AARP Wins Email Hero MVP Award for Best Themed Email

Posted by Lauren Harris 

Winning the Email Hero Award for Best Themed Email, this week we’re featuring AARP!

To understand what went into this award-winning campaign, we interviewed Gareth Evans, Email Marketing Manager at AARP.

What were the goals of this particular campaign?
The AARP Local fall-themed campaign was a highly dynamic, content-rich, personalized email campaign. There were two main goals:

  1. Inspire our subscribers to get out and explore their community and enjoy the season by finding events, activities and helpful resources specific to their location.
  2. Ensure that our subscribers, who are both AARP members and nonmembers, really see that AARP is in their community.

Did you face any key challenges along the way?
There are many communities that should not receive this type of communication from AARP, such as those struggling with the aftermath of a natural disaster. The challenge of the timing of this email was considering those affected by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael. We worked with the AARP offices in these affected communities to ensure that they were aware of the campaign and to request a list of counties that should not receive the emails.

What were your campaign results?
This campaign series on average drives 128.7 percent higher click rates and 148.4 percent higher click-to-open rates compared with other, similar AARP campaigns. These metrics speak volumes toward the interest subscribers have in the themed campaigns, as they engage at much higher rates.

Each section of the email receives strong clicks, showing that the curated content is of considerable interest. Users attend local events as a result, ensuring that both goals are achieved. This campaign achieved a strong ROI of 64 percent, with many nonmembers seeing the value of AARP and joining directly through this email campaign. These seasonally themed campaigns are the first to be added to the calendar each year, demonstrating their continued success with our audience.

How did you achieve these results?
Each themed send focuses on the upcoming season, hitting the subscriber’s inbox at the optimal time when they are thinking about fun things to do in their area. The email is personalized at the zip code level, ensuring the results are accurate and useful. The design inspires the reader with a bold, fun animated hero design, as well as highlighted content category modules with seasonal imagery. The “Hang Out With AARP” section provides the user the chance to see where AARP shows up in their community. Additional modules add in thoughtful links that the user may be interested in, such as veterans’ events, caregiving help, work and jobs resources, and more.

Mobile responsive email design is a major focus due to an increasing number of our subscribers accessing email through their devices. The Local Campaign is no exception, and through our partnership with Trendline Interactive, we are able to design code and test for an optimal experience across devices.

By leveraging Return Path’s suite of deliverability tools and professional services, we are able to focus our efforts on audience selection and creative development. The Return Path team works closely with AARP’s email operations to ensure we maintain a 99 percent deliverability rate and 99 percent inbox placement rate. By eliminating those two variables from our email performance, we’re able to run clean tests and optimize the performance of our email. Furthermore, AARP was able to use Return Path’s ESP Connect to integrate metrics directly from their ESP in order to align them with how their email inbox placement performs at individual mailbox providers.  

Find out the stories behind each of the award-winning email programs in the Email Hero Awards Lookbook.

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About Lauren Harris

Lauren Harris is Return Path's Customer Marketing Manager for Email Optimization based in our California office. She enjoys working closely with Return Path customers first as an Account Coordinator, then Technical Account Manager and now from the marketing side. Outside of work, Lauren can be found snowboarding in the winter, taking beach trips in the summer, and cheering on the 49ers. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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