How Long Is Your Autoresponder Cycle?

March 25, 2019

Autoresponder emails are a simple way of automating email, but how long should they be? A new report from GetResponse suggests that short and sweet is better – while open (96%) and click (39%) rates on single-message cycles are very high, those with more than 3 messages see a marked drop-off in response rates.

Many marketers seem to be following the data in this regard, as more than one-third (34.5%) of autoresponder cycles only send one message, with more than half (53%) consisting of three messages or fewer. The often-used breed of single autoresponder email – the simple welcome message – enjoys good results in line with the method as a whole, achieving a 84% open rate and a CTR of 26%. But research has not been unanimous in its support of this tactic, with data from ReturnPath highlighting that 16% of welcome messages hit the spam folder.

As a tactic, autoresponders come second only to triggered emails in their effectiveness. While open rates on triggered emails approach 50% and click rates exceed 10%, on average, autoresponder emails see an open rate of 33% and a CTR of close to 7%. Given the figures cited above for shorter cycles, it suggests that the volume sent at the long end of the tail is holding back the performance of the tactic as a whole.

Legal Services and Publishers See the Highest Landing Page Conversion Rates

A prerequisite of running email campaigns is to acquire email addresses. Landing pages are one such tactic, and the data from GetResponse highlights significant differences between industries in their success in capturing emails.

Legal Services was the industry that enjoyed the highest average landing page conversion rate during the H2 2018 period of analysis, at 11.56%, followed by Publishing (11.28%), Communications (10.78%) and Sports & Activities (9.49%). Rounding out the top 5 industries boasting the highest landing page conversion rates was Restaurants & Food, with an 8.21% conversion rate.

When it comes to designing landing pages, marketers should take into account the higher share of email clicks from mobile (46%) compared to desktop (27%) or web-based clients such as Gmail (27%). While these account for a scenario when email addresses have already been captured, it highlights the importance of mobile-friendly design.

Marketers should also account for lengthy email addresses, as the study found that close to a quarter of email addresses were 20 characters or longer.

Separate research also shows that the majority of marketers are using video on their landing pages, which can improve conversion rates.

Other Email Highlights

Here are a few more highlights from the research:

  • Only 6.5% of messages used emojis in their email subject lines, however, those subject lines with emojis had a slightly higher open rate (24.9%) than those that did not (22.7%);
  • About 3 in 10 emails (29.4%) had personalization in their body text. The click rate on these messages was 4.2% vs 3.5% for those without personalization in the email body;
  • Personalizing email subject lines appeared to have very little effect on the open rate of messages; and
  • While only 11.1% of messages had preheaders, these messages had a higher open rate (28.9%) than those messages without a preheader (22.1%).

The full report is available to view here.

About the Data: Findings are based on an analysis of roughly 4 billion emails sent by GetResponse customers from July to December 2018, in 126 countries across 19 industries. Analysis is limited to active senders with at least 1,000 contacts.

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