There's No Such Thing as "Email Readership"

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

email readershipThere’s a very well-known planned giving marketing vendor running around talking about “email readership.” Here’s what I mean. One of my pals sent me the following. The “marketing” vendor said they garner these email stats for their clients:

  • Average email open rate = 21%
  • Average readership rate = 14%
  • Average opt-out rate = 2%

When I received this I said, first of all… an opt-out rate of 2% is very high. Wow! That vendor’s emails must be borderline offensive to garner such a high number of opt-outs.
Secondly, I wondered why they even mentioned their open rates because they really don’t matter much.  Many browsers open emails automatically so the rate of opens is not really a meaningful statistic.
But what about this bogus phrase?: “readership rate”  
What the heck is that?  There’s no such thing!
I thought I might be crazy so I Googled, “What is an email readership rate” and found nothing on the subject.  NOTHING! Instead, I found the traditional metrics such as:

  • Delivery rate
  • Open rate
  • Click rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Etc.

So the next time you hear a “planned giving marketing firm” say that they measure email readership rates, be very careful because they might be trying to sell you something that doesn’t exist. Instead, you should monitor true engagement. This includes clicks, topics of clicks, time on site, and conversions (inbound calls or emails to you, requests for information, downloads, views of videos, etc).
By the way, if your are wondering how your emails are doing, here’s Constant Contact’s email benchmarks for nonprofits (as of October 2014):
Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 9.40.02 AM
And, if you want to see how MarketSmart’s numbers compare, give us a call. Generally our stats blow these out of the water!

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