Email Marketing Benchmarks Released for Ag & Hort

By Bob West

The many obvious benefits of email-based marketing are inspiring more and more companies to incorporate email into their marketing efforts, whether that means developing their own enewsletter communications tool or producing regular product-oriented blasts.

All the efforts in the world won’t do any good without a quality list, however, which is a key reason so many marketers look to media companies to augment their own lists and rent pre-qualified email addresses. In 2013, Meister Media sent more than 220 different email efforts (we term them eDirects) for approximately 100 different companies. These eDirects were delivered to nearly 1.1 million email addresses, thereby helping these companies reach a wide range of business prospects, from tomato growers to garden centers to ag retailers to cotton growers.

Sending so many different efforts afforded us the opportunity to establish clear benchmarks regarding how eDirects perform in different markets and to learn a great deal about what makes an engaging eDirect.

Here’s a look at the typical performance for all of these eDirects as a whole and on a market-by-market level. The numbers below represent averages for the eDirects we sent on behalf of clients in 2013. As we’ve mentioned before, all digital efforts should be measured, and we encourage clients to evaluate their own efforts against these benchmarks.

BRAND

DELIVERED

GROSS OPENS

UNIQUE OPENS

OPEN RATE

GROSS CLICKS

UNIQUE CLICKS

CLICK-THROUGH RATE
(ON OPENS)

OVERALL

4,899

1,394

824

16.8%

145

98

11.9%

American Fruit Grower

4,529

1,200

737

16.26%

153

99

13.47%

American Vegetable Grower

4,120

1,086

654

15.87%

127

79

12.09%

Florida Grower

5,694

1,276

827

14.52%

98

79

9.58%

Productores de Hortalizas

16,344

5,956

3,645

22.30%

1,356

1,012

27.75%

Cotton Grower

5,026

1,101

658

13.09%

85

75

11.34%

CropLife

3,784

1,628

819

21.65%

133

78

9.47%

Greenhouse Grower

4,867

1,389

835

17.17%

128

92

10.98%

Today’s Garden Center

11,274

2,406

1,600

14.19%

123

89

5.57%

Farm Chemicals International

6,746

3,110

1,619

24.00%

275

330

16.99%

Cotton International

5,941

2,413

1,196

20.13%

124

107

8.95%

The most common question clients ask of us relates to an eDirect’s design. What gets recipients to click-through from their eDirect back to their website?

Truth be told, there is no hard and fast answer. The same design strategies that work for one company may bomb for another. But our analysis of the data from more than 500 eDirects sent over the past three years led us to draw the following conclusions regarding the keys to generating the most click-through activity from your eDirect:

  1. Serve your audience! Growers and retailers live and die with the products they use, so a product-focused eDirect can certainly create engagement. But eDirects delivering solution-oriented content that speaks directly to growers’ needs generally maximizes interest and click-through activity. Don’t simply tell the audience about your product’s features – focus on the benefits to them. How will your product save them time or money? How can they improve their efficiency? Or, ideally, what successes have their peers realized from this product?
  2. Maximize the number of links. More links in an eDirect generally equate to more visits to your website. Don’t artificially limit yourself to thinking each eDirect can only include one link or only link to one URL. Different customers will be interested by different information, so include a range of links in the eDirect, even if they go to the same URL. And be sure that any graphics / images are set up as links – people click on pictures, too!
  3. Educate! Many companies use email efforts to announce their presence at upcoming trade shows or events and encourage the recipients to visit them. This is an understandable strategy, but it’s not going to create the same number of click-through visits that can be generated from an eDirect offering the highlights from a presentation your technical experts delivered.

Your audience is always looking to boost sales or cut costs. Keep that in mind when you design your eDirect and the desired results will likely follow.

The author is Director of Interactive Sales for Meister Media and a resource for helping you maximize the value of your email marketing efforts. He can be reached at 440-602-9129 or bwest@meistermedia.com.

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