Study Shows that Personalization Can Dramatically Improve Email Open Rates

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

open_rate_campaign_sizeEvery day, people open their email inboxes to find dozens or hundreds of messages from marketers and advertisers who want their attention. Many think that such an overused tactic could hardly be effective, but research shows that email marketing remains one of the most valuable forms of internet marketing around. This is because while there are many email marketing messages that are done wrong and get no attention, the ones that resonate with consumers produce fantastic results. The problem is creating one of the good emails can be challenging. A recent report from Constant Contact found that personalization greatly increases the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns.

Constant Contact, one of the leading names in email marketing software, released a study compiled from analysis of the more than 100 billion customer emails sent from Constant Contact in 2014 and 2015. The study revealed that sending more personalized email campaigns resulted in open rates being lifted by as much as nearly 150 percent.

“This study provides conclusive proof that personalizing the emails you send, so that you’re speaking directly to specific interests and wants of a subscriber, not only strengthens the relationship with subscribers, it results in better campaign performance,” said Jesse Harriott, chief analytics officer at Constant Contact. “Small businesses tend to be great at developing authentic customer relationships and this data underscores the marketing value of those relationships.”

The value of personalization is something that has been mentioned often in the past, however the data from Constant Contact showed just how much personalization can affect campaign results. For instance, by examining how brands were segmenting and personalizing email campaigns the researchers found that emails sent to 35 or fewer subscribers, which suggests more personalized messaging, saw open rates of 55 percent. On the other hand, emails send to more than 7,500 subscribers saw open rates of 14 percent. which will below the average email open rate 22 percent.

The study also offered several other pieces of data that can help email marketers create better campaigns. Though it’s only be a narrow margin, mobile devices have overtaken desktops and laptops as the primary way people check their email. According to the report, 51 percent of emails are opened via mobile device. And of those opened via mobile more than a third (38%) were opened via smartphone and around a tenth (11%) via tablet.

One way email marketers can use that information to their advantage is by designing emails marketing messages that look good on mobile devices. This means following the same kind of design rules that make for a good mobile site. Examples include, using larger text, bigger buttons, and responsive images that are automatically resized to fit for the device it’s shown on. Another thing marketers should do is make sure that all links go to mobile-friendly urls. If a mobile user clicks on a link that takes them to a flash page, that page won’t work on mobile devices and a potential conversion could be lost. In fact, this echoes another finding of Constant Contact, which found that three-quarters of subscribers say they will delete an email if they can’t read it on their mobile device,

There were also some interesting statistics given on what industries had some of the best email marketing response rates. For example, among the nonprofit category, religious organizations had the highest average open rate with 38 percent for nonprofits. Amongst business to consumer email campaigns, sports and recreation brands held the best open rates with more than a quarter (26%) of their emails getting opened. For business to business email marketing campaign, professional services had the best email rate, again at 26 percent.

For more information that can help marketers prepare better email campaigns, read this article on how much email marketing affects purchase decisions.

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