Baby Step That Generates Giant E-Mail Leaps

As an email marketing idealist, I strive to ensure my clients are using email to developing the most optimal, integrated contact strategies they can. I admit, I can be somewhat of a nag with continuous reminders of how critical it is to have a well-designed, complete email strategy that begins from the moment you’re granted permission to the end of the consumer relationship.

As an email marketing realist, I also understand my dream contact flows, relationship marketing wishes, and multichannel marketing pleas are often cut short by database limitations, planning silos, and client apprehension around something new. That’s when I enjoy my job the most. I’m compelled to find a way to make the campaign or effort a proven success, despite all the complexities riddling the everyday environment.

Once in a while, one of these workarounds drives pretty big successes and insights. This past month, I was lucky enough to have that happen. A baby step in multichannel marketing turned into a giant leap for results.

My client has an interesting set of challenges: It has an email program, but email can only be sent once a month. Other than the recipient’s name, there’s no personalization. Technical limitations eliminate contact and response history relating to the list, so no dynamic content, either. Corporate rules dictate certain words and phrases be included in the subject line. And this team is responsible only for the email program. It has no relationship with the teams that manage any other communication streams or media.

That said, the client is always interested in testing ways (within the context of the program limitations) to improve response. After working with the client for a few months, we decided to test integrating the email communication with other marketing channels. But given the realities of the environment, it seemed almost impossible. Also, the client was a bit hesitant to try something that would require a lot of effort and possibly drive no increased return. We had to find a creative solution.

Our solution was to take a baby step in multichannel marketing. This approach required no change in production process, no new creative, no interactive, no planning with other departments. Instead, we just aligned the subject line with the topic getting the most media coverage over the previous month.

It sounds small, even somewhat silly, but it worked.

Open rates were the highest they’d been in the last 12 months (almost double from the previous month). The featured topic drove the highest number of clicks in the email.

Does this prove the multichannel marketing works? Maybe, maybe not. After one month of testing, it’s too early to tell. But we are excited about the results. We’re even more excited about the awareness generated about multichannel marketing’s potential, even if it comes by baby steps.

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

Related reading