Email Magic for the New Hire

You’re the new Marketing Manager at Shoes R US, an ecommerce shop.  We’ve never met, but I know I would like you because you understand the true power of email.  Your new boss loves email too and totally understands its full value.  You know she does, because she tells you on your first day, “We need to get you up and running quickly so we can send out an e-blast as soon as possible.”  Uh oh, an e-blast?

You came from a company that used email a lot – you learned all about how powerful it can be revenue-wise.  You also learned that not all lists are the same, so before sending the next ‘e-blast’ you need to check on the list’s quality. Upon loading it up, you see some red flags – low open and click rates, and a lot of subscribers who haven’t opened an email in ages.  Worse, it looks like the company has been sending to addresses that have both hard and soft bounced numerous times.  In short, the list is a mess.

You tell your new boss that you will help increase revenue from email – she is all smiles.  You tell her that she will need to be patient as it could take a couple of weeks – her smile falls.  You tell her that you are going to decrease the number of people you are sending to by 50% and it’s a cold stop – “50%?!” she cries,  “A huge chunk of our revenue comes from our email blasts – how can you increase revenue by decreasing list size?”  You think about widening your eyes and slowly whispering, “Magic,” and waving your hands around, but wisely you do not.

You explain that the list that Shoes R Us has been sending to needs cleaned up. “Even the people that are interested in our emails may be less likely to see them. Gmail, Yahoo, Aol, and Outlook all look at blacklists when deciding which messages they will allow in their users’ inboxes. We have to start here.” You then go on to explain that a simple segment will help reengage the inactive subscribers. Your boss is smart – she hired you. She gives you the go ahead.

“Well lastly,” you say, “We need to send our entire mailing list through a service that looks for possible problems.  This cleaning service can help us figure out if the emails we are sending to are legitimate or not.  So while all of these addresses have been properly opted in, we need to make sure that they were properly entered at the time of opt in.” Your boss agrees because you are awesome at explaining complex issues in a smart way – way to go!

You send your list through the cleaning service and your list is cut by nearly 50%.  It cuts quite a few of the ongoing soft bounces you had encountered and removes all of the hard bounces.  Finally, it cleans up email addresses that were improperly stored like and made them  You create the segments you described to your boss, properly crafting a unique subject line and offer for each segment.  You take a deep breath – you send.  The results roll in.

Well, you didn’t quite make as much on this mailing as the company did on the previous one.  Still, you cut the number of addresses in half by 50% but only missed revenue numbers by 5% – a testament to the idea that less could in fact be more.  You let your boss know that a reputation can take time to clear up and again remind her of the patience you asked for when beginning this project.

After just a couple of weeks, you have beaten the original email revenue numbers by 37%. Months later at the annual company meeting when your boss tells the entire company what a difference you are making with your ‘strategic e-blasts,’ you just smile.  She is a believer in your new system and in you.  Congratulations – you made the email world a better place.


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