In the last post we looked at how to ensure that your marketing is sustainable, and the issue of just keeping it going, never mind looking at whether it is doing any good! In talking to clients one issue they face is
“I am putting all this effort into producing great copy and sending out newsletters, but do people read e-newsletters?”
Sure, not everyone reads every e-newsletter but trust me, they do get read. We can see this from the stats we get back after sending an email. A key stat is the open rate. This tells us how many people have opened the email. In practice, there are technical reasons why this stat may understate the actual figure but it is a useful figure and certainly a good way to monitor trends. The open rate will vary depending on the content of your e-newsletter and, more importantly, how well targeted your list is. Our best ever open rate was 65%, but this was on a very targeted , bet specific email. More typically open rates are 15-25%. On the face of it this may seem low, but read on. This headline figure does not tell the whole story.
- Actual number of people seeing your message will be higher – The actual number of people seeing your message will typically be higher than the reported ‘opens’. An ‘open’ is typically registered when a reader downloads the images in the email (normally switched off by default in most mail clients meaning that users have to click a link to download the images). The reader my have seen and acknowledged your email without downloading the images.
- The 15-25% is not always the same 15-25% – When you send regular e-newsletters, although you may only see 15-25% opens on an individual e-newsletter, it is not always the same 15-25% every time! Research we have done on our own stats shows that over time the number of people who engage with your mails is much higher, and over a period of 6 months (assuming you are sending e-newsletters regularly) there could be more like 60% of your list seeing one or more of your messages.
- What is “an open” – In the statistics, an “open” is defined as someone who received your email & downloads the embedded images. Outside of these people, many others will register your message on a number of different levels. In particular, some will simply register the fact that they have received it, and from whom, and then simply delete it as they don’t have time or inclination to read this issue, or because the subject matter does not interest them.This interaction shouldn’t be ignored, and even has a name (the nudge effect). These people have seen your email and registered your name (hopefully positively!). This process has reinforced your brand and their recognition of your business. It has real value, even though these readers don’t register as an “open”.
Putting the definition of what is or isn’t an open to one side, there are other factors to consider. E-newsletters should not be seen in isolation. There should be just one part of a joined-up approach to marketing. On their own, they are unlikely to deliver optimal results, but they are a great platform for delivering your message to a targeted group of people as part of a wider marketing and business development process. E-newsletters perform a number of important roles:
- They develop & reinforce your brand identity
- They are a great platform for talking about other marketing initiatives like events, exhibitions, product launches, sponsorship etc.
- They raise the base line of your communications to a point where your name is sustainable regularly and getting in front of your target audience. If contacts see your name attached to interesting content on a regular basis, they are more likely to remember you when they have a need.
All in all, if your list is properly targeted, and the content is good, people will read it and over time, they will remember you.