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Boost Your Email Marketing ROI by Focusing on Three Key Areas

by Eric Didier  |  
April 2, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • How to boost the ROI of your email campaigns by focusing on three key areas
  • Specific steps to take to increase your email response rates

Email averages a return on investment (ROI) of $40 for every $1 spent, far outstripping banner ads ($2) and keyword ads ($17). So it's no surprise that 67% of organizations plan to increase their email spend in 2012.

You can use those increased email marketing budgets to push your ROI higher by focusing on the following three areas.

1. Deliverability

Though it's long been discussed, email deliverability remains a critical issue. A recent Return Path report found that nearly one-in-five emails sent by commercial email senders never reaches the intended recipient's inbox (and may not even reach the spam folder!).

Therefore, the average campaign can enjoy a 25% increase in response. If you believe that emails that don't bounce are being delivered, you may not realize anything is wrong.

How to Do It

A lot goes into email deliverability. Deliverability experts can offer guidance for your specific program, but make sure you're covering the following basics:

  1. Reduce complaints. Subscribers report unwanted email as spam (or, worse, they send it to antispam institutions such as SpamCop), which damages the sender's reputation. So, make it clear at the time of subscription how often you'll email subscribers. Include a name that subscribers recognize in the sender field of your emails, and make it easy to unsubscribe. Do not require subscribers to provide you with a username and password, an email address, or a "mail us your request" note to unsubscribe. Allow them to unsubscribe via one click (because it's very easy for them to click the "spam" button as an alternative).
  2. Don't set off content filters. Though no longer the most important component of spam filtering, "spammy" words and coding errors still set off alarm bells. Many email service providers (ESPs) offer in-platform tools to check emails before hitting "send."
  3. Monitor your delivery with a seed list. Set up accounts on top domains and include those accounts in your lists for each campaign. Then, confirm your email messages reached the seed list inboxes so you know about problems as they arise.

2. Behavioral Targeting

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Eric Didier is CEO and co-founder of ividence, a standalone acquisition email ad exchange that uses behavioral targeting to deliver the right message to the right target.

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  • by Maria Elena Tue Apr 3, 2012 via web

    Managing employees in a social media focused work environment requires attention and work, but the investment of time and effort can produce a big return on investment. In a time when some companies are trying to cinch employee engagement with social media, other brands like Best Buy are using it to their full advantage. Each employee is encouraged to use social media to share technological expertise about various Best Buy products. When you have 180,000 employees Tweeting, blogging, posting interesting content, and connecting with customers who share their passions, then you have a recipe for ROI success.

    Also, use and you'll surely get connected with your customers everywhere you go.

  • by Lori Feldman Tue Apr 3, 2012 via mobile

    A big driver of email ROI is reader habit. If recipients ignore you once or twice, no big deal. But three times starts a habit. Add to that gmail priority inbox and all the other deliverability factors, and you can lose a big percentage of your potential effectiveness. Once you ID who consistently doesn't open/click (behavior), pull them out for special handling. Survey them, offer them something enticing or direct mail them an entitlement for updating their contact info online. Sometimes people are too busy to remember why they liked you. They need a friendly nudge.

  • by Laura Ashley @raingal7 Tue Apr 3, 2012 via web

    Agree with Lori Feldman's comments about inactive subscribers (those who aren't opening or clicking). I have personally seen staggering open and click rates from otherwise inactive subscribers--when they are sent content related to their past behavior (opens, clicks, browses, purchases), even if their last open or click took place over three months before. Keeping those folks separate and being more thoughtful about what that receive will not only boost response, but potentially help with deliverabilty as well.

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