Optimize your Email in Three Steps

How one marketer tripled revenue from their house list


Your peers’ biggest email marketing challenge (88% find it very important) is to retain existing customers, according to the MarketingSherpa 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report. Cost-conscious organizations are trying to offset the impact of the recession by keeping what they have.

In our December 2 clinic, the MarketingExperiments team shared research which illustrated how to increase email ROI from your current subscribers in a time of decreasing demand. President Greg Burningham and researchers Boris Grinkot, Heather Andruk, and Corey Trent discussed the three steps to a successful email campaign:

Relevance: What to Say

To help you connect your emails with internally (based on psychographics, past behavior, and the like) and externally (based on seasonality, special offers, and currents events) relevant motivations of the recipient, Boris Grinkot shared a real-world example of how the MarketingExperiments team increased relevance on a last-minute holiday email promotion.

You’ll get extra bang for your buck by segmenting your lists into groups with similar preferences. Experiment #1 illustrated how a subscription-based site with lots of content and no marketing database found a creative way to segment its list to deliver more relevant emails and drive a significant conversion gain.

Frequency: When to Say It

Once you’ve ensured you have highly relevant email campaigns, you have a great opportunity to find the optimal frequency that produces the highest total revenue, since optimal frequency is based upon your relationship with your list. By testing, you might be surprised how much revenue you’re leaving on the table by just using a “best practice” instead of the best performing frequency for each segment in your lists. In Experiment #2, Heather Andruk showed how a Research Partner pushed send frequency to the limit and learned that they were leaving three times the amount of possible revenue on the table with their previous “best practice” efforts.

Metrics: How to listen

Corey Trent provided examples that illustrate how you can discover the real value of your email campaigns by quantifying specific actions and segmenting recipient response. Not only will this help you justify your email marketing budget (especially if, like your peers, it increased at a time when other marketing budgets fell), but you will also be able to better understand and communicate the real bottom-line impact of your email efforts.

While marketers can sometimes be overly focused on reeling in that always-alluring net new customer, don’t overlook a valuable asset that you already have. In the end, getting relevance, frequency, and metrics right can multiply the value of your house list.

Read the clinic summary (PDF) or view the full presentation video to get ideas that can help you get the most value out of the customers you already have.

Download the clinic summary:

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View the clinic presentation:

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You can also hear answers to audience questions that we did not have time to answer during the web clinic on the MarketingExperiments Blog.


Editor-in-Chief — Dr. Flint McGlaughlin

Writer(s) — Daniel Burstein
Pamela Markey
Austin McCraw

Key Researcher(s) — Heather Andruk
          Boris Grinkot
          Corey Trent

Contributor(s) — Greg Burningham
       Gaby Diaz
       Adam Lapp

Production — Austin McCraw

HTML Designer — Landon Calabello

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