E-mail clickthroughs can be like hubs on bicycle wheels. A lot is going on around them and needs to connect through them in order to deliver its rider to a destination. So direct marketers believe optimizing e-mail clickthrough rates will help them reach their goals of higher sales.
"I think of [the clickthrough rate] as the fulcrum in your e-mail marketing program, particularly from a metric and conversion perspective," says Loren T. McDonald, vice president of industry relations for e-mail marketing firm Silverpop of Atlanta.
If the goal of an e-mail is to get its recipient to take action, he elaborates, then the clickthrough is the first decision, or the first action in the process leading to conversion.
He and other representatives of e-mail marketing services firms provided a plethora of optimization ideas.
1. Think of e-mail marketing as a process.
Mike's Bikes of San Rafael, Calif. is seeing an e-newsletter view rate of 60 percent, possibly due to the 20 percent discount sign-up incentive. Nine percent of January's revenue is attributable to the e-mail marketing efforts, says the company's Sacramento, Calif.-based e-mail provider, StreamSend.
But optimizing all the links in the chain can help marketers improve at every step along the way, resulting in a cumulative improvement, says Kevin Mabley, senior vice president of strategic services for Dallas-based marketing services firm Epsilon.
2. Segment recipients, and target them accordingly.
Dan Forootan, president and CEO of StreamSend, points to CeramicArtsDaily.org. The ceramics news site provides an e-newsletter sign-up incentive, a 2009 Ceramic Arts Buyers Guide, and an incentive to click through after receiving the welcome e-mail, a copy of 7 Great Pottery Projects. The site that sends targeted communications and offers sees up to 26 percent clickthrough rates on e-mails.
Marketers can use customer profile information from multiple channels to, for instance, track in-store behavior and allow retailers to send an e-mail offer of a red purse to an in-store red shoe buyer, says Kristin Hambelton, senior director of marketing for French enterprise marketing software provider Neolane. Hambelton works in Neolane's Newton, Mass.-based U.S. headquarters.