Marketers will need to find more innovative ways to reach customers through email as open and click rates continue to drop worldwide, according to MailerMailer's "Email Marketing Metrics Report" from eMarketer (see charts below). Open rates for marketers' emails have declined steadily from 14% in early 2007 to 11.2% in late 2009. However, the decline in click rate--users actually following a link from a marketer's email--has been steeper with a drop from 2.6% to 1.6% just in the past year. Business information groups have taken some innovative measures to combat and, in some cases even reverse, this trend.
Joe Ferrick, VP of Web development at NewBay Media, says he's noticed similar declines in his own markets, but started taking steps to counteract them about a year ago, the first being a redesign of all of their newsletters. "We knew that a large percentage of our audience receives multiple newsletters from us so we went with a fairly standardized template across all of our groups. The goal was uniformity in the look and feel," Ferrick says. He has found that simplicity works best for connecting with audiences. Ferrick's team looked at each of the newsletters in their portfolio and, in most cases, streamlined each to six articles. "In reducing the number of articles we also made the move to only using headlines with no 'teaser' lines," he says.
The net result of these initiatives has been an increase of 10% or higher open rates on more than half of the redesigned newsletters. NewBay plans to continue building its lists with a "more comprehensive registration page" to launch later this summer. The page will gauge users' preferences and present related newsletters to them.
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