How Valued Are Your Email Relationships?

By Ray Parenteau

Hypothetically, imagine your business without email. While that may bring a wistful smile to many of us, deep down we know that email has become a vital part of our daily activity. In fact, even as mobile continues to explode, checking email on one’s phone remains the number one activity—just as it is on desktops and tablets.

The point is that bank customers of all generations are already naturally engaged with email to a large degree. But are they engaged with YOU?

According to a recent 13-month study done by us of email engagement by financial institution customers, the answer would indicate a strong “Yes.”

In this case, engagement is defined as recordable activity by recipients: opening messages and clicking links. Moreover, this latest study measures this activity on a cumulative basis over time, rather than the typical averages and totals found in other reports that are campaign-based or segmented by industry. And, of course, these metrics focus strictly on financial institutions

Some of the key findings show a healthy email relationship between customers and financial institutions:

  • Of the 102 institutions studied, three-quarters have “engagement rates” of more than 50 percent. In other words, over the course of a year, financial customers, on average, open and/or act on nearly 60 percent of the email they receive from their financial institution. The vast majority of institutions (75 percent) have engagement rates of more than 50 percent.
  • Of the engaged subscribers, more than half (52 percent) have opened at least three unique messages over the course of the year, and half of them (26 percent) have opened at least six messages.

More “active” programs produce better results

The study included a broad range of institutions, with varying levels of email activity and sophistication. This differs from typical industry email metrics reports that tend to focus on high-volume, sophisticated programs run by multiperson email specialists. Most financial institutions do not fall in this category (yet), but the numbers indicate that those who take email more seriously actually enjoy better results.

  • The more “active” emailers saw their unique open rates and click-through rates soar, even though that levels off once frequency approaches weekly messaging.
  • The numbers also reveal that, as engagement increases, click-through activity increases exponentially, by more than 2:1 over the 13-month period. Click-throughs are more “valuable,” because they reveal an explicit action on the part of the recipient. Often, that action includes a purchase or other “conversion.”

My earlier article on this site discussed the need to integrate email across channels, systems and strategic planning. Metrics like these continue to support the case for including email as an effective method to engage customers for a variety of purposes, including customer service, education, product information, cross- selling, onboarding and more.

You can download the full report  or view the report entitled, “Engaging Financial Customers Via Email,”  and learn about actionable steps you can take.

 Ray Parenteau is founder and president of ClickRSVP, a full service email communications provider specializing in financial institutions. Email: [email protected].

Online training in digital, mobile and social media from ABA.