What should you expect from your marketing campaigns?

So you’ve invested time and money into a marketing campaign.  What is a “good” result? The following is quick guide to average comparison benchmarks by marketing tactic:

  • Email marketing: Effective email marketing is a multi-step process.  First you need compelling subject lines that urge readers to open (as measured by open rates). Once opened the actual email content needs to incent the reader to click thru to move further down the sales process.  Mailchimp publishes a good set of open rates and click thru rates by industry, as well as MailerMailer, or here is a good visual chart showing best in class by industry. But don’t stop at just optimizing subject lines and calls to action.  A recent study of marketers by Marketing Sherpa found that results are best improved with lists targeted to specific audiences and effective landing pages.
  • Social media: Social media metrics are still in flux with good measures dependent on the social media platform and your business goals.  This infographic presents a good overall view of social media business usage.  The best overall gauge is to look at the size of the audience for your peer/competitor group and then measure clicks per follower (CPF).  A more local owner with personal relationship should get higher CPF than a big corporation.  Here is a great article here with some good benchmarks by audience size.  And this study by EdgeRank Checker shows that on average Facebook post comments get four times as many clicks as Facebook likes.
  • Online Advertising: The average click-through rate (CTR) for in-stream video ads in the US was 1.03% for the period spanning Q2 2011-Q1 2012, topping the benchmark rates for mobile banners (0.87%), rich media (0.15%), and standard banners (0.1%), according to an August 2012 report from MediaMind. Specifically, Facebook advertisers see an average cost per click of $0.80 and average clickthrough rate of 0.041 percent, according to a survey released by Social Fresh.
  • Direct Mail: While a study by the Direct Marketing Association shows a steady decline in direct mail response rates, mail campaigns still draw a better overall response than digital channels. For instance, response rates for direct mail to an existing customer average 3.40 percent, compared with 0.12 percent for email, which is roughly a 30-fold difference. Cost per order or lead for acquisition campaigns were roughly equivalent for direct mail ($51.40), post card ($54.10), email ($55.24), and paid search ($52.58).

And don’t forget to always benchmark against yourself – meaning compare this year’s Spring email marketing campaign against last year’s. You will then be constantly improving relative to your own customer/prospect base.

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