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Abbie's Column : Email Marketing

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How To Increase Your Email Open & Click Rates

By Abbie Drew
Nov 16, 2005

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You may have noticed that your DEMC issue was late this week.

And for once, I have to say the lateness was done purposefully.


Recent studies indicate that mid-week emailings do not deliver the best return. The end of the week is better, with Sunday showing the highest open and click through rates for email overall.

Lately, Iíve received a number of questions asking me about the best time to send emails. After answering the questions, I realized, Iím not even following my own advice and emailing DEMC at the end of the week.

I thought Iíd better run some tests to see if DEMC has a higher return if it arrives on Friday vs. Thursday. Thus, the reason for this weekís late arrival.

You might ask, if Sunday has the best return, why didnít I wait until Sunday?

A good question and the answer is rather interesting. The latest study from eROI found that depending upon your list size different days of the week are better. While eROI combined statistics point to Sunday as the best day with open rates of 30.8% and clicks of 7.2%, when they broke it down by list size the results showed a different picture.

For Mid-size senders, with lists between 25,000 and 100,000, they showed Friday as being the most productive day. In fact for lists between 25,000 Ė 50,000 the number of clicks for Friday was 169% higher than other days of the week. As DEMCís list falls into this grouping with a little over 30,000 subscribers, it looks like Friday is the day to email.

For Micro senders, with under 5,000 lists, eROI showed, clicks throughs to be fairly consistent every day of the week, with Sunday being the highest. Small senders with lists between 5,000-25,000 show a clear improvement on the weekends vs. mid-week. A similar study by Aweber that was based upon an average list size of roughly 12,000 also found that the weekends generated the highest open rates.

And interestingly, for very large mailers with lists over 200,000 mid-week remains the best.

What should you make of these results?

When you decide which days to email, the first step is to look at your list size. To review the eROI study you can download the PDF file - Q3'05 eROI Email Statistics

In addition, to the question on the best day to email, I also am asked by SendFree members how frequently should one send follow-up emails. As this too is an interesting question, I thought Iíd share my answer.

It has been my experience that new subscribers are the most likely to read your emails. And those subscribers who have been on your list longer are less frequent readers. My findings regarding new list members vs. old list members have recently been documented as correct.

MarketingSherpa just released a study on email marketing, which compiled data on the attention span of new email subscribers. Their findings show that in the first 30 days close to 60% of your new subscribers will open your email and 30% will clickthrough. In the next 30 days it drops to 45% open your emails and 24% click through.

After 60 days the newness has worn off and the subscriber reacts to your email as a long term subscriber. Long term subscribers open your email on average 35% and click through roughly 19% of the time.

You should incorporate these findings into your follow-up marketing strategy. A new subscriber should be followed-up with frequently in the first 30 days. The subscriber is fresh and eager to read your information so send it to them.

Have a special series for new subscribers thatís delivered every few days and youíll see an improvement in your open and click through rates. You may even want to stretch out the new subscriber series for 60 days but Iíd space the follow-ups a little further apart. After 60 days the spacing of your follow-ups should be consistent with your regular emailings for all subscribers.

Along with the new subscriber findings revealed in the MarketingSherpa study, they addressed another issue crucial to email success. The issue in fact answers a third question I received from a subscriber last week, who asked how soon should he see results from his ezine.

The answer is if your email marketing is done well, youíll see results right away. The fact is sending email to your opt in subscriber list will makes sales. MarketingSherpa found that the key to success with your email is to test, test, test. Their surveys showed marketers with low responses were not testing to find out what would work. Marketers running tests making different offers to their subscribers on the other hand had the best return.

In addition to testing offers, segmenting your list and sending very specific targeted information to the correct people will drive up your return rates. Changing up your layout and using HTML email with images has also been shown to improve your email results.

If youíre sending out email to your subscribed list and youíre not seeing any results, you need to go back to the drawing board and look at the email your sending. Email drives in sales. And studies show that the return for email marketing continues to be steady. The key is to make the right offer to the right targeted group. If your offer isn't working, donít give up, instead try again. Keep testing and working and you will find success with email marketing.

To review the MarketingSherpa study you can download the PDF file - Top Four Email Marketing Trends to Watch in 2006

Abbie Drew

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