Crowdsourced benchmarks – An experiment in statistics

Crowdsourced benchmarks – An experiment in statistics

I’ve worked in email marketing for a very long time, and year after year, client after client the same questions always arise.

1. How am I doing compared to my closest competitor?
2. How am I doing compared to the rest of the industry?
3. How do I know if my campaign was good or bad?
4. Is this open % good?

It’s clear there is a real desire for this kind of data. In fact many organizations release very expensive benchmarking reports every year because of this desire. I’ve been purchasing the Marketing Sherpa report for years. I’ve also been know to use the Email Experience Councils quarterly guide from time to time.  The problem I have always found with these guides is that they tend to always have a feeling of a bit of vendor bias, with this it’s incredibly difficult to understand how accurate the results are. And if the results aren’t accurate what’s the point in comparing against them? But it’s always been the only resource we had, so like other marketers I kept using them.

A little while ago I was toying with the thought of crowdsourcing report data. I figured there was nothing more accurate then going to the source of the data, the marketers who are doing the work. I also thought marketers would be willing to share their report data in exchange for seeing how it compared against others. So after a few week of work with my good buddy @DaveTosh , was born.  Things are going well so far, and I figure if a bunch of people hop on board we could have a really nice resource for those working in the Email Marketing world.




Email Marketing in Canada – It’s Alive and Well!

I recently attended the Conenct Global tour event in Toronto presented by our friends over at ExactTarget, it was amazing to see how well attended this event was. It’s no surprise, but email marketing is alive and well in Canada. Hundreds of marketers attended looking for the latest information on email best practices, benchmarks, technologies etc. ET released a head exploding amount of numbers during the day, but a few really stood out for me. Check out these stats below, they really are showcasing the power of email in the Canadian market:

  • 93% of online Canadian consumers (age 18 and older) subscribe to an email.
  • 43% of subscribers do so to keep up to date with a company’s products, services or offerings.
  • 62% of online Canadians own a smartphone.
  • 65% report checking their email via the device at least once per day.
  • ROI for email was $28.50 in sales generated for every $1 of spending. (eMarketer)
  • People want to be communicated via email more than any other channel.



Look at this Crazy and Insane Unsubscribe Page!

So somehow I started receiving email from the NAPCO, not sure if I subscribed previously but in any event I wasn’t interested in staying on their subscriber list.  Today I went to unsubscribe and received this absolutely crazy and insane unsubscribe process.

First off I land on page that instructs me to follow their “easy” process and to get started simply enter my email address and select my unsubscribe options from the next page. (This is already terrible, best practices should allow for a quick and easy way for a subscriber to Opt Out.)

1. Step One

2. Step Two (This is crazy)

The second step is the most insane Opt out page I have ever seen. In order for me to Opt Out of all communications from NAPCO I would need to check 149 different boxes. WTF are these people thinking? At this point it’s way easier for me to just report the sender as SPAM, and let my ISP do the filtering.


Unsubscribe pages should be as simple as possible, remember the subscriber has already made the decision that they no longer want to receive your mail. No sense in making it any harder for them. Remember folks, it’s not about list size, it’s about list quality.

Size Matters! Success with shrinking subject lines.

For as long as I can remember email marketing professionals have preached that the best practice for subject line length falls somewhere in the range of 30 and 70 characters.  However as consumers continue to get hit and engage with micro content on Twitter and Facebook, it appears they are becoming more engaged with shorter subject lines as well.  Recent studies have shown that subject lines that contain 10 characters or less enjoyed 38% higher open rates than the average.

Make sure to always use subject line testing in your campaigns. Play around with shorter, longer, and quirky subject lines until you find your sweet spot!

Time to break the rules : Brooks Brothers

Recently received this great campaign from premium retailer Brooks Brothers featuring a massive stack of their signature spring polo collection. This email really pushes the limits on the typical “above the fold” approach that most email markets tend to still follow. Doing this helped make this email stand out in my email box, it was different from the norm.

Simply being different resulted in increased engagement, that’s why its ok to break the rules every once in a while. The best thing about email marketing is the ability to test drastic new approaches without a huge level of increased effort, so don’t be scared! Break the rules, try new things, try to be different and stand out in the inbox.

Ps. This email was especially effective on touch screen devices (Phones, Tablets), scrolling the email with a flip of a finger made for a fun and colorful experience!

5 days of workweek style made easy. – Banana Republic

Received another well done email today from  Banana Republic. Focusing on creating an entire week of workday wardrobe for the recipient. An excellent way of featuring multiple products, without using the same old boring product shots. Not to mention excellent targeting, I received this email on a Monday right after work. (Perhaps they thought I would be heading to the mall to shop.)

Email design when given some thought can really stand out in the inbox. Love it.


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