How to achieve best practice in email marketing

MedalEmail is the lifeblood of many marketing campaigns. Well-constructed email campaigns make it easy to reach a targeted audience in a timely way with relevant communications.

But how can you achieve your email marketing goals? What does a good email marketing campaign look like?

A recent report has identified global trends and benchmarks in email marketing in 2019. We dig into the findings to discover what best practice looks like. What lessons can you learn about effective email marketing?

The continued growth of email marketing

Email marketing continues to grow in popularity as a communication channel. A report issued earlier this year identified email as the most consistently popular format for sharing marketing content.

And not only is email growing, but its success rates are too. The Marketing Benchmark Report by marketing agency Acoustic shows that open and click-through rates have increased steadily since 2013, with the biggest jump last year.

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Source: Acoustic

Why the leap? GDPR may have a lot to do with it, with Marketers having to up their game as a result of the new rules. Cleansed lists and improved segmentation have focused Marketing teams on their audience members who really count – and have led to a more bespoke reader experience.

Better personalisation is another factor in the improved performance of email. We’ve recently explored the power of personalisation in financial services – a trend that shows no sign of abating. Behaviour- and preference-based lead nurturing is providing target audiences with increasingly relevant communications, and open and click-through rates are demonstrating the impact.

Where is best practice most embedded?

Opens and click-throughs

Looking globally, Canadian brands are found to lead the way when it comes to email open rates. Here again, GDPR is relevant for EU Marketers. The report surmises that the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which came into force in 2017, is behind the leap in Canadian email performance stats. Will GDPR have a similar impact here? – time will tell.

When it comes to click-through rates, the US has seen the biggest increase – a 20% jump from 3% to 3.6%. The report believes that a focus on optimising content for mobile devices has made the difference here.

This US behaviour is an anomaly, though: across the survey, engagement via mobiles is down. The percentage of people opening emails on their phones is declining year on ear – perhaps, the report says, due to people using mobile devices to tidy their inboxes, but choosing to read and act on emails on a laptop or other device.

Repeated reading – insurers win out

One of the metrics covered in the report is the number of times a recipient opens a message. Here, the insurance industry comes out top, with 4.2 opens per message. Leisure and sports firms come last, with 1.9 opens.

Perhaps the typical complexity of insurance messages compared to leisure ones plays a part here. The report also notes that many insurance documents include attachments; policy documents and so on – which may demand reading, signing, forwarding to family members or saving.

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Source: Acoustic

Which industries have the highest email click-through rates?

The automotive industry streaks ahead when it comes to reader click-throughs, with a CTR of 10%. This maybe because the industry sends relatively infrequent emails – but when it does, they are to targeted buyers, owners or brand advocates. They also tend to focus on relevant content; service information, for instance, or a new model which may be of interest.

Strong use of buyer personas – helped by the data the industry holds on ownership, service schedules and so on – enables the automotive sector to perform well.

What email messages resonate the most?

What makes an engaging email marketing message? This is one of the Marketing team’s million-dollar questions.

The research suggests that transactional emails – like newsletters or promotions – where the reader potentially gets something in return for their time, perform best. Top quartile rates for transactional messages are over 73%, with mean rates of almost 44%.

The report makes the point that:

‘As the most engaged emails your brand will send, these emails should be owned and optimized by marketing for a superior customer experience and maximum promotional and revenue-generating opportunity’.

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Source: Acoustic

Using the report results to optimise your email marketing

So, what does this all mean for your email marketing campaigns?

  1. Email continues to deliver results for Marketers. Make the most of it, via personalisation (read more about creating marketing personas to help with this) and fine-tuned content that engages. Our tips on creating engaging marketing content have more suggestions.
  2. Make sure you are meeting GDPR requirements.
  3. Learn lessons from areas where email is working. Automotive emails have such high open rates because they are relatively rare and because they are targeted, focusing on topics that they know the readers will be interested in.

Limit your emails to avoid saturating your mailing list. Carry out audience research to identify and hone in on the issues your readers really care about.

  1. Optimise emails for all devices. The research suggests that people use mobile and other devices in different ways. Modify your communications to take this into account, and you should see the results in your open and click-through rates.
  2. Make the best use of email marketing alongside other channels. Combining email and social media marketing, for instance, can deliver strong results.
  3. Don’t forget compliance. Timely and robust Compliance team reviews enable you to publish engaging content while remaining compliant with FCA or other regulatory requirements. Our blog has tips on creating content that’s both creative and compliant. And read more about how you can make sure your financial promotions approvals meet FCA standards; automating your processes can have a positive impact here.

Publish best practice marketing emails

If you want to marry compliance and engaging content, our Financial Promotions Checklist for Marketing will help.

The Guide covers the five key stages to producing financial promotions, and will help you to ensure your emails and other FPs are compliant as well as compelling. You can download a copy from our resource library.

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.

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