Benchmarking is a tool we should all use for understanding how and where we can improve. We most often think of benchmarking ourselves against others in our own industry; but, with metrics as ubiquitous as email marketing performance it often makes sense to compare email intentions. Whether a manufacturing company or a biotech firm, a newsletter is still a newsletter and will behave differently than, say an invitation to a customer event.
We looked at the open rates of 126,000 email deployments from July 2011, classified them into types, and ordered them by the degree to which their audience would be anticipating, or expecting to receive them.
An immediate, automatic response to a form submission (form auto-response) is certainly the type of message that would be most highly expected, and the data supports this with a 10% lift over general customer communications, the next highest open rate. If you have something important you want to tell your audience, you should consider adding it to a form response or confirmation email.
Less anticipated emails like newsletters and other nurturing campaigns comprise a higher volume of deployments and their open rates move back towards more conventional rates.
One interesting exception is promotional type emails: the old standard time-limited offers for savings (while quantities last!). Creating a sense of urgency and the desire to get a great deal is a tried and true marketing technique which bucks the rule, because although you don't always expect what you get, if they try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.
P.S. You may recall a few weeks ago, we showed that the weekend is not necessarily a bad time to send an email. Think of this weekend edition of the Chart of the Week as an experiment. We'll let you know how it turns out!
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