How Can a 3% Response Rate Be Considered Successful?

It has always bothered me that we (those of us who hail from a direct marketing background) consider a 97% rejection rate successful! Where else, in any form of measurement, would a 3% response rate be applauded?

The nagging thought that we were being wasteful with our mailings, and risking long-term customer loyalty by over mailing customers haunted me. So, a couple of years ago, we began testing mail plans based on customer preferences and have seen huge gains.

How Customers Respond to Customized Emails

For example, this mailing tested a customized email focused on a category previously purchased against a sales promotion offering 20% off and a new items offering. The new items email sent to the house file had a response rate of 3.1% and average order of $47.51. The sales promotion received a response rate of 5.3% with an average order of $39.92.

The new items email sent to customers who previously purchased from that category has a response rate of 8.7% and average order of $53.27!

As expected, the sale email had a higher response rate and lower average order. (It also had lower profitability because of the reduced margins and costs associated with fulfilling orders.)

The new items email sent to customers who previously purchased in the category had fewer opt outs, more opens and clicks, and higher response rates and average orders. It is still a long way from where we need to be, but it is moving in the right direction.

Of course, this seems like a no brainer. If you send a custom email to a specific targeted group who has shown an interest in it before, one would expect a better return. So, why isn’t everybody doing it?

Better yet, are you doing it? If not, why?

For more information on how to improve your email marketing, read:

Email Optimization: How Simple Changes Increase Open Rates, Click Through, Response, & Average Order Size

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