Industry benchmarks offer a great opportunity for our clients to compare their campaign performance, so I am always interested to find new research. Today I read the new 'Email Benchmarking Report' from Digital Doughnut and dotmailer.
Some of the findings offer no big surprises, such as:
- Email is the top channel for delivering ROI - or is it?
- Open rates and click-through rates are the most widely used metrics, by 82% and 78% of companies respectively.
- Subject lines (72%) are the most commonly tested aspect of email campaigns. Only around half of companies are testing design (51%), calls to action (51%) and time of day / day of week (49%).
However, a concern may be that less than a quarter of companies (24%) say they are able to quantify ROI from email marketing. So is email the top channel to deliver ROI? Most can't tell and I feel when they do measure, email is merely the last 'marketing touchpoint' that can be measured.
So should we focus on email? Well, yes. I believe a good email programme is an essential part of the mix. It's cost-effective, can be managed internally or externally, and for top-of-the-funnel leads it is a great channel to nurture (along with digital retargeting and telephone nurture).
It's interesting that the research also indicated email is the channel being used to generate leads (66%) and raise brand awareness (53%). With open rates at only 20-30% for users that have previously engaged, I don't believe you can rely on email to deliver a big impact in raising your brand awareness. This point leads me to wonder: Have marketers said this because their brand budgets have been reduced to focus on lead generation and cover the costs of martech?
There is no clear front-runner when it comes to these primary objectives, but this picture changes when split out for B2B and B2C (Figure 18). For B2B companies, lead generation is very much the leading objective (66%), ahead of raising brand awareness in second place (53%). Many B2B organisations have sophisticated marketing automation programmes in place, with email playing a pivotal role in helping to score and nurture prospects, before they are qualified and sent to sales teams.