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Your Most-Asked Email Marketing Questions Answered - 9/17/2014 -


Your Most-Asked Email Marketing Questions Answered

If you’re interested in the average email deliverability and open rates for association emails — and how to make yours better — read on.

By Diana Tung

Did you know that the average deliverability rate for association and nonprofit email marketing is 98.28 percent? Average open rates stand at 34.04 percent, and average click rates are at 18.03 percent (but decreasing due to mobile behavior), according to the 2014 Informz Email Marketing Benchmark Report.

Amy Hager, manager of communications and online services at Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association, and Lori Ely, director of marketing at Informz, presented the following tips and tricks to effective email marketing at the 2014 Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting.

Is your email marketing message not getting through to your intended audience at the average rate? Here are some quick tips to increase your deliverability rate:

  1. Clean your data. Purge bad emails and delete or correct addresses from your mailing list that bounce.
  2. Follow content best practices. Do not use spam words and avoid having words in ALL CAPS; these will trigger spam filters. Be aware of your text-to-image ratio. It is always a good idea to break up a wall of text with images.
  3. Monitor engagement. Be sure to check your metrics and monitor your engagement. If an email marketing message deliverability rate is not doing well, it may be getting caught in spam filters.

Are your readers emotionally connected to what you are sending them? Here are some quick tips to engage with your readers and increase your open rate:

  1. Focus on subject lines. "You had me at hello.” Did you captivate your readers at "hello?” Subject lines are the first thing your audience reads and uses to determine whether or not they are interested enough to click on your email. Crafting a subject line should take 50 percent of email creation time. Keep it short, simple, and direct. Aim to create a subject line that is 24 characters or less, since an average cell phone screen can only display 24 characters across.
  2. Target content. You want to build a relationship with your readers so that they can trust the content you send. Make the content you send targeted, valuable, and relevant to the recipient.
  3. Be consistent. Send your email marketing messages from the same recognizable address so that your readers know and trust you.

What are your click rates? Once your audience opens the email, do they click on any of the links? The following are some click-rate tips to take into consideration:

  1. Test your call-to-action tactics. How are you capturing your target audience’s attention? This may be a surprise, but your readers do pay attention to the end of your message if you end with "P.S.” As much as you try to draw attention to links with a different color, link colors do not affect click rates. It is a good idea to make your links larger than the normal text.
  2. Optimize for mobile. People are always on the go with the convenience of their smart phones in their hands. Optimize your messaging for mobile by using more white space, being clear for your call to action, and sending your message out at the right time of day.
  3. Shorter the better. The shorter your message, the better it performs. Stick to a message that does not surpass four mouse scrolls. Same goes for your subject lines; keep them short. How many emails do associations send? On average, 74 percent of associations send between one and five emails to a member per month.
  4. Best time to send email. The best time to send emails to your readers is mid-day during any business day. Wednesday mid-day performs the best. It is important to see how your different target audiences respond to your emails at different times. Try sending an email over the weekend; you might be surprised to learn that your open and click rates do just as well as business days.
  5. Finding your best time. The best time to send an email will differ from organization to organization. Find the best time for your target audience by testing, asking in a survey, or simply having your readers fill out a preference form for when they would like to receive emails.

Small changes can make a big difference. Know your audience and use your data to improve your deliverability, open, and click rates. These guiding practices may not necessarily work the best for your organization. Be sure to test and see what works best for you.

Diana Tung is coordinator, content & online learning at SOCAP International. Association Media & Publishing sincerely thanks her for covering this session for our members who were unable to attend.


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