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3 Ways To Get More ROI Out Of Your Email Marketing

by Sherice Jacob

According to an email marketing case study released by Marketing Sherpa, there is some solid ROI in going the extra mile with your email campaigns.

It’s easy to test subject lines and calls-to-action.

But how many of us are testing different landing page offers to different audience segments, different offers to different geographic locations or using the sales cycle of our product to determine email timing.

This is where we separate the men from the boys.

Marketing Sherpa Chart

A MarketingSherpa survey shows optimizing landing pages and message personalization as being effective and underused tactics

The key takeaway from this chart is that most of your competitors have not evolved.  They are still spending the bulk of their time testing subject lines and time-of-day sent and haven’t ventured into more difficult terrain where there is ROI aplenty.

Here are three examples of businesses that have been profitable at taking their email marketing to the next level.

1 – The right offer to the right audience segment

It’s clearly becoming more important than ever to send relevant messages that are based on the preferences of the subscriber.

It’s not easy, and that’s exactly why most email marketers aren’t doing it.

Frozen food delivery service Schwan’s, in an attempt to bolster its loyalty club members, learned through proper message targeting that they could enjoy an increase in memberships by creating separate pitches for current versus prospective members.

Although specific numbers aren’t available, loyalty club members responded best to emails geared toward the number of points they could earn (toward a purchase) while prospective members responded better to messages centered around how much money they’d save.


By tailoring its messages to members versus prospective members, Schwan’s was
able to boost its sales significantly.

2 – The right offer to the right location

San Diego restaurant Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes entices visitors to join its free “Club Veg” newsletter, where they not only get healthy living advice and learn about new specials, but also get printable coupons good for a future visit.

Different coupons are available for different geographic areas, allowing the restaurant to test which offers work best for that particular customer segment.

Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes tests its monthly coupon deals
to different audience and geographic segments

3 – The right offer at the right time

Musical instrument retailer Shar Music stumbled upon a formula that helped them raise open rates 40% and increase click-throughs 12%.

They did this by learning which of their customers ordered their best-selling strings within the last 6-12 months. As a general rule, strings on musical instruments should be replaced every 6 months.

They then sent a reminder email advising them that it was time to change their strings.  26% of the customers who clicked through then went on to order strings, resulting in Shar Music enjoying a 53 cent per message return rate on this particular email campaign.

SharMusic sends out timed emails to musicians reminding them to replace
strings every 6 months.

The Future of Email Marketing

Email marketing is evolving.

According to the report, 67% of marketers surveyed intended on growing their email marketing budget.  A great deal of that budget will go to ensuring that they can acquire and use all available data, and focusing more on sales funnel optimization to help engage subscribers and meet their expectations for what an email newsletter should deliver.

The bottom line is that, when testing your email campaigns, resist the urge to simply test the easy stuff.

Sure, it makes sense to spend energy, resources and time on things like subject line, message length, layout, images and calls-to-action

But you’ll get a better ROI if you step it up a notch and start using the data you have available to provided a more personal, segmented approach to your email marketing campaigns.



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Sherice Jacob

Sherice Jacob helps website owners improve conversion rates with custom design, copywriting and website reviews.  Get your free conversion checklist and web copy tune-up by visiting


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  1. Mike Onghai says:
    December 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Good post by Sherice!

  2. Paul At IMCasts says:
    October 18, 2012 at 2:23 am

    It’s funny how all these points seem obvious when you step back and take a look at how you might improve your email marketing. A simple act such as showing the right message to the right list makes you want to put palm to head and wonder why you never did it before.

    • Russ Henneberry says:
      October 18, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Ha ha… Thanks Paul. But it’s easier said than done. It takes a lot of work and planning to set up your email campaigns in this way. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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