How to Take Your Email Conversion Rates to New Heights

Posted by Margaret Farmakis on

This post was originally featured on the UK DMA Email Marketing Blog

On Tuesday I attended the DMA’s latest Email Customer Lifecycle Series event in London focused on helping email marketers drive conversions, one of the most important metrics and the primary goal for many marketers using the email channel. Sponsored by Silverpop, the theme for the event was clearly one of encouraging marketers to take their email programs to new heights by optimizing various conversion tactics and best practices. This was reinforced by Silverpop’s featured prize draw: an opportunity for attendees to win a helicopter ride for two over London!

Chair of the Email Marketing Council Richard Gibson got things started and introduced the audience to the great speakers on offer. They included Riaz Kanani from AlchemyWorx; Tim Watson from Emailvision; Larah Van Niekerk from eCircle; and Simone Vincent from MyVoucherCodes.

  • Riaz’s key note presentation reviewed some upcoming conversion trends for 2011, including a focus on attribution and email’s ability to keep a marketer’s brand top-of-mind far beyond the initial send date. He stressed how important it is for marketers to be able to tie their email campaigns to conversions and sales in other channels, and to harness the power of triggered messages to help drive purchases. He also touched on the growth of mobile email and its potential to affect conversion rates. Riaz recommended various optimization tactics, including analyzing your list to track mobile email usage; designing with both the mobile and desktop experience in mind; and ensuring that landing pages are optimized for mobile environments.
  • Next, Tim shared some tips and tricks for optimizing testing strategies to boost conversion rates. He provided the audience with a five-step process for creating a testing plan, including how to define your objectives and optimization metrics; create a test hypotheses; develop and define test cells; execute results; and analyze reports. He stressed the importance of testing against your marketing objectives and shared some great examples of split-tested subject lines and creative templates. He encouraged the audience to take a holistic approach to testing to ensure that increased performance metrics don’t negatively impact unsubscribe rates or complaints.

The audience then broke into two groups for presentations of case studies:

  • Simone gave a fantastic overview of the strategy she put into place at MyVoucherCodes to increase conversions by boosting the subscriber activation rate, improving user engagement and decreasing list churn. She shared some impressive data points, including the use of a reminder series to encourage subscribers to complete their account activation as part of sign-up that resulted in 85% of subscribers now completing the MyVoucherCodes activation process. She also described the discounted alerts program that was put into place to target subscribers with relevant and timely offers based on their brand, product and key word preferences. These triggered messages, while complicated to implement, produced a 200% increase in click-through rates when compared to generic promotional mailings, and deliver consistently high open rates of 47% and click-through rates of 26%.
  • Larah shared some great results that Center Parcs has recently had with their email program, including the introduction of a three-message “welcome home” series that increased rebooking rates by 10% and generates over £1M in revenue. The series includes an offer for rebooking sent when the subscriber returns from their Center Parcs holiday; a survey with a prize draw incentive; and a follow-up reminder email to respond. Other tactics for increasing conversions include village-specific email templates that are personalized based on where the subscriber is staying and the unique village experience they will have on their holiday.

The morning’s agenda wrapped up with a panel session featuring all of the speakers and an open request to take audience questions. The panellists tackled various challenges including:

  • How to message to an eight-year-old list of email subscribers who had never been mailed to before (check the law; send in small batches; monitor spam trap hits; and consider focusing only on current/active customers);
  • The most important tactics for email marketers to act on immediately (map out your customer lifecycle; implement testing; audit your entire program to identify strategies that will have a big impact, but will also be easy to execute on; and focus on creating relevancy)
  • Email marketing trends with longevity (social media and email integration; the importance of subscriber-level and behavioural data; and mobile email optimization).

Would you like to attend one of these free breakfast briefings in the UK? The next event in the series will focus on optimizing your engagement and retention efforts. The DMA regularly updates their Email Marketing event listings here, so watch this space.


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