The 10 biggest email marketing mistakes companies make and how to avoid them
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The 10 Biggest Email Marketing Mistakes Companies Make (and how to avoid them). Presented by: Bradley Feuer [email protected] 3-20-03. Discussion Topics. Special Thanks (“The Cannon”) What the Research is Telling Us What’s in it for You Why Me

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The 10 biggest email marketing mistakes companies make and how to avoid them l.jpg

The 10 Biggest Email Marketing Mistakes Companies Make(and how to avoid them)

Presented by: Bradley Feuer

[email protected]


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Discussion Topics

  • Special Thanks (“The Cannon”)

  • What the Research is Telling Us

  • What’s in it for You

  • Why Me

  • The 10 Mistakes (and the 10 remedies)

  • Recap

  • Take-Aways

  • Latest & Greatest (if time)

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Special Thanks

“The Cannon” - Those who have gone before us…

  • Seth Godin (Permission Marketing)

  • Kim Macpherson (Permission Email Marketing)

  • Hans Peter Brondmo (Post Communications)

  • Debbie Weil (B2B expert, Clickz)

  • Clint Symons (opt-in-news publisher)

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The Research

  • Two studies indicate marketers’ “Email Marketing” challenges

  • MEA Proprietary Research: ROI, Qualified lists, Content, Results

eMarketer 2002

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The Research

  • Click Through Rates - Industry Research (varies depending on relationship)

DoubleClick 2003

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What’s In It For You

  • Validate what you’re doing right

  • New strategies to consider

  • New tactics to try

  • Learn from other’s mistakes

  • Specific take-aways

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Why Me

  • Online & Email Marketing Veteran – since 1996 (Beyond Interactive,,, Pointcast)

  • Built Email Technology & Deployed 100’s Campaigns

  • Local & National Speaker

  • Partner – MEA Digital

  • Email Consumer

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Mistake #1: No Email Plan

  • Have you developed an email marketing strategy?

    • Current brand objectives

    • Data capture & management

    • *Permission*

    • Message

    • Implementation

    • Measurement

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Remedy #1: Create a Dialog Map

Opt-in Subscribe eNewsletter





Opt-in Newsletter

Unqualified Lists

Future mailings/

3rd Quarterly



Updates -

unsubs &





2nd Issue



2nd eNewsletter

Links to Website

& 1st Issue

2nd Quarterly



Forward to a Friend

Qualified Lists





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Mistake #2: No Clear Message Strategy

  • Do you have a content plan?

    • Focus & relevance

    • Media (Text, HTML, Video, Flash)

    • Email vehicles

      • (Newsletters, Promotions, Catalogs, Coupons, ect.)

    • Communication frequency

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Remedy #2: Use a Creative Brief




Think Now

New Perception

“Ammo” (Incentive)


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Mistake #3: No Success Metrics


  • Cost per sale

  • Cost per lead

  • Cost per subscriber

  • Cost per communication


  • Analytical tracking & surveys

  • Content interaction (opens, clicks)

  • Churn, list growth

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Mistake #4: No Technology Criteria

  • Currently over 2 dozen Email ASP & eCRM technology providers.

  • They have a wide range of functionality, scalability and financial stability .

  • Know what you need. Do not buy more – do not buy less.

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Mistake #5: No Test Plan

  • Direct Marketing is about making incremental improvements.

  • Develop your hypothesis

  • Test subject lines, offers and lists by sending to a small sub-segment to identify the best variables.

  • Deploy campaigns based upon test results

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Remedy #5: Use a Cell Matrix




O: 29.3%

C: 4.1%

O: 31.2%

C: 4.5%

O: 34.6%

C: 5.2%



O: 33.5%

C: 5.5%

O: 47.4%

C: 6.7%

O: 42.1%

C: 6.3%

OF: Offer

L: List

O: Open Rate

C: Click Thru Rate

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Mistake #6: Complacency

  • Use what you learn during cell testing to optimize response.

  • Regarding offer and creative - It’s not important what you think of it – it’s what your customers and prospects think of it.

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Remedy #6: Respond to Feedback



Increased click-through by over 20%

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Mistake #7: No Quality Assurance

  • 42% of Email sent are rendered improperly*

  • The email (client application) market is extremely fractured – not to mention version control issues:

  • Do not assume that the multi-part messaging capability will address all these different standards.

*SilverPop 2003

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Remedy #7: QA Lab


SilverPop 2003


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Mistake #8: No A/B Splits

  • Any Email technology “worth it’s salt” provides simple A/B split capabilities – take advantage of it.

  • Keep an archive of subject lines and corresponding open rates.

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Remedy #8: A/B Splits

Track subject line response…

  • The Healthy Alternative.

  • It's not too late to say Happy Holidays.

  • Premium quality last minute gift ideas.

  • Holiday gift giving has never been so easy!

  • Make it a fruitful affair for everyone.

  • Great gift ideas are now ten percent off!

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Mistake #9: No Fulfillment Plan

  • Test web site fulfillment vehicle(s)

  • Take the user directly to the desired action

  • Optimize the necessary steps involved

Email Promotion

Links to home page

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Remedy #9: Landing Pages/Micro Sites

1) Email

2) Dedicated (and pre-populated) landing page

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Mistake #10: No Data Analysis

  • Go beyond open and click rate (the devil IS in the details)…

    • Final desired action

    • Churn rate

    • Click-throughs by URL

    • Click stream analysis

    • Time spent per article

    • Cross-tabs

    • Cell-test results

DoubleClick 2003

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Remedy #10: Analyze the Data


Response by customer segments

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Recap – Ten “To Do’s”

  • Dialog Map

  • Message Strategy

  • Success Metrics

  • Technology Audit

  • Cell Testing

  • Creative/offer modifications

  • QA Lab

  • A/B Splits

  • Landing Pages

  • Data Analysis

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Take - Aways

  • This process can (and should) be used for email retention and email list rental as well as B2C and B2B email programs.

  • Email Marketing IS Direct Marketing - with a number of subtle nuances – learn them.

  • Remember:

    • Crawl, Walk, Run

    • “PTO” (plan, test, optimize)

    • Be ready the email recipients to email you!

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Latest & Greatest

  • Email Referral Programs

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Latest & Greatest

  • Rich Media (Audio, Video & Flash

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Latest & Greatest

  • Compressed eCatalogs

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Latest & Greatest

  • Click-to-Call

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Latest & Greatest

  • Email Branding

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Latest & Greatest

  • Email Coupons