based on user actions. These tools are also excellent for tracking and analyzing data to help you better understand what content is working and what’s not.

Pro-tip: Never, never, NEVER send emails to purchase lists! Sending emails to purchased emails can harm your IP reputation and deliverability. Spam traps and hard bounces negatively affect your sender score, and rebuilding your IP reputation takes a lot of work. Email addresses should always be obtained organically.

Building an organic email list

Below are some great ways you can build an organic email list for your manufacturing business:

  • Create a pop-up or CTA on your website that allows visitors to sign up for emails.
  • Produce quality and engaging content. As a manufacturer, capability downloads and product catalogs are great options.
  • Collect email addresses from visitors at trade shows, conferences and other industry events.
  • Promote your email newsletters on social media and in your email signature.

Looking for more tips and tricks on how to manage a clean email list? Look here!

Implement A/B testing

A/B testing is beneficial when testing different versions of the same email. These tests help see what works best for your audience by adding subtle changes in the subject line or content and comparing the results.

A/B testing ideas include:

  • Subject lines: Try rewording your subject lines and see which one has a higher open rate.
  • Emojis: Does the use of emojis impact open rates?
  • Your CTAs: How does the placement and wording of your CTAs impact specific metrics? Run tests to see where your CTAs are most effective and if your audience engages more with buttons or links. Does color matter? Does character length matter? Test and be sure what works for your unique email list.
  • The best time of day to send your content: What time does your audience open emails? Are more emails being opened at noon or 4 P.M.? Do your emails have more success on Tuesdays or Fridays? Test and analyze the data to find the right fit for your brand.
  • Your landing page: How does your audience respond to different phrases? Is a sense of urgency or humor the best way to engage your visitors?

A/B testing best practices

Before implementing A/B testing, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Keep it simple — Only test one variable at a time to get clear results.
  • Ensure your sample is large enough — Having a sample size that’s too small may not accurately represent your contact list as a whole.
  • Be consistent — Test your variable simultaneously unless you’re testing the time of day.
  • Test often — Things are constantly changing, and your subscribers’ preferences are no different. Keeping your data fresh is a great way to increase response rates.
  • Give it time — Make sure you give your tests enough time to produce results. Waiting 24 hours to analyze your data will provide a more accurate picture than waiting 2 hours.

Utilize Email Workflows

Just because a reader doesn’t open an email doesn’t mean they don’t like your content. Maybe the subject line didn’t resonate with them, or the time of day wasn’t ideal. This is where email workflows come into play.

An email workflow is a series of emails that are auto-sent based on the subscriber’s contact information, behavior, or preferences. Email workflows allow marketers the chance to send messages to the right people at the right time and help guide them through their customer journey.

Sending an onboarding email to new subscribers or an email that provides recommendations based on previous purchases are both examples of email workflows. If you aren’t already using email workflows, integrate them into your marketing strategy by creating one or two flows and testing and analyzing them before adding any more.

Want to learn how to create workflows in Hubspot to help build your email marketing campaign? Click here!

There’s a laundry list of reasons why your manufacturing email marketing campaign could be performing just how you want, or maybe not as well as you’d hoped. The good news is that you can use a handful of metrics and benchmarks to analyze and improve your manufacturing email marketing strategy.

Monitoring and optimizing metrics like open, bounce, and click-through rates gives you a better picture of what your audience loves and what you could change. Don’t forget to use A/B testing and email workflows to determine the best action plan and improve those metrics.

Happy sending!

Benchmark Your Performance

Topics: email marketing, Manufacturing