Let’s Have an Open Relationship

This may not be what one may wish to hear from a significant other, but in the digital world, “open”, as it relates to emails, are important.  Even more critical is the click-to-open rate (CTOR) because it better reflects customer interest and engagement in a company’s products or services.

Effective CTORs are generally indicators of good design and copy.  One study showed a direct correlation between that and click-to-open rates.  That same study showed the mean CTOR globally at 14.1% and with the US at 12.7%. If a company is a member of a large trade or professional association, they need to discover what the average CTOR is for their industry and compare it with theirs.

Next Steps

If the company’s CTOR is lower than the industry average, they need to get their team together quickly and begin by examining their clicks per link.  The questions that need to be asked can be are there patterns? What dynamics might be attributed to these higher clicks? Is there an appreciable difference in frequency by the type of click?

As expected, transactional messages always get more CTORs.  The study reported 48.9% transactional messages clicked after opening.  Connecting with customers when they’re online can increase a company’s CTOR.   If a company doesn’t know when they’re engaged, they need to find out. And next to providing good content, promoting the various ways customers can engage with a company can also enhance their chances of greater participation.

Equally important is interacting with target audiences where they’re at.  According to the study, mobile inbox messages were opened at about the same rate as emails – 22%.  The overall interaction rate for mobile users was higher at nearly 24%.

This is encouraging and provides impetus to consider increasing a company’s multichannel marketing budget.  Surprisingly, many brands with mobile apps haven’t yet embraced mobile inbox messages. Jump on this sooner than later if your company happens to be one.

Answer these questions.  Does the company send out newsletters or bulletins to its customers?  Interested in more click throughs? If so, try this. Experiment and try different headlines, links and comments.  See what works best and results in more click throughs.  

Remember that more and more people are using their smartphones to access data.  As a result, brevity is important. Since some spam detectors categorize short and lengthy emails as spam, limit emails to between 1,400 and 9,300 words.  This will help ensure delivery.

Churn and Bounce Rates

The average bounce rate in the U.S. is 40%.  If a company’s is higher, it could mean that they’re not allowing subscribers to update their email addresses easily and/or not cleaning up their list and getting rid of bad addresses. Increases in customers unsubscribing are often signs that their expectations aren’t being met.  This is where asking folks who are unsubscribing to share their reasons for doing so can be valuable.

Consumer products and services topped the list with a 100% bounce rate.  Retail clocked in at 31% while food and beverage reported 26%.

Companies must also pay attention to any complaints they receive about spam.  Companies experiencing an increase, their procedures to unsubscribe may need to be revisited and revised.  Here again, consumer products led the way with 14%, followed by food and beverage and retail at 10% and 8% respectively.

When companies incorporate all or most of these suggestions, they should experience an increase in customer retention and interest.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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