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5 Tips for Weaning Your Company off Email Blasting

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by: Ellen Valentine (@EllenValentine)
11 May 2016

Email BlastMany marketers get revenue from nearly every email offer they send. As a result, over the years email marketing has escalated into a high-volume, high-frequency business. And you might be thinking, what’s wrong with that?

To illustrate the down side to this ramp-up, let’s take look at how high-volume eblasting might play out for the typical marketer: If you’re sending static messages four times a week to your list of 500,000 subscribers, and your average unsubscribe rate is 0.25 percent (that doesn’t seem so bad, right?), that means you’re losing 1,250 people every time you press the send button. And while that might not seem like so much, with that send rate of four times a week, by the end of the year, you will have lost HALF of your database. That’s right, about 250,000 subscribers will be gone forever.

If you’re tasked with growing or even maintaining your email list, you’ll have to focus a lot of time on acquiring new prospects since you’re losing prospects off the back end as quickly as you can put them into your database. When you’re taking two steps backwards for every three steps you move forward, it becomes a race that’s hard to win.

So how can you shift out of this predicament? The short answer is to deliver extreme relevance with high levels of personalization. Implementing these five steps will help:

1) Install Web tracking on all your websites.

Web Tracking is a code provided by your digital marketing platform provider, such as IBM Marketing Cloud. This is a different code from Google Analytics, and both codes need to be added to your website. Web tracking allows you to collect important behaviors such as Web page visits, website visits, PDFs downloaded and videos watched. Then you can design, deploy and automate behavior-based emails. These behavior-triggered messages will typically perform far better than a static eblast.

2) Use dynamic content rules in your emails to personalize based on database values.

Figure out what data elements would help you be more helpful and relevant for your communications. Put a plan in place to start adding these fields to all of your customer records. Get the call center to help you ask a few questions, use implicit profiling to store values in your database based on button clicks on your website, and ask a survey and/or use progressive profiling to learn more over time.

3) Use micro surveys to capture additional intelligence.

 A micro survey is a single question with button click options for answers – things like "Did you buy?" (click on "Yes" or "No") make great micro surveys. These micro surveys should be sent via responsive-designed emails so they are easy for someone to open, click and answer from their mobile devices. Done right, they can provide key data on what your customer is thinking and/or where they are in the buying cycle.

4) Use mobile app behavior to determine how to target your messages.

If you’re building a new version of your mobile app, make sure you have incorporated your mobile solution developer kit into your build so that app behavior is passed back to your digital marketing platform. Use this behavior to better tailor and target your message.

5) Consider implementing score-based sending.

Employing this tactic enables you to only target a certain portion of your database based on criteria you establish. The beauty of a scoring model is that it will dynamically segment your database for you.

Automated and Broadcast Emails: Perfecting Your Mix

As my colleague Loren McDonald points out in this video, broadcast emails will always be a part of the messaging mix for most companies. However, your goal should be to increase the number of automated, behavior-triggered emails you’re sending so you can realize the benefits that this increased personalization and relevance will bring – including increasing the effectiveness of your broadcast emails.

I love the intermittent scenes in The Big Short in which Dr. Michael Burry (Christian Bale) writes the number of defaults on the whiteboard before he leaves the office for the day. You can feel his smug satisfaction at the metrics moving the way he predicted. You too can pull your own Dr. Michael Burry move by posting the number of eblasts you send compared to the number of personalized messages. I’m pretty sure your results will improve as your ratio of personalized messages to eblasts increases.

Learn More About Emails and Automation:

1) Ebook: “Best Practices for Marketing Automation Excellence and Organizational Efficiency

2) Blog: “Silent Email Subscribers: How to Approach Them

3) Tip Sheet: “Transactional Emails: 10 Tips for Driving Value and Engagement


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