What Do You Know About Your Emails?

If you are like me, you may be taking time this summer to re-evaluate some of your practices like email marketing. Last year, I came across an interesting set of email marketing myths.

Now I know, these sort of articles are pretty common so I did a search for similar stories and actually found this list popped up fairly frequently. That must mean this list of myths is true…or that they have a really good email mailing list. In either case, they must know what they are talking about, right?

Two of the “truths” that caught my eye were for myths 2 & 3 – 85% of opens happen within two days of receiving an email, but only 21% of purchases happen during that period. 32% happen two weeks after. And “20% of your annual openers do so after being inactive for 6 months.”

First, let me say for the record I can’t believe any company is actually ceasing to send me emails after I fail to respond or take action for 6 months. It is hard for me to believe any company thinks they should give up after 6 months and actually does it.

That said, the basic idea that people are engaged by your communication and your organization long after you might assume they are hearkens back to the research presented by Andrew McIntyre a few years back that indicated people often felt a close association with a company/arts organization even after 2-3 years of inactivity.

This is just another bit of evidence from a different quarter that reinforces the concept of not giving up hope that a person will continue their participation in your activities.

The facts for myths 4, 5 and 6 were interesting to me. The fact that fewer than 1 subscriber in 2000 will tag an email as spam was interesting me. I don’t think I ever tagged a non-Viagra related email as spam myself, but I always worry that recipients might be liberal with the spam button. I am less concerned now.

I was also surprised to learn “sending four emails a month instead of one doubles the number of consumers opening one or more emails..” Post author Mark Brownlow explains,

“Don’t get misled by changes to rates. All things being equal, if you double your frequency and average click rates drop 20% that’s a win.

1000 mails/month at 10% CTR = 100 clicks

2000 mails/month at 8% CTR = 160 clicks

The converse is also true. If you remove 60% of your list and see click rates double, you’re actually losing.

1000 mails at 10% CTR = 100 clicks

400 mails at 20% CTR = 80 clicks”

In responding to myth 6 about shorter subject lines being better, Brownlow encourages people focus on being efficient with subject lines, but give yourself permission to use whatever words are necessary to make your impact. The infographic presents some interesting data about subject lines – less than 60 characters increase opens, but those over 70 characters increase clicks.

Of course, as they say, your mileage may differ and you really need to pay attention to the characteristics of those you are reaching. Brownlow cautions in the comments section, “…Many recommendations are based on scenarios or averages that may not fit your particular situation. As you say, testing is important…”

If you are apt to dismiss the data in the infographic as not matching your experience, then you can’t cleave to the myths as being true in turn because they aren’t likely to be true for your situation either.

Even after decades of using email, it is extremely difficult to calibrate its use as a marketing tool because the way people use the technology is constantly evolving.

I am keeping one eye turned toward Adam Thurman over at Mission Paradox blog. Last month, he was looking for guinea pigs to test and provide feedback on his email marketing class. I am interested to see what he may have developed.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to Butts In The Seats and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Thank you for subscribing.

Please enter a valid email address

1 thought on “What Do You Know About Your Emails?”

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend