Email Open And Click-through Rates? Benchmark Study Sheds Light On CRM/Database Development

Many experts (including this report from Marketing Sherpa) expect email to get a workout in light of shrinking marketing budgets. But email marketing is something that requires a lot of attention to get right. It hasn’t been a strength at many investment management companies previously, and we’d caution against a kneejerk decision to just stoke up the email machinery as you’re cooling off on your direct mail and other print communicating. There’s a high probability you run the risk of burning through some of your high quality contacts.

We'd argue that CRM/database growth—as opposed to depletion—should be the objective of just about any marketing effort. (And see our thoughts on Marketing’s role in helping maintain the database.)

A recent study from Silverpop provides some benchmark data about business-to-business lead management practices (using email). Financial services companies were represented among the 250 BtoB clients whose data were analyzed.

Most relevant to our space, perhaps, are the insights on the extent to which others are tracking database changes. (If you listen closely, somewhere in your distant past a professor is still pounding the desk and insisting, “You cannot MANAGE what you do not MEASURE.”)

The full Silverpop Benchmark Study of Lead Management Practices can be downloaded but here are two highlights:

  • The typical BtoB database is growing at a monthly equivalent rate of about 5% to 10%. “An average size database that isn’t growing at least 5% per month is probably underperforming,” the study says.
  • The study provides detailed data on open, click-through and click-to-open rates by quarter and by type of campaign. You’ll know best whether these work as benchmarks for your organization but one high-level survey finding seems plausible. According to Silverpop, drip campaign response rates outperform single-message campaigns by 2:1 and 3:1 in some cases.

Marketing wants to send even more emails even more often? This is something that the reactionaries in your midst could have a problem with. If you think your campaigns could benefit from two and three times your current results, you might want to call a meeting and enlist Sales, Compliance and other interested parties in collaboratively drafting a drip plan.

The report also includes some data and commentary on form completion rates. One additional thought we’ll add relates to the inability to set communications preferences on most money manager sites. A Kitchen Sink approach to communicating with investors and financial advisors is bound to drive more unsubscribes than if you enabled your site visitors to sign up for only what they’re interested in.

Although it’s not quite an apples-to-apples comparison because none of the offers relates to a step in a lead generation process, here’s a good example of preference-collecting from Thornburg’s site.