News Roundup: CTOR, Steve Jobs’ Email Lessons, and Relevant Content

Greetings, marketers! Let’s take another look at recent news from the worlds of email marketing and content marketing, shall we? Here we go:

CTOR: A metric you might not be using, but probably should

“The cool thing about email marketing is that you can get all kinds of data and insights about your subscribers from your email reports,” writes Shamita Jayakumar at Business 2 Community. “Open rates and click through rates are important metrics for your email marketing health. Most marketers look at these metrics, but what about the click to open rate (CTOR)?” she asks.

Jayakumar says CTOR is “a good indicator of how interesting your content is to your subscribers” because it “essentially measures the effectiveness of the content of your email. If your links, layout, copy and overall content are interesting, then your readers will want to click-through to learn more.”

She explains that CTOR is calculated by the number of unique clicks divided by the number of unique opens. Although she says a “good” CTOR is between 20 and 30 she advises email marketers to use their own benchmarking to decide on a CTOR to shoot for.

“Look at the CTOR numbers for each of your email campaigns and look at your own average,” she writes. “Better yet, if you send different email types, track the CTOR for each type, like your newsletter, welcome email, or one-off campaign, to find out how effective your content marketing is and where you can make improvements.”

Steve Jobs: a natural email marketer

There’s little doubt that Apple founder Steve Jobs would have been successful in any endeavor he pursued – but there’s compelling evidence to indicate that he would have been a wildly successful email marketer.

A business negotiation that took place via email between Jobs and publishing executive James Murdoch in the lead-up to the launch of the first iPad shows that Jobs put several proven email marketing techniques to work in his personal business messages. The exchange is characterized by complex messages from Murdoch, which stand in vivid contrast to Jobs’ much-simpler, and much more effective, writing.

“Murdoch’s notes are a classic example of how most of us tend to write: long, with multiple ideas and no clear message. Jobs used simple tactics to dominate the correspondence,” writes Natasa Lekic at Ladders.

Lekic identifies five techniques Jobs used that will be very familiar to email marketers: have one purpose, keep the design simple, remove filler words, use the active voice, and close with your request.

About that last point, Kekic writes: “In marketing campaigns, copywriters always put the call to action at the very end. The same should be true of emails. Why? If the request is embedded in the middle of the email, it’s likely to be forgotten. At the end, the recipient has just finished reading and is focused on the next step. In the emails between Jobs and Murdoch, Jobs’ agenda, or ‘ask,’ was straightforward. He wanted Murdoch’s company on board for the iPad launch. But even though the point was abundantly clear, Jobs still ended on it.”

Study indicates content relevancy is critical to driving purchases

The results of a study by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) provides some insight for marketers who are using content to influence purchasing decisions by businesses, reports Ray Schultz at Email Insider.

For the study, the CMI polled 1200 individuals involved with purchasing decisions, which is titled “How Content Influences the Purchasing Process.”

A main takeaway is that content must be relevant: Sixty-two percent of respondents in the study want material that “speaks to my specific needs and/or pain points,” Schutz reports.

Shultz quotes content expert Wendy Marx as summing up the study’s takeaways this way: “Create content that speaks directly to the needs of your audience, and be specific about the problems that they face; skip self-promotional content and focus on educational content that builds brand awareness and trust; dedicate resources to the creation of original research that your audience will seek out for answers; and make your content easy-to-share via email to promote discussion of it among colleagues, customers and prospects.”

Report indicates that shorter subject lines perform best

Citing a recent report by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, Ayaz Nanji writes at Marketing Profs that when it comes to subject lines, shorter is better. The report was based on data from more than seven billion emails sent in the second quarter of 2017 to recipients in a wide range of verticals.

“Emails with shorter subject lines tend to garner significantly higher open rates and click rates,” Nanji reports. “Messages with subject lines between one and 20 characters in length have the highest average open rate (18.5 percent), unique click rate (2.4%), and click-to-open rate (12.9%).”