Some of the current thinking on the use of animation in email, including some great inspiration of how you can design animations that don't feel shoehorned in.Read More
Here are two industry standard email benchmark reports for 2015, one from Experian, the other from Silverpop, both are major email broadcast system providers. It's worth checking both for reference, as each provides different levels of detail and breakdown of data by industry.
It's also worth bearing in mind that both reports measure the aggregate of all types of email broadcast. These days, email is predominantly used for nurturing leads in content marketing programs, where people have opted-in to receive a series of value added content, all delivered via email. Open and click through rates for this sort of campaign are significantly higher than prospecting campaigns to bought in lists, so the benchmark figures are up-weighted quite a bit from the days when email was mainly used for lead generation prospecting.
Consider, for example, our recent campaign for a B2B distance learning company, where we used email for both prospecting and lead nurturing. The campaign, on aggregate - across the prospecting and nurturing activity, - saw an overall open rate of 20.47% - slightly over the Experian benchmark - and a click to open rate of 24.83% which was 250% over the benchmark. This is a good like-for like comparison, and our results show a good performance.
However, the average open rate for the prospecting emails was 6.71% and the click to open rate was 9.42%. These figures are lower than the aggregate benchmark in these reports, but good results for a prospecting lead generation campaign to a cold list (especially as most commentators these days say that prospecting email is a dead loss). Whereas the open rate for the nurturing campaign was 27.75% and the click to open rate was 32.53%, both results smashing the aggregate benchmark figures. It might look great in a report, but if you used the nurture results comparison against the aggregate benchmark, you'd soon be found out for inflating your results by not comparing like-for-like.
After some extensive searching, we haven't been able to find a current benchmark report that separates prospecting from nurturing and triggered campaigns. They all report on the aggregate of all email activity. It's easy to understand why - the reports tend to be written by email broadcast system providers who want to paint a positive image of the effectiveness of email.
So, be careful when referring to these benchmarks, and make sure you are comparing like-for-like. It's always preferable to benchmark yourself against comparable previous performance and your own experience if possible.
HEADLINE FIGURES FROM EXPERIAN BENCHMARK REPORT
HEADLINE FIGURES FROM SILVERPOP BENCHMARK
The 2015 DMA Email Report is now out, and it shows just how much email's role in the marketing mix has shifted. The breakdown of primary objectives for email shows just under half being for sales and engagement versus just 16% for acquisition and 12% for lead generation. This indicates email's role being targeted further down into the content marketing funnel to engage and convert prospects to sales.
The ROI from email has risen considerably (53%) over the previous year, with an average return of £38 per £1 spent.
The report concludes that this is a result of an increased focus on list growth, lead scoring and more triggered campaigns - all content marketing tactics.
So has email got better overnight? Well no, not really. It shows how focusing on one channel, or one part of a process can skew your view of marketing effectiveness. The fact is that email's role has changed. It is now nurturing and converting warm prospects. Those prospects will have been generated by a multitude of other activities and channels, and the nurturing process will rely on an on-going program of supporting content. So an analysis of the ROI from just the email channel becomes less valid a measure. A true picture of the ROI will come from an end-to-end analysis of the funnel, to which email will have contributed.
This may be reflected in the drop in the reported ability to calculate the ROI from email.
The increasing complexity of the marketing funnel and sales process means that attributing ROI to any single channel or activity is becoming increasingly difficult, and arguably less relevant.
You can download the whole report here.
In March 2015, TechnologyAdvice Research asked 472 U.S. adults: "For what reasons have you marked a business' emails as spam?"
This article from Marketing Sherpa discusses the results and ways to create test and learn strategies to minimise the risks of spam fatigue from your list.
This is a useful little list of very sensible email testing options. I find it always best to step back and understand what are the broadest questions you need answers to. This might be as simple as who should you send your emails from and how frequently, to call to action placement or tone of voice.
It's always worth having a checklist of these test scenarios in order to make sensible decisions about developing and improving your email strategy.
Download the paper here.
This particular white paper on the subject is by Greg Grdodian of Reach Marketing
Bullet points are often the best way to go when brevity's needed in email communications. Helpful for scanners and great at 'point in a nutshell' clarity, they're a useful tool in the box. But how do you use them most effectievly? Here's a neat best-practice guide to getting it right from Gracie Stewart on NewZapp.
Think the animated GIF is a thing of the past? Think again. Used correctly, they're proving their worth in the latest email campaigns. You'll find more information on this - and other important features of email design - in these great articles from Litmus.
Read them all here.
We've all seen those stunning emails featuring a jaw-dropping big image of a product, place or promotion. But is it wise to hand your hat on that one image being seen by the recipient? CakeMail tackles the subject in this nice and simple guide to using images in emails...
This 'Dirty Dozen' Report from Marketing Sherpa looks at common mistakes in newsletter creation and management. From 'blatant lack of permission' to 'lame subject lines', it's quite an amusing read. See how many you've fallen foul of in your career...
...then make sure you don't make them again. Obviously.
We love this infographic from GetResponse.com, measuring email open rates by time after delivery.
This whitepaper from Lyris is a good introduction to the basics of email for marketers, covering subjects including data list management, personalisation, testing and segmentation.
A handy reference infographic we use when creating emails.
Getting names onto your email list is only half of the marketing battle. You also have to entertain those people, especially if you want them to stay as subscribers and hopefully buy from you as well. This article reveals more.
What makes you read an email? What makes you literally stop whatever you are doing to find out more? Is it the headline? Is it the content it promises to share with you or…