You can kill a conversation with a heart emoji.
Want to exit a text thread? Tap a heart onto the last incoming message and you’ve pulled the ripcord.
Similarly, lots of in-person conversations end with “I love you.”
What do most partners say to each other before one leaves for work?
“I love you.”
Full stop. End of interaction.
As a business, you need to continue the conversation. You should regularly tell the people on your mailing list how much you love them, but you need to take things further. Love—in life or in a business—is about building a relationship, and that’s done with actions, not just words.
Consider this approach:
“I love you. Let’s go skip stones in the river this afternoon.”
That’s relationship building, and in the business world, the best love letters don’t get filed away in a scrapbook. They generate action.
“I love you, and I thought of a way to solve your problem. Can we talk about it?”
“I love you, so I created a new product to make your life easier. Would you like to hear more?”
So how do you know if you’re building relationships through email love letters? Track open rates and click-throughs.
Open rate is simply the percentage of people who opened the email. You’re up against spam filters, over-flowing inboxes and disinterest. In 2015, Return Path estimated 21 percent of permissioned commercial messages got funneled straight to spam folders and were never read. You can tailor your content to try to avoid spam filters, but the machines will always get some of them.
The messages that do get to the inbox compete with many, many others, and you have two ways to earn an open:
1. Once a person signs up for your list, send a regular flow of valuable emails so he or she recognizes your name/company and looks forward to each message. This is obviously a long-term goal. Everyone loves a message from a friend.
2. Write a subject line that encourages a person to open the email. (We’ll cover how to do it in another post. In the meantime, consider this helpful, lovely gem from Warby Parker: “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring.”)
When you review your open rate, higher numbers are better. So what’s good? Some providers—such as Mailchimp—will list a standard open rate for your industry segment below the open rate for your campaign. For example, emails in the health and fitness category receive an average open rate of 20.06 percent, according to March 2018 stats. This is almost identical to the average rate for all industries Mailchimp analyzed.
If your open rate is above 20 percent, you’re doing something right. If it’s not, it’s time to start looking at your content and subject lines to see if you can make adjustments and improvements (we can help with that).
Click rates are a measure of how many people want to join you to skip stones by the river. You’ve said “I love you,” but you’ve also presented an opportunity for additional interaction: follow us on Instagram, visit our website, sign up for this service, purchase this product, learn more by reading this blog post, spend a little time in our store this week, etc. These calls to action are tremendously important, and we recommend you include one in every message.
Again, Mailchimp and other services will provide stats on click rate, as well as industry averages. The rate for health and fitness was 2.18 percent as of March 2018. The average click rate for all industries was 2.43, with the best-performing industries generating a click rate of just under 5 percent. These are low numbers, but every click is gold to a business: The client is meeting you on the riverbank with rocks in hand. You’ve succeeded in connecting with a person and motivating him or her to do something beyond reading your email.
Clicks mean someone is interested, and even if that person doesn’t buy a product or service right now, he or she wants to know more. Maybe he needs directions to the riverbank. Maybe she needs some instructions on how to skip stones. Maybe he thought about heading to the riverbank but got nervous at the last minute because he doesn’t know where to find good skipping rocks. Maybe she wants to buy a life preserver first. Maybe he or she would be more motivated by a photo that shows a 20 small splashes leading back to a happy person at the water’s edge.
In each case, clever business owners who track email opens and clicks will see an opportunity to continue a conversation that started with “I love you” but didn’t end there.