May 2, 2002, 12:00 AM

When a best practice in e-mail marketing isn’t a best practice

Sometimes plain text works better than HTML and sometimes a retailer is better off not sending an e-mail at all, says a new report on e-mail marketing from Jupiter Media Metrix. And success is measured not just on response rates, Jupiter says.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor


When designing campaigns, e-mail marketers looking to squeeze out best results often look for best practices. But a new report from Jupiter Media Metrix says best practices for campaigns are a moving target, depending on campaign objectives. While HTML is generally used by retailers for e-mail campaigns, for example, Jupiter cites a successful campaign at one retailer who decided to use a text-based e-mail to promote a “last minute” sale.

“Consumers responded to the perceived urgency of the promotion implied by the text format,” says Jupiter analyst Jared Blank. “E-mail marketers too frequently seek best practices. For example, is a hard-sell subject line better than a soft-sell subject line? There is no one best practice for these factors. Only with testing can an e-mail campaign be fully optimized.”

Several versions of audience segmentation, message content and e-mail format should be tested prior to rolling out any campaign across the board, say Jupiter analysts. Jupiter also notes that while the cost of blasting out e-mails to customers already on a retailer’s list is very little, merchants should weigh the size of the opportunity in such customer retention campaigns against the campaign’s potential to create fatigue in a user base already receiving lots of e-mail.

And rather than simply looking at conversions to gauge a campaign’s success, retailers are better off taking a broader view and looking at other metrics as well. For example, Jupiter cites one company that measured the success of an e-mail campaign by determining whether e-mail recipients used the call center less frequently than other customers.

Ultimately, successful e-mail campaigns should be measured not only by the effect they have on customers but also by their impact on improving the practices of marketing organizations, according to Jupiter.



Sign In to Make a Comment

Comments are moderated by Internet Retailer and can be removed.

Not a member? Signup for free today!




Relevant Commentary


Jason Squardo / Mobile Commerce

Five tips for achieving high mobile search rankings

Searches on mobile devices will soon exceed those on computers, Google says. Retailers that keep ...


Sergio Pereira / B2B E-Commerce

Quill turns to its B2B customers for new ideas

Coming in April is a new section of that will let customers and Quill ...