Report from the Email Marketing Forum in Brussels

Posted by Margaret Farmakis on

Margaret Farmakis
By Margaret Farmakis
Senior Director, Response Consulting

I had the opportunity to speak at the Email Marketing Forum in Brussels last week where I presented five strategies for improving revenue and response by breaking free from the batch-and-blast model once and for all and giving subscribers what they really want: relevant and targeted email.

In addition to learning how to say “Good morning everyone” in French and Dutch, I really enjoyed meeting some very smart marketers who are struggling with the same challenges as their U.S. counterparts: how to stand out from the inbox clutter, get delivered and get a return on their email investment.

The 90+ marketers in attendance were a fairly even mix of mostly Belgian-based B2B and B2C companies, with some marketers just in the beginning stages of launching an email program and others looking for more advanced strategies and innovative ideas to take back with them. Also in attendance were marketers representing the European offices of some fairly large international companies, including DHL, UPS, BMW, Novartis, Pfizer and D&B, in addition to top Belgian email service providers, such as EmailGarage and Emailvision.

Below is a summary of four of the day’s best presentations:

  • Tamara Gielen from OgilvyOne titled her presentation “Elements of Successful Email Marketing Campaigns.” It included great best practices advice about the importance of optimizing your offer, selecting the right target audience, designing creative that clearly delivers your message and using the right tool to send your email.
  • Luc Robijns from EmailGarage spoke about best practices for testing and optimizing landing pages. He focused on the need for consistency between the email offer and the landing page (including copy, imagery and design), the importance of not using too many form fields to collect information, testing incentives to inspire a conversion and creating a sense of urgency around the offer. Luc’s presentation, as well as others from the day, can be downloaded from the event organizer’s website here.
  • Steven Craenen’s presentation, “Building an Email Dialogue from Scratch: Lessons Learned” showed how DHL optimized their email messaging and conversion strategy for their infrequent customers (those that have an account, but use it only a few times a year). That strategy involved integrating email with direct mail and telemarketing outreach efforts, as well as creating two personas that would speak to customers at the subscriber level: a friendly courier to help guide subscribers through the many benefits of using DHL, and a cute and cuddly hamster that would bring an emotional aspect to shipping packages. DHL’s roadmap for success included three major components: creating a contact and content strategy for various subscriber segments within the infrequent customer base, choosing an ESP that best suited their sending and reporting needs and designing creative templates that were optimized for delivery, preview pane viewing and driving a response.
  • The last presentation of the day was given by 8Seconds, a newly formed Belgian company offering multivariate testing solutions. Pieter Wuyts used examples from Sunparks’ email program, a European-based resort vacation club, to show how testing different creative versions had a huge impact on driving conversions for a recent Sunparks campaign. The difference between the winning and losing creative versions (of the 16 unique different creatives that were tested) was 830%, leading to increased bookings, as well as downloads of the Sunparks winter brochure.

If you’d like to receive the best practices checklists and research studies that were featured in my presentation, email me at margaret.farmakis@returnpath.net.


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