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Paul Rijnders

If Email Campaigns Were Baseball, Part 2: Hits and Homeruns

Mar 21 2011, 02:27 PM by

Back to the Diamond Again
My last blog illustrated how to assemble a batting order of email campaigns for maximum effectiveness. Each “hitter” played a part with the end goal of bringing your subscriber to home plate for a score, sale, conversion or visit to your business. So now that you know how to set up your email campaigns sequentially, maybe it’s time to define what constitutes the varying levels of success that an email can achieve. It’s not just score or no score email marketing – every email plays its part. It’s a game of stages.
You Can’t Get on Base if You Can’t Hit the Ball
It doesn’t matter what content your email contains – whether it be extreme discounts or videos of dancing acrobatic kittens – it has no chance of advancing if your subscriber doesn’t open it up to view it. This means your subject has to connect. We say it often here because it’s true: email marketing depends on writing descriptive, interesting subject lines.
First Base Is Better than Striking Out
I mentioned last time that all your emails don’t have to be home runs. Expecting every email you send to result in an instant sale is hopeful but unrealistic.

Sometimes you might have a subscriber open your email and then get distracted, only taking in a little bit of info. I do this all the time myself. Maybe I’ll open up an email message from a vendor while watching Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel: I’m into the whole product flow of the email when all of a sudden Andrew Zimmern takes a bite of a worm. Guess what? Email over.

So I got distracted and forgot to read the rest of the email. I still like the company and don’t have anything bad to say about them. In fact, there might be a tiny part of my brain that feels open to the company due to our unfinished business. Their email was topical and interesting, but not compelling enough to compete with the rest of my life at that moment. Fair enough. That's a single: the umpire calls "safe" and they can stay on base.
What’s a Double?
There are some emails that perform better than just getting opened and forgotten but by themselves they don’t motivate the subscriber/customer to action. The info is pertinent and well received, but maybe stored for further action later. A good email that gets noticed (and solidly absorbed) is a double in my book. Your reader is on the proverbial fence, halfway between action and moving on.

Good job, I say. Just be careful not to make any mistakes (grammar, offensive content, bad design) as you touch base or you’ll be thrown out, thus wasting an otherwise great hit.
A Triple? You’re Really Kidding Now, Right?
You might think I’m just making up silly levels for my baseball game here, but hear me out. There are emails that are excellent, make an impact and are in the best scoring position even if they don’t close the deal. This email from Time Warner fits the bill perfectly for me:

It’s a great design. Big, easily scanned headlines and sub-headlines help to get the information out clearly. There’s a nice graphic that sells a benefit instead of just showing a product. There’s also lots of white space and just enough color to be interesting. The best part is that it reads quickly. You’ve got to get out fast to get to third base these days!
So Why Isn’t It a Home Run?
It isn’t because I didn’t download the app. I don’t even have Time Warner for TV. I’ve got this dish in my backyard that brings me my happily enjoyed gross out food shows. But I’m more than a little on the fence about switching services and this email put Time Warner right up front in my mind.
They Could Probably Bunt Me In Now
I’m so close to switching that any little nudge via email might put me over the top to seal the deal. Do you see how this is working? A discount email - one that had it arrived alone or first might only be a “single” – might just be the final push to get me to convert. Again, a run counts the same as a home run. A sale that happens because of three emails is going to be as valuable to you as a sale that happens in one.
Soccer Just Doesn’t Cut It This Time
You know what, I don’t even like baseball that much. Being the child of European immigrants, I was raised on soccer or “voetbal” as my cousins in Holland would call it. But even this former AYSO participant knows that the beautiful game has nothing on good ol’ hardball when it comes to illustrating that sometimes email marketing success comes in defined stages. Make your next at bat count and with persistence, strategy and proper execution, you’ll surely get some runs up on the board.

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