Email marketing may be an inexpensive and effective way to reach a target audience, but that doesn’t mean that enterprises should go easy on themselves when they roll out a campaign using this format. Consumers are bombarded with messages and unless marketers take specific steps to design and release their email campaigns, their target audiences are likely to click past instead of click through to learn more.
One way to establish best practices for email marketing is to review what has been working for advertisers, especially those in the same industry. It’s also important to know where you stand in relation to top performers. Silverpop’s 2013 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study summarizes campaign results for marketers in several industries.
The mean open rate for email in the U.S. is 18.2%. The businesses in the top quartile have a much better experience – a 34.7% open rate. But, open rates by specific industry vary. Industries with the highest open rates include:
- Consumer Products: 25.4%
- Computer Software: 20.4%
- Financial Services 20.9%
- Real Estate and Construction 19.9%
- Education 19.4%
The most impressive open rate, for top performers, goes to the education sector with 46.1%. The least impressive rate falls to nonprofits with a 6.3% open rate, in the bottom quartile.
Open rates are only one measure of email success. Most argue that it’s click-thru rates that really matter. Consumer products (3.3%), education (2.8%), retail (2.7%), and consumer services (2.6%) see the best results. Once again, though, it’s education that claims the prize in the top quartile for click-thru rates with 12.8%.
How can businesses achieve higher CTRs and better ROI from their email campaigns? Analysts summarizing other recent surveys have encouraged marketers to personalize messages. Another recommendation is to avoid sending out too many email messages. Consumers who feel bombarded are likely to unsubscribe, for good. Silverpop analysts note that message size is important, too. As more consumers are viewing email on mobile devices, they’ll get impatient when messages take too long to download or don’t render well. In the Silverpop study, the median message size was 15.9 KB but an industry rule of thumb has been to stay under 50KB.
Have you taken a look at the metrics from your email campaigns? Are your CTRs close to the average for your industry?[Source: 2013 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study. Silverpop.com. 2013. Web. 3 May 2013]