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Infographic: Seven Salient (and Strange) Email Marketing Insights

by Carlos Augusto

When it comes to ecommerce, email marketing is one of the most powerful tools to increase conversions, meaning more sales and more subscriptions. Today we’ll go over an insightful infographic found here that has a few important points which may be hard to understand at first glance, and a couple of points I find contention with.

Be sure to read the breakdown below the infographic!

email marketing statistics 2016 infographic

The infographic was originally posted on soundest.com.

Let’s break it down

Insight #1: Bigger businesses generate more orders (but have lower open rates?)

Smaller businesses (5,000 member lists) enjoy an average open rate of 21.38% but much fewer orders, but bigger businesses (50k + lists) see the numbers flipped: only a third the open rate but over thirteen times the number of orders!

I got a few problems with that. First, this statistic fails to clarify the number of orders per what? I will assume this is per campaign. Second, why does a bigger business who sends ten times as many emails have only an 8 percent open rate compared with 21% for the small guys?

This remains a mystery.

This mystery, however, begs the question: How can we combine the success of the higher open rates and the higher number of orders? What is the inherent reason the larger email lists have a reduced open rate? Shouldn’t the delivery reliability (i.e. not going to junk mail) and the quality of the subject line determine the open rate? This has nothing to do with the size of the list.

And furthermore, shouldn’t the quality of the email’s content — the copy, the photography, the product or service — determine the click through rate, and ultimately the conversion rate? Again, these factors are completely independent of, and irrelevant to, the size of the list or the size of the business.

But the one thing that does pop out at me is: If you have a large list, and you can do whatever you did in the past to get those same high open rates (perhaps survey your most loyal, longest-running subscribers), then you’ll profit massively from that improvement. If your company is currently living this scenario – get on this ASAP!

I would love to get a clarification from the folks at Soundest who published this infographic, or from any of our readers who may have more insight on this. Please comment below!

Insight #2: More frequent means TWO.

Here we have a statistic that is hard, at first glance, to understand. If you look closely, by “more frequent”, they mean TWO emails per month. Not one. Not three. Not 732. Just TWO. Any other number of emails other than TWO has worse conversion rates.

I tend to agree with this statistic far more easily than I do with the first. I am always greatly annoyed when I receive too many emails from any sender. But it’s generally known as well that you have to be seen more than once in your medium (whether it be television or print ads, digital marketing, in the inbox, etc.) to receive a positive customer bias towards your company, i.e. priming your customer to be more willing to buy from you by remarketing to them. When it comes to emails, the safest (and the only mathematically possible) number here to achieve this remarketing bias while not being annoying is, indeed, TWO.

Insight #3: The Spams Go In. The Spams Go Out.

I would love to speak with the scientist who figured out that the moon phases are correlated with spam complaints.

There is a grain of truth to be found within this proposition, however. It is possible for any business to find seemingly unrelated data sets that correlate with each other, which may be unique to your business, and which you may be able to profit from. You may find that at certain times of the month you have the most orders for a particular product, and that product should be displayed more prominently on your website during those times.

That leads us to the next insight:

Insight #4: Find Your Peak Times

This is a general statistic that contends the 16th, 20th, 27th day of the month enjoys better open and conversion rates. The take-away here is that you must test your own data! Every business must have their own top performing times, and of course, those should be the days you plan on sending out your emails.

But how are statistics like this determined? The answer is not so simple. If you have the time, money, or software resources to do so, you’ll have to split up your email list into 30 groups. The first 30 groups are of equal size, but relatively small. If your email list contains 20,000 subscribers you’ll want to set aside 5,000 of them to split up into 30 groups (of 166 members each), and keep the remaining 15,000 of your subscribers together in the 30th group. Then what you do is send your monthly marketing emails every single day of the month to the first 29 groups only, but on one of the days you also send to group 30. Then you can monitor the open and conversion rates of your emails every single day, and choose when to send your emails to group 30 on the days that are best for your business. And if these days change over the years, you can adjust.

This is a more advanced technique that probably only medium to large sized businesses can bother with. But any business of any size should understand how this type of data works.

Insight #5: US and Canada Got the Bank

When we look at the combination of open and conversion rates plus the average order price, you can determine which countries have the highest value per email sent. But again, I can imagine countless exceptions to this rule. What if there’s a particular product or type of email in India that is worth $1.00 per email and would fail miserably in the US?

The take-away here is, again, you must test these types of data for your own business. (And this would only apply to international businesses, of course.) If you’re a master of data analytics, you would probably end up discovering that each country you do email marketing in (or any kind of marketing for that matter) will require different pictures, titles, wording, and presentation of each medium to maximize their revenue in each country.

Insight #6: Welcome and Recovery Wins

When you understand that 74.4% of new subscribers expect a welcome email and 68.63% of online carts are abandoned, you then understand that welcome emails and cart recovery emails are of utmost importance.

Even more surprising is that cart recovery emails generate $5.46 of revenue per email compared to just a few cents for welcome and standard promotional emails!

Look at all that red! The take-away from this entire breakdown is to DO THIS. The method to make this happen requires the following technology: once your visitor reaches the shopping cart page, you must set a cookie that records this event. If the web browser window (or tab) is closed without making a purchase, a javascript onunload event must communicate with your shopping cart back-end alerting it that the user abandoned the shopping cart. This, of course, only works with users who are logged in members, or guests who have provided their email address while they were filling out the shopping cart.

One of the most popular WordPress shopping carts is WooCommerce, and there is a free plugin for it that does all this for you here. Every major shopping cart platform should have a plugin or built-in method to handle this type of functionality. If not, you should switch to another platform.

Insight #7: The Series Sells

To continue on this theme, if you send a series of emails for the welcome or the cart recovery email, you’ll get 23% and 131% more conversions, respectively! One way to accomplish this with WooCommerce is with the follow-ups extension. Again, every good shopping cart will have a way in which to configure such functionality.

In Conclusion

Analyzing data is crucial to increasing your success in business. When you’re starting out, you may not have the time or resources to do such in depth analysis, but as soon as you start enjoying some sales and begin to see the fruits of your marketing efforts, you should begin to analyze your performance. And always remember: your business may experience different truths than the industry standards presented in infographics like these!

Until next time,

Carlos Augusto

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Carlos Augusto

Carlos Augusto formerly a pioneer developer for some of the original companies that sculpted the web including Boingo, MySpace, Napster, and DIRECTV, I now apply myself to helping people maximize the impact of their marketing online. I seek to extract passion and creativity from everything I write, everything I produce. More at carlosaugusto.net

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