2014 Email results are in
Silly question: Are you on a never-ending quest to hack the open-rate code? How's that working out?I thought so. And, having as many pundits or email marketing gurus (yuk) as there are results isn't helping either. If you practice the art of A/B testing you may be closer to the truth, but know that this truth will not set you free; what worked for one campaign is not necessarily going to repeat; the clever subject line you copied, the 'secret' one that was all over the Net, has been used by so many 'marketers' that it is literally dead-on-arrival.
Recipients (yes, they are human not just a line in a database) are getting smarter, they've been exposed to every trick in the book and they are not falling for them. Hats off to you if you think that you have mastered the art of killer subject lines but please don't write a book about it, my shelves are full.
Here's the thing: we are obsessed with open-rates and miss that a real conversion only happens if the recipient engages or acts as a result of reading your email.
Email campaigns crash because senders fails to articulate, as in short-and-sweet, what is their overt and differentiating benefit. Then, to add insult-to-injury, they add confusion with irrelevant offers or links.
We are wired to open emails because we are curious. The real test, after emails are opened, is to convince (1) that you have what I need, and (2) that there are compelling (not dumb sales jargon) reasons I should consider doing business with you. Be straightforward, short, and to the point. Do that, and you'll gain my respect and attention. Then, and only then, I may consider reading the rest of your email.
Here's the thing: we have unrealistic expectations of what the ENTER/RETURN button can do for us. We look for the easy-way-out and the latest "x ways that guarantee your email will be opened". What we forget, and conveniently ignore, is that regardless of the level of intellect of recipients, they are sick-and-tired of come-on's and digital junk.
We, marketers, have created 'email-fatigue' and it is backfiring
Aha, remember when we stuffed envelopes and licked stamps, we had a level of self-pride and appreciation of the effort it took to launch a direct-mail campaign. Dropping the envelope at the post office was like leaving your child at summer camp or on move-in day at college; an anxious and teary goodbye.
And now we have email. It's free, everyone is using it and it shows.
Substance and value win; but developing real differentiation and a compelling reason to do business with you is a lot of hard work. You have to start by knowing your customers, followed by having the courage to evaluate everything you do and to be able to objectively answer a simple question: "Why should I do business with you?"
The most recent open-rate study was just released by Sidekick (HubSpot). Here's a summary of the somewhat surprising results from 6.4 million emails sent through Gmail, Apple Mail or Outlook:
Day of the week: Weekday: 59% -- Weekend: 65%
Emails opened by hours: 50% in the first 24 hours -- 80% within 12 days
Subject line words and their impact on open rates:
With "you": 55% -- Without "you": 59%
With "free": 60% -- without "free": 54% (and we all thought it will wind up in 'spam')
With "quick": 50% -- without "quick": 60%
With "tomorrow": 66% -- without "tomorrow": 60%
With "meeting": 56% -- without "meeting": 60%
With a blank subject line: 65% -- with a subject line: 60% (there goes the neighborhood)
With "FW:": %50% -- without "FW:": 60%