Inbox Through the ‘Out Door’

Photo by Horia Varlan

Quick question: You just sent out 100,000 emails, so what’s better?
A. 20,000 opened emails, with a .5 percent clickthrough rate; or
B. 8,000 opened emails with a 1.25 percent clickthrough rate.

Answer: Assuming the same starting population of 100,000, they both generate the same total—100 clicks. But are they equally effective? Which is better?

This article will argue that Scenario B trumps Scenario A all day long.

Email marketers shouldn’t be surprised the gap between median and best-in-class for email open rates, clickthrough rates and opt-out rates continues to grow, according to the “2013 Silverpop Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study” (opens as a PDF). Basically, it’s a matter of, “You reap what you sow.”

More and more emails are being sent. The top performers are driving the average results higher and disguising the actual trends. Consider these differences between top quadrant and median performers on key email performance metrics, as gleaned from the Silverpop report:

  • Tops had six times fewer hard bounces
  • Tops had almost six times the overall open rate
  • Tops saw almost three times the number of unique opens
  • Tops had double the number of clicks-per-open
  • Tops had eight times the number of clicks
  • Tops click-to-open rates were 2.5 times higher
  • Tops saw a quarter more clicks-per-clicker
  • Medians had unsubscribe rates of more than six times those of tops

Marketers should view these trends as opportunities. At the root is the concept of providing a vastly improved consumer experience that leverages data, mathematics, plus greatly enhanced execution and governance capabilities. Marketers need to improve upon existing scientific direct marketing concepts and introduce entirely new capabilities that can help close the gap between best-in-class and all others. And they need to care about the customer or potential customer and stop treating email as a nearly free advertising medium. They need to stand up to those product owners and give them a way to get the results they are seeking. It’s about quality and quantity.

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