Catalog and Direct Selling: Evaluate Your E-mail
Delivered—the quantity of messages that made it to the intended recipients. Evaluating messages delivered as a percentage of messages pushed will give you an indication of delivery problems that you may be facing.
Opened—the number of recipients who opened the message. Opens can be a touchy data point, since many recipients use Outlook or Outlook Express which allows recipients to preview messages. When the recipient sees the preview, the server alerts you that the message was opened—but you won’t know if it was viewed in its entirety. If you assume your messages are getting through to recipients and opens are low, you probably have a customer-service problem.
Beyond the Basics
Click-through rates (clicks) are among the most telling of initial e-mail stats. In a snapshot, clicks indicate how appealing your initial offer is to the target audience. If your creative, message and/or promotions are relevant and well targeted, high click-through rates reflect it. Unfortunately, there is no standard benchmark for click-through percentages. Use the historical performance of click-throughs from your campaigns to establish benchmarks.
If you find that new e-mail sign-ups are high but subsequent click-through rates are low, your brand and communication consistency may be out of sync. Are customers experiencing your company one way through the catalog and Web site, and a completely different way in your e-mails? Keeping the creative, copy tenor, promotional strategy and marketingrelevance consistent in e-mail campaigns is tremendously important. Creating a disconnect in the customer’s mind may not only impact e-mail performance, but could harm the catalog business as well.
Similar to catalog response rate, order rate is the percentage of orders on pushed, delivered, opened or clicked-through messages. Many e-mail marketers evaluate order rate based on pushed quantities since expenses typically are incurred based on push counts. If you only pay for messages that get delivered, consider evaluating order rate as a percent of delivered. Either way, like response rate, order rate is an indication of the overall appeal of the offer.