There’s a lot to be said for targets. With a clear goal, a team will have a focus they can concentrate on. There’s little doubt that having targets gives good results. After all, if your target is to increase open rates by 15% and you hit it, or even go slightly above it, you’ve made a success of that particular email marketing campaign. Most importantly, you can prove how effective you are.
Targets can have a strong upside. With everyone pulling in the same direction, a supportive team spirit can result, and that alone is a positive by anyone’s calculation. Given that the target is hit, then everyone can feel they’ve done well and they are ready for the next challenge. There is, however, a distinct downside.
One of the most frequently asked questions in email marketing is what particular percentage is good for a particular metric. If someone new to the craft has an open rate of 10% they could well be confused as to whether this is an acceptable rate or not. Or, to put it another way, can they relax or do they need to work on it?
First of all, let’s make it abundantly clear that you can never relax. Secondly, you should be competing with yourself. Everyone else’s returns are of no interest. The purpose of split testing is to show what the way forward is by measuring against your own performance.
Let’s take one factor where, you might think, there can be few, if any, downsides to setting a target figure; open rates. After all, if a marketing email is not opened, there can be no completion, and that’s the ultimate goal. Increase the open rates and click-throughs will increase by the same percentage, and the same will go for completions. It stands to reason.
The downside alluded to earlier can be demonstrated by taking an extreme example to make the point clear; at least let’s hope it’s extreme. Your next email marketing campaign is intended to get sign-ups for your webinar covering advertising on social media. The last time you tried this, your open rate was just 6% and you lost money due to insufficient sign-ups.
You set up a little team with the target of increasing open rates by 10%. The main problem will be that your team will do everything they can to improve the Subject Line. You might think that this is what you want. Consider, though, how they will go about this. Will they hype the product? ‘Brilliant New Way of Using Social Media Ads’ will, no doubt, increase open rates, but then what.
There’s no mention of webinar. Perhaps they considered that this was what was giving rise to a low open rate. What will happen when your subscribers read on and find they are duped?
If your normal open rate for an email marketing campaign hovers around 12% then there’s a reason the previous webinar one was low. The best way to improve your figures is to discover why with split testing.