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To celebrate the launch of our new digital marketing and ecommerce awards, #TheDigitals, I've rounded up five examples of effective email marketing campaigns.

It follows a recent post that flagged up six great examples of mobile marketing excellence.

To avoid any accusations of bias, these are all examples that fall outside the eligibility period for the current awards, but should give an idea of the type of campaigns and projects we are looking for.

#TheDigitals are the new awards that recognise the best in digital marketing and ecommerce. Award entries must be submitted online before the deadline March 13, 2013.

Award categories cover both industry and platform specific areas. There are special categories for best new technology, rising star (free to enter) and the overall Grand Prix winner. Further information on categories and entry requirements is available at thedigitalsawards.com

So without further ado, here are the five effective mobile campaigns...

eBags

Online retailer eBags managed to increase email clickthrough rates by 20% and conversions by 65% after running tests to find the best time of day to send out its marketing messages.

Choosing the best time to send out email is a key issue for email marketers, but the optimal time of the week is usually selected on a general one-size fits-all basis.

However, eBags carried out research based on the hypothesis that if users were available to sign up to an email list at a certain time, then they would be far more receptive to receiving an email at the same time as when they signed up.

The company individually calculated the best time to send the email by looking at the behaviour of each user within the email list, recording when the exact time when they signed up to the list.

The results were:

  • Click-through rates increased by 20%.
  • Conversion rates increased by 65%.
  • Average value per order increased by 45%.
  • Overall average revenue per recipient increased by 187%.

But while the email campaign was incredibly effective, eBags did not employ this technique in all of its campaigns. 

Larry Martin, head of the program, explained that sending out individually timed emails is both very time-consuming as well as technically difficult.

ABB Instrumentation

Chances are you haven’t heard of ABB Instrumentation, which supplies process instrumentation products and services, but this is still a good example of creating an effective email campaign.

When ABB wanted to launch the OriMaster, a new differential pressure orifice plate flow meter, it developed a specialised email platform that automated the email communications process in response to changing user behaviour. The objective was to create a more personalised experience for the user.

The technology recognised whether the first email sent out had been opened or not. If not, the platform sent it again a week later. If the user had opened the email but not clicked through to the landing page, the platform sent another reminder two to three days later.

If the user did decide to click through, then a thank you email was automatically sent with the contact details of an ABB engineer or relevant distributor, creating a follow-up opportunity for a face-to-face sales engagement.

The platform was effective as it created a higher level of engagement through email. The results of the campaign were that the automated resent emails doubled the number of responses from the initial email, and clickthrough rates increased to 11% for all opened emails.

British Airways

British Airways (BA) partnered with e-Dialog to develop a highly targeted mobile email campaign to promote its Executive Club mobile app. 

Customers received tailored emails optimised specifically for the type of handheld device they were using.

The process of optimisation began with an analysis of BA’s customer email database to assess which customers were desktop and which were mobile phone users. It was then able to use the data to determine the type of device customers would be using to access the application.

Ogilvy One and Agency.com produced four different email creatives to support iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and desktop users, then e-Dialog used more customer data to understand consumer habits and further tailor the content.

The results of the campaign show that the targeting and optimisation techniques employed were highly effective: 

  • Open rates for mobile exceeded those for desktop users and were in excess of 50% for iPhone and Android devices.
  • The clickthrough rate was 25% for users who accessed email on their iPhone and in excess of 30% for BlackBerry users.
  • The campaign generated over 250,000 downloads, more than double the targeted number, and more than 70,000 clicks to BA.com/apps.
  • Approximately 200,000 downloads came from the Apple App Store, 50,000 on BlackBerry and 7,000 on Android.

Tesco

Tesco’s Clubcard scheme means that it has a massive amount of customer data that can be utilised for marketing campaigns.

To this end, it created an email campaign that delivered a personalised shopping list to customers based on their previous in-store or online grocery purchasing behaviour.

The shopping list featured actual grocery items that the customer had purchased across different departments, and these were the same items they would find in 'Favourites' on Tesco.com. Each email was unique and dynamically tailored at the customer level.

The email was targeted to registered Clubcard customers who had previously bought groceries online but hadn’t shopped online in the last twelve weeks or at all.

The messaging behind the email was that the items that customers usually buy are automatically waiting for the customer online, making it easy and quick to shop. As an extra incentive, a £10 discount coupon was offered for orders of more than £50.

To ensure that Tesco selected the correct products to feature in the email, marketers chose specific sub-categories which customers are likely to feel more emotionally involved with. 

A model using frequency and recency of items purchased in the previous six months was used to rank the items in the given sub-categories, and the top nine or twelve items were chosen to be displayed in the email. 

The aim was to ensure customers would readily recognise the products as ones they regularly purchased and represent accurately a number of their favourite brands and products.

Tesco utilised the data available from the Clubcard scheme to develop a dynamic and highly personalised email campaign that helped customers understand the key benefits of shopping online.

Philips

In this example, Philips partnered with 8seconds to optimise its email campaigns using real-time A/B testing. Traditional A/B testing can be time and resource consuming, but Philips was able to optimise its emails based on real-time consumer behaviour.

The multivariate test used crowdsourcing to optimise emails, so the first people that opened the email acted as the testers and the remaining people saw the optimised version of the email.

Images were downloaded at the moment when the recipient opened the email, with each message containing a link to different images that were located on 8seconds’ server.

The 8seconds technology shows recipients different images and measures which images are most successful in terms of conversion. As soon as the optimal email is found, 8seconds shows the optimised version to all recipients who see the email.

Adapting the content of emails to the preferences of the recipients has increased the response rates of Philips’ campaigns:

  • Some campaigns have shown an increase in click rates by a factor of 10.
  • Overall in 2011, Philips’ average clickthrough rates improved by 82%, both through 8seconds’ technology and through improvements in segmentation and targeting.
David Moth

Published 19 February, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1680 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Emma

I find it incredibly hard to believe that eBags saw that big an increase in opens and conversions just by changing the time of day that they sent their emails. We've run extensive tests on this as well, and saw very little difference in opens. Are you sure that this testing didn't coincide with an amazing sale offer or something?!

over 3 years ago

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Sandra

Agreed. If it was that easy to increase that much we'd all be doing it. I do hours of research to ensure that I'm on top of new innovations and strategies but at the end of the day, content and design are king. If you're subject heading reads well and your email content is on point...you're in a good place.

over 3 years ago

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