8 Tips to Optimize Your 2015 Email Marketing Strategy

Study reveals email open, click, click-to-open, and bounce rates for 34 indus­tries, plus areas includ­ing sched­ul­ing, per­son­al­iza­tion, and sub­ject lines.

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

In one of the most com­pre­hen­sive stud­ies of email met­rics to date, email mar­ket­ing ser­vice provider Mail­er­Mail­er has ana­lyzed data from more than 62,000 newslet­ter cam­paigns and more than 1 bil­lion indi­vid­ual emails in total across 2013. The analy­sis and result­ing insights are a must-read for any mar­keter look­ing to put togeth­er a win­ning email mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy.

For many years now, email mar­ket­ing has been a cru­cial chan­nel for con­sumer-fac­ing busi­ness­es. A new study from Mail­er­Mail­er, ana­lyz­ing data from 1.18 bil­lion emails, showed the chan­nel once again proved to be one of the most valu­able rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing chan­nels for busi­ness­es in 2013.

The find­ings tal­ly with wider research in the indus­try: accord­ing to the Direct Mar­ket­ing Asso­ci­a­tion’s 2013 Sta­tis­ti­cal Fact Book, email cam­paigns earned an incred­i­ble 4,300 per­cent ROI — or $42.08 for every mar­ket­ing dol­lar spent. In addi­tion, a joint study by Adestra/Econsultancy revealed a sim­i­lar­ly healthy sta­tis­tic, with indi­ca­tions that email gen­er­at­ed rev­enues expe­ri­enced a pro­por­tion­ate growth of 28 per­cent in 2013. Busi­ness own­ers sin­gled out email mar­ket­ing as the most suc­cess­ful chan­nel for ROI – attribut­ing an aver­age of 23 per­cent of their total sales to the medi­um.

It high­lights a need for mar­keters to ensure their email mar­ket­ing cam­paigns are effec­tive and opti­mized, in order to gen­er­ate the best pos­si­ble rev­enues and con­ver­sions. Increas­ing­ly this means imple­ment­ing insights from big data analy­sis to bet­ter under­stand the way con­sumers are respond­ing to email mar­ket­ing cam­paigns.

Mail­er­Mail­er’s study cov­ered: open, click, click-to-open, and bounce rates for 34 dif­fer­ent indus­tries, and also explored areas such as sched­ul­ing, per­son­al­iza­tion, and sub­ject lines. It revealed met­rics and trends about email mar­ket­ing that make fas­ci­nat­ing read­ing for any mar­keter.

8 Email Marketing Insights: How, When Consumers Are Clicking

  1. Open rates peak approx­i­mate­ly one hour after deliv­ery, and the major­i­ty of opens occur with­in a few hours of deliv­ery.
  2. Open rates peak on Mon­days.
  3. There is a pos­i­tive cor­re­la­tion between click rate and the num­ber of links in an email.
  4. Sun­days expe­ri­enced the high­est click rates in Q1/Q2, whilst Fri­days expe­ri­enced the high­est click rates in Q3/Q4.
  5. Mes­sages sched­uled for deliv­ery in the evening pro­duced the high­est open and click rates.
  6. Mes­sages that fea­tured only per­son­al­ized con­tent expe­ri­enced the high­est open rates.
  7. Some­what sur­pris­ing­ly, per­son­al­iza­tion in both the sub­ject line and mes­sage con­tent pro­duced the low­est open rates, but the high­est click rates.
  8. Mes­sages with short sub­ject lines pro­duced the high­est open and click rates.

Personalization Improves Open And Click Rates, But Messages Must Provide Real Value To Consumers

Some of the most valu­able insights from the Mail­er­Mail­er study were in how the use of per­son­al­iza­tion in cam­paigns could improve a num­ber of email mar­ket­ing met­rics. Per­son­al­iza­tion includes, for exam­ple, the inclu­sion of a recip­i­en­t’s unique infor­ma­tion or iden­ti­fiers in either the sub­ject line or body of a mes­sage, such as first name, job title, or place of res­i­dence.

Over­all, per­son­al­iza­tion of email con­tent yield­ed the high­est aver­age open rate for all email cam­paigns, with 17.6 per­cent of all per­son­al­ized emails being opened. email-marketing-personalization Cam­paigns with­out any per­son­al­iza­tion achieved a low­er email open rate of 11.4 per­cent. Sur­pris­ing­ly, sub­ject-line-only per­son­al­iza­tion result­ed in an even low­er open rate of 9.8 per­cent, and mes­sages with both types of per­son­al­iza­tion achieved just a 5.3 per­cent open rate.

It high­lights the impor­tance above all that email mar­keters per­son­al­ize their mes­sage con­tent in order to achieve healthy met­rics. While per­son­al­iza­tion of a mes­sage’s sub­ject line reduced open rates, the val­ue of per­son­al­ized emails has impor­tant val­ue in enhanc­ing a mes­sage’s click rate. Cam­paigns with­out per­son­al­iza­tion result­ed in a click rate of just 1.8 per­cent, around half of the fig­ure for per­son­al­ized emails which exceed­ed 3 per­cent. email-marketing-click-rates While the stats are slight­ly con­tra­dic­to­ry in that per­son­al­iza­tion can neg­a­tive­ly affect open rates, this should not under­mine the val­ue of the prac­tice.

The con­clud­ing sec­tion of the report pro­vides valu­able con­text to the find­ings. Name­ly, that the neg­a­tive met­rics around per­son­al­iza­tion may stem from pre­vi­ous prac­tices of email spam­mers, often using per­son­al­iza­tion to trick recip­i­ents into open­ing mes­sages. It has cre­at­ed a wari­ness amongst con­sumers of open­ing mes­sages with per­son­al­ized sub­ject lines.

Ulti­mate­ly, how­ev­er, this alone should not put off email mar­keters from per­son­al­iz­ing email mes­sages as the strat­e­gy will like­ly become more effec­tive in forth­com­ing years, as the preva­lence of spam declines, and mar­keters lever­age data on audi­ences to serve mes­sages of rel­e­vant and use­ful con­tent. Rather than cam­paigns which imple­ment per­son­al­iza­tion tech­niques as a token ges­ture, mar­keters should ensure mes­sages are per­son­al­ized with con­tent that is both gen­uine­ly infor­ma­tive and use­ful for con­sumers spe­cif­ic needs.

Mobile Growth Continues

Many of the pos­i­tive email met­rics in 2013 are due to the con­tin­ued growth of mobile email usage. As the fol­low­ing graph from the Kno­tice Mobile Email Opens Report illus­trates, mobile email open rates climbed steadi­ly through­out 2013.


Mobile email closed 2013 with 51 per­cent of all opens. Addi­tion­al­ly, there is no indi­ca­tion that this trend will not con­tin­ue, mobile traf­fic con­tin­ues to grow, and ana­lysts at Cis­co expect an 11-fold increase in glob­al mobile data traf­fic by 2018.

Despite already com­mand­ing a major­i­ty of the share, only 47 per­cent of mar­keters report to hav­ing opti­mized their emails for mobile, with 61 per­cent pro­fess­ing to only hav­ing a “non-exis­tent” or “basic” strat­e­gy for email mar­ket­ing on mobile.

For 2014, above all mar­keters need to under­stand the impact mobile tech­nol­o­gy is hav­ing, and will con­tin­ue to have on email mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. As Mail­er­Mail­er’s report indi­cates, ana­lyz­ing avail­able data to bet­ter under­stand and imple­ment a con­sumer-cen­tric mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy will be key.

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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