I use MailChimp for my clients and I don’t even pay attention to the “open” numbers. Here’s why….
1. If an email is viewed on a mobile device, it does not register as an open for MailChimp or Constant Contact. (I’ve tested this myself and it’s true.) Depending on your demographic, your customers may be heavy mobile users and so you may see a low open rate. (one of my clients customers are 20 – 30 yo and she has a very low open rate. We know this is false data because people utilize her email coupons, via their phone quite frequently.)
2. If someone utilizes a preview pane for their email this will not register as an open. They’ve seen it, they’ve read it, but they haven’t “opened” it according to MailChimp and Constant Contact. Outlook is notorious for preview panes.
IMHO – Tracking click throughs are a much more reliable tool. I liberally sprinkle links throughout my email blasts and newsletters. I track which links my click throughs come from and focus on giving people more of that type of information in the email. For example; I have a client, a children’s gym, which sends out weekly emails. I carefully watch which of the “permanent” links we’ve embedded in the newsletter to know what specials to run and points to emphasize. If I have a lot of people clicking through on the birthday party link, but her birthday party reservations haven’t gone up, then we run a birthday party special. (There’s interest, but something has prevented these interested people from taking action. So I want to bring the price point of entry down.)
One of the things I tell my clients is that it doesn’t matter your open rate if people aren’t utilizing your services once they open your email. Who cares if you only get a 22% open rate… how many clients/customers did you get from the email blast is the accurate question.
I didn’t know that MailChimp tracking was imbedded in the html image. Thanks for that info.