E-marketing insights
for B2B bankers from Vince DiPaolo
FPS | The Experts in Loyalty-Building Financial Communications
Your One Stop Resource for Online & Paper Newsletters

September 2005
Open rates down but click-to-purchase ratios rise

Recent research indicates that open rates for marketing e-mails are down significantly but also that the e-mails which are being opened and read are leading to more purchases.

Open rates declined an average of 26.5% to average 30.2% across all industry sectors, according to first quarter 2005 statistics released this summer by DoubleClick, a provider of digital advertising technology and services. These figures are based on the tracking of more than 2.5 billion permission e-mail messages sent by clients of DARTmail, an e-mail service company.

Impact of image blocking filters

DoubleClick blames the open-rate decline on image blocking filter mechanisms implemented by many of the larger Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

The good news for financial services e-marketers is that they fared much better than the average, with open rates only dropping 13.5%. The average open rate for financial services marketing e-mails exceeded the average as well, at 34.3%.

Click-through rates (CTRs) across all industry sectors showed some decline from last year, falling 6%. Even so, the financial services industry maintained a healthy 10.3% CTR, leading all other industries surveyed (including consumer, travel, retail and publishing).

According to DoubleClick, the dip in open rates, combined with the stable CTRs, suggests that quality content is driving the response once an e-mail is opened.

More effective e-mailing

This opinion is supported by the click-to-purchase ratio numbers in DoubleClick’s research. Purchasing action in direct response to permission e-mail messages was up 24% from last year, at 4.1%.

Finally, bounce rates for permission e-mails are at an all-time low in all business categories with an average of just 8.3%, the research indicates. This figure is nearly 26% lower than at the same time last year. A key factor contributing to lower bounce rates has been careful adherence to common ISP filters.

Return Path, an e-mail performance management company, offers these tips for giving your permission e-mails the best chance of being delivered in light of these ISP filters:

  • Keep your e-mail lists clean and up to date. Bouncebacks from bad or outdated e-mail addresses may raise a red flag with ISPs and put you on their "spammer" list.
  • Be sure your e-mail messages are expected by their recipients. This will avoid recipients reporting your message as "spam."
  • Honor unsubscribes promptly.

To view the original DoubleClick Report on e-mail trends, click on the following link: http://www.doubleclick.com/us/knowledge_central/documents/RESEARCH/dc_q105emailtrends_0506.pdf

A new approach to white papers

In the June edition of MarketScope, we reported on the effectiveness of white papers in reaching and selling to CFOs. In research cited in that report, CFOs listed white papers as their communication of choice. They also reported being inclined to pass along relevant white papers to colleagues and superiors. But according to a different recent report, this one from research firm MarketingSherpa, marketers unknowingly may be putting barriers in front of this potentially powerful medium.

The report cited the case of technology marketer Red Hat, which had been using white papers as a lead generator for some time. The company was enjoying pass-along to readers’ colleagues at a rate of 77%, with a 24% pass-along to superiors. The problem was that less than 2% of prospective readers actually registered to download the reports!

To halt this alarming trend, Red Hat made the bold move of eliminating the registration form.

Requiring registration is a time-honored way to generate leads from your white paper, but Chris Grams, Director of Marketing for Red Hat, decided that the potential loss of pass-along readership that came with requiring registration made the price of gathering prospect data too high. Gram noted that of the thousands of prospects who visited Red Hat’s Web site every day, only 50 out of every thousand filled in the registration form. In an effort to better capitalize on its healthy Web traffic, Red Hat also positioned its white papers more prominently on various landing pages, including its home page. Each white paper also now concludes with a more prominent call to action and at least one contact name and phone number.

Grams says he’s not worried about reducing the number of leads that can be handed off to sales. In contrast, he is urging other marketers to think of lead generation from a new perspective. According to Grams, it’s more valuable to have 1,000 people read the company’s white paper—and have interested readers contact Red Hat’s salespeople on their own—than it is to require registration and be able to supply 50 leads to sales.

"The future is not about putting barriers in front of information. It’s figuring out how to better contact people who do want to buy something," he was quoted as saying.

To view the original MarketingSherpa Red Hat case study, click on the following link: http://library.marketingsherpa.com/barrier.cfm?CID=3052

 . . .
FPS regularly works with financial services companies to maximize the impact of their client communications, including e-mail and online communications. To find out how we can help you develop effective strategies for communicating with corporate financial executives, contact FPS President Vince DiPaolo at 847-501-4120 or [email protected]. You can also write him at the following address:


Visit us at exhibit #1428
AFP Conference in San Antonio, TX

We know B2B marketing
and we know what's been on your mind,
because we've asked and you've told us.

Here's what we've heard.
You need to:

  • Build your B2B e-mail database.
  • Cross-sell and retain existing customers.
  • Drive visitors to your site and track where
    they go while there.

Click here to view our demo


Top of Page