Have marketers wrecked the inbox?

Email has long been championed as the marketing tool, and is still seen as more important than social media. Emily wonders whether the email juggernaut has wrecked the inbox.


The sky is not falling – that’s the important bit. However, Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, recently emailed subscribers to CMI’s weekly enewsletter about the email newsletter’s future. He wasn’t happy with it performing at just a “good” level:

“The weekly email performed well within industry standards for open rate and click rate. […] Good isn’t good enough, and we want to be great. To be great (or, epic, as I like to say) we need to do things differently.”

But what’s the industry average?

Looking at Radix’s own open and click rates, I can see that we are within the average for related industries. According to research from MailChimp, the average open rate for email campaigns in the Marketing and Advertising Industry is 21.7% and the click rate is 2.1%. Creative Services and Agencies have a higher open rate at 41.9% and a click rate of 3.5%.

Just like CMI, we don’t want to be average – we want  our enewsletter to perform better. But is it even possible for our newsletter to create higher engagement?

The problem

When I started at Radix over two years ago, email marketing wasn’t quite as saturated as it is now. Last year I saw a huge increase in the number of enewsletters being sent out by companies that I’d given my details to so that I could access their content or services.

Over the last few years, various parties (Marketo, KISSmetrics, CopyBlogger and many more) have proven the engagement rates of email make it a formidable tool for businesses to reach out to leads and existing customers. This appears to be after a period where email wasn’t perceived as useful, so the whole thing could be part of a larger cycle.

However, have too many of us now jumped on the bandwagon and diminished its chances of success?

Have we wrecked the inbox, again, and if so – how do we fix it?

Time to break out the A/B testing

In one marketing meeting this month, we were just about ready to throw in the enewsletter towel, but I waved my hands up in the air* and said, “Stop! Why not try out some A/B testing?”

And so that’s what we’re going to do. Based on these suggestions from KISSmetrics we’ll be testing: subject line, layout and body text. Hopefully we’ll see whether people want something different or are not interested in the newsletter. If there’s nothing conclusive in our data from the first test, then we’ll be testing over the course of several enewsletters.

I’ll be reporting on what happened in a later blog post.

Want to be part of the grand experiment? Then sign-up for B2B copywriting newsletter here.

*I didn’t actually throw my hands up in the air, as that would have caused my mug of coffee to go everywhere.

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