Getting Lifts with More Precise Email timing

By | July 21, 2015

As email becomes a default marketing channel for so many clients, how do you max out the opportunities this offers? Timing!

One of the trends we are seeing in print + email market is the adoption of mail tracking to improve the timing and coordination of channels. With growing adoption of the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb), we are seeing the timing of pre- and post-direct mail emails becoming more strategic and refined. Using the IMb, marketers (or their print providers) are able to time their follow-ups to within a specific timeframe of when the direct mail hits.

Using A/B tests, GrayHair Software, for example, demonstrated just how effective tweaking the timing can be. A direct marketing firm had been sending out Standard-Class direct mail with a follow-up email sent by a third-party provider. The follow-up was just sent after a few days and was not timed with the actual delivery of the direct mail piece. The campaign was getting results, but the marketer wondered how much more could be achieved.

GrayHairSource: GrayHair Software

GrayHair set up tests to determine the impact of coordinating the deployment of the pre- and post-email campaigns with the actual delivery of the direct mail pieces. Two statistically valid groups were formed to receive the offer. Both groups received identical offers across two distinct products, Product 1 and Product 2. Here were the results:

  • Group A was contacted using the direct marketer’s strategy. Members of the list received a pre-email containing advance notification of the direct mail offer. Once the direct mail piece was delivered, follow-up emails were sent at the discretion of the email deployment provider without regard to whether the mail piece had delivered.
  • Group B was contacted by GrayHair. Members of this group received the same pre-email containing advance notification of the upcoming direct mail offer. This strategy differed in that the Group B direct mail pieces were tracked through the GrayHair mail-tracking services to determine the day of delivery for each piece. When the direct mail piece was received, the recipient received the email offer the next day to reinforce the direct mail offer while it was still fresh in recipients’ minds.

The combined response rate (pre-email, direct mail piece and post-email) for Group A (original strategy) was 2.79%, while the combined responses for Group B (new strategy based on timing) was 2.92%—a 4.7% lift. Imagine the impact on revenue for high-volume campaigns!

This test supports what most of us instinctively know, but it’s great when the numbers are available to support it. Once again, we see the documented value of the combination of print + email rather than a single channel alone.

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