Email Marketing Optimization          Jim Pugh
Overview• Producing strong emails• Maintaining a healthy email list• Using testing to optimize your program• Email testing...
Producing Strong Emails
Whats the goal of your email         marketing program?• Well, that depends on your organization or  company• BUT... we al...
Writing Best Practices• Keep it short• Tell a story – problem and solution• Be timely
Writing Best Practices• Have a clear ask• Everyone needs an editor and checklister• Subscribe to email lists (good and bad)
The Paradox of Choice• People have a hard time making decisions• More than one ask in the email means more  work for reade...
The Paradox of Choice• Non-profit example: “RSVP for an event near  you” vs. “RSVP for THIS event near you”  – Tested with...
Personalizing Your Emails• Mass emails often come across as impersonal• Can connect more with readers by  personalizing• E...
Maintaining a Healthy Email List
What’s a “healthy” email list?• Healthy email lists are active and growing• You will lose people on your list over time – ...
Growing Your List• Very organization/company dependent• Common approaches:  –   Website signups/purchases  –   Social medi...
Keep The Right People On Your List• Anytime you send an email, people will  unsubscribe – cost of doing business• BUT, som...
Ways to Decrease Unsubscribes• Be honest with your subject lines• Don’t email too often (ideally, at most once  every two ...
Segmentation• Not everyone needs to receive every email  you send• Emails should be targeted to people who are  likely to ...
Segmentation• Example: Amazon.com offering new season of  Game of Thrones on DVD  People who  purchased the previous seas...
Segmentation Categories• Action history, action history, action history• Issue interest• Geography• Language, gender, age,...
Using Testing toOptimize Your Program
Why test?• People are very bad at predicting what makes  the most compelling email• Often have several different seemingly...
A Brief Metrics Refresher• Open rate: opens / recipients• Click rate: clicks / recipients• Action rate: actions / recipien...
A Brief Metrics Refresher• Open rate: opens / recipients• Click rate: clicks / recipients• Action rate: actions / recipien...
A/B Testing• Compare performance of two (or more) different  email drafts• Process:  – Identify two randomly-selected “tes...
A/B Testing• Example: Same fundraising email draft, two  different subject lines  – Email A subject line about puppies, em...
Subject Line Testing• Lowest hanging fruit – A/B  testing with subject lines• Think of two to four good  subject lines for...
Content Testing• Can test more than subject lines – different  email body copy• Use same approach: run test, then send bes...
Statistical Significance• Higher test performance  doesn’t always mean  better – needs to be  statistically significant• M...
Best Practice Testing• Your email list is unique – different practices  will work better or worse than with other lists• A...
Best Practice Categories• Sender• Email visual design• Content structure• Landing page
How to Run a Best Practice Test• Use full list for A/B test groups – no remainder• Use a higher statistical significance t...
How to Run a Best Practice Test• Example: Sending emails from “Barack  Obama” vs. “President Barack Obama”  – Split email ...
Questions BeforeEmail Testing Simulation?
Email Testing Simulation• http://rebuildthedream.com/ga-training/• Choice of two campaigns:  – Obama campaign fundraiser  ...
Questions?
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Email Marketing Optimization

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Today, almost everyone gets email in their pocket. But this proximity to your audience doesn’t guarantee action. This class is intended for those who manage, or help to manage, email marketing programs and are looking to increase their outreach. This class will focus on ways to improve the response from email lists. First, we will cover general best practices that are applicable to all email marketing programs. Then, we will delve into how to use testing and data analysis to optimize your program.

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  • Ask people what sort of lists they run: selling merchandise, selling subscriptions, non-profit, others?
  • Who’s familiar with this term?
  • Why of these should you look at to decide how well your email is performing?
  • Email Marketing Optimization

    1. 1. Email Marketing Optimization Jim Pugh
    2. 2. Overview• Producing strong emails• Maintaining a healthy email list• Using testing to optimize your program• Email testing simulation
    3. 3. Producing Strong Emails
    4. 4. Whats the goal of your email marketing program?• Well, that depends on your organization or company• BUT... we all want email recipients to take some action• How do we make that happen?
    5. 5. Writing Best Practices• Keep it short• Tell a story – problem and solution• Be timely
    6. 6. Writing Best Practices• Have a clear ask• Everyone needs an editor and checklister• Subscribe to email lists (good and bad)
    7. 7. The Paradox of Choice• People have a hard time making decisions• More than one ask in the email means more work for readers• Cost of indecision outweighs benefit of more choices
    8. 8. The Paradox of Choice• Non-profit example: “RSVP for an event near you” vs. “RSVP for THIS event near you” – Tested with the Obama email list  100% increase in signup rate for single event• For-profit example: “Get a discounted trip to Ibiza, Cancun, or the Bahamas” vs. “Get a discounted trip to Ibiza”
    9. 9. Personalizing Your Emails• Mass emails often come across as impersonal• Can connect more with readers by personalizing• Examples: Name in salutation (“Jim –”), city in subject line (“Events in San Francisco”)
    10. 10. Maintaining a Healthy Email List
    11. 11. What’s a “healthy” email list?• Healthy email lists are active and growing• You will lose people on your list over time – and that’s ok – In non-profit space, average “churn” rate is 19% per year• To have a healthy list, you need to: – Get new people on your list – Avoid losing the wrong people from your list
    12. 12. Growing Your List• Very organization/company dependent• Common approaches: – Website signups/purchases – Social media – Online advertising – Recruit-a-friend promotions – Shareable content• Buying email addresses is a bad idea
    13. 13. Keep The Right People On Your List• Anytime you send an email, people will unsubscribe – cost of doing business• BUT, some emails will turn off more people than others• Pay attention to unsubscribe rates
    14. 14. Ways to Decrease Unsubscribes• Be honest with your subject lines• Don’t email too often (ideally, at most once every two days) – this will also increase action rates• Segmentation
    15. 15. Segmentation• Not everyone needs to receive every email you send• Emails should be targeted to people who are likely to take action• Benefits: Higher action rates, lower unsubscribe rates, lower email frequency
    16. 16. Segmentation• Example: Amazon.com offering new season of Game of Thrones on DVD  People who purchased the previous season or the books• Example: Obama campaign offering new Earth Day merchandise in their online store  People who have listed the environment as an issue they care about
    17. 17. Segmentation Categories• Action history, action history, action history• Issue interest• Geography• Language, gender, age, email domain, …
    18. 18. Using Testing toOptimize Your Program
    19. 19. Why test?• People are very bad at predicting what makes the most compelling email• Often have several different seemingly good ideas – instead of guessing which is best, we can measure it• Lets you customize your program to work best for your specific email list
    20. 20. A Brief Metrics Refresher• Open rate: opens / recipients• Click rate: clicks / recipients• Action rate: actions / recipients• Unsubscribe rate: unsubscribes / recipients
    21. 21. A Brief Metrics Refresher• Open rate: opens / recipients• Click rate: clicks / recipients• Action rate: actions / recipients• Unsubscribe rate: unsubscribes / recipients
    22. 22. A/B Testing• Compare performance of two (or more) different email drafts• Process: – Identify two randomly-selected “test” groups from your full email list (2,000 people or more each) – Send email A to one group and email B to the other – Look at the response metrics to determine which performed better – Send the better email to the remainder of the list
    23. 23. A/B Testing• Example: Same fundraising email draft, two different subject lines – Email A subject line about puppies, email B subject line about cats – Full list of 100,000 emails; select 10,000 randomly for A, 10,000 randomly for B – Send emails, and measure results: • 1,276 open A and 1,403 open B • 267 donate to A, 195 donate to B – Which do you choose?
    24. 24. Subject Line Testing• Lowest hanging fruit – A/B testing with subject lines• Think of two to four good subject lines for your draft• Test our different subjects, then send remainder with the best one• Common to see 15%+ improvements from tests
    25. 25. Content Testing• Can test more than subject lines – different email body copy• Use same approach: run test, then send best version to remainder• Requires more work than subject line testing, but can give bigger improvements (50%+)
    26. 26. Statistical Significance• Higher test performance doesn’t always mean better – needs to be statistically significant• Make sure email test groups large enough for significance• http://rebuildthedream.com/calculator.xls
    27. 27. Best Practice Testing• Your email list is unique – different practices will work better or worse than with other lists• As a result, few universal best practices• Subject line and content testing useful for single email sends, but not for learning best practices
    28. 28. Best Practice Categories• Sender• Email visual design• Content structure• Landing page
    29. 29. How to Run a Best Practice Test• Use full list for A/B test groups – no remainder• Use a higher statistical significance threshold (98% or 99%, instead of 95%) – may need to run multiple tests to achieve• Repeat test in different contexts to make sure results are generalizable
    30. 30. How to Run a Best Practice Test• Example: Sending emails from “Barack Obama” vs. “President Barack Obama” – Split email list into two, randomly-selected 50% groups – Tested for fundraiser, sign-on letter, letter-to-the- editor campaign – Consistently saw stronger performance from “Barack Obama” with 99% confidence Used “Barack Obama” as new best practice
    31. 31. Questions BeforeEmail Testing Simulation?
    32. 32. Email Testing Simulation• http://rebuildthedream.com/ga-training/• Choice of two campaigns: – Obama campaign fundraiser – “BeingSocial” discount offer• Three different drafts, four subject lines each• Use provided Email Tester to run A/B tests to determine the best draft/subject combination• Pay attention to statistical significance• Note down why you made the decisions you did
    33. 33. Questions?

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