I’m learning about email marketing, and I’m pretty alarmed at some of the stats. Have a look at these shockers (which are European, so the figures might be slightly different in South Africa) :
• More than 20% of marketing emails never make it into the inbox of the customer/potential customer – they get “lost” or end up in the spam folder;
• The average email open rate in 2019 was 22.1% (down by 8% from 2018);
• If you need action taken, and your email contains a link to be followed, the average click-through rate is about 3%.

So – if I send 100 emails,
• a maximum of 80 will make it into inboxes;
• about 18 will be opened; and
• about 1 recipient will click on the link.

Plus – over 60% of people are reading emails on their mobile phones. If mails are not mobile-friendly, more than 80% will be deleted immediately.

To use a good South African word : Eish!

It seems, from what I’ve learnt, that the open rate will depend primarily on two things:
• The trustworthiness and value of the sender; and
• The apparent value of the mail itself.

If the recipient doesn’t know me yet, it all comes down to my subject line. My subject line has to pique the interest of the recipient enough to ensure that the mail is opened.

I have read that Barack Obama was one of the most successful email sender ever, with respect to open and click-through rates. Obviously, he was known, and trusted by many. He was also exciting, an inspiration, a source of great loyalty. His subject lines were short and very, very personal – as if he was talking to each recipient individually. He used “I’ll save you a seat”, “Let’s Meet” and “Dinner”, amongst many others. His most successful mail – opened, clicked through and actioned to yield millions of dollars in campaign funding – had the subject line “HEY”. He later (understandably) used “HEY AGAIN”.

The lesson from Obama is not that “HEY” is the best possible subject line. It’s that the subject line must resonate with the recipient, must pique the interest of the recipient, must cause the recipient to WANT to explore further.

This is no simple matter. Time to get my thinking cap on. ☺