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Mining eMail Gold

By Jeff Jordan
Posted Monday, November 22, 2004

Ther's gold in them thar hills... or more likely, in the good graces of your prospects and customers.

We are out of the dog days of summer and the holiday season is quickly approaching. Now is the time to make sure that you are maximizing the impact of your sales/marketing process, specifically your communications with your opt-in email base of prospects and customers.

Your opt-in email can be a lot of things including your newsletter, order acknowledgements, customer service follow-ups and so on.

If we approach our customer's right, using one of our most power tools our opt-in email communications, we can significantly improve our sales.

The October 2002 Consumer Email Study by DoubleClick revealed some customer preferences that can help you improve your results.

First, getting your prospect/customer to open the email can be no small task. No matter what you say in your email, if they never open it, it's a lost cause.

In the study, 60% of the respondents said that the most important factor in opening their email was who the email was from, while 35% said the subject line was most important. So treat your opt-in base like gold and you have addressed 60%.

Remember, every message that you send to your list will be evaluated by your customers and THEY will make the decision if your email will be worthy of a look in the future. If you have blown their trust in the past they may never open what you send them or may permanently route you to the trash folder.

Still the subject line is most important to a significant portion of email users. Some interesting gender based results came out of the study.

Compelling Information/News 69% Male 46% Female

Discount offer
50% Male 64% Female

New Product Announcement 37% Male 39% Female

Free Shipping
28% Male 43% Female

If you are selling primarily to one gender you can make a significant difference in open rates by using a subject line theme which will get a larger response from that group such as discounts for female and compelling news for males. Perhaps you combine a discount with compelling news in the subject line. When you think about it, getting a 64-69% open rate is pretty significant considering the busy world in which we live.

Once someone has opened your email, the most important motivational factor for an immediate online purchase (cited by 70%) is the discount, followed by merchant recognition (60%). It is also interesting to note that 78% of the permission-based email subscribers have purchased through an e-mail link. As you can see these are some significant numbers!

What can do to improve our results?

Long-term, Continually Build Trust.

1) Strive to provide information and offers that are useful to your subscribers, So that they WANT to open messages from you.

2) Do not abuse your list, too many messages sent to your e- mail base no matter how useful will overload those subscribers.

3) Try to step into the shoes of you audience and think how they will react to your message.

Short-term, review and analyze your e-mail communications tactics.

1) Review and test the subject line of your emails (offers, newsletters, acknowledgements, etc.) to make sure that it is appropriate, compelling and targeted for your audience.

2) Look for appropriate cross-sell, up-sell opportunities within e-mail communications that would be appropriate. Suggest a complementary product with a discount in your order acknowledgement e-mail. When done with tack, can be very compelling and gives your customer a special deal.

3) Provide a free "something" as a thank you. It should be complementary to your customer base so that they find it of value. Periodic useful freebies can do wonders for your open rate.

There where a number of other interesting facts in the survey. You can get the whole survey at: ( c_consumer_email_0210.pdf)

Start today mining gold and building the trust of your best and most significant source of sales, your permission based email communications.

About the Author
Jeffrey Jordan, President of Net Marketing Results. He has 20 years experience enhancing profits of Fortune 500 mid and small businesses. Subscribe free to Net Marketing Results Newsletter at (
Contact Jeff at ( (


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