Email marketers are working a lot harder to make money this year. The professionals are sending 15.5 percent more emails, but making a penny less per message than they did last year, according to New York-based Experian Marketing Services.
Comparing Q1 2015 with Q1 2014, the company found an increase in open rates — 17.5 percent vs. 17.3 percent in 2014 — but a decrease in unique click rates — now 2.2 percent instead of 2014's 2.3 percent.
Experian provides an answer in research the company announced on Thursday, named the "Quarterly Email Benchmark Report: Q1 2015 — January, February, March." When the economy worsens, email marketing performance declines, according to the report and an Experian blog post. Marketers need to reactivate subscribers, says the Experian research.
"Sending a second reactivation mailing boosted opens, clicks and revenue by more than 50 percent compared to sending a single reactivation mailing," according to the findings. "Reactivation mailings with personalized subject lines had 50 percent higher transaction rates than other reactivation mailings."
Here's how Experian says marketers can use data to reactivate subscribers:
- Identify inactive subscribers, including data about recently added inactive subscribers;
- Append data to the list, such as names and addresses to connect interactions the company has had with members of the inactive subscriber base. [Editor's note: This is interesting advice, as in January 2012, Ben Isaacson wrote a blog post on Experian CheetahMail's site that ended the email append practice and set a precedent for the industry. Isaacson left Experian in January 2014 as the privacy and compliance leader and started a wearables business, Viawear.] On May 28, Experian notified Target Marketing: "The append practice that we suggest in the Email Benchmark is not an email-to-postal append, it’s a data enrichment practice where demographic, geographic, engagement and other meta-data may be added to CRM data to inform re-engagement strategy. So we’re not suggest[ing] that marketers should append an email address to an offline contact, but rather append additional insights onto a file that has already opted in to receive communications from that company. We are going to adjust the language in the report to prevent any further confusion."
- Use third-party data to see which inactive email addresses are active with competitors.
- Create a reactivation series, rather than just one message.
- Tailor series timing and messages to suit each group, including subscribers with no activity, some activity and past buyers. Remember that 51 percent of email opens happened on a mobile device in Q1 2015. "The majority of email opens occurred on mobile phones or tablets for all industries except publishers and business products and services," reads the report. "The majority of total clicks occurred on mobile phones or tablets for media and entertainment (56 percent) and multichannel retailers (51 percent)."
What else should email marketers do when consumers have less money to spend? The research highlights that email marketers are sending discount offers.
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