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Permission Based E-Mail Marketin


									    Permission Based E-Mail Marketing

Foreword by Nigel Williams, Managing Director of Emailcenter   1


1. Why Permission Based Email Marketing?                       2

2. Building an Opt-in List                                     4

3. Choosing an Email Marketing Supplier                        7

4. E-Newsletters – Strategy, Design and Tactics                10

5. Managing Inbound Email                                      23

6. Viral Email Marketing                                       24

7. Email for Research                                          26

8. Staying Legal: The EU Privacy Directive                     29

9. The Future of Email Marketing                               31
                                                                         Permission Based Email Marketing

Why Permission Based Email Marketing?


Seth Godin in his book „Permission Marketing‟ suggested that there are only two types of marketing -
Interruption marketing and Permission marketing.

Interruption marketing is the basis for which marketers have attempted to communicate with customers and
prospects for decades. It involves simply interrupting our train of thought by sending a message to you. This
could be a TV advert, a poster on the London Underground or even a logo on the back of a lorry you are

Over the decades the amount of these messages has increased to levels beyond which we can all cope –
Godin estimates we see around 3,000 marketing messages a day. The implications of this are marketers
have to spend more and more to get through the clutter and grab our attention. They are constantly
attempting to give their ads more impact than the last and advertising in all thinkable places from your bus
ticket to inside the lavatories of bars and restaurants.

The shift to permission marketing

A more effective approach that guarantees your messages are given time and attention is to ask permission
to communicate with your customers and prospects.

What has been holding permission based marketing back is the need for a change of mindset. Generally
permission marketing will mean communicating with fewer people – this goes against the natural instincts of
most marketers who have been using the mass media.

However with this approach you do not need to compromise on your message so it gets seen. Your message
can be clear and simple about your products and services – your customers are going to make time to read
the communications they requested so you will not have the clutter issues of interruption marketing.

Additionally you won‟t be communicating as a stranger but more like a friend. The fact that the message is
coming from a company they trust will increase the effectiveness of your announcements.

Each time you communicate with these customers gives you the opportunity to strengthen the relationship –
over time this relationship will transmit itself into pounds as the customer has been able to take all your
information on board and make a better informed decision. With interruption marketing it is almost impossible
to get all of your key points across.

What this means is you will be maximising the value of each customer – this will be a greater value than you
would be able to obtain via interruption marketing.

Email and Permission based marketing

Another reason for the only relatively recent up-take in permission marketing is the lack of suitable mediums.
The increase in the technological development of email has changed this.

Email is an ideal medium for permission-based marketing. Here are the reasons why:

Email campaigns can be set-up in hours rather than weeks allowing you to be responsive to events in your

Compared to other permission methods of communication such as direct mail, email is far more cost effective.

Emails can be completely personalised so you can have conversations with your customers.                                                                                            1
                                                                      Permission Based Email Marketing

By its nature of a messaging system email encourages an extended dialogue between the sender and reader.

No other medium will allow you to see how many people actually read your message, how many people were
interested enough to read more and how many people found your message irrelevant to them and no longer
want to receive messages. This feedback allows you to constantly improve the way you communicate with
your customers.

Permission based email marketing is the most exciting thing to happen to marketing. Never before have
marketers been able to combine the benefits of advanced segmentation, personalisation, speed, reporting
and interactivity with any other medium.

This book aims to guide you through the process of formulating your permission based email marketing
strategy and putting these plans into practice.

Four chapters of Seth Godin‟s book “Permission Marketing: Strangers into Friends into Customers” can be
downloaded at                                                                                     2
                                                                             Permission Based Email Marketing

Building an opt-in list

To start communicating regularly, effectively, efficiently and legally with your customers and prospects
requires you to obtain their opt-in to your emails.

This requires you to tailor your existing promotions and devise new campaigns. At this point many marketers
fail – they do not want to undertake an activity that will not bring in an immediate benefit on the bottom line.
However in the medium to long term the creation of this opt-in list will provide your company with the
opportunity of developing life long relationships with your customers and prospects.

How can I build a list?

There are various marketing tools that you can use to collect the permission of your existing customers and
new prospects.

E-List Rental
New prospects can be added through a direct marketing campaign to a rented list. The list can normally be
segmented using the same criteria of many direct mail lists. Recently the price of these lists has come down
considerably and you should find a list for the comparative cost of a direct mail list.

By devising a campaign with an incentive such as “£50 off your next holiday” or “Download our whitepaper”
when they subscribe to your list will prove effective in obtaining new opt-in‟s. Combining the right offer with
the correct targeted data and a suitable creative is the key to making the campaign work.

Beware of the very cheap lists however, even if they are marketed as opt-in. There are many lists out there at
a low cost but these are not likely to be opted-in and will only serve to damage your company‟s reputation and
possibly see you fined.


 Check how the list was collected and opted-in with your list broker to ensure you are not breaking the law!

Direct Mail Campaigns

Whether you rent a new list or do a mailer to your existing database, using an offline direct marketing
approach can actually lead to successful online opt-in‟s.

The same approach of providing an incentive for opt-in to a newsletter can be taken and complimented with
sections on order forms where users can opt-in.

Sales people & Telemarketing

Telemarketing can be particularly important in building a B2B opt-in list.

Sales people will have built their own relationships with their customers and prospects. A simple phone call or
personal email to ask permission to add them to your list is all that it takes.

If you are operating in a niche industry the data may not be available to do a direct mail or email campaign. In
order to find out who are the relevant contacts at each target company a telemarketing campaign will be
required. This can then be modified to collect the email address and opt-in of your target customer.

For companies that operate inbound call centres it is also effective to get your agents to request your
interested customers receiving further updates by email.                                                                                              3
                                                                            Permission Based Email Marketing


A simple but effective method for collecting permission from customers and prospects is to place a form on
your website. To increase the impact it could be a pop-up window or built into the template of your website so
it appears on every page.


It is easy for your sales staff to meet hundreds of people a day at exhibitions – an ideal time to collect their
opt-in and email address.

Hopefully the above methods will give you some ideas on how to build a list. The important thing to remember
is that wherever you make contact with a customer or prospect – whether it is an outbound call or an advert in
the press start thinking of everything as a potential moment to collect an opt-in.


Always keep detailed records of how you collected each person‟s opt-in to prove to your customers and ISP
that you are not a spammer. With Internet or written requests it is easy but verbal permission is more difficult.
After an exhibition or sales call send an email to all those that requested to be opted in, asking them either to
reply or click on a link in the email to confirm this.

What data do I need to collect?

Obviously the minimum data required is a email address. However if you want to run targeted campaigns,
personalise your emails or profile your customer base then you will need more. If your customers are also on
a CRM system you probably have all the necessary data already, but for new prospects you will need to start
from scratch.

You can probably think of a few dozen things to capture but the more you ask, the fewer people will complete
an opt-in. For B2C campaigns you may simply need to only ask for a first name and email address. For B2B
you will probably want more information such as their title, first name and surname, Job title, company and
contact number.

You can still ask for other information but it is recommended that you make this optional to make it quicker
and easier for them to subscribe. You can always ask for this information at a later date.

Devising an incentive

Depending on who your target is, what their value is and what your budget is will affect the incentive you
choose. Some of the more effective incentives to sign up to a newsletter are listed below:

       Discount vouchers or money off
       Competitions
       Free gifts

       Free white papers or other information
       Donation to charity
       Free gifts                                                                                              4
                                                                          Permission Based Email Marketing

Viral Marketing for list building

We will talk about viral marketing, where recipients are encouraged to forward the email to friends and
colleagues in more depth in a later chapter. However it is important to highlight here, as it can be an important
list-building tool in B2C industries.

Case Study – List building in the Travel Industry

US Airtours (Now known as Travelplanners) had no opt-in email addresses yet were about to launch a strong
web presence.

Emailcenter created the HTML message and rented an opt-in list of 6,500 consumers who had an interest in
Travel. A direct mail list of 50,000 was sent a postcard directing them to the offer website.

The company offered a £50 voucher off their next holiday and entry into a prize draw for round the world
tickets. Emailcenter designed the email and landing pages so the voucher was automatically sent to the
customer when they registered.

A „Forward to a friend‟ option was included in the email to encourage recipients to pass the email onto their
family and friends.

The email generated 3,522 subscribers while the direct mail campaign and opt-ins via the website collected a
further 2,500 subscribers. Nearly 12 months on the company has a total of 10,000 subscribers that have been
gained from further viral marketing techniques and the company website.

The company has seen a significant shift in their customer base from the call centre through to the website
since the launch of their newsletter. They are also able to market special offers in a more timely and cost
efficient manner to their customer base while reducing the cost of sale through achieving web sales rather
than telephone orders.                                                                                           5
                                                                          Permission Based Email Marketing

Choosing an Email Marketing Supplier

If you intend to run a campaign to more than a few hundred people it is worth investing in either a specialist
software solution or finding a company to outsource the work to in the form of a managed service.

This chapter looks at the two different options and what you should look for in a supplier.

Managed Services

Managed Services will be suitable for companies who:

       Do not have the necessary skills in-house
       Do not have time to manage email campaigns
       Have only an occasional need for email marketing

Self-service software solutions

A software solution will be suitable for companies who:

       Want full control over their email marketing campaigns
       Have the necessary skills in-house
       Have the time to manage email campaigns
       Want to reduce the cost of their email marketing

There are two types of software solutions – in-house software and hosted ASP applications.

With in-house software you have a server based within your company that hosts the software. Your email
campaigns are sent via your own Internet connection so a leased line or something of a similar scale is

A hosted ASP solution is where you access the software via the Internet. The software is held on your
suppliers servers and emails are sent via their Internet connection.

The obvious advantages for using a hosted solution are the minimal technology requirements and
management required. However when you are sending hundreds of thousands of emails a month it can start
to get very expensive compared to in-house software.

Once you have chosen the type of solution you require then the next task is to find the right supplier. A
checklist is provided below for questions to ask both potential outsource providers or software providers.

Managed Services:

Are they email marketing specialists?

Many companies are bolting on email marketing to their offering nowadays. Web Designers, Multimedia
Designers, Direct Marketing Agencies and list brokers may have some of the necessary skills and technology
to fulfil your campaign but they lack any specialist knowledge. Email is the fastest changing communication
medium. Consumer behaviour towards email and the constant changes in technology mean that only a
company that are involved in email marketing on a daily basis will be able to guide you through this complex

What additional services can they offer?

A number of email marketing companies will simply take your HTML and send it to your list. If you ever want
anything more advanced such as viral marketing features, email surveys, list de-duplication or advanced
campaign reports then they will not be able to help.                                                                                            6
                                                                          Permission Based Email Marketing

What is their attitude towards permission marketing?

You may think this is not important initially. However if your supplier is conducting questionable email
campaigns for other companies then it is likely that their servers will soon become blacklisted and your emails
will not get through to your opt-in list. You can normally tell the difference between a true permission based
marketer and the others from simply reading through their website.

Self-Service Software Solutions

Are they a UK Company?

Using a UK company means you have access to support at any time rather than simply USA office hours like
suppliers from the states give. If you chose a hosted solution where you use their servers then you will also
have to place your customer data on here. Depending on the nature of the data and how it has been collected
this can lead to legal issues as placing your data outside of the EU could be illegal.

What features does the solution have?

Other chapters of this book will look at why you need each particular feature and how to get the most out of it.
However for now here is a list for you when you go shopping:

       Ability to personalise emails
       Segmentation tool to send highly targeted campaigns
       Bounce management
       Automatic one-click unsubscribe management
       Tracking of opens, click-thru‟s, opt-ins, unsubscribes and bounces
       Ability to report on individual campaigns through to your entire campaign history at once.
       Reporting tools include the ability to develop custom reports and download data into statistical
       HTML editor
       Email Templates library
       Unique logins for each user of the system and for external agencies you wish to give access to
       Definable user rights including read-only, editing, campaign authorisation and system administrator
       Separate areas for each departments email campaigns and lists

Along with the usual features of tracking your campaigns and personalising your emails, an increasingly
important issue is the management of the users of the system. Sending inappropriate campaigns to your lists
can be very costly while campaigns that are not checked properly can be full of mistakes and present legal

What pricing model is used?

All hosted solutions pricing will have some form of sliding scale according to how many emails you send a
month. This is also combined with a monthly rental fee as well. In-house solutions however have no such
charges and are normally a single licence fee with an annual charge for support.

Is the solution used for SPAM?

When using a hosted solution make sure the provider only tolerates permission marketing AND they have
checks in place to prevent mis-use. If there are no checks then there is nothing to stop SPAM being sent from
that server, and this will cause the server to be blocked.                                                                                          7
                                                                         Permission Based Email Marketing

How many other people use our server?

Similar to the SPAM problem described above where the supplier you are using has overloaded their server
with different companies sending email campaigns. This will cause problems particularly at peak times such
as Tuesday and Wednesday morning when the vast majority of people will be sending out. Although your
email will eventually reach your customers it will have lost a lot of its effectiveness by not arriving at the
optimum time. Ask potential suppliers how many customers they have per server.

Ease of use

The system you choose is likely to be used by many people in your marketing department. Therefore it has to
be easy to pickup and learn so there is not a demand for training your staff. Any reputable provider will be
able to set-up a demonstration version that you can send a test campaign to so your staff can evaluate it.

Does the system slow my existing IT infrastructure down?

With hosted solutions this is not a problem as your suppliers servers do all the processing. However it can be
an issue for some in-house software solutions. It is important to choose a solution that has its own send
engine, its own database and is capable of sitting on its own individual server. Without this the software will
require additional resources from your other systems that will cause a loss in productivity from your staff.                                                                                            8
                                                                          Permission Based Email Marketing


Newsletters are the main tools used in permission based marketing due to their suitability to send to both
prospects and existing customers alike.

This chapter looks at all aspects of designing your newsletters from deciding on your specific strategy through
to tactical issues such as finding the optimum subject line.


Before we look at the practical aspects of designing your newsletters we need to consider your reasons for
undertaking email marketing. As with any form of marketing without objectives you cannot plan how to
achieve them!

Typical objectives include:

       Convert your prospects to customers
       Retain existing customers
       Cross sell and sell more to existing customers
       Position your company brand
       “Our competitors have a newsletter so we better do one as well”

Obviously the last objective listed should not be considered a valid reason to start email marketing but it does
highlight why many people have gone rushing head first into email marketing. These people will not be
maximising their email newsletters potential as they have no idea on what they want to get from them.


Don‟t limit yourself to one newsletter. You might be better served by sending a different newsletter to people
you want to convert to customers and people who are already your customers.

Now you have decided what you want to achieve the next stage is to think about how you are going to
achieve it with your newsletter content.

Typically B2B newsletters tend to be information led with case studies and articles that provide the reader
with an insight into how to improve their company performance in some way. B2C newsletters tend to be offer

There obvious exceptions. For example an B2B office supplies company will likely lead with offers while a
garden centre may include tips on gardening related tasks.

The two rules all successful newsletters follow however are:

    1. The content is unique and is not available elsewhere
    2. The content is valuable enough to the recipient to read it each time                                                                                            9
                                                                            Permission Based Email Marketing

Recipients have limited time to read your emails so yours needs to be special to get their attention. Two
examples are provided below:

1. CD Retailer

An online retailer of CD‟s is in a highly competitive market. Prices are very similar so their price-orientated
newsletter is losing its effectiveness. Instead they try sending targeted emails based on their customer‟s
previous purchases. Now those that bought Dance music get Dance related offers while Rock music
purchasers get Rock music offers.

In addition the retailer also included more soft content such as music news and reviews. This made the
content unique and interesting for consumers. The results showed that while the open rate did not increase
further people opened the emails more and kept the email for longer. The click-thru rate from the email to the
website increased by 8% on average per campaign.

The overall result of these changes is that customers are using their newsletter rather than their competitors
to make their purchasing decisions making a significant impact on sales as a direct result of the emails.

2. B2B Software Company

A Project Management software company used to send out a single newsletter to their entire database. This
included the latest feature changes and company news.

The open rate was falling considerably after each edition.

The company decided to send two newsletters with more relevant content to prospects and also their existing

The newsletter to prospects included features such as an interactive calculator that showed the potential cost
savings of the software while articles on how to manage projects better were included. The articles were
valuable to the recipients as they provided cutting edge insight into how they can improve. This got the emails
opened and noticed every month while the other features helped sell the benefits of the software. A call to
action to download the trial version of the software was included in several places.

The second newsletter focused on how to use the software and get the most from the advanced features.
This helped the customers see how additional modules could be purchased to provide further features and to
encourage them to purchase further licences for other members of their team.

The open and click thru rate increased in both newsletters to an average of 23% click-thru rate for the first

In both of these examples the newsletters started to succeed because the content was more valuable to the

Although this may all sound time consuming the benefits of the improved results you will see will far outweigh
the extra few hours you will have to spend every week.


Why not ask your customers what they find useful in your newsletters? This will allow you to evaluate your
existing newsletters performance while also providing you with ideas for future content.                                                                                             10
                                                                            Permission Based Email Marketing


There are so many issues in email design that we could write an entire book on that subject. However for now
we will focus on the major issues.

Call to actions

The main difference between writing for email and printed media is the shorter time you have to gain the
recipients attention. Recipients will not normally read the entire email so it is important to state your main
benefits on the first line along with a clear call to action such as a link to a web page with further information.

This is where email beats direct mail every time – recipients can always make an immediate action on your
offer by clicking on a link or submitting a form. Whether you are designing the main email or the landing
pages, always include a call to action at every feasible point.

From the numerous campaigns we have carried out at Emailcenter on behalf of clients, where they insist on
transferring their hard copy into electronic form we see a significant reduction in campaign success. This is
simply because their direct mail copy includes limited call to actions at the bottom of their message rather
than the top.

Plain text versus HTML

Plain text emails are on the decrease as more consumers and businesses upgrade their email clients. We
generally find that only 2-3% of a list cannot read HTML messages. HTML emails also attract a better
response rate. You can format the copy with colour, different font sizes and images that make it easier and
more enjoyable to read.

To ensure all your customers do get the message in a format they can read send your emails in MIME format.
This sends both HTML and text with the recipients email server choosing which one is most suitable.

All good email marketing software such as Emailcenter‟s Maxemail should be able to do this automatically.

Writing Copy

Email copy needs to be short and punchy to make it easy to read on a screen. Put text into short paragraphs
and use bulleted lists wherever possible. Keep your bullet lists down to 6-7 words a line.

Only include text that is most relevant. You only have a limited time to enter into a dialogue with the reader so
you want to get all your main points across.
Your copy will probably not be read the first time as you mean it to. The reader‟s eyes will be scanning the
text to see whether there are any particular words that interest them. Use colour or bold the text these
particular words.

Maxemail Example

In Maxemail the in-built HTML editor makes it
easy for users without any HTML knowledge to
edit professional looking email messages. The
example shown opposite demonstrates how
similar it is to using a word processor such as
MS Word for functions such as changing the
colour of text. Tables, links and images can
also be inserted in a similar way.                                                                                             11
                                                                            Permission Based Email Marketing

Case Study – Hawke Enterprise Solutions

This is an example of why the position of your call-to-
actions is so important. The example opposite for Hawke
Enterprise solutions has its call-to-actions at the top of the
email. There is nothing elaborate about the email. It is a
simple template with clear easy to read text.

A similar campaign carried out by a competitor of Hawke‟s
and used their print version of their advert. Despite
Emailcenter‟s insistence that the creative was not suitable
the campaign was sent.

The competitor achieved a click-thru rate of 6 times less
than Hawke simply because the call to actions were not
clear. A successful campaign does not require leading
edge graphic design to succeed.

Writing for SPAM filters

Our approach to ensuring our emails get through is to get onto ISP‟s whitelists as we show we only send true
permission based email campaigns.

There are also several rules that we ensure our copy obeys. ISP‟s will have software that checks each email
that arrives on its servers and look for phrases such as:

       FREE!!!
       Over 18‟s
       Adult

Search for the „filters.txt‟ file on your hard drive to get an understanding of what Microsoft Outlook uses to
identify junk mail.

ISP‟s will also look at the „From‟ address and senders IP address. If they have previously been identified as a
spammer then the email get blocked. This makes it important to choose a trustworthy and reputable email
service provider who has a strong anti-spam and pro-permission based ethic, as they are far less likely to
have blocked servers.

Content on landing pages or all in a single email?

Wherever possible it is best to include your content within the email. Clicking on a link is an extra effort
required when they want the information served to them on a plate.

However if you are producing long articles or case studies then a landing page with this information in a
printable format is advisable. Encourage people to click-thru onto the landing page by writing a short
paragraph describing the articles contents.

With advanced features such as registration pages or Flash content it is always advisable to set-up a landing
page as most email clients will not be able to cope beyond HTML like an Internet browser will.                                                                                            12
                                             Permission Based Email Marketing

                        The Dixons email to the left illustrates a good example
                        of when to include all of the content in the email. This
                        helps portray the wide range of special offers available
                        and also increases the chances of the email being

                        The Egg email however uses only a very simple
                        message and redirects the customer through to a
                        landing page. Placing all of the detail in the email would
                        not work as the message would no longer be punchy
                        and encourage immediate action by clicking through.                                                              13
                                                                           Permission Based Email Marketing


Using personalisation can help you develop a stronger relationship with your customers and prospects.
Personalisation does not simply have to be their name but also the content they are looking for. Here are
some tips for how you can use personalisation:

This is the bare minimum you should be using in your email campaigns. From our experience of email
marketing we have seen the simple use of a „Dear First Name‟ double the click-thru rate.

Subject Line
With so many competing messages in your recipients inbox and with less time to read emails using
personalisation in the subject line can provide you with an increased impact.

Message Body
A common trick used by direct mail copywriters is to use other fields such as a company name, specific date
or location to increase the relevance of a particular offer and to atrract the readers attention. Your email could
read „Reduce costs at COMPANY NAME by 20% with our new software solution.‟

Offers and content
Personalisation can also be based upon the users preferences or your own judgement on what they are
interested in. For example an IT reseller identified that its corporate and government customers purchased
distinctly separate products. As a result the headline offer in each email was different making the offer
relevant to all recipients.

Sign off
If your customer deals with a particular account manager then personalise the sign off with the account
managers name and direct line.

Subscription information
If you are not communicating with some people on your list for long periods of time they can forget they
subscribed. If you captured the information regarding how they opted-in, when and where then include it
alongside your unsubscribe link.

Of course the main problem most people will have with personalising their emails is the data capture process.
This is often handled by call centre or sales staff who do not realise the importance of the data. As a result
you will get blank fields where this information was not gathered. Rather than not use this data, fill in the blank
fields with a default setting so you get „Dear Customer‟ or a generic offer.                                                                                           14
                                                                           Permission Based Email Marketing


An alternative to personalising emails is to segment your database. This is particularly useful for the IT
reseller we talked about earlier who has a special government only offer. Recipients hate receiving too many
emails so this will allow you to minimise the amount of emails you send while continuing to maximise the
sales and leads from the newsletters.

Maxemail Example

Maxemail enables users to easily select which
customers will receive the email.

Simply enter the criteria in the relevant fields and
Maxemail will send to or exclude those recipients.

The final touches

Although I have headlined this section as the final touches it is advisable to start thinking about these issues
on creation of the campaign.

From & Reply to address

Most reputable software will allow you to specify any „From‟ name and address along with a separate „Reply-
to‟ name and address for anyone clicking on the reply button in their email client.

It is important to chose a „From‟ name and stick to it. Most new email clients will use this name as identifying
whether you are on their trusted senders list in their address book. Without being on this list you message
may be displayed without images. Recipients will add you to the list to see your images but if you continue to
change the „From‟ address they won‟t and your emails will lose all their effectiveness.

The „From‟ name is also a very important factor for getting your email opened. It must be something that your
recipients will trust so don‟t just have the word „Sales‟ as the „From‟ name or anything else ambiguous as this
could be perceived as a SPAM message by your customers.                                                                                          15
                                                                            Permission Based Email Marketing

Subject line

The subject line is the biggest factor in getting your emails opened by customers. You must get across the
reputable nature of your email, the relevance of your offering to your customer and give it a „wow‟ factor.

An example of this for the IT reseller would be:

HP Laserjet 2300 – now only £245 from ‘Reseller Name’

The name of the Reseller gives the email credibility, as everyone receiving the email is an existing customer.
The name of the printer gives it relevance as it is a staple product of most corporate customers while the price
is presents the „wow‟ factor as it is considerably lower than these customers normally pay.

Timing & Frequency

Particularly in B2B email marketing timing is crucial. Getting this wrong will cause significant reduction in the
open and click-thru rate of your newsletters.

Our guide for each day of the week is below:

We do not recommend you send email on a Monday. People returning to work from the weekend will be in a
clear out mood and will delete anything they initially do not find interesting enough to spend time on.

Tuesday and Wednesday
These are good days for sending out business related email. 10am tends to be the optimum time for sending
the emails although 2pm in the afternoon is a good alternative if you miss the morning slot.

Thursday is a good day for sending out consumer emails. Recipients will be planning their weekend activities
and shopping by Thursday. If your customer has given you their work email address then they are not going
to be able to see your if you send it at night so try sending it at 2pm. It will then be in personal email accounts
if they go online later that night.

Friday morning is also a good time to send consumer emails to a work address as they are planning their
weekend still. By the afternoon however they may not have time to look at your emails.

Friday is not a good day for sending out work related emails on the whole as recipients often do not want
anything to do with work on a Friday! Instead hold off until Tuesday if you can to improve the response rate.

Saturday and Sunday
The weekend is not a particularly good time to send emails. Work emails will not get read until Monday while
consumers may have already made their purchasing decisions for the weekend.


How often you send emails to your customers will often depend on what you told them when they opted-in. If
you asked them to opt-in to a monthly newsletter then you cannot send more than one newsletter a month.

However if you do not have this constraint then you need to decide on what is the optimum amount of emails
a month or week you should send so you get a high number of responses without reaching the stage where
customers get are no longer happy at seeing an email from you land in their inbox.

It is also likely that you will have your own constraints on how many newsletters you can produce of sufficient
quality in a month. It is better to send fewer emails of high quality than many emails of poor quality.                                                                                            16
                                                                         Permission Based Email Marketing

Testing Email Campaigns

Why test your campaigns?

Without testing your email newsletters how will you know which of the following variables works best to your
opt-in list?

       „From‟ address
       Subject Line
       Offer
       Salutation
       Sign off
       Creative
       Timing of the send
       Frequency of newsletters
       Call to actions

How to test your campaigns

When testing campaigns you need to select a sample of at least 1,000 for each variable you want to test to
achieve reliable results. Only test one variable at a time.

For most marketers to fully test their newsletters it may take several months worth of campaigns until you
decide on the optimum setting for each variable.

Once you have collected this information you will know that you have the best possible chance of a winning
formula with your email newsletters.                                                                                        17
                                                                             Permission Based Email Marketing

Tracking the results

Email provides unique tracking capabilities that no other medium can provide. With these results you can
improve your future campaigns by analysing what needs improving, use the results to create targeted follow-
up campaigns, create telesales or direct mail campaigns using the results, profile your customers and
compare your ROI on email against other communication mediums.

Understanding the results and taking action

Open Rate

Look for an open rate of a least 30%. If yours is less than this then consider whether the following applies to

       The email was sent at the wrong time of day – choose a different send time
       The subject line was ineffective – try personalising the subject line
       Your „From‟ address was not recognisable
       Your emails got blocked by SPAM filters
       You sent mainly text emails (the open rate cannot be tracked on text emails)
       The bounce rate was high

Click thru rate

The click-thru rate will vary considerably depending on whether it is your own opt-in list or a rented list.

A rented list will typically generate a 1-2% click-thru rate while a house list should aim for a 10-20% click thru
rate as a minimum.

If your click-thru rate is below these levels then look into the following reasons for this:
      Your open rate is low
      The offer and content is simply not appealing to your list
      Calls to action are not clear and in the wrong place
      The copy is not enticing – shorten sentences and make it punchy


Recipients are now using the unsubscribe function less and less. This is because they fear it is a trick by
spammers and because they find it quicker to simply delete the messages.

An average unsubscribe rate is between 0.5% and 1.5% for in-house opt-in lists. Rented lists generally are up
to 3%.

If you are finding people are unsubscribing in their droves then look at the following that might be occuring:
      Are you sending the message in an invalid format (HTML when they can only read text)? Send the
         messages in MIME format so they always get the right one
      Your messages are per perceived as SPAM. Change the „From‟ address to something recognisable
      The content is poor and irrelevant. Brainstorm content ideas or research what your customers want
      There are mistakes in your emails such as broken links and inconsistencies with the content on your
         website                                                                                           18
                                                                          Permission Based Email Marketing


You will almost always get bounces. Typically this can be around 8-10% on average. The soft bounces are
temporary issues with your recipients email server and a good piece of email software will re-send these
emails until they are delivered.

If you are getting a lot of hard bounces (these are permanent errors with the addresses) then make sure your
software solution is able to provide you with a report on why the address failed. You can then see whether it is
a problem with your data collection procedures or the data is just out of date.

Additional uses of your tracking results

The tracking results can be used to either change aspects of future campaigns or indeed to send follow up
campaigns. Below is a number of ideas for altering your campaigns to recipients depending on their

Don‟t open, not bounced

If they do not show as opening it might be they can only read text emails. Ensure that you always send emails
in MIME format.

Try sending the email again with a different send time and a new subject line.

Opened, no clicks

Try changing the creative and offer in the email and look into the placement of call-to-actions.

Click, no response or purchase

This recipient is likely to be fairly interested but may need further encouragement or incentives to act. Along
with additional targeted email campaigns to these recipients try following up with a telemarketing or direct mail
campaign if this is appropriate.

If you initial email was quite broad and included many offers then consider sending a targeted email on just
the one offer they clicked on.

Profile your CRM Database with the tracking results

By importing the results into your database will provide many benefits.

Sales teams will be able to see:

       What email addresses are bad or gone away so they can update them
       What offers customers are potentially interested in

Marketing teams will be able to do further analysis including:

       How many people are using email to make a purchasing decision
       What industries are more interested and which are not
       What level of seniority is involved in making the purchasing decisions
       Whether email campaigns show any seasonal trends
       If your campaigns are appealing to all demographics or simply a small segment

By analysing the opens, click-thru‟s, unsubscribes and bounces marketers should be able to use the
information to help audit their marketing communications effectiveness better than a traditional audit of
financial data and customer orders and more efficiently than customer focus groups.                                                                                          19
                                                                        Permission Based Email Marketing

Maxemail Example

Maxemail offers in-depth tracking and reporting features. Below shows you how easy it is to compare
campaigns side by side to monitor general trends.

Upon clicking through onto a specific campaign precise details are available including percentage
breakdowns of the opens, bounces, click-thru‟s, unsubscribes and opt-ins collected. Each link in the text and
HTML versions of the email is listed with how many times it has been clicked. A percentage is displayed to
show the percentage of total click-thru‟s a particular link is responsible for.                                                                                       20
                                                                          Permission Based Email Marketing

Graphs can be created to show when opens or click-thrus occurred in order to enable users to easily identify
when the optimum time for sending a campaign is.

More detailed information and lists can then be produced with the data report feature. This enables you to
identify custom queries such as „How many people clicked on a link and unsubscribed‟ or „Which customers
clicked on link 7‟. All the information can then be exported into your choice of statistical package including
Microsoft Excel.                                                                                        21
                                                                          Permission Based Email Marketing

Managing inbound Email

Email is being used more and more by consumers as a way of communicating with companies at their own
convenience. Writing a quick email is far easier than ringing a customer service line and being put on hold for
10 minutes. Emails are also much cheaper for a company to process so are encouraging consumers to use
this channel. In some cases, particularly in the e-commerce sector consumers have no choice but to use
email to ask a question.

This has led to companies receiving hundreds of emails a day regarding their products and services. And
while this falls under the remit of the customer service department rather than marketing, marketing must take
the efficient management of email seriously unless they want to lose out on sales and gain a negative brand
image as a result of slow and inefficient response.

Responding to the increase in customer emails


Your website is often the first place your prospects will look for information regarding your products and
services. To provide them with all the information they need include a FAQ section on your site. By giving
people the opportunity to find the answer to a question themselves it will make it faster for them and place
less of a drain on your resources. By far the best example of this can be found on the easyJet website which
contains a huge knowledgebase of answers to questions customers have asked previously.

Email Management Systems

Email Management Systems such as Akio Mail Center offer companies the opportunity to engage in a
personal conversation with the customer. They work by intelligently routeing emails generated from the
website or to generic addresses such as through to customer service agents with the
right skill set to answer the customers question. The agent can then choose a standard reply to the email or
search a knowledge base for the right answer. To save even more time they can reply to multiple emails
asking the same question by creating the answer and then sending it to all the customers at once.

If the customer has further questions then their emails will be automatically routed through to the agent who
dealt with the original question.

The company is able to measure how efficiently they are dealing with customers emails by producing reports.
They can also analyse each individual agents performance.

Case Study – Akio Mail Center and Self Trade

Self Trade is a specialist online share brokerage and also offers services including life insurance.

30 people work in the customer service department answering between 200-400 emails a day. They aim to
answer all emails within 8 hours.

As delays in responding to emails grew and emails could not be traced, Self Trade decided to purchase Akio
Mail Center (AMC) to help manage their inbound email.

Self Trade are now able to answer emails much quicker thanks to the features such as standard replies, the
inbuilt knowledgebase and AMC‟s ability to route emails through to the agent with the right skill set. AMC also
enables a complete history of emails to be logged and traced.                                                                                           22
                                                                            Permission Based Email Marketing

Designing a viral marketing campaign

A successful viral marketing campaign is seen as the Holy Grail for many marketers. The ability to reach
many more prospects from much a small list, along with the added power in the message a referral gives
makes it the ultimate marketing tool.

For many marketers the risk is also quite small – the cost of viral campaigns are minimal compared to many
other forms of marketing that bring the same exposure.

However there has been a spate of poorly executed campaigns that have not been given any thought and
have failed in their attempts to spread a message to a wider audience.

This article looks at how you can utilise Viral Marketing effectively.

How can I use Viral Marketing?

Viral marketing is not just the emailing of a Flash based game or a movie.

The simplest form of viral marketing is simply the „Forward to a friend‟ link or form. Once you have set this up
it can be used again and again. It won‟t generate huge amounts of additional traffic but the traffic it generates
is highly targeted because the referrer knows that it is something the recipient will be interested in.

More complicated viral campaigns can revolve around the following:

       Competitions
       Games
       Movies and humour

For these campaigns to work there needs to be two factors in place:

1) An „Impact Factor‟
2) Incentives to transmit

Without these recipients will not forward your email.

The impact factor is what makes the email transmit quickly such as a funny video clip, a flash based game or
an online competition.

Where marketers do get this wrong is where the „impact factor‟ simply has no impact. Most people would
have at some time received a flash game from their bank or insurance company. The game would probably
revolve around some tenuous link to the company‟s products such as catching falling money into a bag.

This sort of viral marketing will not work because no one would want the embarrassment of forwarding
something like this. Choosing the right impact factor for your business is vital – there is a balance to be
achieved between creating the necessary impact to achieve fast transmission and the relevance to your
company and its products. Admittedly it is a lot harder to do this in traditional B2B industries and B2C financial
services where you are generally limited to competitions and prize draws.

The incentive factor is also vital – try some of the following:

    Offer an additional entry to a prize draw for every additional person the recipient forwards it to.
    Offer a discount voucher when the recipient forwards the email to five friends.                                                                                          23
                                                                          Permission Based Email Marketing

When designing a viral campaign it is also important to bear the following in mind to maximise the success.

1) Collect opt-in‟s to your newsletter

If your email is being sent to thousands of people then why not get them to opt-in to your newsletter? Using
viral marketing is one of the most effective ways of building your own opt-in list.

Remember though that you cannot send any further emails to addresses you have collected via viral
marketing without collecting their opt-in.

2) Avoid the following in your campaigns….

Asking for too much information when asking to refer a friend. Keep it down to first name, email address and
nothing else.

Using a medium that your list cannot handle – don‟t use bandwidth draining Flash games, videos or
complicated viral mechanisms where your recipients technology cannot cope.

What transmission rates can I expect?

It is never easy to judge how successful a campaign will be. It all depends on the incentive, impact factor and
the usual factors you would look at in the campaign such as:

       Timing
       Subject Lines
       Relevance

Typical viral campaign results we have achieved in recent months for our clients include:

    29% pass on rate for a special retail promotion based around a hosted flash based game.
    2% pass on rate from a regular travel newsletter with a simple forward to a friend option.

You can of course get much higher rates than this – indeed in past campaigns we have achieved a pass on
rate of nearly 200%. However to say this is the norm would not be setting correct expectation levels.


Test your viral campaign to a small target group of around 1,000 first to find out the likely pass on rate                                                                                          24
                                                                            Permission Based Email Marketing

Email for Research


Along with providing the marketer with a great tool for retention marketing email is also a fantastic medium for
market research. This article looks at the benefits of using email for market research and provides some tips
for maximising the results.

There is also a mini-case study that highlights just how effective email is as a research medium.

Why E-Mail for Research

A second-class stamp costs 20p, a telemarketer around £7 per hour and a data entry worker around £5.50 an
hour. This excludes costs such as envelopes, printing, telemarketing database design and training of staff.

While e-mail is certainly not a free medium it is significantly cheaper than others. Specialists will be required
to design the email, survey pages and develop the database to collect the results; the cost of this for any
reasonable size campaign will pale into insignificance compared to the cost of either a telemarketer or
someone to manually input the results.

Not only is email fast to send but the results are also collected in shorter time frames. Waiting for postal
surveys to come back can take weeks and a telemarketer would take time to call your nominated sample. By
using e-mail the majority of your surveys will be completed and available for analysis in less than 48 hours.

Easier to respond

E-Mail makes it easier for your customers to respond because:

    Your customer does not have to visit the post box
    They don‟t have to spend time on the phone at an inconvenient time

Data Collection / Validity

Something that frustrates marketers are those customers that are willing to respond to your survey but either
tick three boxes when asked to tick one or misinterpret questions asked by the telemarketer.

Email allows you to set-up rules on each question so if they are asked to tick one box then only one box can
be ticked. This reduces the amount of spoiled data that is collected.


Your survey is probably not the highest priority for your customers. If your telemarketer calls during a busy
moment then they are likely to be told never to call again while your postal survey can easily get binned.

By using email you can send reminders so even if they decide not to or forget to complete it on the first email,
additional reminder emails can be sent only to those that have not responded.                                                                                           25
                                                                          Permission Based Email Marketing

Tips for improving response

1) Embed short surveys into the Email

If you only have a few questions in your survey consider embedding the survey into the email. This will show
your customers that only a short period of their time is required.

2) Personalise every aspect of the email message

Where you can personalise the email message. A recent survey we carried out for a travel company stated
their name, the date the customer booked their holiday and the hotel they are due to stay in. Immediately this
increases the relevance of the survey to the customer.

3) Pre-populate parts of the survey

Another way of reducing the work on behalf of the customer is to pre-populate survey fields. For example you
should already know some details such as their name and address. Therefore there is no need for you to ask
them again and increase the length of the survey. However by making this information viewable it gives them
the opportunity to correct any information that is wrong.

4) Provide an Incentive

Everyone gets too many emails, phone calls and items of post every day. In order for your survey to get
responded to you need to make it worthwhile for your customers to spend their precious time on answering
your questions.

Incentives that work well for consumer email surveys include entries to a competition or prize draw, money off
vouchers or a discount on their next order.

In business surveys this does not work as well – try using a donation to charity or the provision of information
such as a specialist white paper.

5) Send reminders

As stated earlier people will forget about your survey. Create up to 3 reminder emails. You can then send
these to only those that have responded and not unsubscribed. You can even increase the incentive in later
emails to persuade more people to take part.

As a guideline for what you can expect from your reminder emails we generally find that the initial email we
will generate 60-70% of the completed surveys. However we have seen cases where the response from
reminder emails is higher then the initial email message.                                                                                          26
                                                                              Permission Based Email Marketing

Case Study – are an online travel company offering the lowest rates at 19,000 hotels worldwide,
sightseeing tours, travel guides and much more. Octopustravel are partnered with easyJet to offer
accommodation and services to compliment the easyJet flight routes.

In order to maintain and develop the service they provide their easyJet customers they needed to find out the
views of those that had booked with them. offered a £10 voucher to every customer who completed the survey. Emailcenter set-up
the email and survey pages so that on submitting a survey the £10 voucher was automatically generated and
sent to the customer.

Results selected 600 customers to send the surveys to.

The first email generated 195 responses (32.5% response rate) while
the follow up email to those that had not responded generated a further
35 responses (8.5% response rate). This response was so high the
final reminder email was cancelled because had
already collected twice as many surveys as they expected.

Joseph Gleeson, Customer Services Manager at
said, “We had previously gained around 8-20% response rate on email
surveys we had done. With Emailcenter we achieved almost 40%.”

“We chose Emailcenter because of their professional service, superior
pricing, and advanced product functionality. In particular their ability to
automatically generate gift vouchers and the resending of the survey to
non-respondents was a major factor.”

The results of the survey have reconfirmed that
are providing a superb service but has highlighted a few tweaks they
could make to improve it further. Joseph can now identify his priorities
for improvement in the coming year thanks to Emailcenter as Joseph
said “The solutions provided by Emailcenter have helped us
dramatically improve our service in 2003 and enabled us to prepare for
2004 with some degree of confidence.”                                                                                      27
                                                                           Permission Based Email Marketing

Staying legal
On December 11 2003 the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations came into force. The law
focuses on marketing by electronic means and this chapter focuses on what it means for your email

Key points

       To send emails to consumers you must have their consent to do so. This means the consumer must
        take a proactive step such as sending an email requesting information or completing an online
       The law was changed at a late stage to change the definition of consent. Often consent is gained via
        the recipient ticking a box to subscribe to emails. It was thought that boxes that needed ticking to
        NOT receive information (Opt-out) would be outlawed. However by including a statement as
        highlighted below would appear to still be acceptable:

             “By submitting this registration form, you will be indicating your consent to receiving email
             marketing messages from us unless you have indicated an objection to receiving such
             messages by ticking the above box.”

        This must be clear and the law will not tolerate the attempt to trick people into subscribing for
        information and offers.

       Sending emails to businesses does not require prior consent. However the sender must not disguise
        their identity and they must provide a valid opt-out in every email. This opt-out must be an email
        address or an automatic unsubscribe link. It cannot be a phone number in any circumstances. The
        law also states that you must take a prompt action to remove that opt-out.


Use an unsubscribe link rather than an email address. This takes away any manpower requirements and is
more reliable than a human!

If you cannot demonstrate that you have obtained addresses in the above manner then there is still an
opportunity to market your customers. Using email addresses obtained in the “course of a sale or negotiations
for the sale of a product or service” is allowed under the new laws. These people must still have actively
expressed an interest in the products or services and have not opted out at any stage.

Emails to these recipients can only include information on similar products or services to which they have
expressed an interest. For example, a supermarket can send further emails promoting their diverse range of
goods available at the supermarket. However if they start sending information on their financial products then
this would not be acceptable as this is not similar to groceries.

However if at the time of consent it was clearly stated that the information will be passed onto other group
companies then this would be acceptable.

This should also apply to renting your data to third parties.


When renting data from list brokers ensure that they are authorised to do so. Check the opt-in mechanism
and statements carefully. It will be you not the list broker that gets a £5,000 fine.                                                                                          28
                                                                          Permission Based Email Marketing

Legacy Lists
Lists created before December 11 2003 can still be used if:

       It was compiled in line with privacy legislation of that time
       The list has been used recently
       The recipients have not opted-out
Any lists created after December 11 2003 will have to adhere to the new rules.


The new law is not as strong as was predicted. There are still many options available for marketers to send
unsolicited email. Our advice however would always be to send solicited email.

Sending unsolicited email through the methods described above can only be described as „Legal Spam‟. It is
neither ethical nor likely to gain effective results for your email marketing.

Many of you will have been following permission-based ethics for some time. However this new legislation is
still important as the burden of proof to prove that a recipient has subscribed falls in your court. Always keep
records of when, how and where a customer elected to opt-in.                                                                                          29
                                                                         Permission Based Email Marketing

The future of Email Marketing

There are many sceptics who believe that email marketing is simply another marketing fad and will go the
way of fax marketing.

Fax marketing is based around interruption marketing methods where the idea is to „hit‟ as many people as
possible in a cost effective manner. If you get a 0.5% response rate you will probably be delighted.

Email Marketing is based around permission based marketing. The idea is to target only those interested in
your company and to extract the maximum value from them.

The future will see marketers having to „sell‟ less within their communications and more about informing
customers. Consumers will already have an interest and desire for your products and services, so you will not
have to „sell‟ the idea but simply inform why your offering is better than your customers.

To make a stronger argument for choosing your offering it is helpful to include only relevant information. Email
Marketing technology is improving all the time to provide “dynamic” emails that are unique to the recipients
own interests and profile. This one-to-one marketing will increase in the future as marketers become adept at
collecting the right data to fulfil this.

Email marketing will not be a standalone tool. It will never provide the personal touch of a telemarketer, will
not always replicate the same impact of a well constructed direct mail campaign and currently cannot reach a
shopper passing a particular shop on the high street like some advanced SMS solutions claim to.

Email will become integrated with these other tools with the tracking results provided by campaigns being
used to target these other mediums more efficiently.

Already the use of email in organisations is becoming more widespread. At first it was the responsibility of a
single person within a company to send a newsletter. Now more people are finding more uses for email.
Customer service departments can send service downtime information and invoices by email, market
researchers can quickly and cost effectively carry out surveys, HR can send company newsletters to all their
staff across the world and retailers and resellers can also be communicated with via email.

This will present a problem to many companies who want to offer email marketing solutions to all of their
departments. They need to have a system that controls the usage of email marketing, allows multiple users
and lists, and has an approval system to maintain quality control of emails that are sent.

These principles of how email marketing will evolve in the future are what all of our work at Emailcenter is
based upon. There are so many email marketing solutions that will offer basic personalisation, tracking and
reporting but very few look after the issues corporates face of the management of users and the transition of
standalone campaigns through to the building and sustaining of relationships over years of communications.

This book has attempted to make you think about the strategic and tactical issues involved in email
marketing. We hope that you will take away some valuable points regarding the ethics of permission based
email marketing along with a thorough understanding of how to improve your email campaigns. Best of luck
and happy emailing.                                                                                        30

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