Recent research by Epsilon suggests that email open rates are going up while email click rates continue to decline. Open rate declines tend to be indicative of people receiving more emails than ever (volumes), but click rate declines tend to mean the audience has missed the message (content). However, it’s important to consider the impact social media usage may be having on the same audience receiving your email campaigns.
Open Rate = Interest
It’s hard to control when or if you see something in a Facebook News Feed or a Twitter Stream and easy to feel overwhelmed – which is why more users are asking for emails from brands to make sure they see all important information. Having a strong email opt-in program across all social media channels for your brand is extremely important. Ideally, your website should have very clear guidelines for what a user can expect from your email marketing.
Before you begin a new nurture program or larger email marketing campaign, send a “handshake” email asking them to opt-in to continue to receive emails. If you have a committed email database, your open rates should be between 40% and 50% for B2C campaigns and slightly higher than that for B2B campaigns. Keep in mind that industry benchmarks (like the one below) are typically run on the default email universe, which means that about 30% of the database can be unengaged or bad. It is more important to send to a smaller volume of engaged email addresses than blast the whole universe.
Go Mobile or Go Home
We are living in a world where there are more mobile devices activated than babies born. Depending on the study you read, between 30% and 50% of all of your emails are going to be read on a mobile device. With the majority of users accessing social media via mobile, it’s not surprising that your customers are used to being able to communicate with your brand via mobile.
Ideally, you’re using your website analytics to tag all inbound traffic from your email campaign. You should create custom reports (see sample in Google Analytics below) to see what percentage come from mobile vs. desktop devices. Don’t be surprised to see that this is usually 2x higher than your overall website mobile traffic. In the example below, when the company moved to a responsive email design template in March 2012, almost 100% of all clicks to the website from email came from mobile.
Keep It Short
Most social networks will only show the first 140 to 300 characters of any given update or post. If you can’t convey your email message just as quickly, you probably should pare it down. If they are looking at the email on their mobile device, they may only see the first sentence preview to decide whether or not to open your email. The reality is that the fewer calls-to-action you have in an email, the better your click rate. If it’s not 10% or higher, you need shorter, cleaner copy.
Email Success = Finding Niches
As long as you remember to leverage the quality of your email audience over the number of addresses you have in your database, you should see good email marketing results.