A new study by media corporation Thompson Reuters proves that email marketing is the most effective marketing channel for accounting firms, and their statistics can easily be extrapolated to any industry sector since the report proves that not only is email usage at an all-time high, but that the average professional spends 50% of their working day using email. Some of the highlights of the report include:

  • 87% of American consumers rely on email as their primary communication channel
  • 39% of professionals send, receive, and check their emails outside of working hours
  • Subject lines shorter than 10 characters yield the highest open rate: 51%
  • The highest U.S. regional open rate is the Midwest at 28.4%, while the South is the lowest at 18.2%
  • Click through rates show the same trend with the Midwest at 6.6% and the South at 3.9%
  • The 1th quarter has the highest open rate at 35.4%, while the 3rd quarter has the lowest at 25.6%
  • The size of sending firm has a huge impact on click through rates: Companies of 11+ professionals score 4.9% but those with one or two professionals only manage 2.5%
  • 56% of email marketers expect to increase their campaigns this year
  • Wednesday is the hot day to send newsletters with respondents reporting 7.2 million sent, vs. 830,000 on Friday and 870,000 on Monday
  • The most active office hour to send emails is 10 am at 16.9%, compared with 8 am and noon which are both below 4%.

The businesses surveyed are planning on maximizing their email ROI through these strategies:

  • 89% plan to maintain or increase their overall budget
  • 65% will integrate email with social media marketing
  • 56% expect to increase their email marketing budget
  • 55% agree that email is their most effective marketing tactic
  • 52% will increase their social media budget
  • 50% will concentrate on increasing engagement through email as their number one priority
  • 48% will focus on improving targeting and segmentation as their top priority
  • 46% will increase investment in email marketing to drive their social media presences
  • 33% will work towards growing their opt-in subscriber lists

The Thomson Reuters report also incorporated a number of tips for savvy email marketers:

  • Auto-responders are receiving higher click through rates than conventional email newsletters
  • Keeping your content relevant and segmentation accurate has a greater effect on email results than the day of the week the message is sent
  • Subject line personalization has historically increased open rates, but recently it is decreasing them, so including the recipient’s name in the subject line is now a negative

However, there are some caveats in the study for email marketers:

  • 70% of mobile users immediately delete an email which does not render correctly on their device
  • 62% of respondents claimed that the most challenging aspect of email usage is wasting time on non-essential ones

Therefore it is imperative to ensure that your email messaging is properly designed and configured to display well on any size of screen through the implementation of Responsive Web Design or other pliable and adaptable layout options, as well as extensive testing on all of the major browsers and smartphone/tablet screens and emulators. Of course your email messaging has to distinguish itself clearly from the sea of spam through wise and condensed composition of subject lines, from lines and preheaters.

An interesting aspect of the accounting-focused study is that fully 43% of all CPA firms sent out their email newsletters once every two weeks, with just 13% sending weekly and 15% sending monthly. This frequency might sound lethargic to email marketers in the retail field where it has become quite common to send out email newsletters every other day, but it speaks to how the type of industry sector dictates frequency. While a retailer with a considerable number of ongoing sales on its products and services will be motivated to keep those offers in front of its customer base, the more staid accounting firm would see such a high frequency as three times a week to be too intensive and assailing for their customers.

Even with the fragmentation of the internet into social media microniches, email is still the marketer’s #1 choice!