Mailers are like long-term relationships

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Mailers are like long-term relationships
Posted on August 25, 2016 by Braden MacDonald

Reading Time: 4 minutes

You know the story. Boy asks the girl on a date – girl says no. Boy continues to ask – girl still says no. Then one day, after continuous effort, embarrassing overlooks, and trial and error, she finally says yes – and it turns out it was well worth it – they get on brilliantly. Mailer campaigns work the same way. If you’re new to the mailer game, you’re probably disappointed by the immediate results. You wasted your precious time and money for what – 10 measly opens? Don’t give up just yet.

We’re going to answer two very common concerns regarding email marketing: 1) What should I expect from the results? 2) How frequently should I send mailer campaigns?

First, it’s important to remember that mailers don’t work as a short-term goal. They start out slow with very low numbers, especially if you’ve purchased your database from a list rather than growing it organically through networking. The people on this purchased list don’t know you; it’s kind of like buying your friends. You need to introduce yourself slowly and encourage them to get to know you better- similar to the boy likes girl scenario. It takes time.

In terms of anticipated results, it’s also important to note that average open rates and click rates will vary from list to list. They will also be custom to your industry, company size, list size, and several other factors. The B2B service mailer benchmark for average open rates is 19.9% and the average click rate is 2.25%. But what does this mean? An open rate tells you how many emails were opened by subscribers. It’s important to note that subscribers included in this percentage are only those that have loaded the image among the delivered campaigns. You know how you often need to press ‘download images’ in most mailers (see photo below)? That’s what we’re talking about. The click rate is also important to keep track of, but again, please don’t be discouraged in the beginning. The click rate tells you the number of successfully delivered emails that registered at least one click.

mailer screenshot

So why pay attention to these if the results are so discouraging in the beginning? Open and click rates will give you a general idea of how your mailer campaigns are performing. Tracking these reports will also help you determine what aspects you need to focus on improving. For example, a high open rate could indicate that your subject lines are strong. Otherwise you may need to consider revising your subject lines to resonate better with your target audience. If your click rate is low, it may mean your message content is not very attractive to your target audience and may need adjusting. Therefore, it’s very important to review your email campaign reports in order to consider the factors that may be hindering your results – and adjust accordingly.

Even if you’re using a list that has been grown organically, you most likely won’t get stellar results in the first several attempts. This is where the subject of frequency comes into play. If you have not communicated on a regular basis with your list or via email before, you need to build your relationship and follow up gradually and persistently. With this in mind, the answer to ‘How often should I send my mailers?’ comes with a complicated answer.

Actually, there isn’t really a ‘right’ answer at all. Your email campaign frequency should match your company and your audience. We recommend sending, at minimum, one mailer every month to your entire database. This mailer should be focused on them, on what will be genuinely interesting and helpful to them, as well as sharing some of your own news so as not to be too impersonal (you are building a relationship with other people after all). The monthly mailers are a good start; they keep your company salient, meaning you are consistently there in the back of their mind. Just seeing your name in their inbox, without actually opening the email, will help ensure potential clients don’t forget you. At the end of the day, regular mailers are one of the best ways to maintain top-of-mind awareness. Therefore, inactive subscribers are still, very much, worth the effort.

However, if you have the content and relevant information to share with your list, you should send mailers more frequently to strengthen your relationship. Only do this, however, if you have the ability to generate enough content – never send your audience something that won’t be valuable to them, or isn’t well-thought-out by you. You can test your audience by starting to email more frequently and closely following the reports to see how your audience is reacting (open and click rates). If your list is interacting, keep going; otherwise adjust accordingly. Overall, the more frequently you send mailers, the more value you’re offering and the more you’re building your relationship with potential clients. Therefore, we encourage you to experiment.

So please, market researchers, always remember that mailers are like long-term relationships. They need a lot of time and attention to prosper. We urge you not to give up at the sight of poor results in the beginning, as we truly believe mailers are one of the best ways to create top-of-mind awareness and generate leads.