“Enough is enough.” It’s a simple, intuitive colloquialism that seems to make sense to everyone, especially as it relates to email marketing. After all, everyone knows subscribers, prospects, and customers are annoyed by an overabundance of email messages.
As is often the case in direct marketing, common sense turns out to be wrong. My friends at DMNews point out an interesting fact:
Q2 of 2011 saw less emails sent than Q1 without any noticeable increases in opens or click rates.
“Mailing less,” doesn’t necessarily mean your subscribers “open more”.
We can make guesses as to why that may be: a lull after the busy “discounting and couponing” burst in Q1 and general marketing fatigue among email users.
Or we can look at the data and see what we can glean from the research. We’re email analysts, after all, not pundits.
Supporting evidence is quickly cobbled together, mockups and reports are sent for approval, and everyone goes home feeling good about the final result because it “makes sense” and everyone loves it. Well, everyone except the customer, who was neither consulted, nor given a vote.
Sure, the final product may “work” (though it usually flops), but who’s to say an alternate plan wouldn’t have worked better? Ideas conceived in the boardroom and based on “common sense” never work as well as a methodical, incremental test and improve approach.
For example, if you segment a retail list by past buyers, the hotline (recent buyers) and non buyers –each of those segments would have a radically different behavior and performance profile in a drop. If you fail to segment, you’ve just rolled up these unique distinct groups into one, and get an average. The larger numbers of the aggregate “gang up” to rob you of data and performance insights.
Try sending an extra email or two to a small, randomly selected, representative segment of your email list and see how it changes your numbers. If open and click rates stay steady, go ahead and use the rest of your email list. If after a time of increased saturation, you notice that your customers are opening less, or unsubscribing at a greater rate, take your campaign down a notch.
Last, be sure you’re making meaningful comparisons. If the content of the emails change, the performance will change. Don’t compare a rich promotion to a newsletter; that won’t measure anything but how much your subscriber responds to incentives (most do) over news.
That means that non-marketing emails were on average somewhere around 38.3% opens and 10.8% clicks.
Another way of saying, even a small number of high (or low) performing emails can dramatically affect your overall performance –so please, segment.
So while the pundits debate the reasons why we saw what we saw in Q2 of 2011, you can use these tips to improve the effectiveness of your email campaign and leave your competition in the dust –and keep your subscribers, clicking.