“How’d We Do?” A New Series for Email Marketers

Hi everyone! My name is Laura, and I’m the lead Social Media Strategist for Ezra’s ecommerce brand, BOOM! by Cindy Joseph.

I want to welcome you to Smart Marketer’s new blog series, How’d We Do?

Every month, I’ll be updating you on BOOM!’s latest email marketing campaigns — including strategy, performance and top takeaways — so you can use this data to stay ahead of the latest trends and best practices.

(This series is a free preview of Smart Marketer’s premium training, Smart Email Marketing, where Ezra shows you step by step how to implement his robust email marketing strategy for your brand.)

In this month’s segment of How’d We Do?, topics include:

  • August’s Best Performing Email
  • A/B Test of the Month
  • Our Top Takeaways
  • How to Capitalize on Winning Emails
  • Good Metrics for Success
  • Updated Email Preferences
  • And more…
  • Okay, let’s dive right in!

    Benchmarks: What Makes a Successful Email?

    To judge what makes a successful email, it’s important to know that it varies by industry. Since BOOM! by Cindy Joseph is a makeup and cosmetics brand, we use metrics specific to the beauty industry to measure our success:

    Most of our emails get more than double the industry averages, but we use these numbers to create the following warning signs:

    If our emails are beating those averages and falling in the “Good” range of our Deliverability Table then we’re happy.

    21 Total Emails Sent in August 2019

    Here’s a breakdown of the 21 emails we sent in August:

  • 1 Monthly Digest
  • 6 Blog Posts
  • 9 Sale Broadcasts
  • 2 Re-mails to Unopens
  • 1 Ambassador Email
  • 2 Social Emails

  • As you can see, our email marketing strategy involves a lot more than just sales emails.

    We have expanded our content marketing strategy to include a variety of story-focused emails that engage our list based on their collective experience.

    (You can see visual examples of this month’s emails in the video above.)

    Here’s the full overview of all 21 emails:

    This spreadsheet also includes the list segment — i.e., the different groups of people — that we are sending each email to.

    These segments include our most active subscribers, anyone who has opened an email in the last 120 days, the Early Bird List for our product launch, and unopens for a blog post called “Pat’s Story.”

    I’ve also included the averages from the entire month at the bottom of the chart.

    How’d We Do Overall in August 2019?

    Remember the industry averages and deliverability guidelines I mentioned earlier?

  • Average open rate: 10.8%
  • Average click-through rate: 1%
  • Average placed order rate: 0.1%

  • Well here’s how our results measured up:

    We kicked butt this month, doubling (and sometimes tripling) the industry averages on open rates, click-through rates and placed order rates…

    And our spam complaints and bounce rates were well within the “Good” range we were hoping for.

    August’s Best Performing Email

    A major factor in the success of our emails this month was a product launch that we ran to a segment of our subscribers.

    This email, for example, had a crazy open rate and a 2.36% placed order rate, and it generated $35,353.

    The email looked like this:

    The secret to this email’s success is that it went to a segment of people who had opted into our product launch flow.

    The important thing here is that by opting in, they told us specifically that they wanted to receive this email before we sent it.

    Then we used that email flow to build anticipation for our new product, so that when we finally sent the email above, this segment was ready to buy.

    Updated Email Preferences

    One of the things we learned from this August product launch was to update how we allow our customers to manage their email preferences.

    The way we did it before was to include this paragraph at the end of every email:

    And from there they could select how often they want to receive our emails:

    But this launch made us reconsider that strategy, because it limited our ability to communicate with our subscribers even if they opted into our sales emails.

    So going forward, the plan is to update these preferences based on type of content, not frequency.

    For example, they would choose if they want to receive our blog posts, our monthly digests, our sales emails…

    And this way we can continue to send them only the emails they want which keeps our subscribers happy and our spam complaints low.

    How We Capitalize on Popular Blog Posts

    The other email I want to show off is a blog post we remailed to unopens called “Pat’s Story.”

    This email had a very high open rate of 54.31%. Let me clarify our strategy here:

    We originally sent “Pat’s Story” to our full list 2 weeks prior, and it got a 23% open rate. (Not bad!)

    Then we created a second segment of everyone who received that email but did not open it the first time, and we remailed the same exact email to them but with a new subject line.

    That’s the email that got a 54% open rate, and it looked like this:

    Again, this is the exact same email we sent before, only this time we changed the subject line from “Totally ready to let my hair go silver…” to “After facing anorexia as a teenager…”

    Same email, dramatically better open rate. What does that tell us about our audience?

    We think it tells us that anorexia is a major pain point for our subscribers. And it’s a conversation they’re having that we should be having too.

    So our takeaway here is that we should go deeper on this subject and create more content addressing women’s experience with anorexia.

    Monitoring open rates is our best strategy for discovering new ideas for blog posts, presell articles, ads and even products.

    A/B Test of the Month!

    Every month we run at least one A/B test to our email list.

    This month, we ran 32. Each one was testing the same thing:

    Does including headline text in the body of the email lead to a higher click-through rate than no headline text?

    For example, we ran this split test:

    And after running 32 variations of the test, 16 were too close to call, 5 were won by emails with headline text and 11 were won by emails without headline text.

    So this month’s winner is… No headline text!

    Going straight from the image to the body copy without including a headline resulted in a higher click-through rate most of the time.

    So, next month we will remove the headline text from more of our blog posts (which our copywriter was very excited to hear).

    Top Takeaways from August 2019

    To review, here are the top takeaways we learned from BOOM!’s email marketing strategy for August 2019:

    1. No more header text!
    2. Segment preferences based on type, not frequency
    3. Test more personal subject lines

    And that’s how we did in August.

    I’m excited to return to the Smart Marketer blog next month to bring you our September results.

    Did you know that email should account for 30% of your yearly revenue?

    If you’re interested in generating more email revenue for your brand, check out Smart Email Marketing.

    This Smart Marketer course includes templates of every automated email and manual broadcast email that we send, including:

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  • This popular course has everything you need to add our entire email marketing strategy directly into your business.

    You can learn more here:
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    See you next month!

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