Feel like your marketing efforts just aren’t getting the desired results? Think you could engage prospects and customers more effectively?
As discussed in a previous blog post, part of the reason is so much marketing gets exposure but doesn’t accomplish much with regard to engagement. And, as mentioned in that post, there is so much more noise now than ever before.
Focusing on email, and MailChimp campaigns specifically, here is a look at real world illustrations of what exposure versus engagement looks like . . . and some tips on how to move that needle from “expose” to “engage.”
A Compelling Message
Think about the way you scan through the subject lines of email. You probably do this differently than you did a few years ago. And, you are probably looking for something different now.
One thing we know for sure is that how people read their email has changed dramatically and quickly. For example, according to Experian’s “Quarterly Email Benchmark Report” for Q3 of 2014, for the first time, over half of email was being opened on a phone or tablet. It stands to reason that this shift alone impacts what information is being consumed and how it is acted upon.
Now think about how quickly you delete email on your phone or tablet as you scan through those subject lines. We all know subject line construction is important, but I continue to be surprised by the number of campaigns that arrive in this fashion:
<Widget, Inc Newsletter> Weekly Update from Widget Inc! 7/27/15
As a customer, I don’t need to know that this is from Widget twice (you only get one point for brand name exposure before the email gets deleted) or that I get it weekly. And, I can figure out on my own that this is a “newsletter.”
A concise call to action in the subject line would be just as easy to use, more effective, and would likely move this effort from exposure to engagement.
The Difference Between an Open and a Click
MailChimp, a great (and usually free for most) email campaign management tool, provides two key metrics in measuring campaign success: Opens and clicks.
Recently, I grew skeptical on what constitutes an “open.” After all, does the use of a preview pane – whether on a phone, tablet or desktop – constitute a true “open?” Is that really an action that the user took in response to your marketing effort?
I decided to look into it. And, after some study of both MailChimp’s documentation and some real-world results, I’m satisfied with how MailChimp handles and tracks opens. It turns out that the “open” metric is fairly reliable in fact.
However, the major takeaway is understanding the nature of an open versus a click. The difference has applicability in other areas of marketing and advertising efforts. “Open” should not be considered engagement. It should be considered, at best, exposure. It can often be a simple preview of the mail message. And, after all, few companies generate revenue or succeed at their mission based on people opening their emails. A “click” is a more solid measure of engagement and more likely to get customers and prospects closer to that action you want them to take.
A click is farther into the funnel. (I’ll definitely use that again later)
Real World Results
Getting back to those real world MailChimp email campaigns: Across two different organizations, I made some interesting discoveries that can impact not only email campaigns directly but can inform wider marketing efforts:
- The number of opens can easily double when the list goes through some level of qualification.
- Button-style links in emails are indeed effective and can help focus your audience’s attention.
- However, it doesn’t just have to be an email with a button. Providing the audience enough hyperlinks in text is surprisingly important too – many actually are reading that content and looking to click (engage).
- Links placed earlier in the email consistently perform better than those placed later in email. Get to the higher value calls to action early.
- Segmenting your lists based on interests, motivations, or demographics and better tailoring content to those groups can easily double your results.
Yes, it seems obvious. But, sending the same message to one large group of people and hoping the right people find the right content is actually how most organizations manage their campaigns.
They also tend to approach exposure versus engagement in the same way. In reality, it all takes time, effort, and some experimentation.
Need help implementing any of the above? Need ideas on moving your email campaign from exposure-only to engagement? Reach out.