Over the years, I’ve become a bit of a data nut. If it’s a media or marketing channel and you can’t measure, analyze, and optimize it… I’m not interested. eMail marketing is an area that I find rather interesting, mostly because of it’s untapped potential. In fact, eMail marketing is a reboot of direct mail – except with potential for a lot more personalization and the application of advanced engagement techniques.

The problem with eMail marketing is that it’s been so poorly executed by so many old world, spray-and-pray direct marketers that people now see any advertisement in their inbox as a heart-rending infringement upon their personal space. Especially when they never signed up for the newsletter that they’re getting in the first place.

(hint: any list collection without a double opt-in is poor form, and sure to get your message marked as spam by the reader).

Last week, I took some vacation time and went cottaging. But while I was away, I had a little eMail marketing experiment set up and running with the aid of my vacation auto-responder. This is what the message that anyone who eMailed me received in return while I was away:

FYI, I’m on Vacation!Message:
Thanks for your email. This is an automatically generated response to
let you know that I’m out of the office until Tuesday September 4th.If your message is urgent, please contact my colleague Dave Delage |
***********@marketingbreakthroughs.com or 613.721.3335.If your message isn’t urgent, you’re on my to-do list for Tuesday
morning. Promise.

Have a great long weekend!
PS this is the first real vacation I’ve ever taken. In honour of the
momentous occasion, I’m giving away goodies! Simply send me an email
before noon on Tuesday with this offer code in the subject line:
ILUVCHOKLIT2012 and I’ll buy you a candy bar of your choosing.

Yes, I’m serious. Yes it’s that simple. No purchase necessary. One
candy bar per person.

In this piece of eMail marketing, we have an offer, a call to action, and some (tongue-in-cheek) terms and conditions. So, what did the response numbers look like? Well, thankfully (for my wallet) I’m a behind-the-scenes piece of the puzzle and I don’t typically get a lot of eMails. But, here’s the breakdown of this little (3-day) campaign:

Of the number of individuals who received my vacation eMail:

  • 67% were female / 33% were male
  • 41.67% of the total audience converted and got chocolate bars (if this were a CTR on a real campaign, that number would earn accolades and awards; it’s extremely high compared to industry norms of 2-3%)
  • Of the respondents, 80% were female / 20% were male
At the risk of sounding sexist, there was a bit of a female skew bias inherent in this campaign. The offer was a free chocolate bar, and two-thirds of the audience were women. This didn’t counter my expectations, as I had predicted that the majority of people who were going to eMail me while I was away were female.
What can we learn from this experiment?
  • If you know your audience, tailor the offer.
  • Skews and bias aren’t necessarily bad – if you plan for them, they’ll happily support your objectives.
  • Females (generally speaking) like chocolate.
That last point was a bit of a gimme, I’ll admit. Want to talk about eMail marketing more? Either contact us or submit a question through the form at the left. I personally read every inquiry that comes in through it.


And that’s eMail Marketing and Chocolate by the Numbers. Happy Friday!