Probably two to three years ago, I was talking to a buddy who owned a business and he was pretty negative on email marketing.
Why wouldn’t he be. He had a list of about 17,000 email addresses and only about 200 would be opened at any given time. That’s just a smidge over a one-percent open rate.
At those rates, what’s the point, right?
Why I like email marketing
Recently at AntiochTenn.com, we’ve increased our focus on email marketing. There are three reasons I like the approach:
- I have total control over the message.
- Doesn’t matter what Facebook does.
- Doesn’t matter what Google does.
We use MailChimp, and according to the email service, the “media and publishing” category has a 17 percent open rate and a 3.2 percent click rate as an industry average.
Our newsletter shatters those numbers with a 47.3 percent open rate and a 13.3 percent click rate.
So, just what is it we’re doing differently? I think there are four key factors in our success.
Relevant content is at the core of our email newsletter. AntiochTenn.com is all about the Antioch, Tennessee community, which comprises of just one zip code. If it didn’t happen in Antioch or to someone from Antioch, it ain’t going in the newsletter. Subscribers have no doubt what they’re getting. We’re also not afraid to link to content from organizations other than ours.
We send it once a week. A lot of people think this isn’t often enough, but given that their open rates are far lower than mine, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. I don’t know what the magic number is, but if a newsletter comes too often, it is easy to ignore. Too seldom, you overlook it. If you find the right frequency, readers will anticipate it and look forward to it.
The frequency allows the articles to be personally curated. A lot of news email blasts are assembled automatically. A program plugs in the links and the newsletter is sent. Our email newsletters are hand-assembled, as it were, with a lot of thought and planning. I think (or hope) that makes them more appealing than the auto-generated variety.
We scrub aggressively. If we notice someone doesn’t ever open the newsletter, we scrub ’em. Many of these, I notice, are people who sign up as part of some contest, or at a booth at a community event. It reflects their interest is more in the prize or the contest than the newsletter, and I’d rather not clog their email. Plus, it keeps our list nice and pristine.
While there are plenty of other factors that have an influence on our success, I’ve noticed that regardless of how much our newsletter grows and how we add subscribers, the open rate hovers very close to 50 percent and the click rate is steady at four times the industry average.
Those are numbers I can live with.