Old and in the Way? Great!

One day I was analyzing an email campaign weeks after the campaign had dropped and learned something really interesting. I usually grab the results of a campaign a few days after it drops so any insights or learnings can be built into the next campaign. But, I had been on vacation for a week, came back to over 800 emails and by the time I dug out this campaign was 3 weeks over.

But it wasn’t “over”.

Pulling the results I noticed that this 3 week old email was still getting some significant clicks. And there were small spikes in clicks on the same day we drop our weekly emails. It became very apparent that these emails were still hanging around in peoples in boxes and when they get the next weekly email it reminds them to open previous weeks’.

So that old email, just sittin’ there takin’ up space like the octogenarian at the diner who only orders coffee but uses the booth for 3 hours – actually has value.

So I did a little study of three different emails in 3 different web properties in 3 different countries and found (I can’t give you specifics) that between 10 and 20% of clicks were 7-30 days after the initial email drop. ¬†Also, 9 to 14% of the total clicks were from unique clickers meaning the vast majority of these old clicks were from people who had not opened the email before. So this is fresh content to them.

So what’s lesson here? This begs for a test. I would do an immediacy vs. mellowness test. If up to 20% of openers are opening after 7 days then any offer that’s “limited time” would be a message lost on them. Conversely, a long running offer could inspire a reaction of “this email is OLD. I can’t believe this offer’s still good!”.

Here’s the test I would conduct: one email has a very strong message -Limited time offer! It should be an aggressive offer of high value good for 48 hours only. Another email should have a less aggressive offer that’s good for 30 days. Who knows? Maybe the energy and spryness of a live hard, die young marketing message is actually trumped by an email that’s old and in the way.