Email Marketing Case Study: Improving Revenue With Email

How email marketing can improve your business, product or service’s success will very wildly depending on your marketing goals and the purpose of email in your marketing mix. However, what cannot be debated is that email marketing and email communications to customers absolutely deliver results. To get you started thinking about some of the many ways that email marketing and email communications can make a difference for you, we’ve provided one of our compelling email marketing case studies about how email marketing delivered results for an organization.

Email Marketing Case Study: How Four Emails Boosted End of Year Revenue for a Non Profit by 50%

The following email marketing case study was originally published in the July 26, 2011 edition of Marketing Sherpa. We strongly recommend Marketing Sherpa for always ongoing, up-to-date information on the latest in email marketing regulations, techniques and new developments, as well as frequent email marketing case studies on successful campaigns.

Challenge: For any nonprofit organization, December is an important month to generate donations. People are in a holiday spirit and, in the United States, the realization that a nonprofit donation can be a last-minute tax write-off. For HealthConnect One, which promotes the health of mothers, infants and families. December is a critical month for donations that will fund the nonprofit organization for the next year. While many nonprofits send postal mailings in December, HealthConnect One was worried that their postal mailing would get lost in the shuffle of holiday mail. So, in order to reinforce the message of the postal mailing, HealthConnect One began its first full-scale email marketing

The Campaign: In this case, HealthConnect One planned a four-part email series. The emails would get sent throughout the month of December. The first part of the email series would be designed to supplement the postal mailer, which included information, a call to make a donation and was personalized by using the recipient’s name and home address in the upper left corner.

The corresponding email campaign, however, had the flexibility to be more emotive, and the marketing team settled on the theme “Have You Ever Been a Baby?” to show that everybody had a way to related to the important work that HealthConnect One was doing. It was also a theme that the marketing team believed would stand out both from the nonprofit’s industry group (often focusing on heart-wrenching personal stories) and the flood of consumer email that is delivered to inboxes during December, the heaviest email marketing month of the year.

The team focused on the following keys in developing the email campaign:

Keeping It Simple: Each email template was simple. A large header graphic with a logo, a single picture of a baby, a headline, three to four sentences of copy and a link to donate (the only link in the email). There was also a “P.S.” statement to keep the email feeling personal.

The Four Emails: he four emails that the team sent in this case used the following email subject lines: “Have you ever been a baby?”, “Over 143,000 babies were born in the U.S. since our last email!”, “We were all babies once!” and “Happy New Year from HC One!”. Though each email had completely unique copy within the body of the email, the copy all highlighted the same four points: many thousands of babies are born in the US each year, not all babies have the support that they need, HealthConnect One helps provide support to families, and that donating to the organization would help those families and babies get the support that they need. The “PS” statement enforced that all donations would be matched.

What Next?

The HealthConnect One team then “scrubbed” their email list and determined which portion of their database was best to select to send the email to. They then developed an email landing page exclusive to the email campaign that reinforced the message of the campaign and included easy ways to donate money to the organization. Finally, they discussed and planned the proper timing of the sending of the emails, working both to space the emails out over time as well as to avoid holiday “slow periods” when people are not necessarily checking their email.

The Results

The results of this well thought-out email showed not only in the key metrics used to determine email success rates, open rate and click-through rate (CTR). They also showed in the overall revenue gained. All of the emails except for the email sent on December 23 received an open rate of greater than twenty percent and a click through rate of greater than four percent. More importantly, HealthConnect One exceeded its goal of $15,000 in donations and generated fifty percent more revenue in their December campaign than they had the year before. The ability to communicate multiple times with unique, personalized content that told a story and made donating simple resulted in a comfortable and successful December donations campaign for HealthConnect One.

Analysis: Email Marketing And Social Media

Social media have become an important part of the internet and online marketing landscape in the last decade. How do social media impact email marketing, and is email marketing still relevant in a world full of social networks? In this section, we analyze email marketing and social media and explain why email marketing is more important than ever in a socially-networked landscape.

MySpace. Facebook. Twitter. Google Plus. There are an increasing number of social media networks that, at one time or another, dominated internet traffic. Of course, marketing via social media has increased too, which is an obvious necessity since so many consumers and customers spend so much time on social media sites. Does it make sense for you to allocate all of your marketing resources to social media? No! Email marketing is still a very important part of any complete web marketing strategy. Of course, in the socially-networked world, you’ll need to combine your email marketing and social media marketing strategies together to meet different goals. Here are some tips and advice on how and why to merge email marketing and social media strategies.

Email Marketing Still Provides the Highest Return on Investment

The reality is that everybody from comScore to Marketing Vox have run studies and surveys of top marketers and one statistic remains true – no matter how big the social media networks have gotten, email marketing still returns the greatest return on investment. This makes sense when you think about how little overhead or time it can take to send an extremely targeted email to a very specific group of customers or users. If for no other reason than because you are a smart business person who appreciates the importance of a strong ROI number, email marketing should be at the top of your list of important direct sales and marketing communications channels.

Consumers and Users Do Not Switch Email Addresses – But They Do Migrate Social Media

Do you remember MySpace? What? You don’t? But that was just a handful of years ago when MySpace was the most popular destination on the internet (other than Google) and everybody had a MySpace profile and spent hours every day on the dominant social media site. Then, of course, Facebook arrived and became wildly more popular. At the time of this writing, it seems unthinkable that anything would take over Facebook’s position, but it’s entirely possible that, by the time that you read this, Google Plus will be the social network that everybody spends all of their time on. If there is one thing that seems to be true of social media, it is that users will eventually migrate to another social network.

That, however, is not true of email addresses. Certainly, sometimes people change their email address. But more frequently they simply add a secondary email address and use their older email address less often or for different purposes. The reason that Hotmail remains the largest web-based email service in the world is because it is the oldest, and, even if they don’t check it daily, most people still check their old Hotmail address at least periodically.

An email address isn’t as permanent as a postal address, but once you have a customer’s email address, you have a fairly assured way of getting a message in front of that customer. Changing email addresses is cumbersome. You need to notify all of the people whom you email with regularly and you lose what is often an emotional email history. Unlike social media, which have so far proven to be transient at best, an email address is an almost assured way to be able to reach most customers or users eventually if not immediately.

Messages Do Not Disappear from Inboxes

Once you send an email marketing message to a consumer, customer or user, that message remains in that individual’s email inbox until the individual either reads it or actively chooses to delete it. That means that even if the user hasn’t read the email, your email subject line is still there in the inbox reminding the user of their relationship with your brand. A message on a social media is not permanent. Once you post a message, you are reliant on your user or consumer being logged into the social media in a time frame that allows them to see the posting. No matter how many times per day your business updates Facebook or Twitter, you may not get the message across to a large group of your desired consumers. However, whether it’s actually read or not, email gets to your user or customer and reminds them of their relationship with you.

Email Marketing is Targeted while Social Media is “One Size Fits All”

The nature of social media is to protect a certain degree of privacy. Additionally, people do not always provide the most truthful information about themselves on a social media network. However, your email marketing database contains information that allows you to segment and target communications based on facts such as purchasing history, gender, age, and even geographic location. The most effective marketing messages are the most targeted marketing messages.Social media and social networks do not allow you to target messages effectively.

Social Media is a Brand Engagement Tool, Not a Direct Sales Tool.

At the heart of the matter, however, is the role of social media in your marketing strategy. Most marketing experts agree on one thing – social media is a branding tool, not a direct sales tool. A great part of the reason that email marketing continues to deliver the highest return on investment of all marketing channels is that how users behave on social media networks does not translate into direct sales. Social media users gather information and discuss products, they don’t necessarily buy products. Social media is important for brand engagement. It is not, however, typically a direct sales channel like email marketing is.

Email Marketing and Social Media Need to Work Together

Any good marketing plan is a comprehensive marketing plan. That means that your email marketing and social media platform should work together. There should be opportunities for users to share email contents via social media networks and opportunities for users to join your email marketing list via social media. One strategy does not mean that the other strategy doesn’t need to exist. However, the existence of social media networks certainly does not take away the need for a strong email marketing program and strategy!

How to Use Hashtags on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

A lot of words have been added to the dictionary over the past few decades thanks to social media, but few have become so widely used and accepted as “hashtag.”

For a long time, the hashtag symbol (#) was known simply as the “pound” symbol. Now, I could swear that the only time I hear it referred to as a pound symbol is when I enter my PIN number to pay my cell phone bill. 

Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar template.

While hashtags were originally made famous by Twitter, they’re now used on many major social networks, including Facebook and Instagram. Let’s explore what a hashtag is, why they’re so great, and how they work on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

What Does ‘Hashtag’ Mean?

A hashtag is simply a keyword phrase, spelled out without spaces, with a pound sign (#) in front of it. For example, #InboundHour and #ChocolateLovers are both hashtags.

You can put these hashtags anywhere in your social media posts: in the beginning, at the end, or anywhere in between. (Read this blog post for more instructions on using hashtags.)

These hashtags tie public conversations from all different users into a single stream, which you can find by searching for a hashtag, clicking on one, or using a third-party monitoring tool like HubSpot’s Social Inbox. Note that, in order for a post with a hashtag to appear in anyone’s search, the post must be public.

What Makes Hashtags So Great?

Back in 2007 when hashtags were a brand new concept, Google’s Chris Messina realized the value of hashtags right away. He wrote that the “channel” concept of hashtags satisfies many of the things group discussions do, but without inheriting the “unnecessary management cruft” that most group systems suffer from.

In addition, Messina wrote that they’re easily accessible with the syntax on Twitter (and now on other social media networks), easy to learn, flexible, and works with current user behavior instead of forcing anyone to learn anything radically new. It also works consistently on cell phones — whereas, for example, the star key doesn’t.

A decade later, the hashtag continues to thrive. When used properly, hashtags are a great way for individuals and brands to make their social posts more visible and increase engagement. They can give people useful context and cues for recall, aggregate posts and images together, and update a group of like-minded individuals on certain a topic in real time.

Hashtags are often used to unite conversations around things like …

  • Events or conferences, like #INBOUND17 or #Rio2016
  • Disasters or emergencies, like #Aleppo or #PrayForNice
  • Holidays or celebrations, like #WorldNutellaDay or #NationalCatDay
  • Popular culture topics, like #GameofThrones or #PokemonGO
  • General interest topics, like #WinterWonderland or #ChocolateLovers
  • Popular hashtags, like #tbt or #MotivationMonday

The key is to use hashtags sparingly and only when they add value. Use them too much, and they can be confusing, frustrating, and just plain annoying.

How Hashtags Work On Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Click on a social network below to jump to that section:

  1. How Hashtags Work on Twitter
  2. How Hashtags Work on Facebook
  3. How Hashtags Work on Instagram

1) How Hashtags Work on Twitter

A Twitter hashtag ties the conversations of different users into one stream. If Twitter users who aren’t otherwise connected to one another talk about the same topic using a specific hashtag, their tweets will appear in the same stream.

Here’s what a hashtag stream on Twitter looks like — we’ll use #MotivationMonday as an example:


Most of the good stuff takes place in the center of this page. For the hashtag #MotivationMonday, you’ll see there are a few ways to toggle the hashtag stream: Top (the default), Latest, People, Photos, Videos, and More.

  • Top: A stream of tweets using that hashtag that have seen the most engagement — which usually means tweets from influential people or brands that have a lot of followers.
  • Latest: A live stream of the latest tweets from everyone tweeting out that hashtag.
  • People: A list of top Twitter accounts to follow related to the hashtag.
  • Photos: A collage of photos included in tweets that use the hashtag. When you hover your mouse over a photo, you can reply, retweet, or Like the tweet with just one click. You can open the tweet by clicking on the photo.