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The 10 Biggest Email Marketing Mistakes Companies Make (and how to avoid them). Presented by: Bradley Feuer bfeuer@meadigital 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

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

Presented by: Bradley Feuer



discussion topics
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)
special thanks
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)
the research
The Research
  • Two studies indicate marketers’ “Email Marketing” challenges
  • MEA Proprietary Research: ROI, Qualified lists, Content, Results

eMarketer 2002

the research5
The Research
  • Click Through Rates - Industry Research (varies depending on relationship)

DoubleClick 2003

what s in it for you
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
why me
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
mistake 1 no email plan
Mistake #1: No Email Plan
  • Have you developed an email marketing strategy?
    • Current brand objectives
    • Data capture & management
    • *Permission*
    • Message
    • Implementation
    • Measurement
remedy 1 create a dialog map
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





mistake 2 no clear message strategy
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
remedy 2 use a creative brief
Remedy #2: Use a Creative Brief




Think Now

New Perception

“Ammo” (Incentive)


mistake 3 no success metrics
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
mistake 4 no technology criteria
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.
mistake 5 no test plan
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
remedy 5 use a cell matrix
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

mistake 6 complacency
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.
remedy 6 respond to feedback
Remedy #6: Respond to Feedback



Increased click-through by over 20%

mistake 7 no quality assurance
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

remedy 7 qa lab
Remedy #7: QA Lab


SilverPop 2003


mistake 8 no a b splits
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.
remedy 8 a b splits
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!
mistake 9 no fulfillment plan
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

remedy 9 landing pages micro sites
Remedy #9: Landing Pages/Micro Sites

1) Email

2) Dedicated (and pre-populated) landing page

mistake 10 no data analysis
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

remedy 10 analyze the data
Remedy #10: Analyze the Data


Response by customer segments

recap ten to do s
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
take aways
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!
latest greatest
Latest & Greatest
  • Email Referral Programs
latest greatest31
Latest & Greatest
  • Rich Media (Audio, Video & Flash
latest greatest32
Latest & Greatest
  • Compressed eCatalogs
latest greatest33
Latest & Greatest
  • Click-to-Call
latest greatest34
Latest & Greatest
  • Email Branding
latest greatest35
Latest & Greatest
  • Email Coupons