According to Smart Insights’ Email marketing statistics for 2016, the average email open rate for companies in the health and wellness industry is 19.14% and the average click-through rate (CTR) is 2.94%. For emails promoting consumer goods, the average open rate is 41.40%, and the average click-through rate is 9.47%.


The marketing emails we send at Hypervibe, a health/fitness company I collaborate with, have an average open rate of 54.06% and an average click-through rate of 9.65%. The average click-to-open rate (CTOR) is 16.81%, close to the value in the statistics above. The average unsubscribe rate is 1.24%.

1.3% of our monthly newsletters have an average open rate of 122.89%, which means our subscribers open the emails more than once. For those newsletters, the average click-through rate is 24.30%.

marketing emails case study

In today’s article I’ll share some things I’ve learned in three years of writing marketing emails for the health and fitness industry.

Headline: address a need or introduce something new, but don’t sell

Our best-performing marketing emails are the ones that have a descriptive headline of 7-10 words, which addresses a pain point or need of our customers, or introduces something new, but doesn’t include words like “offer”, “discount”, “sale”, “promotion”. In fact, headlines with such words tend to have lower open rates than descriptive ones, and higher unsubscribe rates.

The most clicked titles are the ones that include a reference to scientific research (“new study”, “studies suggest”, “researchers found” etc.) or mention a benefit of vibration training, targeting a specific segment of our audience (ex. WBV proves beneficial in diabetic neuropathy).

Headlines that announce company changes or new product launches have average open rates. Exceptions are newsletters that announce the launch of a new feature on the company’s website – ex. Support Site for all customers, new exercise videos for a certain goal or group of clients and so on.

Takeaway: people don’t want to guess what’s inside your email or newsletter, so use the headline to tell them exactly what they receive if they click it. Write descriptive headlines that address customer needs and highlight benefits.

Why is this strategy a winning one? Because no matter how great your company is, people don’t care about it unless you offer them something really valuable. So the simple lessons that apply here are:

  • stop selling products and start selling benefits
  • write about your customers, not about your company or products
  • don’t be elusive and don’t expect customers to be mind-readers

Errors are human and you can turn them in your favor

If you’re a content marketer, you now that things don’t always go as planned, and errors are human, but if you’re brave enough to take responsibility for those errors, you can turn them in your favor. Don’t pretend the elephant’s not in the room, acknowledge its presence and see what you can do to minimize the damage.

The funny part about these errors is that they usually happen in the worst possible moments.

We were redesigning our newsletter template and there were still links to add, texts to write and images to insert in the test version. The working headline was “Our newsletter just got a facelift!” – the final title included a CTA and was written as a question; needless to say we weren’t planning to do any A/B testing with that email …

The “Save as draft” button is right next to the “Send now” button in our newsletter module. My intention was to save the draft and continue the implementation once all the graphs and copy were done. I could swear I hit the “Save” button, however a couple of hours later I received an email from my boss, who is an absolutely fantastic man. There were only 4 words in it: “I just got this”.

Do you now Afraid-to-Ask Andy? Yup, that’s how I felt.

afraid to ask andy meme

An empty email titled “Our newsletter just got a facelift!” had been sent to a database of 7556 people and the only CTA in that email was the “Unsubscribe” button. Yup…

The email had a below-the-average open rate (as if it mattered…): 2811 opened emails, and a 3.48% unsubscribe rate, the highest ever.

We had to act fast, so the real newsletter, the redesigned one, was sent a couple of minutes later, this time with a longer headline: “Our newsletter just got a facelift, do you like it? WBV education, healthy living news & new videos!”. The open rate for this one was 27.31%, and the click-through rate was 6.88%, with zero unsubscribes.

Takeaway: If you screw things up with a marketing email, try to come up with a solution as fast as possible. Do mention that you’ve made a mistake, as this shows customers that you’re human and you care about them.

Most clicked-through links in our marketing emails

The structure of our emails is quite simple. We have a “New on our blog” section, then a “Whole body vibration education” section, followed by a video section and a “Healthy living” section. At the bottom we include a CTA banner that promotes one of our products – a vibration machine, an exercise mat, an e-book, a guide for beginners and so on.

Links with the best click-through rates talk about:

  • Whole body vibration benefits such as weight loss or muscle strengthening.
  • Processes that take place inside the body and influence one’s health or fitness performance (ex. What happens inside the brain during a workout).
  • Health news (ex. New research on stem cells gives hope to diabetes sufferers) or health conditions targeted on our website (ex. How to exercise safely if you have diabetic foot).
  • Fitness advice – ex. When and how to use foam rollers.
  • Vibration training routines – ex. Hypervibe WBV routine for sculpting your thighs and glutes.

What doesn’t usually work:

  • Nutrition advice – blog articles on nutrition topics do generate traffic, but our customers aren’t that interested in learning about food. If I want them to read a nutrition-related article, I must add an element of novelty or link it, somehow, with the main topic of our blog – whole body vibration training/therapy.

There’s no correlation between the click-through rate and the format of the headlines, meaning that we don’t have a magic formula. This means that we can write for humans and stick to our descriptive texts instead of always trying to include numbers or “how to’s”.

Takeaway: Know your audience and what resonates with them. If your customers want to read about unicorns, write about unicorns. Don’t try to force them into reading or buying things they’re not interested in.

I’ll end with one extra tip for the appearance of your marketing emails: if the current design is working, leave it as it is. If it’s not working, change it, even if you have to do several tests until you find the best performing version. Our open and click-through rates improved after redesigning the template and making it friendlier.


I hope you enjoyed this article and would love to know if you’re applying any of these tips in your marketing emails. Feel free to comment below and if you need help in creating content or planning an email campaign, don’t hesitate to get in touch via the Contact page!

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