We all know (and pay careful attention to) open rates...
Don't get me wrong, open rates are certainly an indicator of several factors... and useful for looking at engagement levels, segmenting, re-engagement campaigns, and more.
However, most folks stop there. As a result, marketers are missing a big part of the picture.
We've been conditioned to split test subject lines, to use the "curiosity approach", to be "creative". Basically, to do anything to get the open.
We see clients with 10%, 20%, 30%+ open rates in many cases (when they're following best practices, practicing list hygiene, running re-engagement campaigns, etc.). Yet these same people are getting DISMAL click through rates and, therefore, low conversions.
While there are a LOT of reasons that clicks might be low, in many cases the problem is often either congruency between the subject line and the message OR the email copy flow itself.
One of the reasons I believe that marketers don't often look at click-through rates is because most mail clients determine the click-through rate as a percentage of the total sent campaign. Because of this, they're used to seeing very low numbers.
Now, there certainly IS a reason for this... Not everyone that has clicked will register an open, depending on the mail client they're using, whether images are turned on, etc.
But, to get a clearer picture of how effective your campaigns are, it's worth taking a few extra minutes and running the clicks against the opens, even though the numbers won't be 100% accurate. In other words, if you sent out to 100,000 people, had a 10% open rate, and 2000 clicks, you're mail client would display that as a 2% click through rate. What we WANT to see is how many people that OPENED the message clicked through. Obviously if they never read it, they can't click the links!
So in this case, you'd have had 10,000 opens, which would mean that approximately 20% of the people that read the email actually clicked through on one of the links in the message.
NOTE: You can add a percent or two to estimate additional clicks from people that didn't trigger an open.
TIP: When running split tests on your subject lines, don't just look at the open rate. Add in the click through rate (and conversions if possible!). You may find that Subject Line A has a lower open rate, but more actual clicks and conversions.
Just as you work to increase open rates, you should work to increase the clicks.
Both the subject line AND the message copy should work TOGETHER and should be analyzed in conjunction with one another to get accurate data and to make comprehensive improvements to your campaigns.
For over a decade Heather Seitz used email marketing to build successful companies and had to solve the biggest barrier to consistent profitability: deliverability. Today she is the Co-Founder and CEO of Email Delivered.
To learn more about click-through rates, visit http://www.emaildelivered.com/click-through-rates . Remember to sign up for the FREE Email Delivered Pulse newsletter for articles, tips, and recommended resources for email marketers.
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