The 5 priorities of the email marketer

Florent_Diverchy.jpg - 18 Aug 2017

Recently, I’ve been asked the following question: “What’s the priority of email marketers nowadays? “.

Thinking about how to answer, I looked back at the last 12 years I spent at Bisnode, where Email Marketing is one of my occupations. This helped me identify 5 priorities each email marketer should focus on.

Priority #1: Link your email marketing efforts to your sales

Priority #1: Link your email marketing efforts to your sales

You’re not doing your email campaigns for free. You pay for your email platform, the time of the people using it, the creatives delivered by your internal designer or your agency, and maybe you’re also buying email addresses to a third party. 

As an ROI-driven consultant, I would first urge you to fix the basics, and see if this investment is profitable.

In order to do so, you’ll need to link your sales to your email campaigns. The best way to do it is to centralize the email reactions (Send, Bounce, View, Click, Opt in …) and the orders in a single place: the e-CRM. There are several tools on the market that can do it. Bisnode works with its own Data Hub.

When both are in the same place, focus on Campaign Attribution. Determine which action can be seen as the source of each order. There are different campaign attribution models: first source, last source, all sources… I’ll come back to this in a later article.

When your Campaign Attribution model is in place, you’ll know how much money your email campaign brought you, and you’ll be able to focus on the next priority.


Priority #2: Calculate your email campaign ROI

Priority #2: Calculate your email campaign ROI

There’s nothing worse than continuing doing your marketing campaigns without knowing if you are gaining or losing money. You need to have this important indicator in sight at any time, to be able to react in case of problem.

Take the example of one of my fundraising client: he is using our e-CRM and knows exactly what happens when he sends an email to prospects from third party sources:

  • An average of 15% of the contacted people open the mail
  • 15% of the openers click on the call to action.
  • 60% of the clickers fill the registration form
  • 82% of the registrants give their opt-in

They also know that 9% of these registrants will be convinced by their lead nurturing program to give money, and they will give on average 100€ on the first year. This client is therefore ready to spend 100€ per new donor. By applying the above rates backward, the client knows that to be profitable, he can pay a maximum of:

  • 100€ per new donor
  • 9,09€ per opt in
  • 7,45€ per filled-in form
  • 4.47€ per clicker
  • 0,67€ per opener
  • 0,1063€ per sent email.

The ROI of the average campaign of this client will then be positive if he pays less than 4,47€ per click on a Cost per Click model, or less than 106,30€ /1000 in a Cost per Send model.

This valuable information will help him to find the right partner, to negotiate his contracts, and to identify issues in his campaigns. He will then be ready to correct these issues.


Priority #3: Compare yourself to the market

Priority #3: Compare yourself to the market

Email Marketers need to have access to benchmarks. It’s the best way for them to diagnose the potential issues of their email marketing programs.

Different benchmarks can help them:

  • Own brand benchmarks: to compare the current campaign to the last one they did.
  • Country benchmarks: to compare what they do with the country average. But note that these are usually too general and must be refined in order to give valuable information. A best idea is to use:
  • Sector benchmarks: giving the rates for a specific sector.
  • Marketing objective benchmarks: splitting the results between prospection & client mails, between informative & incentive mails and so on.

At Bisnode, we even go deeper into the benchmarks, splitting the average by age, gender, language, social class and urbanization level.


By using these benchmarks, the email marketer can see if he is below or above average on each step of the conversion funnel:

  • Deliverability
  • Openings
  • Clicks
  • Registrations
  • Opt ins
  • Orders

When the pain points are identified, the Email Marketer can focus on solving the identified pain points.


Priority #4: Optimize your campaigns

Priority #4: Optimize your campaigns

Depending on his ROI and his pain points, the Email Marketer must take decisions to perform better.

If he is above the benchmarks on all steps of the conversion funnel, and yet his ROI is negative, then he must ask himself if Email is really the right channel for him.

In all other cases, he needs to act on the weakest link of his funnel.

With the years, and the growing experience, he will be able to do it alone. Before that, he can ask for the help of an experienced Email Consultant who will teach him the right techniques, adapted to his marketing program, in order to optimize his campaigns (This is, by the way a big part of my Digital Consultant job at Bisnode).

The techniques will be different, depending on the pain point, and could be (but not limited to…), for example:


  • For a Deliverability issue: ways to clean of the e-CRM, or to decrease the probability to be identified as spam and to be blacklisted…
  • For an Open issue: a methodology to create better subject lines and to test them, redefinition of the target group, determination of the best timing to send the email, transition to trigger-based emails…
  • For a Click issue: review and optimization of the ergonomics of the email design, migration to a responsive design to improve the rates on mobile devices, rewriting of content, usage of online storytelling…
  • For an Opt-In collection issue: review and optimization of the landing page, usage of pre-filling of known information, usage of Facebook Login or other social logins, definition of the right incentive to engage people…
  • For a Sales issue: review and optimization of the Lead Nurturing process, review of the segmentation and personalization of the emails, migration to trigger emails, evaluation of the propensity to buy…

With the help of the consultant or alone, the Email Marketer is then ready to reach his objectives and a positive ROI. He is then ready for his last challenge.


Priority #5: Stay up to date & Experiment

Priority #5: Stay up to date & Experiment

Email Marketing is in constant evolution: new trends, new devices, new behavior and expectations from the users. New privacy rules too.

It is the responsibility of the Email Marketer to follow these changes to stay up to date and stay profitable.

The best way to succeed in that is, again, to find the right consultant to guide you, and to find the right blogs, sites, RSS flows, LinkedIn groups & Pinterest boards to follow.

This will allow you to discover new tendencies as soon as they appear, and to test them by yourself.

With these basics fixed and this constant experimentation and evolution, the Email Marketer stays up to date and ready for the challenge of the future, on this channel and the next ones.


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