How to keep your email marketing effective

Australian email open rate remain high according to Campaign Monitor, yet there are plenty of ways marketers can improve their effectiveness

Email marketing may continue to be a marketing staple in Australia but it's clear marketers need to look to A/B testing, segmentation and automation to gain effectiveness.

According to the latest Email Marketing Benchmarks for Australia Report: By Industry & Day (2020) report, email continues to be a key channel in Australia, with open rates remaining high. Campaign Monitor's global report found Australia leads open rates with an average of 18.7 per cent, slightly higher than the global average of 17.8 per cent.

Education-related email marketing campaigns ranked number one for open rates with more than 31.2 per cent of their subscribers opening email campaigns. This was followed by automotive and aerospace (30.7 per cent), government (30.5 per cent), and professional services (21.7 per cent).

Average click-through rates rose slightly to an average of 2.8 per cent from 2.7 per cent, average click-to-open rate also rose to 14.9 per cent, average unsubscribe rate remained steady at 0.2 per cent, and average bounce rate was 1 per cent. The report stated the increase in click through rates could be higher as a result of more personalised content or more invested subscribers.

Campaign Monitor director of marketing, Lane Harbin, told CMO that while these rates may seem low, particularly given the amount of resources thrown at email marketing, email marketing remains highly effective, in fact it returns around $44 per $1 spent. 

“To better understand why click-through rates may look lower than expected, it’s important to highlight how you calculate your click-through rate versus click-to-open rate,” Harbin said. “Click-through rate is found by dividing your total number of clicks within an email with your total delivered emails. The click-to-open rate is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks with an email with your total number of opens. 

“Due to the click-through rate being divided by the total delivered emails instead of the opened emails, it will typically always be a much smaller number. But if you’re looking to increase your click-through rate, your best bet is to look at your open rate and focus on improving it. You can begin improving your open rate by focusing on writing catchy, concise subject lines and pre-header text."

The vendor has found email marketing has a return of $44 for every one dollar spent, a figure which proves email is one of the most important channels in the marketing mix in the present and future, Harbin said.

"The inbox is a uniquely intimate place because it allows you to maintain one-on-one communications with a consumer, unlike other marketing channels such as social media. And with the push towards more personalised communications, this ability to have one-on-one communications will become even more important," she continued. “In fact, we found that emails using personalisation in subject lines were 26 per cent more likely to be opened. 

Harbin also offered a range tips for marketers looking to improve their email marketing success.The first is around A/B testing.

“Your subscriber’s needs should always come before your organisation’s needs, meaning that you should prioritise sending the information and content they will find most valuable," she said. "By using A/B testing, you can essentially 'listen' to what your subscribers are saying through the way they engage with your emails, allowing you to make strategic decisions."

When it comes to segmentation, brands commonly have different types of audiences within their larger subscriber lists.

"Segmentation allows you to send more personalised messages and content to specific groups within your list. This targeted approach allows you to increase your message’s relevance and scale the feeling of one-to-one communication," Harbin said. 

Harbin also wanted marketers to feel less intimidated by the word automation. "While it can sound complicated, it essentially just means spending a little more time in the front end building emails which will be triggered by certain events, causing increased engagement and saving you lots of time in the long run. This is a win-win situation," she said. 

“If you’re looking to start using automation, I recommend welcome emails, as they are proven to have one of the highest open rates and engagement rates. The welcome email can be a great place to introduce your organisation to the new subscriber and even provide them with an incentive, such as coupon code."

For example, Campaign Monitor customer, Project Nursery, uses a custom coupon code in welcome emails which has resulted in more than $70,000 in additional revenue within just eight months.

Above all, it's vital marketers stay connected to their audiences on a human level, and not just on a data level, Harbin concluded. 

“While I believe these advanced technologies can have a positive impact on the way email marketing is executed—for instance, by using data to increase the relevance of content sent to specific groups of subscribers—I think it’s vital that marketers make the effort to stay connected with their audience on a human level to truly understand what they want from your communications," she said.

Based on the Australian campaign averages by day, Campaign Monitor's report showed the best day for highest email open rates was Saturday at 19.6 per cent, while the best days for highest click-through rates were Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 2.9 per cent. The best days for highest click-to-open rates were Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 15 per cent. 

Based on the Australian campaign averages by day, the worst day for lowest email open rates is Sunday at 18.3 per cent, the worst day for lowest click-through rates is also Sunday at 2.7 per cent, and the worst days for lowest click-to-open rates were Sunday, Friday, Saturday at 14.8 per cent.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.    

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