Digital asset management saved the day when our email open rate plunged

Last summer I began doing the email strategy for a company that markets itself to prosperous high tech printing companies. When I set up their email newsletter template, I did what I always do: I optimized the graphics and layout so the email newsletter loads quickly. My goal was for the reader to open and have the newsletter fully loaded, with graphics, in the time it takes to say “one-two-done.” I knew that email open rates are affected by the size of the images in the newsletter.

Over the course of eight months, we achieved consistent open rates of 25 – 28 percent. Our readers, busy printing company owners and executives, often took a moment to reply, comment or share our newsletters and click through to our landing pages.

And then something changed.

In mid-March, we noticed a 25% drop in the open rate!

We were stunned!

Was it something we wrote? We didn’t have any spam complaints. Content was topical and relevant to the audience. Printing executives, at least those who opened, were still reacting favorably to the content. Why was the open rate dropping?

We examined anything that might be different.

That’s when we found the problem. The logo in the header had been replaced with a higher resolution version. I had optimized the logo last summer so it would load quickly and encourage opens. I compressed the layers and removed the section frames in the header of the template. Whatever I could turn into fast-loading text, instead of images, I did.

What I failed to do was communicate that to the newsletter team.

I assumed that the standing header would be copied forward each month along with the template. I didn’t think anyone would upload the header logo each month.

So when a team member went looking for the logo, he grabbed one from the media page on the company website. The prettiest one. Yes, it was pretty, but it was also two megabytes and 300 dpi. Yikes!

One DAM change had changed our email open rate!

Well, the happy ending to this story is that we went back to the hand-built logo that I had created. The template went back to loading in the time it takes to say “one-two-done.” We’re on our way to recapturing our higher email open rate with our printing audience. I can breathe again. Along the way, I learned some valuable lessons about managing digital assets.

If you’re doing any kind of DAM (digital asset management), don’t wait until you have a nasty surprise to establish good habits:

  • Assemble current assets in one secure location that can be accessed and shared via the cloud.
  • Use proper naming conventions to manage versions and sizes.
  • Set quality standards.
  • Define when each asset should be used or not used.
  • Put a repeatable system in place to increase accuracy and make workflow more efficient.
  • Check assets in every version of digital and printed proofs.
  • Share your process with your team.
  • Develop a plan for training new staffers.
  • Write everything down and keep it where users always have access to the most current version of the digital asset management plan.
  • Don’t wing it.
  • Don’t assume other people follow the same production methods you do.

Let me repeat: DON’T ASSUME.

If you are seeing a downward trend in your email opens and engagement rate within your various marketing channels, take a look at your digital asset program and see if that might be a factor. All these details contribute to the user experience, and readers really do notice. As you can see, this one little tweak changed our newsletter from being a “one-two-dud” back to a “one-two-done.”

sandy_hubbard_printmediacentrSandy Hubbard is a marketing strategist for printing companies. She builds marketing programs that can be sustained over the long haul, with affordable tools and your own people…and without stress! Find Sandy on Twitter at @sandyhubbard each Wednesday at 4 PM ET, assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn @PrintMediaCentr with a lively online discussion for printers and those who love print.

Photo by Christopher Michel via Creative Commons.


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