Send a bank marketing email out, and chances are 15% never reach the prospect’s inbox. That is not bad considering that it used to be above 25% just a couple of years ago. Bankers have been working hard at collecting email addresses and managing the distribution list. The work is starting to pay off. Email is one of the most effective forms of marketing we do, and the plan is to do more of it in the next year. In this article, we take a look at email marketing benchmarks in order to help your bank gauge your current level of effectiveness.
Bank Trust Matters
Compared to other industries, banks enjoy a higher level of trust, which explains why emails from banks get open more. For starters, banks tend to use more reputable email delivery applications, tend to produce higher quality content and, as a result, tend to get more receiver engagement in the form of more opens and clicks. This all gets factored into a “trust score,” which tends to be higher for banks than compared to other industries. For examples, schools, non-profit, and government entities tend to use lower quality tools and tend to have content that is not engaging. They also spend less time on email design and, as a result, have spam rates around 19% for this year.
This year, 4% of bank emails are going into spam, down from 6% from last year and better than the 9% corporate marketing average.
As a side note, many bank marketers overlook the “Not Spam” rate. This is the percentage of people that go into their spam filter to either read or release it back into their general mailbox. For banks, this figure is about 0.03%, which is slightly better than the 0.02% average.
Conversely, and more important for regulatory and compliance purposes, we look at our “Compliant Rate” this is the rate the recipients report the email as “Spam” to their email provider and one of the components that impact if your email goes into spam in the first place. Banks tend to have lower scores compared to other industries and are averaging 0.26%. We quickly point out that this figure is for all email combined both marketing at notifications. If you just isolate marketing emails, banks run at about a 1.3% rate, compared to 4% for most other industries.
Of course, what banks really want is their emails to get read. Luckily, banks excel here as well as only 14% get deleted without opening, and an impressive 38% get read. This is better than the average that produced numbers of 16%, and 24%, respectively. While we would like to say our industry is a savior when it comes to marketing, the reality is that banks send more emails that are transactional in nature and so have higher open and read rates.
Then there is our favorite email metric, the forward rate. This is the percentage of emails that get forward on to another person. Unfortunately, while banks are better than corporate America as a whole, the forward rate is an abysmal 0.04%. Likely, most of this is recipients forwarding the notification to their spouse, but we like to dream that our emails are that important.
If you exclude transactional notifications, forward rates can reach around 3% for specific promotions and even to 4% for quality content such as a white paper or data-rich email. This is one of the best indicators of quality content.
Of course, the utopian state is if your email application can track “multiple recipients forwards” and you see your recipient forwarding to their network of friends and workers. Unfortunately, these higher forward rates and multiple recipients forwards are rare in banking, but it serves as an aspirational goal for many bank marketers.
What Not To Do
Finally, we conclude by talking about the “reply rate,” which is the percentage of emails that get sent back with a message. Most bank operational or marketing emails do not ask for a reply and are only for notification or include a link to click. As such, the reply rate in our industry runs around 1%, substantially above the 0.06% commercial email average, which is mostly a reflection on the importance that financial information plays in everyone’s lives.
That said, there are still a fair number of banks that send notifications from a “noreply@” address. To banks that do this – please stop. It gives all of us a bad name. You can’t brag how “service oriented you are” and how important the customer is if you send out an unmonitored email. Nothing says, “I don’t care about the customer experience” than sending out an essential piece of financial information without giving the bank customer a clear path to correct the information or find out more.
Putting This Into Action
While we covered how to craft quality bank emails in the past (HERE), today we wanted to highlight some often overlooked and underused metrics that we use to figure out if our notifications and email marketing is a success. One first step might be to get an email client such as SparkPost or others that give your bank quality metrics. Email is too effective and too valuable to have an underpowered email application that doesn’t give you high-quality metrics. After, that honing your emails through testing and then benchmark accordingly will give your bank a competitive edge when it comes to both marketing and communication.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on May 20, 2019