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Success Portal

Everything you need to succeed with OutboundEngine.

Setting Goals: Optimization & Benchmark

List Optimization Phase

Once we receive your list of contacts, we begin the list optimization phase to ensure the highest possible delivery rates.

Here’s how it works: We rely on smaller test lists to verify that all of your contacts have active and valid email accounts. The optimization phase is initiated each time you import a list of contacts. Those contacts will receive the next campaign over a span of five days. Why? Because if we immediately email your entire list, some emails will inevitably bounce and we risk harming your delivery reputation (an essential part of email marketing). It can take months to salvage a bad reputation, so we do everything we can to help you avoid this.

So, we use the first campaign to make sure your reputation is stellar from the start. We’ll also proudly display the delivery rate for every campaign we send out.

In the meantime, if you log into your account and notice that we haven’t sent to 100% of your list, do not be concerned. The optimization phase is underway!

Email Marketing Benchmarks

  • Unique Opens are the total number of contacts who open your email (regardless of how many times someone opens it).
  • Open Rate is the percentage of email recipients who open your email. It is calculated by dividing the total number of email opens by the total number of emails delivered.
  • Clicks are the total number of times a link or button in your email is clicked.
  • Click Rate is the percentage of readers who click a link or button within the email. It is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks by the total number of emails opened.

Your total number of email contacts plays a huge role in unique opens, which provides a total instead of a rate. Open rate, on the other hand, accounts for the size of your list — giving you a ratio that can be benchmarked against industry standards.

Remember: Even the most successful email marketing campaigns fall way below the 100% open-rate mark. (Just look at the table below.)

Q. What is a normal open rate?

A. It depends on the type of industry and size of your email list.

Automotive 9.2% 12.9% 17.1%
Financial Advisors 13.4% 19.3% 27.3%
Home Services 11.3% 15.1% 19.4%
Insurance 11% 15.5% 20.2%
Legal 14% 18.4% 25.3%
Mortgage 11.8% 16.2% 21%
Promo 8.7% 12% 16.3%
Real Estate 9.7% 14.3% 20.5%
Real Estate – Recruiting 15.3% 18.4% 24.5%
Wellness 10.5% 14.3% 19.6%
Automotive 7.6% 9.5% 13.6%
Financial Advisors 9.5% 12.9% 16.3%
Home Services 8.1% 12.1% 15.8%
Insurance 8.6% 12.1% 16%
Legal 14.9% 18% 20.4%
Mortgage 8.4% 11.3% 14.7%
Promo 6.7% 8.7% 11.3%
Real Estate 6.8% 9.8% 13.6%
Real Estate – Recruiting 13.8% 16.3% 19%
Wellness 7.7% 11.6% 15.6%

Q. How do these metrics change over time? (After 3 months, etc.)

A. As customers become more familiar with your content, they are usually more willing to open and read future emails. Thus, email open rates generally improve over time. Although the differences aren’t usually too drastic, you can attribute these small (but meaningful) improvements to stronger customer relationships.


Your total number of clicks and click rate both indicate the level of engagement among readers. Generally speaking, most click rates are considerably lower than open rates — with most successful campaigns hovering around the 2% mark.

Since your emails are not focused on sales or discounts, you might see lower click rates. This is not a reason for concern; it simply means that there is less incentive for readers to take immediate action. Our emails are designed to help you stay top-of-mind and build long-term relationships with customers, both of which cannot be measured by click performance.

For optimal results try out our best practices.