Multimedia and HTML email marketing is all the rage these days, but as this week’s case study shows, you don’t need bright colors and striking animation to design eye-catching email messages that generate great response.
For proof, consider how Aquent and Passaic Parc teamed up to create a marketing campaign geared toward some of the most web-savvy people around: web professionals. Aquent, a talent agency that focuses on web design and staffing, and Passaic Parc, Inc., an advertising agency based in Wellesley, Mass., recently conducted a campaign to draw in these elusive Internet pros.
What they came up with is a look that is rather uncommon online today. Adapting visual elements of the advertising campaign created for Aquent by Digitas, the companies delivered a sharp black and white email message designed to direct potential talent to the Aquent web site and persuade them to create online profiles.
The email was attractive and interesting enough and sent to the right audience that click-through rates were close to 7 percent on some of the mailing lists used. Once there, registration figures (conversion rates) approached 55 percent for some lists.
First, let’s put the email campaign into context. Aquent worked with Passaic Parc to develop the overall message; they conducted a series of interviews with web professionals and Aquent managers, collecting more than 100 ideas. After deciding upon a message, they then sent out three types of advertising: banner ads in February through June, direct mail (70,000 pieces) later in the spring, and email (100,000 addresses) in late May and early June.
The email addresses were obtained primarily from different opt-in lists selected by Passaic Parc. Britt Hult, the online marketing manager for Aquent, said one of the main reasons Aquent decided to go to Passaic Parc was its experience in choosing quality lists. Hult says her company learned to “test, test, test” different lists and discovered that some had great response rates, while others had not-so-great results but not one was a “total dud.” Another interesting result was that some lists had high click-through rates and low conversion rates; whereas other lists had low click-through rates and high conversion rates.
List analysis wasn’t the only bit of testing that went on. The whole campaign, in a sense, was a test. Aquent didn’t have much experience in this area, so one side benefit of this particular campaign is that it is being used to compare the efforts to one another and to some in-house initiatives. The companies are still waiting for the final results, but Robert Rosenthal, the founder of Passaic Parc, says his company is finding that email response rates are comparable or greater than those of direct mail, and that the cost is between 40 and 80 percent less.
Exactly how much the campaign costs is under wraps, but we do know that the business model was project-based and concept-based.
Yes, Hult says, it would have been interesting to try to pay on per-click or per-transaction basis. Yet, she says Aquent knew so little that it would have been unfair. And overall, although it was “a little expensive,” Aquent definitely plans to conduct more email-marketing campaigns. Next time, those sharp-looking messages will likely be focused more on reaching Aquent’s current database and less on outside individuals.
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