I am often asked if there are benchmarks for open, click and bounce rates, which we can use to evaluate the effectiveness of email as a channel to deliver our promotions and messages. I recently found a study published by Silverpop (www.silverpop.com) which presents a "...classic list of email marketing benchmarks..."
While I have not yet found anything relating directly to association marketing or membership marketing, I think that you'll find the following interesting and useful as a reference.
In a recent study published by Silverpop (International Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study, Silverpop, 2009), the acclaimed e-mail marketing company pulled a random sample of 7,000 email messages generated in July of 2009, which equated to approximately 50,000,000 emails delivered to 188 countries.
Here is a summary of those benchmarks.
In regard to methodology, the authors write:
"This study examined messages generated in July 2009 by Silverpop's Engage client base. Researchers pulled a random sample set of 7,000 email messages, delivered to a minimum of 50 recipients in the United State, United Kingdom and Germany. Approximately 50 million emails were delivered across the messages to 188 countries."
"A broad set of email message types was included in the study, from promotional to content-based newsletters sent by companies in a variety of industries. Email campaigns and newsletters comprised the message content examined for the study."
"...researchers analyzed various metrics for bothe the Overall category (all 188 recipient countries, including the US, UK and Germany) and country by country for the US, UK and Germany. We did not perform individual country analysis for any of the 185 remaining countries."
As always, the best benchmark to measure YOUR current programs against are YOUR previous programs. However, we're often asked if there are industry standards that we can at least include in our evaluation of a campaign. In light of that reference, I hope that you find the above useful.
This was only a brief summary of the results. If you are curious, I recommend that you go to www.silverpop.com to learn more.