PI or student, who opens our email?

In Email Marketing by Xu CuiLeave a Comment

When we are sending a cold email to a lab introducing our products or service, we might wonder who is the best person to reach out, the boss (PI), or the students or postdocs who do the actual experiments? Or does it matter?

We analyzed the open rate of an email campaign sent to ~12,000 contacts. We do not know if a contact is PI or not directly, but we can use his position in the author list in his publication as an indicator. Usually the last author is the PI, and first author is the student/postdoc. Out of these 12K contacts, ~24% are PIs (last author), and ~$28% are students and postdocs (first author).

And here is the result (open rate for each author position):

Author PositionNumber
of Contacts
PercentageNumber
of Opens
Open Rate
Last Author311024%48215.5%
First Author360128%67218.7%
Second Author7786%14518.6%
Third Author4283%8018.7%
Other484138%77916.1%

We can see that the open rates (last column) are similar regardless of the author position. So in terms of email opens, they perform equally well!

We have another analysis on the “Reply” rate, where we found the last author (PI) are more likely to reply a cold email than the first author (student/Postdoc). Please feel free to check the article out.

Lesson learned:
1. PIs and students are equally likely to open marketing emails.

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