It may be a relatively unsexy side of the digital marketing world. But there's no doubt email is powerful (read this if you don't believe it). And the Jericho Email Marketing Metrics Report for 2010, which crunched tens of millions of permission-based commercial emails in New Zealand, has shown that email drives massive readership and clicks—especially on Mondays.
The report analysed key performance factors of email readership, call to action response rates and the best day to send your email. And the information, which Jericho says is the first of its type in New Zealand, provides much-needed inspiration to marketers with stagnant budgets and hard-to-reach consumers.
“We’d been looking for these facts for a long time, but the information simply wasn’t out there. So we decided if anyone was in a position to produce metrics, it was us,” says Roanne Parker, director of business strategy at e-marketing outfit Jericho. “We analysed close to 100 million emails stratified over 30 different industry types. This is specific information from activity by companies who use our best-practice email design and delivery services, but the results can be used by all marketers."
Motivated by overseas results showing exceptional return on investment from permission email marketing, a majority of New Zealand organisations have come to rely on email for both customer acquisition and retention. The report shows that they are doing the right thing, with average readership rates for email up to 48 percent across industry types, although the overall figure is 34 percent.
“This figure is higher than even we thought,” says Parker. “Of course we believe in our people and the SmartMail product, and we knew the overseas figures, but this proves our mantra that best-practice email marketing in New Zealand is producing phenomenal results.”
The click-to-open rate measures how effective the email message was in motivating those recipients who opened it to subsequently click a link. "This is an incredibly useful measurement. Once your email is open, do your calls-to-action appeal enough to motivate the reader to ‘Read More’ or ‘Buy Now’, and so on? That’s pretty hard to measure with any other channel, and frankly, the one in five response rate is fantastic. And that’s the average, so half of the emails are getting better than that.”
The ultimate question, and the most often asked is which day to send email. Wednesday has the most email traffic, by quite a long shot, while Monday and Friday have the highest readership rate. Saturday showed the most clicks per email. This reflects the online habits of consumers who enjoy retail therapy from their living room at weekends. Overall, Monday was the winner with highest combined readership and click rates.
Parker suspects many advertising budgets still pay little regard to return on investment. “It’s hard to work effectively without an evidence base for your actions, especially with a limited budget. Traditional media suffers from a lack of reporting that makes it hard to directly tie sales to advertising. With email marketing, we teach clients to ask questions. Often they’re not sure if their billboard increased sales, but now they want to know why 4000 people forwarded today’s email rather than 4400 that did last month.”
In this age of niche marketing, she says any organisation that ignores well designed, targeted email campaigns is going to be left behind.
"So we hope that metrics studies like this will change the thinking and help to get email marketing the recognition and resourcing it clearly deserves.”