Making Email Deliver Financial ROI

by | Mar 30, 2012 | Blog, Blog Archive, Multi-Channel Marketing | 0 comments

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to most marketers when the researchers at MEC Labs/Marketing Sherpa published this week’s marketing graphic:  a look at how the ways in which email marketing campaigns are measured has changed over the last two years.  How to make email deliver measurable results is a hot topic for nearly every marketer in the post-recession economy.

Why?  Because if  there is one lesson that the recession taught us all, it’s that financial return on investment trumps almost every other measure by which marketers are measured.  Here’s the graphic that Marketing Sherpa published, showing the year over year change in how email campaigns are measured.



If email marketing return on investment is high on your list of priorities, here are a few tips that can help.  Chances are you already have a pretty good idea of how to make email deliver measurable results, but it never hurts to do some testing, tweaking, and updating to your process.

Tip #1: Don’t listen to the skeptics.

There are people out there who say that email’s days are numbered as social connections grow.  The truth is that, right now, 58% of adults check their email first thing in the morning.

It is true that email results declined slightly last year, according to The Magill Report, which cited a DMA report showing that a decline in ROI from $40.56 for every $1 invested” to $39.40, or $67.8 billion in sales from email marketing.

Tip #2 Use social networking sites to supplement email marketing.

Combining email and social media boosts the effectiveness of both – yet only 18% of the emails in a study by the Email Marketing Institute had social media icons or links.

Consider the fact that 44% of social media marketers see Facebook as their #1 source for gaining customers – but 84% of all Facebook fans for company or brand pages are current or previous customers.  This argues that Facebook isn’t (yet) the new customer magnet that marketers hope for.

Tip #3: Learn when to say “enough is enough.”

Research shows that there’s no hard and fast rule on how many email messages trigger a customer’s “enough is enough” response.  Still, we all know from personal experience that we’re all constantly overwhelmed with marketing messages.   Emails based on activity get better results than random emails, and emails sent on a regular, predictable schedule do, too.  So if you send a monthly newsletter, send it on the same day, at the same time of day, every month.  If you send a weekly “special offer”, make sure it goes out at the same time and same day e very week.

 Tip #4: Don’t overlook the subject and sender lines!

Email subject lines are the make-or-break part of a message.  Typically, all a user will see before deciding whether to sent the message straight to the trashcan is the “From” line and the subject line.  In general, messages from one person to another are more likely to get opened than messages from a “department” at a company you may or may not have a relationship with.  That said, some of the most successful email campaigns out there — such as the weekly specials from, or those ubiquitous mailers from Groupon and Living Social — come from the company, not an individual.  But messages from “sales@”, “marketing@” and other “anonymous” addresses are less likely to be opened, according to research from many sources.

The subject of writing great email subject lines is worth a whole book, and it’s something this blog has addressed several times in the past.  For more information on email subject lines, click on one of the links below.

The biggest rule for activity-based emails (sometimes called “trigger emails”, because a person’s behavior triggers the email) and scheduled emails alike is to test your results.  Your audience is different than mine, and their reaction to email will vary over time.  So test, monitor, and make changes as needed.