Improve your email stats by sending targeted emails

By Janice Kim and Steven Ke

5 minutes

We know how important it is to send emails, and not just any emails, but really good ones. In 2016, NationBuilder customers have sent over 1.5 billion emails. So, we did some digging and put together benchmarks based on emails sent from our US customers* in hope of helping you improve your email stats.

If you’re in charge of sending emails, you may face the need to increase your open rate, click-through rate, and/or conversion rate. Coming from a marketing background in both the business and nonprofit industries, I, too, was responsible for creating all kinds of emails and returning with results, each better than the last. Whether the email was to spread brand awareness, ask for donations, or invite members to events, there was an expectation to always come back with better rates. For some, that meant sending emails to anyone and everyone as many times as possible throughout a week. Then, folk would see a decrease in engagement... and wonder why.

By breaking down the email stats of our US customers, we are able to show exactly why sending targeted emails will lead to better results. Not only do our numbers show that targeted emails are more effective, but the time and day in which you send the email and the type of keywords you use within your subject lines all play a part. Start off by seeing how your emails are doing in comparison to others within your sector or use case.

*All rates are calculated using the # of emails sent as the denominator.

 

SECTOR

 

Opened (%)

Unsubscribed (%)

Clicked (%)

Reported spam (%)

Bad (%)

Bounced (%)

Political

23.17

0.26

1.66

0.07

0.53

1.86

Nonprofit

29.09

0.20

3.57

0.03

0.47

1.35

Advocacy

22.62

0.21

2.11

0.04

0.51

1.53

Association

25.90

018

2.87

0.02

0.43

2.16

Government

33.92

0.23

2.47

0.04

0.37

1.40

Education

29.71

0.34

3.26

0.02

0.41

1.16

Business

36.97

0.30

4.41

0.04

0.63

1.53

Ecosystem

24.52

0.25

1.98

0.06

0.74

1.99

 

USE CASE

 

Opened (%)

Unsubscribed (%)

Clicked (%)

Reported spam (%)

Bad (%)

Bounced (%)

Win election

22.73

0.26

1.74

0.07

0.53

1.80

Run political party

21.81

0.22

1.53

0.05

0.60

1.88

Build advocacy infrastructure

23.08

0.21

2.14

0.05

0.48

1.56

Grow nonprofit

28.58

0.20

3.62

0.03

0.53

1.57

Equip ambassadors

27.87

0.23

2.58

0.02

0.61

1.74

Engage community

32.19

0.30

3.35

0.03

0.38

1.16

 

If these results are unclear, you can learn more about what these email stats mean in our documentation.

As you compare your email stats with others within your industry, and find yourself wanting to improve your results, consider sending your emails on different days and times. If you’re on the organization plan or above, you can also A/B test your email blasts and compare which emails get the highest engagement. Below, we’ve researched the highest and lowest open rates by time, day, and date.

 

By time of day

Highest average open rate

2-3 AM PST / 5-6 AM EST

30.92%

Lowest average open rate

6-7 AM PST / 9-10 AM EST

23.21%

 

By day of week

Highest average open rate

Monday

26.31%

Lowest average open rate

Saturday

24.92%

 

By date

Highest average open rate

November 13, 2016

35.06%

Lowest average open rate

November 5, 2016

18.93%

 

And here’s the money maker. The chart below gives insight to open rates in relation to the number of emails sent in an email campaign. The data indicates that email campaigns targeting a smaller number of recipients will almost always have a higher open rate than that of email blasts going out to everyone in your database.

blog_email_chart.png

At about 50,000 email recipients, the email open rate starts to drop significantly. When your email blast is sent to 150,000+ email addresses, you should expect ~20% open rate.

This is definitely something to think about, especially if you’re creating an email campaign to raise money for your cause. Our customers’ email campaigns have gained on average 3.21 new donors for every 1,000 email recipients.

However, as the chart goes to show, sending your donation email to more email addresses, reaching hundreds of thousands of recipients, doesn’t always mean you’ll get more donors.

In fact, by measuring raised donation dollars, the best performing donation email campaign by a NationBuilder customer in 2016, has only gone out to 2400 recipients. And, the top 50 performing donation email campaigns have an average email size of 36,000 email addresses.

And, finally, we can’t forget about the open rate of top keywords. Many of you might find it surprising that some of the most frequently used words in email subject lines end up with an open rate of 10% or lower.

 

Most frequent words customers used in their email subject line in 2016

1

join

2

trump

3

tomorrow

4

new

5

today

 

Most frequent words used in email subject lines with the highest open rates
(70% or higher)

  • news
  • important
  • location
  • update
  • tomorrow
  • thrive
  • tuesday

 

Most frequent words used in email subject lines with the lowest open rates
(10% or lower)

  • today
  • join
  • tomorrow
  • help
  • trump
  • extremism

 

As you consider the words used for your subject lines, think about keywords that indicate how important your email is to the recipient.

We know this is a lot of information and that improving your email stats takes a lot of work. To keep your email engine running for 2017, take a look at our documentation and see how you can optimize your email deliverability, better understand email consent, maintain a healthy email list, and understand the results of your email blast.

If you want to do some more testing, see how you can split lists to test your emails. And if you’re on the organization plan or above, take advantage of A/B testing to measure which email receives the most engagement.

Or, if you’re someone who is looking into using emails on NationBuilder, check out our documentation on the communication section, which goes into configuring your broadcaster, sending communications, and managing emails.

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