The best thing about sending out an eNews (or email/electronic newsletter) is getting the results – immediately.

The Send Report that you receive with most email marketing services is a marvellous thing; it allows you to monitor the open rate, link clicks and other statistics that not only show how email marketing is so effective, but let you know what is piquing the interest of your readers. The clicks do convert to business.

This is a copy of a monthly eNews sent out for Shamrock Catering Group.

What the e-News Send Report tells me:

  1. Even though the email was only sent out yesterday, at least 16% of the mailing list has opened the email. This is already 5-10% above the catering industry average, according to a comparison chart provided by Constant Contact. I also know from previous eNews history that this rate will rise over the next few days.In addition, the actual rate is very probably higher because while we might regard an ‘open’ as anyone who has looked at the email, technology can only count those people who view the images or click a link and many people, myself included, choose to block images unless I select to view on a particular email.
  2. While you’ll agree there is a lot of information in the eNews, 149 people clicked on a link for more information. Again this is 5-10% above industry standard and does not include people who chose to email or phone the company directly.
    From those 149 clicks, I can see which subjects are of particular interestand this information is invaluable in working out what services and products are ‘hot’. In this eNews the new kids’ party venue is getting the most clicks, while close behind comes the junk catering link. Not surprising for this time of year.More about clicks: It’s not necessarily a bad thing if a click rate is lower than an industry standard. As an example, one eNews customer provides all information in the eNews and the only reason a reader would click is to actually make a purchase. While many people prefer the customer to make contact so that they can take over the selling process, in some cases it makes sense to get your eNews to do the work so that any click means business! Click rates can also vary depending on their relative location within the e-News. Links close to the top get the most clicks, towards the bottom — fewer clicks. It is also important to be clear what you want the reader to do; instruction such as “click to view the menu” must be explicit. As they say: “don’t leave them guessing.”
  3. The report also provides a detailed bounce report. From this we can see which email addresses provide hard bounces, ie. the recipient has changed email address or the email address is simply invalid, or which provide soft bounces such as ‘Inbox Full’. You will also see how many email addresses have been blocked. This is inevitable and I find that it is often corporate email addresses that get blocked in this way however, because Constant Contact are super vigilant in their anti-Spam protocols, they are a trusted provider and you will see that the average block rate for emails sent out through Contact Contact is much lower than the industry standard which is said to be about a 15% block-rate. In this email we suffered a 4.5% block rate.For the invalid email addresses it is worth checking for obvious typos, eg. xxxx.cmo, but otherwise these need to be deleted. For the soft bounces, it is worth trying again.
  4. Constant Contact customers are able to put a social media strip at the top of the eNews, allowing readers to share. And if you have good news, they do share. For this particular eNews we had 22 Facebook shares, 1 Tweet and 1 ‘other’.Finally, you can also see the number of people who unsubscribed or reported your email as Spam.While we are sorry to see people go, it is best for everyone because you really do only want to communicate with people who are interested in receiving your news. You should check their reason for unsubscribing if they take the time to leave one in the unsubscribe process. Sometimes the reason is that they are leaving that email address and are subscribing under another email address, sometimes they are leaving town. No hard feelings!However, if you receive more unsubscribes than you are comfortable with, or the reasons given for unsubscribing indicate the case, you should consider whether the content of your eNews has any value to your recipients, or whether the frequency is excessive.Spam! Constant Contact will allow you one spam report per thousand. As mentioned, they are super vigilant with their anti-spam protocols. Unfortunately, ‘spam reports’ are just a click away for many email users so it is important to make sure that:
    • everyone on your mailing list wants to be on your mailing list, and
    • you make it easy for people to unsubscribe rather than hit that ‘report spam’ button. 

The upside is that everyone using Constant Contact is living under these rules which means that as a service provider, Constant Contact is trusted. And this means that more of your eNews get through.

And that is good!

I am a huge fan of email marketing and Constant Contact as a way to build business. In my view, email marketing is the glue that holds all marketing together. You can read more by clicking here.

 

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