Email as a form of communication dates back to before the Internet and remains one of the most broadly used Internet tools today.Â Mass communicating via email is one of the most cost effective and highly targeted marketing tools an organization can use to inform customers and build loyalty.
Over the last few years, weâve gained quite a bit of experience with email marketing. In most cases this has been newsletters mass emailed on behalf of our clients but occasionally weâve also been asked to send out one-off special messages
In every case a couple of key questions are invariably asked: âWhatâs a good response rate?â and âHow can we increase the response rate?â (For the purpose of this post, Iâm going to ignore the question of the actual purpose of the newsletter as this will also affect expectations on response rates.)
Now letâs have a look at those two questions.
This is actually a pretty hard one to answer as itâs going to vary considerably depending on the type of communication and who itâs sent to.
For example, an email promoting large discounts on boating products Â sent to only people who own boats will always have a higher open rate than one sent to a less targeted list.Â Therefore I believe the best way to work with response rates is to measure this compared to other emails you have sent to the same list. Use it to work out if your results are improving or declining.
Assuming the type of people in your list of recipients remains relatively constant, making adjustments to other elements of your campaign should help to improve your own open rate. At TSBC however, we tend to send out newsletters to fairly similar target groups and with similar types of content, so, for the record,Â and as a benchmark, Iâd expect about a 25-30% open rate. I’d also expect that this would be higher the first time you email a group as there will be a certain percentage of recipients who will be curious enough to open the first edition they receive, and then not bother with future editions.
Response rates are going to vary depending on a number of factors such as design, use of images, domain keys, email software compatibility and the use of HTML vs text only emails.Â It’s a large topic so in this post, I’m concentrating just of what you can do with email content to improve your response rates.
Subject line. This is a key factor. Itâs important that this be consistent and if feasible to also describe the content to encourage recipients to open the email. This works like an invitation to read more. Â A consistent subject line also provides brand awareness. Theyâll remember it from last time.
Content. Response rates are higher when the content fits the audience, is of high quality and when the recipients have previously read good content in your emails.Â Therefore never settle for average content as it could be hard to win back recipients you disappoint. Make sure that the content is actually of interest to the people on your list so research your target group and include content that is highly relevant to them.
Clickable links. Including clickable links to âmore informationâ is a pretty good way to figure out if what you are saying is of interest, and can help to get the content right. If you find people are clicking on certain types of content, you can easily create similar types of content in future editions.
Time of delivery. There are a number of arguments to be had regarding day of week and time of day, but research shows that it probably makes minimal difference. Experimenting with your own mailing list delivery time may improve response rates but itâs very debatable whether this actually makes much difference at all. The other three factors above are more important.