eMail Marketing Critical Success Factors

email marketing performance

We received an enquiry for email marketing recently and as part of our proposal pulled together some email marketing critical success factors too. I’ve summarised a few of these below.

It’s easy for marketers to fall back on email marketing because the costs are seemingly low. However it actually requires good planning to execute campaigns that perform well and achieve a good return on your investment.

Many people before and after this post is published will broadcast an email to an enormous database (aka spamming), achieve a poor response and wonder why. Hopefully these few tips will help you to avoid this trap…

Data Quality

You should ensure your contact database only includes people who are fully opted-in. It is easy to think you can email anyone, but in both b2c and b2b environments you actually need permission to send an email communication.

Of course when you are emailing people who have given you permission to do so, your response rates will be a lot higher than when you don’t have permission. Consider the plight of the plucky door to door sales man who arrives at your front door, unannounced. How quickly is he dispensed of..? Trashing email is much easier.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking consent can be implied too. Just because someone is a client, it doesn’t mean that you can add them to your email marketing database.

Effective Segmentation

It is often tempting to broadcast an email message to a large database in the belief that greater numbers will improve performance. This is rarely the case and you will achieve greater performance through highly targeted data segments. This will ensure your content is more relevant to each specific audience.

For example if you are marketing to small businesses, break them out into different sectors, or job titles. The MD of a dental practice has a different set of needs and wants to the MD of a grocery store, so why not treat them differently. Tweak your copy with industry specific content, personalise it and away you go.

Strong Creative

Email marketing as with any communications medium relies on good content to be effective. This is both copy with strong calls to action and design.

When it comes to the design if you are using HTML keep it simple, with at least one call to action above the fold. It goes without saying you need a plain text version of any content too.

With the copy, bear in mind the importance of the subject line, the headline and the first paragraph. You have this much space and time to grab someone’s attention. If you haven’t done it by then, it’s probably too late.

Landing Page

Email marketing effectiveness has as much to do with the campaign landing page as it does the creative of the email. It is therefore crucial the landing page is properly optimised to receive traffic.

If you are promoting an event for example, make sure it is simple to register on the landing page and clear where to get more information such as the agenda or venue details.

People often expend enormous energy on getting people to click on an email, without thinking about what to do with them when they arrive at your landing page.

Integrated Communications

Email marketing is well documented to work more effectively when integrated with other communications. For example you might consider an email broadcast followed up within three days by telemarketing, or an email to follow-up on a print mailing. These additional communications may help to ensure emails are not missed by your audience.

The campaign creative should be consistent across all communications i.e. branding, messaging, tone of voice etc.

Performance Metrics

The easy metrics to measure are open and click through rates, bounce rate and unsubscribes. Don’t get me wrong, this is useful to measure and can provide some comparative data to assess future campaigns, but can you look a little deeper with your metrics?

Can you measure goals in your campaign such as registrations, or white paper downloads, or requests for information? This way you will create a cost per response, an actual pounds and pence number against which you can benchmark.

I have barely scratched the surface with this post but we’ll be revisiting this topic area over the coming weeks.

However we would love to hear what other success factors you think are important in email marketing. Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • http://www.ontimesharetips.com Jaya Lakshmi

    Often testing is the only way to be sure of which subject lines will work with you audience. Some tests reported by Site Intelligence News (2003) give a nice indication of this. Web analytics supplier Site Intelligence was looking to invite executives to a series of Executive Briefings. They sent different test e-mails in 3 batches with each identical except for the subject line.

    • Andy Bargery

      I agree Jaya. Testing is a great way to optimise performance.

      Simple tests start with A/B split testing on subject lines, or body copy and you can scale up to multivariate testing where you look at multiple variables for each campaign.

      There are lots of great blogs and resources on this topic area you can explore. just google splt testing or email campaign testing.

  • http://www.expediatenerifeproperty.com Lester

    I am have only just appreciated the importance of email marketing and I have found you guidance very helpful, thank you.

    • Andy Bargery

      You’re welcome Lester.

  • http://superaffiliatesreviews.com/ Brandon Markings

    What is a good email marketing solutions?
    I am looking to email 8000 users on a daily basis, emailing them about every 2-3 days by deleting old users and importing new ones. I am looking for a good email marketing solution that would send emails to my users’ inbox and not mark them spam. I am looking for softwares only, or a good and cheap site thanks.

  • http://www.giocacasino.com gioca casino

    one solid point that always come through, opt in, and maintain, a good db, served with what they registered interest in, will outperfrom spa m attempts anyday

    • Andy Bargery

      Opt-in is hugely important. targeting content to align to your audiences interests will certainly help to improve your performance too.

  • http://www.mytop10list.com Aditya

    Hey thanks buddy…you have completely demystified the email marketing concept..

  • http://MakeCoronaHome.com Craig

    Oh… I dunno.. these comments go back and forth on whether email is still effective… I think the post lays it out clearly. It really depends, firstly, on the subject line and then the content. Write a good letter and you’ll get good results!

    • Andy Bargery

      Thanks Craig. Subject line, content sure, but there’s more to it than that too.

      invest in getting a good contact database, building smart campaigns based around value add and you’re well on your way to getting good results.

  • http://earnpointbd.com faruqul

    email marketing is a good strategy but requires a lot of time and effort. The ROI is also sometimes lower than other marketing tactics. What do you think?

  • http://www.prasoudadiets.com prasouda diets

    You must make sure your targeting the right people and sending them things that they want. Email marketing has its time and its place however there are many that misuse it and end up wasting a lot of time and effort (therefore money) making and sending emails that are then seen as spam by the receivers.

  • http://www.brickandmortarbusiness.net Francis

    Email marketing can be particularly useful for targeting buyers who have already bought one of your products.

    • Andy Bargery

      Hi Francis, I agree with you there. For example You could setup some autoresponders to help cross promote related products too.

  • http://www.makemoneyonline2dy.com Joseph

    I’ve been hearing a lot lately about email marketing and now you’ve just demystified it here. I think I should adopt it in my business. Nice post!

  • http://webztraffic.blogspot.com/ Sajjad Ashraf

    email marking is good technique to expand your business world wide.

  • Chris

    For me email marketing is more effective than social media

  • http://blogs.bettor.com Sophie

    Agreed, email marketing is a good strategy, but it requires a lot of time and effort. And ROI is sometimes less than other marketing tactics. What do you think?


    • Andy Bargery

      Hi Sophie,

      You can achieve a lot with email marketing, but it’s not as simple as blasting a promotional email to your database.

      The more time you invest in getting to know your database, segmenting and targeting, producing value adding content etc, the more likely you will achieve the ROI you are looking for.

  • http://www.cleanserevolution.com Michael

    Thanks for this post. The landing page is crucial. If you have the wrong one, all your efforts are void.

  • http://pinoysmsjoke.blogspot.com Nandy

    It’s really true, email marketing is still effective nowadays because all people have their email account… but.. sometimes as a user we tend to hate emails that we don’t, we think it as a spam emails.. so it’s annoying to the users.

  • http://www.jyothitravels.co ruby

    Email Marketing has been very useful in terms of Internet Marketing.Thanks for your post

  • http://www.returnaddress.biz Return Address

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Having the right landing page and a well segmented data base are really important!!

  • http://www.teamaguilar.com/ca_real_estate/oceanside.html Alex Aguilar

    Email marketing can be useful for follow-up offers or special deals to people who have already bought your product or signed up to your service, but I doubt that you will catch any new customers these days purely by email or newsletter marketing. I hate to be negative, but people simply aren’t receptive to email marketing in 2011 like they were back in 1997.

  • http://teleone.in/ Shaun

    I think email marketing is a very cheap & effective way to promote your product…

  • http://www.pakautos.com Adeel Abbas

    Agreed but I think now a days Major Mail Server Like Hotmail, live, Yahoo Gmail has Increased the security and if your are advertising website it may be risky, so i think it better be care full.

  • http://www.sacramento-seo.com Brandon

    In terms of content, I feel like entertainment (even about products or business services) goes a long way to help email marketing.

    • Andy Bargery

      Entertaining or educational content is certainly important, but don’t forget to include your core message too.

  • http://www.divingcomputershop.com Diving Computer

    I think email marketing has its time and its place however there are many that misuse it and end up wasting a lot of time and effort (therefore money) making and sending emails that are then seen as spam by the receivers.

    You must make sure your targeting the right people and sending them things that they want

  • http://www.cyberdesignz.com/ Best web design company

    I have tried email marketing for some period but didn’t got expected success. May be i missed some useful tricks.

  • http://www.cleanserevolution.com Michael

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Having the right landing page and a well segmented data base are really important

  • http://www.jandutech.com/ Jandu


    Lovely post but one thing I would love to know is how we can know that which one have given us permission to send them the mails and which ones not?

    Thanks in advance

  • herry

    sorry to say but i am not agreed with e mail marketing as i don’t think that it is a good tool for marketing of your product as many of people even don’t read promotional emails while others simply sent it into spams and our message even couldn’t convey to that person.

    • Andy Bargery

      OK Herry. It really depends on your market place, but many still believe a well looked after permission based email ist can produce excellent marketing results.

  • http://www.godotmedia.com/ professional writing service

    The importance of including a personal touch in e-mails cannot be neglected. The subject and the opening line should be able to catch the attention of the reader, only then will they go forward to read the whole mail.

    • Andy Bargery

      Personalisation is a big factor too. starting of with Dear Firstname is just an opener.

      how elese can you customise the customer journey? For example can you pre-fill a landing page form based on your contact data too?

  • http://www.marketingforprofit.com.au Mark Campagnoli

    By always providing something of vale. Lately I subscribed to a number of lists from a variety of businesses and people. Some have been great and I’ve stayed on the list. Others have been nothing but spam fests with every email pushing a different product.
    If you want to build a responsive list and a good relationship with the people on it. You need to find a balance between giving them the info they want/need and trying to sell them something.

    • Andy Bargery

      I agree with you there Mark. You must provide something of value, whether that’s through email marketing, a blog, posts on facebook etc.

      The way people buy, whether b2b or b2c markets is changing. don’t be the marketer left behind pushing products when everyone else is building relationships around value led content.

  • http://www.reddirtresumes.com.au/ resume for mining jobs

    eMail Marketing has been very useful in terms of Internet Marketing strategy. Thanks for your post it will really give readers more information about email marketing.