A lot has been written; here in our blogs (Email Blaster UK) and across the ambit of forums blogs and social media, on the killer tips on how to create a successful email marketing campaign. We have emphasised the ‘golden triumvirate of a successful campaign; a good quality address list, an ‘open me’ address bar and an email body that presents the message effectively and in an interest grabbing manner.
Does it work? Well we have assisted many successful campaigns using these tried and tested principles and here are a couple of examples.
Case Study 1. – Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation
Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation (SHRMF). The SHRMF is a charitable foundation which runs alongside the Roll-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club (RREC) – the Rolls-Royce owners and enthusiasts’ fraternity covering the UK and the rest of Europe. The SHRMF runs events and provides charitable support for engineering sector education and relies on the charitable support of the general public, but mostly Rolls-Royce owners and enthusiasts through RREC.
The Objective of an email marketing campaign.
SHRMF had used traditional means to reach out to the RR fraternity; both for the announcement and advertising of events and also to gain charitable donations. The foundation approached Email Blaster UK to ask advice on what email marketing could offer. In particular, how to construct an email list, to create templates etc. for events and requests for support and to reach potential supporters and interested parties in the most effective, yet not irritating manner. The SHRMF signed up for a trial then quickly set up a monthly account for regular newsletters and announcements.
The email address list.
It is a regular mantra; do not use a purchased list of unproven provenance. In the case of SHRMF, the email address list of all RREC member s who had made previous contact with the foundation was available, but this was in a haphazard form with various classes of members and interested parties – some recent but many quite old. All available lists were combined in Excel format, recognising that there were plenty of duplications, corrupt addresses etc. Under the guidance of the Email Blaster helpdesk, the list was converted to CSV (MS-DOS) format and uploaded to the Email Blaster cloud based system. The list was run through ‘List Doctor’ to remove all duplicates, all corrupt addresses and also (using EBUK’s confidential s suite of algorithms and clean-up software) any spam-like addresses. The result was a somewhat smaller list (still many thousands) but of absolutely proven credibility and provenance. An Opt-In broadcast was transmitted to validate proper opt-in and the list was then ready to go.
We always advise originators not to use brand names in the subject line unless you’re sending to a fraternity that is likely to be receptive to your emails. Luckily for SHRMF, this was the case. All recipients would be receptive to messages from a respected organisation like the foundation and would indeed usually welcome announcements of events, lectures, meetings and, with care not to overdo it, requests for support. So the address list quality was such as to suggest using the originator’s name in the subject line in this case. – eg. ‘SHRMF announces a forthcoming seminar’. We advised to be up front with the content of the email, a rule that we would normally advise against for a marketing email.
There were three classes of sends; regular newsletter, regular announcements of a quarterly guest lecture and random requests for financial support to meet extraordinary costs arising. The foundation created a standard Newsletter using one of our stock templates. Graphics were cut and pasted into the locations provided, using the set up wizard. Similarly test and signature blocks from the chairman and Chief Executive were copy and pasted into graphics locations. For the quarterly guest lectures, there was a standard format of lecture plus dinner, prices and timing so again, a stock template was used.
We recommended using a blank template for communications of a more general nature, with the SHRMF as the common logo in the header.
Even though the email transmissions were from a ‘blue chip’ source to a receptive address list, there was still the risk that, as most recipients were consumers – ie: @hotmail, @btinternet etc., there was the danger that some emails would not pass through spam filters that tend to be more broad brush with consumer readers. For this reason, emails were run through Email Blaster’s Spam Ferret; a software suite that uses sophisticated algorithms to measure the spam-like content of the email and to recommend changes to improve deliverability.
The delivery statistics were consistently analysed to evaluate delivery, open and pass through results. Delivery rates were quickly running at well over 90% with very high open and response levels.
The important result was a much higher attendance at seminars, lectures and events and some highly successful fund raising projects. Email marketing works for the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation.
Case Study 2 – Recruitment Consultants. (name withheld for reasons of company confidentiality)
The consultancy is a medium sized agency that markets candidates for positions, mainly short-term consultancy and temporary executive assignments in the automotive industry.
The Objective of an email marketing campaign.
The need was to expand the reach of the consultancy, both with potential candidates but more important, with potential clients – companies looking for temporary executive staff. For the latter, this was B-to-B marketing aimed largely at HR executives within target companies, whereas most, if not all of the candidate list was already ‘on the books’ with email addresses registered and opt-in protocols followed, so no problem there.
The email address list.
Organisations using email marketing spend considerable time and money developing a good quality email address list – the holy grail of email marketing. However many new entrants come to email marketing service providers such as Email Blaster UK with a huge list which has been ‘acquired’. Purchased lists of unproven provenance are fraught with dangers and generally the bigger the purchased list, the more likely it is to contain largely harvested content; it is likely to contain multiple duplications, invented, corrupt and spam addresses. Of course, many of Email Blaster’s regular clients do use very large lists that have been developed legitimately, just be aware of the risks of purchasing a list from an unknown source.
Our case study herein was no different and their submitted B-to-B list rang all the alarm bells – it was very large and the first pass scan through List Doctor exposed all of the characteristics of a harvested list purchased from a dodgy source. Of course, like all legitimate email marketing companies, purchased lists of unproven provenance are not allowed for the very good reasons above. But Email Blaster worked hard with the client to assist in developing a list from sources already established and with input from reliable sources of proven address lists. In the end, a B-to-B list was developed which, although somewhat smaller in number than the original, was of a good quality, was legitimately sourced and would achieve a good delivery without the dangers of attracting the attention of the anti-spamming organisations and firewall providers.
The objective being to market the offerings of this recruitment consultancy, it was effectively a ‘selling’ email, but it was important to avoid the ‘consign to spam’ response from the busy inbox recipient. A subject line was used that employed a quirky approach, was framed as a question and was longer in word size to stand out in the inbox. Several alternatives were used in the first send, breaking the address list down into three batches with the three favourite alternative subject lines agreed after a brain storming session and some sampling in the office. The best performer was used again – or at least the same style with different words to achieve a refreshing approach.
A standard newsletter template was used, selected from the large library available at Email Blaster. A large graphics content was preferred but, after several run-throughs with Spam Check, this was cut down in order to improve the spam rating of the body of the email. We recommended a campaign based upon the regular newsletter approach with the objective of delivering an interesting newsletter with a more subtle selling content. Having got the message right, sends were transmitted on a monthly basis to build interest.
Delivery was good from the start – a testament to the quality of the B-to-B list on top of a high ranking ‘candidate’ list of guaranteed opt-in. Open rate with the B-to-B recipients started at a reasonable level and by the third send had built up to a respectable number of regular readers. The consultancy has stuck with the winning formula in terms of the light hearted, quirky subject line and interesting and subtle contents laid out in an attractive manner. This client continues to be a regular user of email Blaster UK and has increased its usage volume as its list has grown. Business is good.
Email Blaster UK