Achieving Success Through Effective Email Marketing

Sep 24, 2012 8:09 PM  By

During her schoolhouse session at the National Etailing and Mailing Organization of America directXchange conference, Joanna Morrissey, ecommerce strategist with, said since 39.4% of marketing industry executives believe that email is the most powerful tool, retailers need to master the art as soon as possible.

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Keep it simple
Just because you are sending a customer or a hand raiser an email, it doesn’t mean that it has to be text heavy. In fact, you should do everything you can to avoid a lot of editorial content in an email. “A picture really does say 1,000 words,” Morrissey said.

In fact, she told the audience, the more content you have in that email, the risk of getting that email bumped into a spam filter increases. What are some of those commonly flagged words in spam? According to Morrissey:

  • Free
  • Subscribe
  • Bonus
  • Discount
  • Information Request
  • Great Offer
  • Amazing

Focus on the graphics
While Morrissey suggest getting heavy on graphics, marketers need to pay attention to the layout of the email. While a photo can enhance your message and create a connection with your customer, you need to understand how it will look in the preview pane of an email and how it transfers if it is opened in a tablet or smart phone.

“Make sure it will look good without images” since many mobile carriers will not automatically download the email in HTML, she said.

Don’t forget the subject line
Yes, the message you are trying convey in the email is important, but what does it matter if the email isn’t even getting opened? That is why, as Morrissey points out, it’s important for marketers to put just as much focus on the subject line.

“This seems like a simple task but it gets lost in translation,” she said.
Some of the best subject lines that work, according to Morrissey:

  • Creating a sort of “scaretactic” with the reader such as “Only a few hours left” or “Today only” usually helps the open rate of an email. The reader generally feels as if the email needs to be opened much faster since they do not want to miss out on a great deal.
  • Flattery works with customers. For those who are regular shoppers, try sending an email with a subject line “For our best customers.”
  • You can create personalization in your subject line by focusing on a holiday or seasonal event. Morrissey suggested that if you’re a sporting good company, try sending out an email around Mother’s Day with the subject line “Great gifts for the sporting Mom.”

Use analytics
One of the best things you can do within your marketing department is to run analytics on the emails you send out. This way you can determine what works, what works better and what emails are a complete waste of time.

Morrissey suggests that all marketing departments look at open rates and click through rates to determine effectiveness. These analytics should include the time of day the email is sent, the time and day it was opened, the headline quality and the level of interest of the recipient.

Establish personalization
One of the benefits of testing and running analytics, Morrissey said, is that it will give you a better insight to who your customers are. You will be able to see what campaigns are working and, hopefully, with each interaction you can gain a better insight to what intrigues them, what they shop for, birthdays and their demographic. Use all of this information you gather in an email to that customer in order to create the best personalized marketing piece you can.

Some quick tips from Morrissey: if it’s their birthday, send them a personalized birthday greeting. If you know they like a certain product, send an email with product suggestions based on previous purchases.
The point of creating a great email campaign, Morrissey said, was to create that “seamless experience” with the customer. You want them to trust that conversation with you, just as much as they trust your products.

Erin Lynch is the associate editor at Multichannel Merchant. Erin can be reached at 203-358-3755 or by emailing her at You can also follow her on Twitter at @LynchMCM or on LinkedIn.