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MLB Opening Day: Get Your Popcorn, Get Your Peanuts, Get Your Email Open Rates

Chris Van Houtte

Even though last year was rough for my favorite team, the Detroit Tigers, I have more hope for them this opening day. With the changes in our bullpen and our core lineup being healthy, I am optimistic that the Tigers will win the division and have a solid chance at reaching the World Series. As for the World Series winner, my heart says Detroit; my brain says the Blue Jays or Cubs.

Baseball is a game where players must learn to handle a low success rate. Averaging a hit only three out of every 10 at bats over a career might make you a Hall of Fame player. Direct marketing, however, is a different game with different rules. Here’s a primer on how to increase email open rates through the right mix of strategy and tactics.

Understanding Open Rate vs. Click Rate

There are a lot of statistics available regarding open rates and the numbers can vary greatly based on the sending company’s industry. Generally, in email marketing, a 20-25% open rate would be considered major league material – a real home run! – but the open rate isn’t really what drives marketing results. The real area of focus for most marketers is the click rate.

A click means your message was not only opened, but likely read; it means your offer is intriguing enough for the consumer to investigate further. A well-designed and executed email campaign should produce a click rate of 2.5% or greater to be categorized as a big league campaign.

Direct Mail and Email Can Work Together

While tactics and results can vary by industry, IWCO Direct has found that pairing direct mail and email together improves open rates by up to 50% and likewise can improve click rates by up to 27%. Having a mailpiece arrive one or two days prior to a coordinated email, or even on the same day, produces the best results.

Through our proprietary technology, we can plan for that timely delivery; we are able to track mail delivery through the USPS mailstream and predict in-home dates. Using this information, we trigger email delivery at the appropriate time to ensure that results are optimized. The majority of dual-channel campaigns follow this pattern.

An exception to this would be compliance communication, in which ensuring delivery and maintaining a low cost are key. For these campaigns, click through does not necessarily correlate to revenue. With compliance communications, we will usually lead with email and follow with a physical mailpiece only if we determine email delivery failed.

Important Elements of Any Campaign Email

When your goal is increasing open rates and click rates, there are two important aspects of any email you send: offer and personalization. The offer is always king; an offer that matches with the consumer’s interests is best because it shows them you know what’s important to them. Communicating directly to the consumer in a manner that aligns with what they want and who they are using personalized information and incentives is a basic tenet of increasing open and click rates.

Tactical Tips

Any successful campaign features strategic elements like personalization in addition to tactical ones like these:

  • Make your emails mobile-responsive. Consumers might open their email on their computer, smartphone, tablet or other device. Make sure your email makes the right impression no matter where it’s seen.
  • Increase the number of email campaigns or deliveries per month. Persistence can help remind the consumer of an offer that may have slipped their mind and show them you believe the offer is truly in their best interests.
  • Highlight your offer or key point quickly and with graphical flair. Without an interesting subject line and attractive upfront information (both in copy and graphics), the consumer is likely to navigate away from your email before responding.
  • Use demographics to personalize your content. The more that a consumer feels like an email was prepared specially for them, the better they feel about both receiving it and responding to it and taking advantage of the offer inside.

Spam, Scams and Other Barriers to Success (And How to Overcome Them)

Sometimes even when it seems like you’ve done everything right, a few obstacles can stand between your direct marketing and your desired response. There are many factors that inhibit open rates. Studies indicate that the top reasons a recipient might not open an email are fear that the email may include spam (information irrelevant to them) or scam (phishing, fraud, etc.). In both of these instances, brand familiarity is important to overcoming the challenge.

At IWCO Direct, we have seen success in overcoming brand familiarity hurdles in two ways:

  • Increase the number of email campaigns you deliver per month. Typically, proprietors of spam and fraud are impatient and do not want to be exposed through ongoing contact and multiple attempts to get in touch.
  • Tie direct mail to your email marketing strategy. When the consumer sees a familiar logo and offer in their email inbox – maybe one they recognize from a companion mailpiece – it can make them more comfortable with the legitimacy of the campaign.

With a clear understanding of your goals and how to achieve them, IWCO Direct can help you hit an email marketing home run. Go Tigers!

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2016/04/05/improving-email-open-rates/
Chris Van Houtte

Author

Chris Van Houtte

Vice President of Information Technology. Graduate of Minnesota State University – Moorhead and IWCO Direct team member for more than 10 years. Favorite award or recognition: Fatherhood. Personal business philosophy: “Patience, listening and a dose of common sense are key to successful outcomes.” Loves fishing and participating in/coaching his kids’ activities. Detroit sports lover – Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Michigan Wolverines.

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