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It's an argument that flies in the face of popular belief and will set many a pulse racing, because click-to-open rates have long been the standard measurement of marketing to schools success.
However, is it really so black and white? Surely the role of emailing teachers or marketing to them via social media is also to influence your target audience (get them talking), plant a seed of interest, or to reinforce a belief that may in time lead to a purchase. Obviously, sellers to schools who email teachers shouldn't ignore click-to-open rates as a benchmark of a campaign's success, but there are other advantages to consider, and we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't put them on your radar.
Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn't tie yourself in knots chasing a great click-through rate on your next education marketing campaign:
Nowadays, a whopping 49.1% of teachers use mobile devices to view their emails, and that's because they're busy people. On mobiles, scrolling is actually a lot easier than clicking, so increasingly sellers to schools are including more information on their email, reducing the need to click through to their website.
The lesson here? Great content is everything. You need to ensure that your emails remain a delightful and valuable addition to their inbox. If this is the case with your email, then is it such a big deal that the click-through rate is low?
If your call to action is a mailto link (i.e. it opens a prepopulated email) then it won't register as a click - even though it is one. Therefore, if you and your team are kept busy post-campaign following up good quality email responses, who cares if you've got a low click-through rate?
Sometimes, you just want teachers to respond to your email and, let's face it, good quality dialogue with your target audience is about as good as it gets. So, if your campaign generated 50 good email replies, but had a woeful click-through rate, that's still success. Right?
What's a good impression worth?
Even when teachers don't click-through to your website, simply seeing your email has raised your profile, particularly if you have targeted your audience correctly. So, concentrate more on getting your open rates up and stop sweating so much over your click-through rate. As long as the campaign is being opened by your target audience, you can rest assured that your email is getting face-to-face time with decision makers.
Brand awareness might not increase your click-through rate, but it does start to establish a reputation. So, the more teachers that see your brand, the more likely they are to consider you when they are at the point of making a purchase. We often hear from clients who see an increase in branded terms and keyword searchers during a campaign, which suggests that, while teachers haven't always clicked through, they are still getting the message, and are interested enough to find out more.
Unfortunately, even your biggest fan may not have time to click on your email, choosing to check it out later on your website.
Teachers may also browse review sites, ask friends about you on social media, or (and perish the thought) look up competitors. Though not all of these efforts will lead to a purchase (and any that do will be tough to track), they still need to be considered when measuring the value of a campaign. A missed 'click' isn't necessarily a missed sale.
Remember to measure your 'post view conversions' because it will take into account that teachers may see your email, but act later - maybe with a search, a visit, or a purchase - but not immediately, and it's not directly measurable.
A new metric, known as the 'hover' appears to reinforce our belief that click-through rates aren't the only factor to be considered during an email or social media campaign to teachers.
As the name suggests, 'hovering', or lingering for a period of time over an ad or email appears to show interest, even if interested parties don't physically click. Research indicates that longer periods of hovering increase the likelihood that the viewer will make a purchase at some point.
This theory is at loggerheads with those championing click-through rates as the 'be-all and end-all', since they assume interested people will just click through. This metric seems to support the notion that a sale may happen at a later date (and as a result of the email or social ad), but not necessarily via the click-through mechanism.
So, although it can be disheartening to see low click-through rates when you're running a digital marketing to schools campaign, it's important that your focus is not too firmly fixed on this alone.
The value of a persuasive email or social ad reaching the right person, in the right mindset, cannot be overstated. The overriding aim of an campaign is to drive action that leads to a purchase, but not solely in the form of click-throughs.
So, stop sweating on your click-through rates and start focusing more on opens and impressions!
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