Just Changing the Subject – 2 Different E-mail Marketing Results

Thu, 27 January 2011, 12:39 pm

Today I paused just a second to check on the effects of some of our email marketing. First, I stopped to applaud ourselves for converting a registrant for a webinar that we are sponsoring. It was someone who didn’t register the first time we sent the email subject to the outside list, but did respond the second time we sent the exact same email.

Converting from an Outside List
I must admit I was skeptical when the only thing we changed in the invitation was the Subject Line. No content change whatsoever. This was to an outside list that we purchased from a vendor called Accuity. To date we have found that response from outside lists that we pay for has been poor. No surprise there, right? It’s not like the people asked for more spam. Of course, the hope always is that you can provide people in a highly targeted audience something of value that they want to interact with.

So, I opened up our Silverpop EngageB2B system to have a look. Sure enough, the first time we sent email to the list with a subject line of Basel II & III: Are You Prepared?, this busy financial executive, didn’t even open it. 1 week later, when we sent the exact same email with a different subject line (Basel Webinar – Earn 2 Free CPEs!) that catered more toward earning professional certification credits, the person opened the email and registered for the webinar.

Silverpop EngageB2B Activity Insight Window showing results of 2 different email subject lines

Silverpop EngageB2B Activity Insight Window showing results of 2 different email subject lines

What we never know, of course is whether the person converted because of a better subject line, or because we sent the email on the right day at the right time.

Causing an Unsubscribe
For some reason, I also noticed today that our Silverpop system not only tracks unsubscribes, but gathers comments from people as they do so. I took a look at the report and figured anyone who bothered to comment, must have been really aggravated. So I saw this comment on the report:

EngageB2B Unsubscribe Reasons Report

EngageB2B Unsubscribe Reasons Report

I looked at the user’s Activity Insight and easily spotted why the user unsubscribed. We sent 4 emails over a one month span regarding the same IT Project Management webinar, varying only the subject line. The last email put him over the top, and caused him to unsubscribe.

EngageB2B Activity Insight showing 4 different emails, the last causing an unsubscribe

EngageB2B Activity Insight showing 4 different emails, the last causing an unsubscribe

I would have to agree with his assessment, that we spammed him especially if he wasn’t a good target for the content. This whole inquiry leaves me wondering more about human behavior and email marketing. On the one hand, repetition is good, because he finally took the time to open the email. However, the end result was not so good, because we’ve lost the privilege to send email to him again. I don’t feel good at all about badgering someone to the point of an unsubscribe. Yet, as an e-mail marketer I know that it’s all part of the game.

Posted in: B2B Lead Generation/Management, E-mail marketing, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing Strategy
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Read: 4 comments on “Just Changing the Subject – 2 Different E-mail Marketing Results”

  • 1 Brianna Sylver 27 January 2011

    Great post, Kris! I love reading case studies from other people around what has worked and not worked for them with respect to email marketing.

    We started a newsletter around innovation and strategy for our organization in 2009. We were a bit late in distributing it in December…managing to only get it out the Monday of Christmas week versus the week before as planned. Surprisingly, we had one of our highest open and click through rates to date. This blew me away…on the week of Christmas! My only rationalization for it is that people had more time to engage, as that week seems to be slower for most on the work front. It did leave some questions in my mind similar to yours…was it something we said in the subject line or right time, right place? I wish I knew, but am hoping for a repeat performance all the same. Next edition of the newsletter goes out next week.

    Please keep these tips coming. They’re helpful!

    Take care,

  • 2 Kris Rzepkowski 02 February 2011

    Thanks for sharing Brianna. That’s pretty interesting that you got such a good response heading into the holidays. I do enjoy your newsletter. That must take a lot of effort. It’s definitley a good way to ping former clients in a very non-intrusive way in case they have additional projects that require your services.

  • 3 Dick Rzepkowski 04 February 2011

    Kris, The spam load in my inbox seems to increase daily. I especially loath the nearly daily offers from retailers that think since I bought their product once, I might buy on their site every day. The high frequency senders are also the ones that I immediately think are worth my effort to unsubscribe from. If I take the trouble to unsubscribe from an annoyingly high rate sender’s e-mail list, it’ll bring the gratest benefit to my inbox.

  • 4 Kris Rzepkowski 07 February 2011

    Yeah, Dad I agree about the retail spam load. I keep my personal inbox just for my retail purchases, and my business email just for business interactions. It seems to me in both situations, if I’m hit by just the right offer at just the right time, I’m going to open it and maybe respond. If I get too much repetition where it becomes disruptive, I’ll take the time to unsubscribe.

    The question I have for you is what’s it like when a B2B vendor does it right? Do you have current vendors that are awesome at nurturing you post-sale? Do you have companies that prospect you that do it just right and you don’t mind, and sometimes even look forward to what they are sending?

React: with wreckless abandon

eight − = 6






This is my Life as a 37 year old husband and father of two and my Work as Executive Director of Marketing at Bennett International Group in Mconough, GA relocating from home in Rochester, NY.
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