7 Stats You Need to Know to Plan for Next Year

Alex Mastrianni

Like most marketers, you’re probably in full-blown planning mode for 2018.

Part of planning for the future involves looking back at the year and seeing what went well and what didn’t.

You need to take stock of the marketing activities that drove the most registrants, revenue, or recruited the most members. What campaigns were a success and will need to be repeated?

We also recommend taking inventory of your average email campaign metrics for the year. Taking a deep dive into the mechanics of your campaigns – like the best subject lines, best time to send, etc. – can provide insight into strategies you should (or shouldn’t) use in the future.

Here’s a roundup of some of the most useful metrics from the 2017 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report to give you an idea of metrics you should measure and strategies you should consider going forward.

Use Marketing Automation

The average metrics for emails sent as a part of a campaign using marketing automation include a 98% delivery rate, 37.6% open rate and 16.7% click rate. Higher engagement metrics are attributed to the relevancy, targeting, and timing of automated messages.

This year’s report included metrics from emails sent as a part of marketing automation campaigns. For the first time, we were able to measure how marketing automation campaign performance compares to “one off” emails. Engagement is higher with emails sent as a part of a campaign.

If marketing automaton isn’t currently a part of your marketing technology stack, consider adding it in 2018. Get ideas for how to use it from these associations.

Send Targeted Emails

Emails sent to audiences of 50,000 or less account for nearly 75% of the email volume in 2016. The highest open rates were generated by smaller, more targeted audiences.

The more targeted an email message is, the better engagement it sees. This doesn’t mean you need to segment your (potentially) massive database into segments of 50,000; you can do this organically by using automated campaigns and triggering messages based on activity (or inactivity).

Find the Right Frequency

The number of monthly emails sent to subscribers has not changed significantly from 2015. The majority of subscribers (86.6%) were sent 10 or less emails per month.

How many times are you reaching out to subscribers each month? Is email fatigue a concern of yours?

Subscribers who receive 1-5 emails each month have an average open rate of 22.5% and click rate of 9.8%. Those who receive 6-10 emails per month have very similar stats, with open rates clocking in at 22.9% and click rates at 9.5%.

Check out this post for tips on focusing on relevancy — what really matters — more than frequency.

Be Brief

Subject lines with less than 10 characters had the highest open rate at 44.0% and accounted for less than 1% of the volume. Interestingly, email with subject line lengths greater than 40 characters accounted for 50% of the volume, yet had open rates lower than the benchmark standard of 35.6%.

Writing the best subject line is a perpetual challenge for marketers. But a great subject line is the essential first step of achieving a conversion.

Winning Subject Lines is chock-full of ideas and tips for creating subject lines that spark action. Get your complimentary copy here.

Mobile Still Reigns Supreme

Mobile dominated in 2016 and was the most popular email client type with an open rate of 41.1%. Desktop email client usage dropped to 33.1% while Web email clients had the largest increase in usage, rising over 2%. 

Is your mobile audience on the rise? It’s a trend we’ve seen grow over the years with association email. Make sure your emails are rendering nicely across multiple devices with responsive design to avoid turning subscribers off.

Link it Up

Emails containing between 3-7 links and emails with 31 or more links had click rates greater than the 2016 benchmark average. Emails containing 8 or more links represent 80% of the email sent volume.

Don’t be afraid to make your call-to-action loud and clear; in fact, we highly suggest that!

Our designers recommend testing out links at the top, middle, and bottom of your email, because all subscribers engage with messages differently. Even if you’re linking to the same landing page or form over and over again — it’s okay. Make it easy for readers to go where you want them to.

Test your Send Time

Emails sent in late afternoon had the highest open rate of 36.5%. Emails sent midday still account for the largest percentage of emails sent and have the highest click rate. Friday had the highest open rate of 36.7% and highest click rate of 16.2%.

What days do you typically send your emails? Do you always send Wednesday at 9am, or do you mix it up? Can you test out new send days and times?

If so, try Friday, or late afternoon. If you are really looking for clicks (who isn’t!?), aim for midday. Get more timing tips here.

Keep the Data Coming

Looking for more association email marketing benchmarks? Get the report that thousands of your association peers have downloaded, the Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report, here.

About the Author
Alex Mastrianni

As the Marketing Manager at Informz, Alex drives the development and implementation of our content marketing plan and marketing campaigns. Outside of work, Alex is a pop culture junkie, ice cream fanatic, and semi-pro vacation planner.