Category Archives: E-mail Strategies

Tips for getting the most out of e-mail based communication efforts.

Effective Email Subject Lines

emailTo write a great email subject line, focus on the first 40 characters. Descriptive and well-written subject lines allow recipients to make an informed decision to get more details or move on, say the researchers at Nielsen Norman Group.

Based on user research with hundreds of emails, these 5 guidelines for subject lines will increase the chance that your message will be one of the few to survive users’ ruthless pruning of their overloaded mail stream.

  1. Include content in the subject line.
  2. Front-load the subject line with keywords and limit it to 40 characters.
  3. Don’t repeat sender information in the subject line.
  4. Avoid using recipients’ names in the subject line.
  5. Be cautious with symbols and special characters.

See the full research report.

Words Matter: The Email Case

emailMailChimp recently studied approximately 24 billion delivered emails with subject lines composed of approximately 22,000 distinct words to determine what words email subject lines are most likely to get attention. The study was designed to determine  how much of a the words used can make on open rates.

Words with positive impacts resulted in increased open rates, and words with negative impacts hurt those same rates.

Overview of findings:

  • Personalization increases open rates. The use of both first and last names in a subject has the largest positive impact on open rates.
  • Using “free” in a subject was found to be positive and statistically significant for certain industries, it was smaller when looking at all industries together. Use of the word “freebie” was found to result in a much larger increase in open rates.
  • Attention-grabbing words like “urgent” and “important” resulted in open rates that were much higher than normal.
  • Recipients are much more intrigued by announcements and event invitations than cancellations and reminders.
  • Words related to charitable actions and donations had a negative impact on open rates. “Donation” had the most negative impact.

Read the report.

If You Needed to Be Convinced that Email Needs to Be Optimized for Mobile…

If you were wondering if it is important to optimize your email messages for mobile devices, that data from a new study has the answer you need: yes. According to a Yesmail Interactive bench mark study based on more than 5 billion emails sent by Yesmail Interactive in Q2 of 2013, 61 percent of consumers now view email either exclusively on a mobile device or use mobile and desktop devices interchangeably.

The use of mobile devices, defined as smartphone and tablet usage, to access email as well as the Internet, has grown significantly in the last few years. In the case of email, there is a significant difference between mobile and desktop click-to-open rates suggesting that many senders may not be paying attention to the usability of their messages on mobile.

Some stats:

  • 49% of all email opens happen on a mobile device
  • The average click to-open rate (the number of people who clicked on an email after opening it) across all industries is 100% higher for desktop than it is for mobile.
  • 61% of view emails either exclusively on a mobile device or using both mobile and desktop interchangeably (‘hybrid’ or ‘hybrid viewership’ in the report)
  • 82% of mobile activity happens on Apple devices. Opens on other devices: Android, 17%; Blackberry, 0.17%; Microsoft, 0.32%; Other, 0.38%

There study also documented differences in interactions by industry.

Email Click-to-Open by Industry
Industry % Mobile Opens CTO Desktop CTO Mobile
B2B

39.49%

20.88%

7%

Consumer Services

50.20%

30.38%

19%

CPG

43.51%

28.79%

12%

Entertainment

40.69%

22.40%

13%

Financial Services

51.42%

10.78%

2%

Healthcare

33.03%

41.55%

18%

Hospitality/Travel

52.59%

20.37%

9%

Marketing/Advertising

31.81%

11.71%

3%

Publishing

34.37%

31.28%

16%

Retail/Wholesale

48.46%

21.05%

11%

Technology

45.80%

11.54%

4%

Source: Yesmail Interactive, August 2013
Email Viewership Preference by Industry
Industry % Desktop Only % Mobile Only % Hybrid % Hybrid and Mobile
B2B

49%

48%

3%

51%

Consumer Services

34%

29%

37%

66%

CPG

45%

30%

25%

55%

Entertainment

39%

28%

34%

62%

Financial Services

42%

50%

8%

58%

Healthcare

52%

26%

22%

48%

Hospitality/Travel

32%

30%

38%

68%

Marketing/Advertising

45%

30%

25%

55%

Publishing

45%

22%

34%

56%

Retail/Wholesale

36%

34%

30%

64%

Technology

43%

26%

31%

57%

Source: Yesmail Interactive, August 2013

In the context of email, database activity is a reflection of how successful an email program is at engaging recipients, i.e. the higher the proportion of active subscribers, the more engaged the database. Maintaining a strong percentage of database activity is a good indication of how effective emails sent are in terms of email deliverability, cadence, frequency, and content.

  • The average active subscriber rate (having opened an email in the last 90 days) across all industries was 7.4%
  • Over 1/3 of databases had a subscriber activity rate of 25% or higher
  • Average opens per opener was 7, while average clicks per clicker was 3; On average, 43% of openers ended up clicking
  • On average, the number of messages sent to an active subscriber during a 90 day period was 2 per week (or 43 for the quarter)

The study defined the average engagement by industry.

Email and Engagement Count by Industry (Based on a 90-day period)
Industry Avg.# Emails per Opener Avg. Opens per Opener Avg. Clicks per Clicker 
B2B

10

1

1

Consumer Services

114

15

6

CPG

22

3

2

Entertainment

44

6

3

Financial Services

13

3

1

Healthcare

16

3

2

Hospitality/Travel

37

6

2

Marketing/Advertising

74

6

2

Publishing

55

9

3

Retail/Wholesale

55

8

3

Technology

20

3

1

Source: Yesmail Interactive, August 2013

Delivery, open, click, click-to-open and unsubscribe rates remain relevant indicators of email performance. Knowing what data to collect, as well as how to analyze it is half the battle to better understand the effectiveness of your email communication.

Standard Indicators
Industry Delivery Rate  Bounce Rate  Open Rate Unique Click Rate Total Click Rate Click-to- Open Rate  Unsub Rate 
B2B

87%

13.3%

17.3%

1.6%

2.6%

9.0%

0.45%

Consumer Services

98%

2.5%

13.2%

2.3%

3.2%

17.8%

0.02%

CPG

96%

4.4%

16.0%

2.2%

3.4%

13.8%

0.16%

Entertainment

97%

3.2%

15.3%

1.9%

2.8%

12.3%

0.04%

Financial Services

92%

7.6%

23.0%

0.7%

1.4%

3.2%

0.04%

Healthcare

88%

12.5%

19.5%

4.3%

6.4%

22.2%

0.12%

Hospitality/Travel

98%

1.7%

17.7%

1.9%

2.5%

10.5%

0.03%

Marketing/Advertising

90%

10.4%

9.0%

0.5%

0.8%

5.8%

0.08%

Publishing

96%

3.9%

16.3%

2.9%

4.4%

18.1%

0.03%

Retail/Wholesale

97%

2.7%

14.7%

1.8%

2.4%

11.9%

0.06%

Technology

97%

2.9%

17.9%

0.9%

1.4%

5.2%

0.11%

Source: Yesmail Interactive, August 2013