MarketingSherpa’s latest Email Marketing Benchmark Report is about to be released, and judging from the table of contents, it’s substantial and important for those who rely on email for their marketing.
We all get way too much email, so I would have thought the most significant challenge to email marketing effectiveness would be deliverability and getting people to opt in. But apparently not. The number one challenge is targeting recipients with highly relevant content.
What’s interesting about these findings is that the one thing a company can control pretty easily is content copywriting. No one from the outside filters your copywriting while it’s being written.
MarketingSherpa says, “Email marketers continue to struggle with the challenge of delivering highly relevant content to their target audiences…Developing a sufficient amount of content is a time-intensive process that many marketers do not have the resources to produce.” (That last comment should raise the eyebrows of a few marketing consultants who make a living writing targeted, effective content.)
Growing your lists, deliverability and being perceived as spam are challenges that are out of your control, to some degree. But creating targeted content?
I understand that it takes time to segment your lists, determine what people may want from you, stay relevant, and provide value. But if you don’t do that, then don’t be surprised if your open and click-through rates drop and your emails are perceived as spam.
If you spend the time and money on your email content, you will see your email marketing ROI go up. And here’s why. Your time and effort limits will probably mean you send out fewer emails, but they will be far more effective.
And you'll be doing all of us a service by lessening the amount of useless email we receive daily.
"Great news, boss. Our unsubscribe rate was only .2% compared to the last email blast that was 1%." Forget about open rates. 'Unsubscribe' is the new metric.
For years marketing consultants, departments and agencies have measured their success in email marketing based on open and click-through rates. No news there. But just yesterday at HubSpot's HUG conference, one speaker talked about how they look at the 'unsubscribe' as one of their key metrics to see if their email is working or not.
That got me thinking about how I read emails. I use Outlook and I am one of those people who don't like to have too many unread emails, so I just open them all up by just clicking on them. I rarely read corporate emails, but all those companies mark me down as an "open." I'm sure that many 'opens' counted in open rates are similar to me. But I don't unsubscribe, since maybe one day I'll actually read that company's email, unless I feel the information is terrible or the frequency of emails is overwhelming.
I still think that click through rates (or actual number of click-throughs) are the most important of all the email metrics, since it's the one that actually tells you if your email was read and if your call to action actually worked. From a copywriting standpoint, they say the subject line is what gets people to read your email (I think the 'from' line is even more important, but you can't really mess around with that too much), so it's often attached to open rates. But what click-through rates show is the true test of whether the copy worked or not. And if your copy and offer sucks, then your unsubscribe rate will start to increase.
In this age when outbound marketing, like email, is on the decline, I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see that expectations for email have sunk to looking at the unsubscribe rate as a measure of an email campaign's success.