We’ve taken a look at all the email marketing campaigns that our clients sent over the 2016 calendar year, to get an insight into email marketing and recipient behaviour.

Email marketing is a very cost effective method to reach out to existing customers, and subscribers, in a meaningful and timely manner. Our most innovative clients use email to achieve a number of business and marketing objectives, throughout the year.

Benefits of email marketing

Monthly email newsletters

The most common use amongst our clients. Monthly newsletters, done well, can be a great way to encourage customers to continue to return, and be brand ambassadors for you.

Drip email campaigns

Imagine having a customer buy a product off your e-commerce site, and then receive an email later, asking how they found the product, and a few weeks after that, asking for a review now that they have had a chance to use it.

Email autoresponders

The simplest of systems; sending a reply email, either immediately or a little later, to say that you have received their email, and will get back to them within a certain period of time.

One off customer outreach

These are great, to announce a new service or product, touch base on current news or industry changes. We use them for special events, such as Christmas or holidays as well.

Date based emails

Sending an email on the recipient’s birthday, or on the anniversary of their relationship with your business, or another specific recurring date.

Email marketing is the king of the marketing kingdom with a 3,800% ROI and $38 for every $1 spent. – Campaign Monitor

Further email marketing reading

Email marketing is an absolutely great way to keep in touch with your customers and brand fans. Rather than going on about it, I encourage you to read the following posts we have written before, about the topic;

Creating an Effective Email Newsletter

8 Ways to Market Yourself by Email

Now that we all understand the benefits of email, let’s dive into the numbers, and share some interesting insights into what we discovered when we crunched the data for last year.

What 337 email marketing campaigns, and 341,248 recipients can tell us about email marketing

We spent some significant time and crunched plenty of data about both email marketers and email recipient behaviour. Here is the summary of our research, which we share freely with you in the hopes that it helps you in creating your next email campaign.

Email Campaigns by month

In 2016, January was the quietest month for email campaigns, whilst September was the busiest, with five times the amount of campaigns sent. We find that January tends to be a very quiet month, however this is the perfect time to start your New Year marketing.

Another very large dip here is July. The start of a new financial year, perhaps marketers are busier balancing their last financial year, than they are sending new email campaigns.

Email Campaign by Month
Email Campaign by Month

Important takeaway

Work on using email marketing throughout the year – in the busier months, your email is likely to be lost in the inbox noise. A more frequent cadence will do wonders for both open and click rates.

Email campaigns by day

The most popular day to send an email campaign was Wednesday. Mondays and Fridays were the lowest. Tuesday was only a small percentage behind Wednesday, and Thursday had quite a steep decline.

Whilst we didn’t get down to the hour by hour breakdown, the time you send the email also has a large effect on the open rates and campaign effectiveness. We highly recommend trying an assortment of days and times, to find your audiences best time to receive your emails.

Email Campaign by Day
Email Campaign by Day

Important takeaway

We recommend that most customers, depending on audience, avoid sending emails on Mondays and Fridays; this is when people are in switch off mode, and most likely not to interact with your email. This is true of direct post mail as well.

 

Over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, rather than one-size-fits-all campaigns. Automated email campaigns account for 21% of email marketing revenue. – DMA

Email opens by day

The most popular day to open an email was Monday, with Thursday not far behind. Comparing how well Tuesday did in as far as the day to send emails, the open rate being so low on Tuesdays makes us wonder if email marketers should vary the day they send more frequently.

It is also surprising that Fridays did so well – many people say Fridays are typically bad, because people are more ready on the delete or unsubscribe button, since they are trying to finish their workload off before the weekend.

Email opens by day
Email opens by day

Important takeaway

This is interesting, given we typically suggest customers don’t send emails on a Monday. A reason for the high open rate on Mondays could be that it is a case of people catching up with Friday and over the weekend emails.

Email link clicks by day

A click on a link within your email normally means that the recipient is reaching an objective you have set; this could be to click on a product for more information, an article title to read the details, or just a click to your website or a specific landing page.

In any case, email clicks are a very common method of determining campaign results, so it is very interesting to see that the most popular day to click on an email was Thursday, followed closely by Friday.

Email link clicks by day
Email link clicks by day

Important takeaway

With less emails being sent on Mondays and Fridays, the percentages of open rates could be justifiably different. This goes to show that marketers should test everything, including rules that have been around for many years (such as not emailing Mondays and Fridays).

Total campaign recipient rates

The average campaign had 1,018 recipients. The smallest audience any of the selected campaigns had were a little over 600 people. The largest audience was 2,800 recipients. We’ve had email campaigns that have been sent to as little as 10 people, and as large as 34,000+ people, however.

Total campaign recipient rates
Total campaign recipient rates

Of the recipients in these campaigns, 38.13% of them opened the email, and 17.84% of those clicked on a link contained within the email.

These numbers are far higher than the statistics used in this report, for SME email marketing in the UK, that show an average of 24.79% open rate, and 4.19% click rates. Well done to our clients!

Important takeaway

Email marketing doesn’t necessarily only mean for tens of thousands of recipients. The above figures show the average here was a very humble 1,018 recipients. Try segmenting your lists into smaller chunks, and send more specific emails, catered just for that audience.

Data analysis

To perform this analysis, we randomly chose 337 email campaigns sent using our email marketing services during 2016, and looked at the behaviour of 341,248 recipients that these campaigns were sent to.

53% of marketers say ongoing, personalized communication with existing customers results in moderate to significant revenue impact. – DemandGen

Summary

The big takeaway here is to always be open to trying new methods, such as different days to send, different segmentation to try, as well as split testing email subject lines, content and even sender name.

We hope that the work that has gone into this research helps you in planning your next email marketing campaign. If you need a hand, we’re only an email, call or a few clicks away.