Improve your email marketing results
The latest research from email marketing services provider Sign-Up.to lets you compare your outcomes with your peers and highlights tips to help you improve your email marketing results. Read on for insights into how the sector is performing and download the free report for more detail and valuable advice.
When you’re running a pub, restaurant or hotel in the UK, it can be difficult to find meaningful data to measure your marketing effort against and help you improve your email marketing results. Reports on big businesses and US firms simply aren’t that useful for most UK companies, especially those establishments within a specific industry sector such as hospitality.
For the last eight years Sign-Up.to have been compiling annual reports designed to fill this gap – providing a large scale analysis of the performance of email marketing campaigns in the UK. Each annual report analyses around 1.5 billion email campaigns which have been sent over the previous 12 month period. The senders are primarily UK based ‘Small to Medium Enterprises’ (SME’s) who are sending marketing campaigns to fully opted-in B2C and B2B audiences.
The benchmark report documents a number of different measures of email marketing performance, from basic open and click-through rates to more advanced goal and behavioural based metrics. The hospitality sector is one of 29 individual industry areas for which the results are itemised. Contributing establishments in this sector range from independent outlets to well known multi-site restaurant, pub and hotel chains. Whether you are running a pub, bar, restaurant or hotel the report serves as a valuable research tool to help you better understand your own marketing and to benchmark your performance against a large scale review of your peers.
So what does this year’s report tell us?
When viewed across all of the included sectors the 2016 report shows open, click-through and click-to-open rates all increasing on the previous 12 month period. Although fairly basic measures these are all indications of increased subscriber engagement. Unsubscribe and unsubscribe-to-open rates, generally indications of subscriber dissatisfaction, both decreased.
The latest results show that businesses in the hospitality/restaurant/hotel sector are under-performing against other UK averages in key areas.
However it’s not equally good news for our industry. The latest results show that businesses in the hospitality/restaurant/hotel sector are under-performing against other UK averages in key areas. At 20.47% and 1.37% respectively, email open and click-through rates (as related to the number of sends) for this sector are both lower than the averages of 24.88% and 3.42% as sampled across all of the 29 different industry sectors. At 6.51% the click-to-opens rate (that is click-through as related to the number of email opens) is also lower than 10.88%, the average across all sectors. In terms of loyalty, the rate of unsubscription (0.64%) is also higher than the overall average of 0.52%.
The trend is also downwards. The hospitality sector has shown a 15% decrease in open rate and 24% and 9% decreases in click-through and click-to-open rates over the last 24 months, and all metrics show a progressive decrease in performance over the last 3 years.
To be balanced, 13 other sectors showed similar reductions in performance and hospitality was not the lowest performing sector in any of the reported metrics. With a 99% success rate the hospitality sector ranked highly in terms of the quality of delivery (that is the number of sent emails which successfully reached their recipients). The sector also showed a healthy open and click-through rate performance of automated campaigns – that is those campaigns triggered by specific subscriber actions or requests. Furthermore, although the number of hospitality businesses contributing to the latest results stayed approximately constant, the 2016 report shows a significant change in scale from previous years. The total number of campaigns sent and the average sends per establishment both increased, by 59% and 68% respectively.
Another positive indicator is the proportion of campaigns which were opened on a mobile device such as tablet or smartphone (that is compared to a desktop computer). Viewed across all sectors this has increased from 27% in 2011 to around 55% in the latest figures. The top performing sectors show a proportionately higher rate, averaging more than 60% mobile opens, with a peak in the TV/radio/film sector of over 70%. The hospitality sector ranked highly in this area, 7th of 29 documented sectors, with an average mobile open rate across the campaigns of all surveyed establishments of 53%.
the benchmark report also offers insight into their interpretation and practical tips for improvement
In addition to presenting the performance results themselves the benchmark report also offers insight into their interpretation and practical tips for improvement – from how to collect high quality data, email design and call to actions, to how to optimise your chances of a successful campaign delivery.
Given the high proportion of mobile opens, one of the key ‘take-home’ recommendations from the report is the use of responsive design. Responsive design is a technique for constructing emails so that they automatically adapt depending on whether they are read on a desktop or mobile device. A typical adaption is the collapsing of multi-column content to a more mobile friendly single column layout. However, there are a number of other ways in which responsive design optimises the email for mobile consumption. You don’t need to know in advance what sort of device the email will be read on, and indeed it will detect and automatically optimise each time the email is opened.
Although responsive design has been around as an HTML coding technique for some time it is only relatively recently that marketers have had access to easy to use fully responsive email editors like the one included in the Sign-Up.to platform. The adoption of responsive technology is growing rapidly but it currently lags behind the requirement and it’s estimated that the majority of marketing emails still don’t fully address the needs of an increasingly mobile audience.
Precision targeting is another rapidly growing area of email marketing technology – one which is specifically designed to improve levels of engagement with email campaigns. This technique uses audience profiling to build a detailed picture of the circumstances, interests and preferences of each subscriber. This insight is then used by email marketers to deliver campaigns which are much more highly orientated to their subscribers’ specific interests. Profiling by location (that is the physical whereabouts of a subscriber) and engagement (their history of previous interaction) are just two of the many ways that precision targeting can be used to increase the relevance and consequently improve the performance of email marketing campaigns.
Sign-Up.to is a leading UK based provider of software and professional managed services for email, SMS and social media marketing. The full 33-page PDF of the 2016 email benchmark report is free to download from the Sign-Up.to website.