I read an email from a copywriter recently, claiming a 35% improvement in response rates for a client campaign. Sounds interesting I thought, this guy must know his stuff.
However statistics aren’t always what they seem and this is commonly the case on the web where bold claims are commonplace. It’s a great place for scammers. In this case the 35% claim was technically correct, but I eventually discovered that the 35% came from an increase in response from 1.0 to 1.35%, which in real world terms for this particular client, only turned into a few more sales. A small handful of dollars…
It depends who you are too. If you are a corporate with huge client database and levels of web traffic then the above could be cause for celebration, even though total response is relatively low. We see this with direct mail and catalogues in our mailbox each week. A 1% sales response on a 250,000 letterbox drop will most often pay for itself. However the mailing size (email or printed) for the vast majority of businesses here is typically under 2,000, often just a few hundred.
It’s also to do with expectations. To me, a 1 or even a 2% response rate is dismal. Our sights should be much higher than this. In the new world of targeted, permission-based marketing, be it online or offline, we should be aiming for double figures. i.e. 10-20%
the response rate was always people who actually bought, not those that showed interest or filled in a web form.
There’s a lot of misinformation going on out there. Big numbers claimed, but when you convert it into actual sales, there’s very little to show. As loyalty marketer Rafi Albo commented in his seminars here last year, response rates can be measured in many ways. To Rafi, who worked mainly in retail (which focuses more on the bottom line than most online stores), the response rate was always people who actually bought product, not those that showed interest or filled in a web form.
So, when your website developer, marketing person or ad agency gives you a response rate figure, ask them what they mean. Is this a percentage improvement or actual? Are these window shoppers, or real buyers?