Why keeping your email marketing database clean is important
We know email marketing is a very cost effective means of marketing but are your results not as you predicted? This could all be down to how clean your email database is.
Understanding some of the basic email marketing metrics
When you view results from your email sends you will be presented with some statistics such as open rate and click through rate. First we need to understand some terminology –
This is the total emails you send, nice and simple.
Delivered Amount (percentage)
This is the total number of successfully sent email messages, which is sent emails minus total bounces.
A soft bounce is only a temporary thing, it is usually caused by a recipient’s inbox being full, these sends can be resent after a period of time sometimes automatically.
This is a permanent issue normally arising from the email being incorrect or not valid anymore, perhaps they have left the company.
Open Rate (percentage)
This is the amount or percentage of people who opened your email message, it is worth noting a preview is not an open. Open rate is calculated by Unique opens / Number Delivered x 100.
Click Through Rate (CTR Percentage)
This is the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link in your email, it is calculated by Unique clicks / Number Delivered x100.
Unsubscribe rate (percentage)
This is the number of recipients that clicked the unsubscribe link in your email and it calculated by Unique unsubscribes / Number delivered / 100.
Why your email marketing results may be better than they appear
Now we have some of the basics in mind we can dig a bit deeper into how these can affect your results in a negative way. Take into account this example, we send an email to 10,000 people and we achieve:
- 10,000 sent
- 5% open rate
- 1% click through rate
- 15% Soft bounce
- 20% hard bounce rate
Essentially as soon as you receive any hard bounces you should remove them from your database, some software does this automatically, the soft bounces need to be looked at as well. Let’s have another look at those results with a cleaner database –
- 8,000 sent
- 6.25% open rate
- 1.25% click through rate
- 0% hard bounce rate
As you can see the results have improved, not in total amounts but it gives you a more accurate picture of the results to see how the content is performing.
There are other things you can do to clean your database even further
Check auto responders
You always get a certain amount of auto responders from an email send but are there any you always get an out of office from or an auto responder to show it is not an individual’s address.
These are normally temporary but are another indication of an unresponsive recipient if they are continual.
If recipients show no sign of opening any emails is there any point of keeping them on the active list. This has to be taken with care and might only be done once a year. For example if you send an email once a week and someone has never opened 52 emails do you think they are interested in what you are saying? Only use this under specific advice as each use case is different.
What would the results look like if those soft bounces were an issue:
- 6,500 sent
- 7.69% open rate
- 1.5% click through rate
- 0% hard bounce rate
What are the benchmarks for email rates
Now we have have access to a cleaner set of results you can see if you are achieving what is expected from email marketing. As a general guide you can expect:
- Total bounce rate (soft and hard) 5%
- Delivered percentage above 95%
- Open rate depending on level of segmentation and type of email message 15-30%
- Click through rate should be between 15-30% again depending on level of segmentation and type of email message
More specific benchmarking on the property sector:
- Hard Bounce 0.51%
- Soft bounce 0.61%
- Open rate 20.84%
- Click through rate 1.91%
Benefits to keeping your email marketing database clean
There are two main benefits to cleaning your database, the first is that you have a solid foundation on which to test the quality of your email list and content. The second is cost, if you are not sending emails to as many recipients the cost reduces and the ROI of your email marketing improves.
How to improve your email marketing
We will be covering optimising your email marketing in an upcoming article but one of the best ways to improve your email marketing is to focus on the content that you are sending to people. It is proven that emails linked to services and sales perform a lot worse that ones with relevant content to the recipient and not linked directly to a sales message. After all it is engagement that should be the main goal in any email marketing campaign, you just need to produce some engaging property market content that your audience will be interested in.