Monday Catch Up: Frequency, Email Open Rates, and How to Boost Engagement

Good Monday morning, marketers! It’s time for another quick recap of recent email marketing news. Here you go:

When it comes to frequency, the key is finding your ‘sweet spot’

“Timing is of huge importance when it comes to email marketing,” writes Renzo Costarella at Entrepreneur. “With click-through rates (CTR) as low as two percent for some industries, one of the best ways to improve results is by scheduling your emails and knowing how often to send them.”

Costarella cites data from the Direct Marketing Association indicating that “most marketers (35%) send two to three emails a month. Nine percent of marketers send six to eight emails a month, and 19% send just one email a month.”

Email frequency is a “major factor” in how recipients feel about receiving them, Costarella writes. “If you keep bombarding your email list with emails, whether promotional or non-promotional, your subscriber list will begin to shrink at a rapid pace,” he warns.

But how many is too many? Or too few? Costarella writes that the answers to those critical questions depends on factors that include your competitors’ practices, the nature of the products or services you offer, and the specific goals of your email campaign.

“If you have low engagement rates, you may improve your customer engagement rate by increasing or decreasing the number of emails sent per week,” he writes, adding, “no rules are etched in stone when it comes to the frequency of promotional emails…you have to find your own sweet spot.”

Report shows open rates heading in the right direction

According to an article by Laurie Fullerton at The Drum, a recent report conducted by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, which looked at data from the first quarter of this year, indicates that the average open rate of emails from brands is on a steady upward trajectory.

“Email open rates have grown four percent quarter over quarter, with an open rate at 16 percent, the highest it has been in four years,” Fullerton reports.

The financial services industry had the highest open rate during the quarter (35.7%), followed by insurance (26.5%), entertainment (18.1%) and consumer services (16.3 %).

“The report also reveals one of the best ways for marketers to combat engagement challenges is by implementing triggered campaigns,” Fullerton writes. “While triggers are growing in adoption, they made up less than seven percent of total emails sent in Q1 2017. And yet, they generated almost five times the click rate, almost double the open rate and nearly triple the CTO rate of business-as-usual emails.”

The article quotes Michael Fisher, Yes Lifecycle Marketing president, as saying that while consumers “want to receive marketing emails,” it is incumbent for marketers to offer “valuable, relevant, and personalized information at every stage of their customers’ lifecycles.”

Boost engagement with a focus on subject lines, personalization and CTAs

“How do you get your readers to actually open, read and take an action upon receiving your email?” asks Kaitlyn Hammond at Business 2 Community. “While there is no single solution, there are ways to improve email marketing techniques to more efficiently engage with your clients.”

Hammond points to subject lines, personalization and the call to action (CTA) as keys to effective engagement.

“Other than the sender’s information, the subject line is the single most important determinant of whether an email will get opened,” she writes. “Therefore, it is imperative to think about what you want to write in this space.” Hammond suggests that to be successful, subject lines must be relevant (“How can your email change their life for the better? In what ways can it help them?”), authentic (“Don’t make unfounded claims such as ‘5-stars,’ ‘effective, ‘proven,’ ‘fan favorite,’ etc.), and (ideally) contain numbers, which “help to fixate attention versus subject lines that only contain text.”

In addition, she advises making emails more personal. “Pretend like you’re writing to a friend, and address the reader directly by using the word ‘you.’ If you make the reader believe that you are communicating directly with them, you will spike their interest level and peak their curiosity. If you want an even more effective strategy, incorporate the reader’s name into the email.”

As for your CTA—it should of course be tailored to why you are sending the email. “Just as a great subject line is imperative to getting readers to open your email, a CTA is a must to get the reader to take action. After all, there must be a reason you are emailing your customers— whether you want them to complete a purchase, visit your blog, or enter a contest—you need to guide them to complete that step.”

For more engagement tips, check out our posts on subject lines, personalization and CTAs.