Let me give you some background on the email lists that I have.

I have been mailing to and selling these lists for over 7 years now, so I have a good grasp on how they respond.

I will address 3 main areas and talk about steps to improve each of them

  • Deliverability
  • Open Rates
  • Click Through Rates


In terms of deliverability – I generally see "deliverable" rates at 90% or higher.

In terms of the 10% that are not "deliverable" – these fall into 2 categories:

  • Domains that do not accept mail from the email marketing service that I use (this may or may not be the case depending on where YOU mail from).  The major domain that blocks mail from the service I use is AOL.
    • I mail to AOL anyway, because I get response from AOL addresses all the time – so even though the report says "message timed out" - some must get through…  so I continue to mail
    • AOL makes up about 20% of this 10% of "undeliverable" addresses on the list.
    • So on the Youth/Travel Baseball List Segment of 80,000 contacts – 10% undeliverable = 8000 emails.  AOL makes up just over 1000 of these.
  • The other 80% of this 10% "undeliverable" addresses return a system code of "Spam Related".  The best I can figure on this is two things:
    • The content or subject line of the email being sent is being blocked by a spam filter somewhere (each end user can have his/her own personal spam filter – hard to make this universal)
    • Many smaller domains are hosted in groups (like GoDaddy).  Godaddy might also block emails from my sender

Areas for improvement in this category:

  • I continuously remove "Bad Addresses" about once per month.  People change emails for whatever reason, I am always looking to remove these when I can
  • Unsubscribes – I take these out of the list about once per month.  If they unsubscribe to one of my mailings, I take them out of the entire list – assuming they probably don't want your mailing either.
  • Once you get the list – you can either eliminate the AOL addresses or run a test on them from your provider to see if they go through.  If they do – keep them, if they don't dump them.
  • Segment out the "Spam Related" emails on the list (6500 or so).  Mail to them once.  If your system doesn't get blocked – keep them.  If they don't deliver – again, dump them.
  • I regularly test both AOL and Spam Related emails from my desktop.  I just send them a personal note "BlueChip is looking for players for the 2015 season…"  just to see if they go through and again about 90% of all of these always go through – so I know they are good addresses, it is just a matter of how good your delivery service is.
  • Finally, the rate at which you email to the list makes a difference.  If you can mail in smaller blocks, you will see a higher delivery rate.  Think about the receiving server – if all of a sudden 500 of the same message arrives, they might be more inclined to block them all, versus if you mail in smaller blocks – maybe 50 hit that server at the same time – ok maybe they deliver those.  I am guessing each receiving server has some kind of threshold that blocks must stay under to not get dumped as spam – just really hard or impossible to find that out server-by-server


Open rates vary from mailing to mailing.

The general open rate is anywhere from 12% - 35%.

There are MANY factors that influence this.

Let's first talk about what an "OPEN" is.

When you send an email with an image in it, "opens" are tracked by how many times the host/sending server gets a request to have that image looked up by the receiving email address.

So there are many instances where a recipient can read the text of an email without asking to "Download the images" in an email.

Factors that play into OPEN RATES

  • From address – use a real address – don't use info@ or support@.  Instead use Bob@
  • Subject line – brand names always open at a higher rate and stay away from "spammy" words – SALE/FREE/!!!  These all will depress your open rates
  • Highest open rate I have ever seen is 35% when I did a mailing for RAWLINGS
One final note on Open Rates - I typically see that the average number of times a person will "open" an email is 1.5x.  By definition, this means that some people will only open it once - some people will open it more than once.  I like to look at my open reports and see which recipient has opened an email more than say 6 or 7 times.  When an email has opened a mailer more than that it means 1 of 2 things to me - either they really like the offer/information and they keep going back to it and they are thinking about your offer OR they have forwarded the email to others who have "opened" the same email on their computers.  When an email is forwarded like that the reporting system just thinks the same person is re-opening the email again and again.

In either scenario - I like to follow up with a personal note to these contacts - since I know they are interested.


Click through rates vary greatly.  I have seen a range from 1.0% to 3.5% of total delivered.

The most common click through rate – or what you can expect is 1% of total delivered.

In your email add – you can place links to your website – Text links.  These work reasonably well.

What I have found is that if you use a "video image" - like the face of a YouTube video with the little "play" symbol on it – telling recipients that if they click on that the video will PLAY, we see click through rates jump up to 1% or higher.

I just did a mailing for a company that does Hit-A-Thons for baseball clubs and leagues this past week – pretty boring stuff.  We put the video image in there – they saw a 1.5% click through rate.  The campaign was a B/E success within a couple of hours.

Always go with the video link.

If you are wondering about the 3.5% click through rate...  a client used a video link image (as suggested), but the "spokesperson" on the face of the image was an attractive woman in the process of demonstrating how to use the hitting tool.  Now I don't think the campaign was a success for a variety of reasons, but they did set the Baseball Marketing record for click through rates.


How you design your ad is critical.  There are lots of clients that spend a ton in graphics.  They create these really graphically appealing ads.

The problem is they make the image the entire ad.

I strongly advise against this practice for a very simple reason.  If the recipient does not choose to "download the image" then they see absolutely BLANK on the email received.

Remember, most people use a split screen in their email client.  So the first thing they see in their split screen is the top 2" of your ad.  From their they decide to open it fully open it or delete it.

Use that top 2" wisely.  Use text and image.  Make your pitch in the top 2".  You can repeat it later in the ad – but get to the sizzle right away for higher open and click through rates.

Sorry for the long webpage.  I hope some or all of this made sense.

I am always available for clients to look over their shoulder on mailings if they want me to…

I look forward to working with you on this.  


Coach Jay

Baseball Marketing