In brief Deploying effective email marketing is not a
trivial exercise. With increasing volumes of
Email marketing remains a cost effective and
have concerns regarding email deliverability.
measurable marketing tool. To beneﬁt it must
With ever more email arriving at our PC’s and
be deployed correctly. Some simple steps will
mobile devices will your marketing messages
ensure you avoid common pitfalls:
arrive, be read, and crucially acted upon?
What steps do marketers and business owners
need to take in order to ensure that they
optimise return on investment?
Good email marketing wins over consumers:
Is email marketing still
commentary that marketing has therefore
been redeﬁned, some may perceive that
email marketing has been superseded. Email
marketing’s effectiveness and ROI have been
proven consistently over time. It continues
to deliver good results for those deploying
it carefully, and remains a highly relevant
marketing tool. Ask for permission not
Permission marketing is an established
concept and is of paramount importance online.
Conducting permission-based campaigns will
have a dramatic impact on the deliverability and
response rates. From our own research, n3w
has found that the same design and message
can achieve an average 40% response rate when
sent to an opted in (permission) list, compared
to typically 1% or less when sent to a list who
had not speciﬁcally opted in. In addition to
the call to action being ignored, the sending
email address / IP address is vulnerable to
being blacklisted, leading to online reputation
damage. For these reasons most ESPs (Email
Service Providers) will not allow the use of email is a generally accepted request. A recent
non-permission based list to be used on their study by Pontiﬂex found that only 12% of adults
information to marketers. However 96% of those
surveyed had knowingly and willingly provided
their email address to an organisation in order
to receive special promotions or additional
Harris corroborates the Pontiﬂex study.
Harris surveyed 2,064 adults regarding their
willingness to share Social Networking
information with organisations. They learned
that whilst 17% of 18 – 34 year olds would, this
diminished to 8% of 35 – 44 year olds and 7% of
45 – 54.
There is a clear message for marketers and
Obtaining permission can be problematic, business owners. Online users are willing to
especially for organisations seeking to prospect receive valuable communications via email from
for new clients via email campaigns. A list of brands, but not through social media channels
email addresses purchased from a list broker at this time. Despite the popularity of real time
does not constitute an opted in list. The email
addresses supplied to you have not speciﬁcally to offer a much more controllable and less
given their consent to receive marketing disruptive environment in which to receive brand
material from you’re your organisation. related marketing messages.
Therefore such lists will probably deliver a low
response rate and will potentially contravene the
terms and conditions set out by your ESPs.
How does an organisation create an opted in
list? There are several solutions:
Telephone or contact in order to explicitly
Offer a very compelling reason for sign-up via
others to subscribe
Speciﬁcally obtain permission when meeting
new business contacts
By comparison to obtaining permission to
Permission does not 4. Avoid overloading subscribers
with too many communications. Consider
age well frequency, length and easy of reading when
planning email campaigns.
Having given permission, subscribers do appear
to forget they took this action over time. It is 5. On occasion subscribers will
important for organisations to implement action email an unsubscribe request. Despite the
in order to remind subscribers of their consent, availability of a self-service unsubscribe
but also to maintain their interest. Some simple process. These requests should be deal
steps to achieve this: with efﬁciently. In the event of receiving a
complaint, the organisation requires a robust
1. Remind subscribers in
process and should utilise the opportunity to
a direct and honest manner why they are
demonstrate exemplary customer service.
receiving email from you. N3W would suggest
that you do this at the very start of your
6. Substantial statistical information
email. This will also add credibility to your
regarding campaign performance is available.
Interpret this data enables organisations
2. Segment your lists and make it to improve future campaigns. From this
simple for people to select speciﬁcally which performance insight organisations are able to
topics they would like to hear about. List identify waning user interest and take action
selection should be part of the subscription prior to losing subscribers.
process but also user maintainable at any
Your message, delivered.
3. Highlighting an organisation’s
professionalism. Such a policy will typically organisations and consumers implement
be available on an organisation’s website,
therefore signposting it from email ﬁlters and other technology. It is important to
communications is straightforward. understand the causes that lead to email being
The origin of your email and its certiﬁcation will
have a signiﬁcant effect on how your email will
The Aberdeen Group surveyed 517 companies
that use email marketing. 70% of those surveyed
said that one of the main reasons they choose to
use an Email Service Provider (ESP) is to ensure
deliverability. ESP’s typically provide services
such as email certiﬁcation and deliverability
monitoring as well as white listed IP addresses.
In addition the Aberdeen study also looked into
the speciﬁc practices of best in class marketers
who are achieving high deliverability rates.
Organisations that tightly segment campaigns,
based on customer behavior / interest achieve
an average email deliverability rate of 90.2%. In
addition to list segmentation; personalization,
list hygiene and opt-in strategies were sighted
as very important to ensuring high deliverability.
Attempting to send email campaigns from
personal email accounts or generic web servers
may work satisfactorily for small numbers of
recipients in the short term, but is likely to
become problematic as the volumes grow. In
addition, facilitate segmentation, personalization
and list management, speciﬁc tools are required
which are not found in consumer email client
software (such as Outlook). N3W media provide
and enterprise quality email marketing tool
http://www.simplemailer.co.uk, which helps
organisations address many of the issues
Watch your P’s & Q’s
Certain aspects of the campaign, which will
affect deliverability, remain under the control of
the campaign creator. Emails with a poor text-
to-graphics ratio or which use a From name that
address and From name for the campaign.
is not recognized are less likely to be delivered.
Encourage recipients to white list the email
When designing email campaigns the following
guidelines should be considered:
4. Ensure that DomainKeys, SenderID and SPF
1. Request pre-tested templates from the ESP.
for set appropriately for your campaign. These
Such templates should provide an appropriate
technical services are typically available from
balance of text–to-graphics. For more
bespoke requirements an ESP will be able to
translate your requirements into appropriate
email designs. The design of email marketing
is a specialist task.
make it a good one.
2. Test the design before sending the full
campaign. Third party solutions are available Ensuring the integrity of your online reputation
in order to assist with this. However many is vitally important. Reputation will be adversely
ESPs include such tools as an integrated part
of their service. reﬂect upon the ESP, therefore possibly leading
to an account being terminated by the ESP.
Adopting the points previously outlined with
regard to maintaining permission will also assist Organisations should take independent
professional advice on these matters. ESPs
organization should: should operate best practice policies that will,
at minimum, comply with the their clients legal
Relevant email is
requirements. The following points constitute
signiﬁcantly less likely it is to be reported
some of the minimum requirements to be
considered, but do not constitute legal advice:
technology in order to provide the most timely
and relevant content to the recipient. Identify yourself correctly and clearly in the
Ensure content is clean and
Include the organisations physical contact
If in decline, revisit the Ensure there is a clear and obvious
relevancy of your campaigns and adjust unsubscribe option.
content and subject lines to be more relevant. Ensure the unsubscribe process works
Early action will stop recipients ﬂagging correctly.
Adopt a Strategy of
Know the rules, Persistence
it’s the law
Building client relationships takes time across
all mediums and email marketing is no
exception. It is quite feasible that no response
will be seen from early mailings. From N3W’s
there are Federal laws but also State speciﬁc experience we suggest that organisations plan
regulations. It is increasingly important to eleven mailings before expecting a strong
response. This little known rule typically
organisations campaign. means that many organisations abandon email
marketing too early.
Develop a content plan. Ensure it starts with
a solid foundation message. Each subsequent
email should reveal more of the campaign story.
Have the entire campaign gradually unfold for
your subscribers. However ensure clear value
is demonstrated in each individual email, to
avoid unsubscribes. The campaign requires
an entrance strategy to greet new prospects
and set their expectations. Finally ensure the
campaign remains on-topic.
marketing at OgilvyOne Worldwide points out
“After the customer has registered for future
emails, downloaded your whitepaper, or entered
your sweepstakes, there often is nothing to campaign. Certainly avoid being caught in the
enhance that relationship. Companies need to
think about what should happen next,”
Remember that time is relative to the
Ogilvy’s research shows the ﬁrst three geographical location of the recipient. Another
reason to segment carefully and in multiple
there should be an introductory message in dimensions. Such segmentation will enable the
which customers accept an invitation and scheduling of emails for different geographic
give permission for future communications, regions to be managed appropriately.
followed by a second that sets up customers’
expectations by explaining future beneﬁts Transmitting emails to a consistent schedule
(discounts, coupons, or high-value informational has a surprising effect on response rates.
newsletters). The third should begin to deliver Decide on a frequency for a campaign, but also a
on their expectations by sending the promised ﬁxed local transmit time.
newsletter, whitepaper, or discount offering.
There are many different strategies that can
be adopted. It is crucially important that
content strategy is given due attention whilst
formulating the campaign.
There are many different strategies that you
could adopt. What is most important is to have a
strategy in the ﬁrst place.
Timing is everything
message at the right time is fundamental to
success. Segmentation and careful analysis of
statistics are two methods for achieving timing
and relevance in email campaigns.
The physical time of transmitting a campaign
should be considered. There are many schools
of thought regarding the optimum time.
Consensus tends to be that approximately late
morning or early afternoon, Tuesday through
to Thursday is the better times to send a