If your association is in the same predicament we are, a great place to start is the 2014 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report. This year’s shiny new report is already in the works, but last year’s report will give you a good idea of what campaign metrics you should start to look at. Before you embark on your own campaign planning this year, start here.
Overall Email Metrics
Not every marketer has the time to check their email reports after each email is sent — and that’s okay. But what if you start checking reports on a monthly or weekly basis? Having an idea of your average overall email metrics — your delivery, open, and click rates — are key indicators of an email’s success. When we shared this information last February, we told you that the average click rate for associations was 18.03%, which had declined from 2013. Did you see the same trend with your campaigns?
We suspect the decreased click rate can be attributed to the rise of mobile, especially when benchmark results by email client type revealed that mobile email usage continues to surpass desktop email usage. According to Marketing Sherpa, 31% of marketers aren’t aware of their mobile open rates and 33% aren’t aware of their mobile click rates. If you fall into that group, make it a goal to educate yourself on the email habits of your members and use that information to guide your strategy. Maybe it’s time to give responsive design a try!
For the longest time, we used to send our weekly newsletters at the same day and the same time (you have to start somewhere). But once we started to switch it up and test out timing, results changed. We looked at our reports to see when subscribers are most likely to open and click, and adjusted our schedule accordingly.
Have you done the same? The 2014 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report revealed that Fridays were the best day to send and evening had the highest open and click rates. Open and click rates had little variation from day to day, but that might not be the case for you. People say that “timing is everything” for a reason (especially when it comes to readers choosing to view your email on a mobile device or desktop computer). Try testing out send times this year — or even use send time optimization — and see how your metrics are affected.
Determining the right frequency is one of the biggest challenges email marketers face. Benchmark data shows that 70% of associations send one to five emails to members each month, and associations who send at that rate also have the highest open rates.
When we were looking at our own end of the year metrics, it turns out that there was one group of contacts we were hitting a lot harder than others. The group we weren’t hitting as often? It was impacting engagement. Looking at different segments, their engagement rates, and the frequency of your email communications with that segment can be an eye-opening exercise. We’re now aware of a new area to focus on, and plan to use marketing automation to remedy our frequency challenges. One of our clients, EDUCAUSE, used reports and surveys to revamp their sending cadence, and saw positive results.
Create your plan
Timing and frequency are just two items on a laundry list of measurements to examine for 2014 so you can accurately track your progress in 2015. Mobile readership, duration tracking and engagement are other great places to start. Just keep in mind that the only way you’re going to be able to effectively measure results is by benchmarking now. Start today! For more helpful information, download the 2014 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report.