As e-mail programs progress, remember basic practices

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When it comes to e-mail, many progressive marketers focus on the ‘new' — mobile campaigns, social network integration and attribution modeling. Unfortunately, this means that they let their more basic programs run on autopilot. They forget the inherent value of basics such as welcome e-mails or order confirmations, and leave them unrevised for months, if not years.

The key to moving marketing forward and maximizing every revenue opportunity from your e-mail programs is taking the interactivity of new media and combining it with the old. Here are a few things to consider:

Test e-mail campaigns to maximize response. By performing regular subject line tests and analyzing content variations, marketers can gain insight from the sample audiences and apply the findings to larger mailings.

As we continue to implement programs to drive marketing forward, don't forget to look back at your basics. A small change can make a large impact on customer engagement, sales and long-term success.

Welcome with a series of e-mails, designed to capitalize on the elevated subscriber engagement at the time of sign-up, instead of the usual one-off.

In a 2010 study by Experian CheetahMail, welcome series e-mails had 40% higher click-through rates and four times the revenue per e-mail, compared to other promotional e-mails during the same period.

Buyers are eager to view transactional e-mails, such as order and shipping confirmations. Take advantage of the opportunity. Transactional e-mails that include cross-sell items have 20% higher transaction rates than those without.

Drive the cross-sell content by predictive models or recommendation engines. This can double the transaction rates compared to e-mails that display static cross-sell items.

Include e-mails links in your social network pages. In a recent survey of 18,000 transactional e-mails by 35 of our clients, we found that on average, transactional e-mails that included links to social media sites have 55% higher click-through rates.


Ashley Johnston is VP of marketing at Experian Marketing Services, which includes CheetahMail. Reach her at

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