Email Optimization: 4 optimization suggestions to test in your next send


Optimizing email campaigns is a top challenge in marketing – just ask Julie Platt, E-Marketing Marketing Manager, Susquehanna Bancshares, who explained the task is making her team  cringe  as other priorities have trumped the redesign.

This MarketingExperiments blog includes four optimization suggestions from Adam Lapp, Associate Director of Optimization and Strategy, MECLABS, to help Julie’s team and our audience with their email optimization efforts.

Our hope is you will discover some optimization opportunities here to add to your own testing.

Also, to further help you with email optimization, in today’s Web clinic at 4:00 p.m. EST, “Copywriting Clinic: Live, on-the-spot analysis of how to improve real-world email campaigns,” Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, will show you a patented, repeatable methodology you can use to write effective email copy.

Let’s  look at Julie’s email sample …


Optimization Suggestion #1: Headline and copy

Adam’s initial concern with Julie’s email was message flow.

“There is a disconnection between the headline and the product offering.  The headline is about ‘saving,’ so I immediately think of a savings account or an investment product,” Adam said.

Adam cautioned the potential for confusion with the existing language used in the offer.

“The product is a home equity line of credit, which by definition ‘costs’ money. Sure, you save with a lower rate than the competitor, but you don’t realize this fact until the very last sentence of the primary email copy,” Adam explained.

Overall, he suggests testing a headline focusing on precision.

“I would lead off with a headline that communicates the precise nature and value of the product,” Adam said.

Here are a few of Adam’s headline test ideas:

  • “Save money with a low-interest line of credit”
  • “1.99% – A new low rate for the New Year”
  • “Support your Resolution with a low-interest line of credit.”

Optimization Suggestion #2: Eliminate banner blindness

Adam explained the banner does not support the offer and should be removed.

“What does it accomplish to have a huge blue banner?” he asked.

Adam suggested testing colored text in place of the banner: “I think you could simply put a blue and green headline centered across the top of the email in HTML text.”

He also explained the hidden benefits in testing an email without the banner.

“Removing the banner would also move the greeting ‘Dear Julie’ higher up on the email so visitors can immediately realize the prior relationship and relevancy,” he said.


Optimization Suggestion #3: Value proposition

One of the toughest elements to test is the value proposition of an offer, but, as Adam explained, little to no value in an offer is going to see little to no clickthrough rate.

“In order to get a click, the value exchange needs to be increased. Currently, there is no value communicated except for ‘saving’ on what I can only assume is a low rate, which is not even stated,” Adam said.

The value proposition in your offer should answer the question, “If I am you ideal customer, then why should I buy from you?” or in Julie’s situation, “What is it about this loan or your bank that should make me want to click through?”

Adam also sheds light on an interesting point about the offer as it currently stands …

“Currently, only the recipients that are ready at the precise moment they receive the email have a high chance of clickthrough,” he said. “What about the other people? What about people who need to be educated or sold?”


Optimization Suggestion #4: Have an offer that provides too much

Adam acknowledged at the heart of value exchange is an actual exchange. If you want potential customers to act upon your offer, you have to offer them something of equal or greater value in return for their time and effort.

“Give them some value to justify the time and effort it takes to click through and ignore all the other emails in their inbox along with all the other daily responsibilities they may be thinking about or doing,” Adam said.

The value exchange in your offer should also consider those customers who are not ready to engage your offer because they lack information.

“For the people who need to be educated, don’t just sell them on a line of credit – sell them on a free guide or a home equity calculator,” he explained.

According to Adam, value exchange also stems not just from optimization or value proposition development, but ultimately from your perspective on customer service. His suggestion …

“Be their helpful ambassador, not their slimy salesperson.”


Related Resources:

Email Copywriting Clinic: Live, on-the-spot-analysis of how to improve real-world marketing campaigns (MarketingExperiments Web clinic registration – Today, February 6, 2013 at 4 p.m. EST/20:00 UTC)

Timing and Email Marketing: Sunday generated 23% higher clickthrough than Tuesday in test

Marketing Research: Top email elements to test

Conversion Window: How to find the right time to ask your customer to act

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