Knowing my intended audience, I didn't want an overly analytical case study.
I stumbled across this and thought it was perfect for any offline marketer to add to their marketing arsenal.
Master Email Marketing Case Study (article) by Rob Thrasher on AuthorsDen
Master Email Marketing Case Study
By Rob Thrasher
Last edited: Monday, October 08, 2007
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2004
This more than just a case study. It is a summary of hundreds of existing case studies. We compiled a list of successful email marketing strategies and produced this Master Case Study.
There are many case studies that attempt to prove how subject lines, frequency and any number of different variables affect read rates, click rates and sales. There is one key study we reviewed that showed a century old company with a very loyal customer base who experimented with all these variables and noted almost exactly the same responses each and every time they tweaked another variable. The one thing that did not change was the list.
Without a good list you don't need to test any of the other variables. A good list is the base to build on. Imagine conducting a postal mailing selling Jaguar's sent to a list of people earning under $30,000 annually. Now that is an extreme example, but the parameters involved are very similar in nature. The wrong list at the wrong time will have drastically reduced results no matter what other variables you experiment with.
Methodically tweaking the subject line, splash pages, etc. can have a very positive impact, but let's start with the right list.
It is just common business sense that the loyalty of customers in the real world would parlay itself into a healthy virtual relationship. Now that we've trashed the idea of renting or buying lists, the next step is shoring up existing relationships while acquiring new ones.
Your campaign might take the form of a newsletter, post card, coupon, club or whatever. All successful campaigns have many factors in common. Following, we compiled a list of successful strategies used that apply across industry borders.
Key Factors to Email Marketing Success:
- The virtual campaign should look and feel almost exactly like its real world counterpart. Electronically distributed coupons, and other offers, should look exactly like the ones in the newspaper, or other media. This increases the recipients' comfort zone.
- Use existing avenues of traffic to drive eTraffic and vice versa. Trained employees and store posters should drive people to the newsletter, coupon, etc.
- You can't be too concerned with forgoing real store sales for electronic sales. If you don't do it your competitor will, then you won't have a real world presence to worry about.
- Limit the time it takes to join the list. Don't try to collect too much marketing data from the customer at the counter and allow them to send the postcard in at a later time.
- Send special offers one day preferably, two at most, prior to the typical shopping day-cycle and send them in the same cycle in which people shop. Typically Thursday, maybe Wednesday or Friday, when shoppers plan weekend shopping.
- Ensure shoppers their contact information will, in no circumstance, be shared or otherwise compromised.
- Show sample mailings everyplace possible. This further builds upon the comfort zone.
- Combine email with print to provide a higher degree of comfort for employees, investors and franchisees. Use email for events that occur on a very short notice and offer email with print material. The replacement of the print version will occur through time with little argument.
Ultimately, success is defined as the sale of something. Whether it is a subscription, an item, or whatever. Final conversion numbers are great to have, but, as a business person, you already know that the more qualified eyeballs you attract the more you sell. It's quite simple really. Most bought into the old world of bulk mail through the post office at thirty cents per mail, with less qualified buyers and expensive surveys necessary to determine conversions. Well, this is a no-brainer!
We've read many case studies and we determine that if conducted by qualified, clever and intelligent marketers with the ability to experiment a bit, and using the above guideline, there is no question, despite your industry, that you will conduct successful email list campaigns.
Fifty percent open rates are a legitimate goal with rates as high as eighty percent possible. Remember, it's all in the list. With a good list, these rates are very likely. High open rates will lead to high click rates, increased Web site traffic, increased store traffic, ever-growing email lists and more sales. It's a revolving circle of sales. Foot traffic in the store leads to more email recipients, more deliveries, forwards to a friend, more emails in the list, more coupons, higher click-through rates, then to complete the circle, more foot traffic in the store.
What are your thoughts on including this case study? For the most part I like it, but the last paragraph gave me pause. 50% open rates? Wow. I would think 35-40% would be the high end. Obviously the author is selling his service, but still, I've got to wonder about the logic of setting customer expectations of 80% open rates.