Thursday, February 21, 2008


For a great example from IBM of how to explain the proposition, see world.

Finally, remember to try to capture the primary e-mail address. The Doubleclick Sixth Annual Consumer E-mail Survey (Doubleclick, 2005) showed that almost half of all consumers reported maintaining at least three e-mail accounts, an increase from 2004. Nearly 95 per cent considered one of their e-mail addresses to be a 'primary' account, while 72 per cent used a single address specifically for making purchases. This shows the importance of gaining the primary e-mail address for opt-in, particularly of an e-newsletter. To help with this, make sure you explain the proposition in detail and give examples of previous e-newsletters. If the frequency is relatively low, this may also help with obtaining the primary e-mail address.

Decision 19 tracking and assessing satisfaction

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Once we have implemented all the decisions we have reviewed above, how do we decide how well our e-newsletter is working?

If you are relaunching, you will be able to baseline against the previous incarnation of your e-newsletter.

As well as looking at opens and clicks for individual e-newsletters, as explained in Decision 2, it is also worthwhile considering what the overall levels of open rates and click rates are over a longer period — such as a quarter or a year. The e-newsletter will not be doing its job if the majority of recipients aren't interacting with it, so it may be necessary to use offline communications as a supplement for those not involved with it.

You will probably have been tracking the following in each time period, whether a month or a quarter:

  • bounces — hard bounces where the address is invalid should be removed from the list, with a process setup for contacting the subscriber if he or she is a high-value customer
  • subscriber change — this is calculated by subtracting the unsubscribes and the bounces from the new subscribers in the time period

such as sales or subscriptions, or clickthrough to offers, can be monitored

  • percentage referrals - perhaps using 'recommend a friend' forms.

While many e-mail broadcast tools will track these variables, it is essential to view how they vary through time as a time-series graph.

What in particular should you watch out for on the time-series? I would say the trends of the key measures, such as open rate, unique click rate and outcomes.

The open rate tells you how effective the subject line is in encouraging opening. If this is low one month relative to other months, there may be a problem with how the e-newsletter is themed, or with the offer or timing.

The unique click rate gives you an overall idea of the value of the content of the newsletter - how many subscribers are actively clicking through.

Outcomes will vary for different types of e-newsletters, but you will want to achieve consistently high numbers of outcomes.

Unsubscribes should be tracked, but are not a reliable indicator of interest. The Quris (2003) survey of US e-mail subscribers showed that 92 per cent of consumers said that they 'just delete e-mails myself by hand without reading them' when they get e-mails that don't interest them. Open rate and unique click rate therefore provide a more reliable method of tracking interest in your e-newsletter.

Assessing response by audience characteristics

It is also useful to assess open and click rates by audience characteristics. That way you may find that, for example, the e-newsletter (or some type of feature) works better for communicating with, for example, the older or younger audience, or a particular type of decision-maker.

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