The Twilio SendGrid Email Benchmark Report for 2019 has just been published and ProFundCom has summarised the report for fund marketing.
Twilio SendGrid is a delivery platform for marketing emails that’s favoured by a host of big names and it’s used to send more than 60 billion emails each month.
But why is the report significant? And what does it have to do with fund marketing?
Obviously the report is not specific to fund marketing, as the Twilio platform is used across all sectors. But its significance lies in its sheer breadth. The report is based on data derived from 100 million recipient engagements, from over 100,000 different senders. Additional information comes from respondents to a global survey.
So it is full of insights that are valuable to anyone who uses email to connect with prospects and clients – in fund marketing or any other sector.
The downside is it’s pretty long – and not the greatest fun to read.
But, thankfully, we’ve read it all for you and come up with six key takeaways for anyone in fund marketing:
Email Is An Essential Part Of Life
You often read stories saying that, as social media becomes ever more dominant, email is dead.
But – according to the Twilio survey at least – reports of email’s death are greatly exaggerated.
In fact, out of respondents in the U.S. and the U.K. – and across all age groups – 84% check their email at least once a day. The majority look at their inbox several times throughout the day.
And 97% of those surveyed cited email as an essential communication channel. This was followed by text messages, with social media trailing in at third place. (This perhaps supporting the view that the operative word in social media is social – something you look at for fun – whereas email is serious business.)
As a fund marketer, the popularity of email is good news for you. It shows that an email has more chance than anything of getting through to a prospective or existing investor. And it’s far easier to get across a strong message in an email – whilst also meeting the many compliance requirements asked of financial marketers – than it is in a brief social media post.
That’s not to say you should ignore other channels, but certainly email should be a mainstay of your marketing activity.
When it comes to emails, personalisation works wonders. Even something as simple as adding a first name to a subject line or salutation will boost open rates and engagement, as it suggests to the recipient the content is exclusively for them.
But personalisation doesn’t just mean first names – it can go way further than that. The most useful personalisation comes through providing content and offers that are specific to the recipient and is based on their past actions and engagements.
This is what people want to see. In the Twilio report, over 60% of US/UK respondents said that personalisation would make an email either very or somewhat memorable. Only 5% of people said it had no effect.
And three-quarters of respondents said that irrelevance was their biggest email turn-off and most likely to make them trash the message immediately, or even unsubscribe from the list.
So, you need to tailor emails as much as possible to each recipient. And this is why tracking email engagement is so important. Because, only by tracking what people actually do with your emails can you determine what is best to send to them. By tracking, you may find out – for example – which prospects are most engaged with content about a particular fund. So, you know that future emails should focus on this.
Equally, tracking and personalisation can help you identify and act on cross-selling opportunities. As you can see which existing investors are engaging with content related to another fund or product. You can then send them personalised material that’s related to what they are interested in, thus increasing the chance that the process will eventually lead to a meaningful sales call.
And this process doesn’t have to be laborious and time-consuming. Systems that use artificial intelligence (AI) can now manage the process for you by analysing data to reveal engement rates, and then placing people within relevant sections of your CRM so that they receive the appropriate emails automatically.
Be Careful How You Use Content And Images
The body of any email is going to contain copy (the actual written message) and/or imagery (pictures, videos etc).
And both these factors need careful handling.
According to the Twilio report, people like images in their emails – with 85% saying they prefer to see between one and three images. So, more than that – or no images at all – is a turn off for many.
By contrast, most people (61%) do not like seeing GIFs and videos in an email. So, if you do need to include a video, it may be best to put in a link – so people can watch it if they want to. Including video can also lead to loading problems with emails.
Email copy is there to guide and inform the reader. It should be descriptive and provide your recipients with information about the fund or product you’re talking about, or tell them why they should engage with the links and attachments in the message.
And, just like with imagery, the Twilio report suggests that having too much or too little content are both turn-offs for recipients. Only 2% of respondents said they ideally wanted images and no copy, whilst only 3% had a preference for four or more paragraphs.
This suggests you should keep email copy relatively short, and provide links or attachments for extra information. The added benefit of this is that you can track what your recipients have clicked on and opened.
Send Rates Are Rising and Engagement Rates Are Dropping
The Twilio report shows that the average monthly send rate has increased from a median 7 emails per month to 8.3.
However, the flip-side of this is that less emails are being opened and read. In comparison to last year’s Twilio report:
- Aggregate open rate dropped from 18% to 14.5%
- Aggregate click rate dropped from 2% to 1.6%
- Click-to-open rate dropped from 11.1% to 10.9%
So, it seems as though there is a direct correlation between email volume growing and engagement rates decreasing.
The message is that there’s just too much stuff out there – and packed inboxes mean people are more discerning with what they do and don’t open. And even when they do open an email, they are not necessarily going to click on anything that’s within it.
What’s the lesson here?
It’s that you’ve got to try harder than ever to produce content that is actually of interest to your prospects.
That may sound like common sense (it is) but it is so often ignored in favour of just sending something out for the sake of it. The theory being that just putting your name in front of people is good, no matter how bland the content.
Not true. If you send out boring, untargeted content then you risk losing that prospect for life – as they will simply unsubscribe from your list, or just automatically ignore your emails as they know they’re not useful.
So, you need to offer better content in your emails. And if that means you contact your list less often, then so be it. Sending out poorly thought out emails does way more harm than good.
What Makes People Open Emails
An email is only effective if it’s actually opened, so the factors that affect open rates are vital to know.
The Twilio report shows that by far the most important factor when it comes to open rates is who the email is actually from. 53% of respondents said that this strongly influences their decision to open or not.
Simply put, if recipients recognise the sender – they are far more likely to open an email.
And this underlines how important it is to build an email marketing list, so people start to recognise your company name. Also, it means you have to communicate with that list regularly, so that recipients don’t forget about you.
The next most important factor in open rates is the content. If people see interesting and useful content in the preview box then they are more likely to open the email.
And close after that was subject line. A good subject line will encourage people to open your email – a bad one will see it heading for the trash file. Respondents in the report said they like interesting and informative subject lines, which present information in a fun and catchy way and that summarise what is in the email itself.
Make Sure Your Content Loads On All Devices
The Twilio report confirms something we probably all knew:
Most recipients, both in the UK and across the world, open emails on an Apple device. If people aren’t opening emails on a Mac at work, they are opening them on an iPhone at home or while travelling.
But a significant minority (37% in the UK) open emails on a Samsung or an unspecified Android device. So, you need to make sure that your emails load quickly and display correctly on all devices – or you risk leaving a significant section of your potential audience behind.
And it’s a good idea to actually track what sort of open rate you are recording at the device level, so you can act if there is a problem. You should also track rates for clicks and attachment opens. If you see that there’s a strong rate on Android devices, for example, but it’s way down on iPads – then it points to emails not working correctly on those devices and/or operating system. So, while people can open them they can’t necessarily easily get to links and attachments.
The Twilio report isn’t about fund marketing – its remit is broad.
But it does reveal many interesting statistics that anybody who is sending fund marketing emails should take notice of.
And perhaps the overarching point that comes through when you look at the report is just how important it is to track engagement – and act upon the results.
And, thanks to AI and automation, the process is easier and more efficient than ever. By tracking and analysing data you can immediately see what is working – and what is not.
So, not only can you pull campaigns that aren’t resonating with investors – you can also tweak future emails according to what you know people are ready to open and interact with.
If you want to find out how ProFundCom can help you use digital marketing to raise assets schedule a demo here