Study: Small E-Mail Lists Perform Better

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Open and click-through rates are much higher for small e-mail lists compared with large ones, stressing the need for list segmentation, a new study found.


E-mail marketing software firm ExactTarget, Indianapolis, collected data from 230,000 e-mail campaigns and 4,000 businesses in 2005 and found that open and click-through rates decline steadily as list size grows.


For example, companies sending to a list of 101 to 1,000 individuals averaged open rates of 42 percent and click-through rates of nearly 6 percent. This compared with open rates of 18 percent and click-through rates of 3.6 percent on lists larger than 100,000.


"The smaller the targeted audience, the better organizations can aim their message directly to their subscribers in their e-mail communications," said Morgan Stewart, director of strategic services at ExactTarget. "This is a sure way to increase response to e-mail communications."


ExactTarget also found that business-to-business senders had higher open and click-through rates than business-to-consumer senders. BTB marketers' e-mails boasted open rates of 37.75 percent on average while BTC marketers had open rates of 29.54 percent.


ExactTarget executives attributed the difference to BTB organizations typically e-mailing to smaller lists. Fifty-two percent of BTB e-mail campaigns studied by ExactTarget went to lists of fewer than 1,000 subscribers while 41 percent of BTC campaigns went to lists of more than 10,000 subscribers.


Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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