Author Archive

Ten Numbers Every Email Marketer Should Commit to Memory

November 2nd, 2010

Earlier this month I led my ninth full-day Email Marketing Essentials Workshop Training for MarketingSherpa. One of the most popular parts of the day is the on-the-spot critiques of email creative. They are gentle critiques – attendees send samples and as a group we talk about how they follow standards and best practices and what the marketer might test to improve performance. I’ve had people tell me that the critiques of their pieces alone were worth the cost of admission, but I digress.

Creative is nice, but quantitative data is where the rubber meets the road for me. So I often ask attendees about the performance of the creative we’re viewing. What’s your abandon rate on that email sign-up page? How was the click-through rate on this email? Why do you send this every month – does the ROI justify it?

And it surprises me how many marketers don’t know these numbers off the top of their heads.

Now, I admit it; I’ve always had a head for figures. When I check-in to a hotel my room number always imprints on my mind right away. Early in my career I was a fixture at upper level meetings, because my bosses knew that I’d be able to answer, off the top of my head, just about any quantitative query that arose.

But still…

In my perfect world, here are the ten numbers that every email marketer would have committed to memory (join us in Miami or Los Angeles and impress me!):

1. Percentage of New Website Visitors that Sign-up for Email

New, rather than returning, Website visitors are a key audience for email acquisition. Anyone who visits your Website and likes what they see is someone you want on your email list. That way you have the ability to begin a relationship with them via email – and sell them, over time, on your company and your offerings.

There’s no “magic number” for this type of conversion. But there’s also no reason that you shouldn’t always be trying to improve it. I’ve seen new visitor conversion rates from 0% to 25%. They key is to know what your conversion rate is and to always be looking for ways to improve it.

2. Abandon Rate on Your Online Sign-up Process

How many people that start your sign-up process bail out before they are finished? This is important because if you can figure out why they left and address the issue, you have an instant boost in your list growth.

There’s no golden rule for what your abandon rate should be, except the lower the better. I’ve seen abandon rates as high as 90%, meaning that 9 out of 10 people that thought they wanted an email relationship changed their mind during sign-up. If you’ve got 50% or more of the folks abandoning your sign-up process, you have plenty of room for improvement. And even if it’s only 25%, making changes to get it to 20% would provide a nice lift in list growth.

3. List Size

Everyone should know how many email addresses they have on their email list. This is a basic and most people do have this information close at hand, I’ll admit. But be sure you get monthly updates.

As with some of the other figures, there’s no perfect size for a list. I’d rather work with a client that has a small but responsive list than a large list that’s unresponsive. It’s usually more difficult to do any statistically significant testing with a list of less than 40,000 email addresses. The key here is to know the universe of your target audience and work to get as many of them as possible to sign-up for your email program.

4. Monthly List Growth Rate

How much is your list growing, or declining, each month? It’s an important question to be able to answer since it goes directly to the long-term viability of your email marketing program.

MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report reported that lists that were growing did so at an average rate of 19.2% every six months. Those with declining lists reported a 10.3% decline over the same six-month period.

If you do the math, that’s an average monthly list growth of 3.2% for those with lists that are increasing. If your list is growing more quickly than this, great – but you still want to be thinking about how you can boost acquisition performance.

5. Bounce Rate

Bounces shouldn’t be a large part of your email send – but you should know this figure cold. If it’s higher than the industry average, then you may have serious issues with your list, list management and/or with being blacklisted (since some, but not all blacklists return a bounce message).

The Epsilon Q2 2010 Email Trends and Benchmarks Study reported an average bounce rate of 5.2%. If yours is higher, it’s worth some analysis to figure out why.

6. Open Rate

What percentage of your email audience is opening your missives? Opening is the first step to action, so this figure directly impacts your overall campaign performance. Open rates are somewhat controversial, but if you look at them as a relative, rather than an absolute, metric, they are still very useful.

Open rates are running from 16.4% to 31.5%, depending on industry, according to the Epsilon Q2 2010 Email Trends and Benchmarks Study. The average across all industries is 22.1%. If your open rates are below this it gives you something to shoot for. If you’re exceeding these metrics, there’s still always room to do better.

7. Click-through Rate

Click-through rate, calculated by dividing unique clicks by the quantity assumed delivered (send quantity minus bounces), is an important figure. Don’t get it confused with your click-to-open rate (sometimes referred to as the “engagement rate”) – which is useful but very different.

The Epsilon Q2 2010 Email Trends and Benchmarks Study is reporting an average open rate of 5.3%; the range across industries is 3.2% to 10.1%. As with opens, you should always know where you are in relation to industry benchmarks – and always be striving to improve your performance.

8. Conversion Rate

There are many different types of conversion rates, but the one I’m speaking of here is related to the bottom line goal of your email. If you’re looking to generate leads, then it’s the number of leads you generated divided by the quantity of email messages assumed delivered (quantity sent minus bounces). If you’re going for direct sales, then substitute direct sales for leads generated. If your email has some other goal, like driving traffic to a brick and mortar location, then substitute that.

Conversion rates are all over the board. Much depends on what your goal is and how much effort and/or commitment is required from the respondent to achieve it. I’ve seen conversion rates as high as 40% (and this conversion required a purchase!) – and as low as 0%. As with many of the other metrics, there’s no hard and fast measure of success here – but you always want to do better.

9. Return on Investment

Return on investment is calculated as how much revenue you generate for each dollar you spend on your email program. Some email marketers I’ve met shy away from even trying to calculate ROI because either (a) they have no way to track revenue associated with email or (b) they don’t feel they have a clear way to delineate the costs of their email program. While it’s great to have an absolutely accurate ROI, even an estimate can be useful. As long as you use the same formula to calculate ROI send-over-send and month-over-month, you can get a relative read on whether it’s improving or not.

The Direct Marketing Association projected that email will return $42.08 for each dollar spent on it in 2010. That figure is somewhat controversial, many feel it’s too high, but remember that it’s not a measure of success or failure. If your email marketing is profitable, returning more than $1 for each dollar you spend, it’s a success. And if you are making more than $42 for each dollar you spend, then your goal should be $50.

10. Dollar Value of an Email Address

What is an email address worth to your company? This is another figure which few marketers know, but it’s critical to the success of your acquisition efforts. The easiest way to calculate it is to divide the overall revenue generated from your in-house email efforts by the average number of people on your house list. When you know how much revenue you can expect from an email address, then you know how much you can spend on acquisition.

There’s no right or wrong answer here, and no industry benchmarks which would be valuable to gauge against. But that shouldn’t stop you from generating a quantitative figure. And as with the other metrics, you should strive to be sure that the value of each email address goes up, not down, with time.

Editor’s Note: Jeanne Jennings is teaching MarketingSherpa’s Email Essentials Workshop Training in 12 locations across North America this year; the next one takes place in Miami on November 9th. She’ll be blogging about the course material and her experiences during the tour. We’re excited to have her on board and contributing to the blog.

Related resources

MarketingSherpa Email Awards 2011

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011

MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Essentials Workshop Training

Email Marketing: Drip Campaigns Drive Revenue

October 20th, 2010

I always love attending MarketingSherpa events – the presentations are not only enlightening but also entertaining and the networking between sessions rocks! This year’s B2B Marketing Summit in San Francisco was fabulous — and for those of you who missed it, we’re doing an encore performance in Boston October 25th and 26th 2010 .

My contribution to the event was a one-hour session on effective B2B drip campaigns which was very well received. It included seven case studies of successful B2B drip campaigns from my consulting work for clients and the MarketingSherpa archives. While I don’t have space to give you all the details here (join us in Boston if you need to know!) I wanted to share some of the keys to success.

But first: are you currently doing drip email campaigns? How many of you don’t even know what a drip campaign is? About a quarter of the audience responded affirmatively to the first question – and another quarter raised their hands when I asked the latter question. So, just to get us all on the same page…

Drip campaigns take their name from drip irrigation, which saves resources by allowing water and fertilizer to be consistently delivered directly to the roots of plants. There’s less waste than with sprinklers and topical fertilizer application; drip irrigation also provides a consistent level of moisture to the soil, rather than the “soak and dry” experience that sprinklers provide.

Drip marketing campaigns are most commonly delivered via the email channel because of its short turn-around, quick delivery time and cost-effective nature. A drip campaign involves a series of messages that are sent or “dripped” in a predefined order at a predefined interval. Each message in the campaign stands on its own but also builds on the missives that have come before it. A drip campaign is a response to a specific behavior or status of the recipient – and it encourages a specific action.

Drip campaigns are most commonly used to nurture leads – they often use education, testimonials and other tactics to move prospects through the early part of the sales cycle and take them from “less than hot” to “hot,” or at least “very warm.” As with drip irrigation, drip marketing campaigns are a resource-efficient way to serve a large group of constituents.

I shared seven case studies with the audience in San Francisco – here are the key takeaways:

1. Define your Goal(s): Know what you’re trying to achieve going in – and go further to define what specific action(s) you want the recipients of your drip campaign to take.

2. Understand that Content is King: When people contact me about drip campaigns, they usually want to talk about the timing and frequency of efforts. But those factors have much less impact than the content of your program. And once you’ve fleshed out the content, the timing and frequency fall in line naturally.

3. Develop a Message Map: The first cut of this should be a brainstorming session to determine the key messages which need to be conveyed to get recipients to take the action desired. The second cut is to figure out what real-life examples you can use to illustrate these key messages.

4. Bucket your Content: After your message map is done, it’s time to separate this information into a series of efforts. There should be some content that appears in every message; but each individual email needs to focus and go into detail on some aspect of your message map. It’s not a drip campaign if you send the same information over and over again. This exercise will determine how many efforts or individual sends are in your drip campaign.

5. Decide on Your Email Format(s): Although the majority of drip campaigns utilize letter-style email messages, but newsletter, short-form editorial and other formats can be just as effective. Don’t limit yourself to one – make the format support the content.

6. Utilize Design Strategically: Typically the copy is front and center in drip campaigns; design and images should be used to support, but not overshadow, the copy. Video and other interactive media can be effective as well, but only if they support the business goals.

7. Adding Segmentation to a Drip Campaign can Increase Its Effectiveness: Creating sub-campaigns which are based on lead quality, behavior or other actions increases the relevancy of your efforts and will increase overall campaign performance when done properly.

8. Detail Your Efforts in Advance: Developing a decision tree and/or flow chart of your drip campaign provides a blueprint for implementation and will help keep you in line with your business goals.

9. Use Social Media to Drive Acquisition: Social media allows you to communicate a single message to a large group – use it to entice people to opt-in to your drip campaign so you can deliver more relevant, targeted content to specific segments of your audience.

10. Look at Overall Campaign Performance: Obviously you’ll look at standard metrics like opens, clicks and conversions by effort and then look at the average of all efforts. But be sure to take the next step and evaluate the cumulative unique campaign metrics. A key link in a recent campaign garnered an average 25% increase in unique opens send-over-send. The unique clicks on the key link increased by more than 100% after the second send; after the sixth and final send, nearly five times as many unique recipients had clicked and visited this key landing page.

Email Marketing: “I am not dead yet”

October 12th, 2010

News of email marketing’s demise has been around for years.

Cases in point:

  • I’ve been on many panels where the topic is “Email is Dead; Long Live <Fill in the Blank>” where “the blank” is Blogs, RSS, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube – you name it. Typically it’s a point-counterpoint format, where I’m alone on one side of the stage and there are at least three “experts” on the other side dissing on email.
  • News sources, from to iMedia Connection to the Wall Street Journal have run articles about  all the latest online marketing tactics – and how they will displace email in a matter of months or years.
  • I recently did an audit of a large organization’s email program, from acquisition through creative development and into conversions and overall performance. At a presentation to the field reps, it only took a few slides for an attendee to raise his hand and ask why we were bothering, since no one used email anymore (even though their members are career professionals in their early 20s through retirement age).
  • Ever since I started my email marketing consultancy, over nine years ago, people have asked me what I was going to do when email died. Confidence in my career choice was not high.

All that said, email is NOT dead yet. Nor is it dying.

Each year, the Direct Marketing Association ranks marketing channels by the ROI generated. Email has led their rankings for a number of years; in 2010 they project that email marketing will return an average of $42 for each dollar spent, down from more than $43 in 2009. Email is the leader by more than a nose; the #2 channel was Internet search advertising, which returned just under $22 per dollar spent in 2009.

Forrester also weighed in on email earlier this year, projecting that U.S. spending on email marketing will increase by a compound annual rate of 11% until at least 2014, when it will reach $2 billion.

A recent MarketingSherpa survey found that email was one of only two tactics where more organizations increased budgets than decreased them in 2009. Nearly 50% of companies reported that their email budget increased, compared to 14% who said it decreased (the balance said that their email marketing budget stayed constant). The only other tactic where more budgets increased than decreased? Social networks and blogs, where 48% of companies increased budgets and 20% decreased them.

The latest report that supports the life left in email marketing comes from Yahoo! Hotjobs, which recently  published an article on six new careers they felt were “coming of age.” Number five? You guessed it – Email Marketing Manager. Yahoo! reports it delivers an average salary of $69,000 and encourages those interested in moving into email marketing management to pursue an MBA.

My experience in the trenches supports the health of email marketing. My email marketing consultancy has been busier than ever in the past few years. I continue to grow my client base and just brought on a new employee to help me meet the demand.

So the next time someone suggests to you that email is dying, smile and just hum the tune to Monty Python’s “He’s Not Dead Yet.” Then go back to the office and continue to hone your skills to succeed in this exciting industry which is very much alive.

Editor’s Note: Jeanne Jennings is teaching MarketingSherpa’s Email Essentials Workshop Training in 12 locations across North America this year; the next one takes place in Toronto on October 19th. She’ll be blogging about the course material and her experiences during the tour. We’re excited to have her on board and contributing to the blog.

Related Resources

Master the Essentials of Email Marketing in One Day with MarketingSherpa Email Trainer Jeanne Jennings

Email marketing Case Studies, How To Articles and Interviews

Email Marketing Awards Gallery 2010: Winning Campaign Details and Creative Samples

Welcome Messages: Are You Making a Good First Impression on New Opt-ins?

July 1st, 2010

I’ve just completed another MarketingSherpa Email Essentials Workshop Training session, and have another quick tale from the road:

In the recent Workshop in Atlanta, one attendee submitted the URL of his email sign-up page for a critique, but said that he wasn’t submitting a welcome message because he didn’t believe there was one. Lo and behold, when I signed up for his email list I received a welcome message. I then understood why he didn’t realize it existed — it was utterly forgettable.

There are so many things that a welcome message can and should be; so many ways it can get the email relationship off on the right foot. We critiqued this welcome message during the workshop; I look forward to seeing the marketer implement the ideas we discussed to make it more effective.


Do you know if a welcome message is sent to new subscribers to your email list? If it is, do you know what it says? Whether it’s text or HTML? Who to contact if you need to update or change it?

I’m often surprised at how many marketers overlook this critical aspect of a new email relationship. Here are a few tips on welcome messages (just a small taste of what we cover in the email list growth section of the Workshop).

Welcome messages are one of the most common types of transactional email messages. A survey published in MarketingSherpa’s Best Practices in Email Marketing Handbook found that:

– 54% of respondents stated that they open and read transactional messages “very often or always.”

– Only 21% of respondents reported opening and reading other opt-in email with the same frequency.

Bottom line: Your welcome message (and other transactional messages) are probably opened and read by two-and-a-half times as many people as your email marketing messages. They are worthy of your attention.

Yet many organizations don’t think much about their welcome messages. Case in point: Exhibit A below.

text-only welcome message

This welcome isn’t bad, but it’s not reaching its full potential. It does thank the reader for subscribing. Then it reiterates the information provided at sign-up — but why? There’s really no reason.

Contrast this with Exhibit B: A welcome email from NFL Shop.

HTML welcome message

NFL Shop’s welcome message is in HTML, not text. But that alone doesn’t make it better. Just as the previous message did, it thanks the recipient for subscribing. But then it goes a few steps further.

– The benefits of having an email relationship with NFL Shop are front and center, in bullet points so they are easy to skim. This gets the recipient excited about receiving future email messages from NFL Shop.

– They also provide a link to get a free team catalog. They are making it easy for people to learn more about the merchandise they offer to entice them to shop and buy.

– Speaking of which, I love the “Begin Shopping” button on the right side of the email. It drives people back to the site to browse and buy, which is NFL Shop’s bottom line goal.

As good as this welcome message is, they are still missing an opportunity. See all the blank space below the “Begin Shopping” button? Why aren’t they using it to provide a coupon for a discount on my next purchase? They could add urgency by having the offer expire a week after the date that the welcome message was sent. That would give recipients an extra incentive to go back to the NFL Shop site and buy.

In a nutshell, an effective welcome message should:

o Thank the subscriber for signing up

o Reiterate the benefits of the email relationship

o Include a call-to-action

o Offer an incentive to encourage the desired action

Dating analogies are rampant in the email world, so here’s another. When someone signs up for your email list, they’re expressing interest in having an online relationship with your organization. Sending an effective welcome message right away is critical for leveraging this “honeymoon” period and getting the relationship off on the right foot.

Preview Panes, Image Blocking and My Pitch to Have Microsoft Outlook Turn Images on by Default

June 17th, 2010

My “official” blog post will begin in a minute, but first here’s a quick tale from the road:

Some marketers from Microsoft attended the Email Essentials Workshop in Seattle, Washington last month. The creative they brought to share didn’t leverage the preview pane as effectively as it could have when images were blocked.

We were discussing ways to address this as a group, when I just couldn’t resist. I suggested that, since Outlook was a Microsoft product, they just talk to the developers at their company and change the default from “images blocked” to “images on.”

The room broke out in laughter and a little applause; the other attendees were definitely on board with this idea. One of the people from Microsoft jokingly said he’d speak to Steve Ballmer about it right away. Who says that talking about email marketing can’t be fun!

Some of the most interesting discussions in the MarketingSherpa Email Essentials Workshop Training sessions I’ve been leading center around creative execution, preview panes and image blocking.

Workshop attendees bring samples of their email marketing efforts that we review as a group, identifying areas where the creative mirrors standards and best practices, and also looking for things the marketer might test to improve performance. It’s surprising to me how few marketers take image blocking into account when developing their email creative.

In the latest MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Report, a survey of email recipients found that only 33% have images turned on by default. That means that 67% – or two-thirds of recipients – don’t.

The preview pane is your prime real estate to pull people into your email. In conjunction with the sender address and subject line, it’s the key to getting people to read your email. When I’m looking at image blocking, I focus on the preview pane view. This is the place that having images on, or off, makes the most impact.

More than 80% of business people and more than 50% of consumers utilize the preview pane view on their email clients. More than 75% are using a horizontal (rather than vertical) preview pane (data, again, comes from Marketing Sherpa’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report).

So you should all know what the preview pane view of your email looks like, both with and without images.

Exhibit A: A recent issue of one of USATODAY’s email newsletters (see below).

With the images turned on, I can see that it’s the Travel Briefing and even get part of an image and a headline to pull me into the email.

screenshot of the preview pane with images turned on

But that’s not the case when images are blocked (see below).

With images turned off I can see the “housekeeping” messages at the very top, as well as the copy associated with the Facebook and Twitter links, but nothing else.
screenshot of the preview pane with images turned off

At the very least, the “Travel Briefing” headline should be in rich text, as the social media copy is. Many companies prefer to make newsletter titles and even headlines images because it allows them control over the font for branding purposes. That’s fine on a website, but for email anything that can be rich text should be. That way the words will show even if images are blocked.

Also fine on websites are large “hero photos” which appear under the header — but they’re not so good in email. The caption for the photo at the top left, which is also the story headline, is “Top 10 Free Travel Apps.” It’s directly below the image. If USATODAY moved this above the image it would make the preview pane, with or without images blocked, much more engaging.

One more thing: With images blocked the content of the email is shifted down. So even though the headline on the right appears when images are on, it gets bumped below the preview pane when images are blocked. Without images there’s not a lot here to engage readers and pull them in to read the email.

Developing email creative to take full advantage of your preview pane prime real estate when images are blocked isn’t difficult or expensive. It just takes a little thought. If you don’t know what your email looks like in the preview pane with images blocked, now’s your chance to check.

So check how your messages appear in the preview pane when images are off. And if you don’t like what you see, fix it — and see your engagement and click-through rates rise. At least until my Microsoft marketing contact convinces Steve Ballmer to have the developers make “images on” the default setting for Outlook…

Editor’s Note: Jeanne Jennings is teaching MarketingSherpa’s Email Essentials Workshop Training in 10 locations around the country this year; the next one takes place in Atlanta on June 25th. She’ll be blogging about the course material and her experiences during the tour. We’re excited to have her on board and contributing to the blog.

How a 6 Email Series Increased Unique Key Clickthrough Reach by Nearly 400% Over a Single Email

March 18th, 2010

Why create a series of six related email messages when one will do? To increase your response and ROI, that’s why!

This is just one topic we cover in the MarketingSherpa Email Essentials 2010 Workshop Training, taking place in 10 locations around the United States; the next one is March 25th in New York City.

With average open rates in the 20% range and average clickthrough rates in the single digits, only a fraction of your list is likely to open, click on or convert from a single email message. If you send a series of messages over a period of time, you’ll increase your reach.

That was the logic behind a series of email messages I developed for a client last year; we sent six email messages over the course of about 12 weeks. But the magnitude of the increased reach amazed even us.

Open rates were pretty much consistent from send to send, but when we looked specifically at who was opening, we found that we picked up new people after each send:
– Our unique cumulative open reach increased an average of 11% with each send in the series
– The second send increased our unique open reach by 31%
– Even with diminishing returns, the sixth send increased our unique open reach by 6%

In the end, cumulative unique open reach was 95% higher than the open rate on the first email alone, meaning that the last five efforts nearly doubled the number of people that were exposed to the campaign.

The same was true for our unique clickthrough reach:
– Our unique clickthrough reach increased an average of 20% send-over-send
– The second send caused our unique clickthrough reach to grow by 63%
– Even the sixth send provided a 10% lift in unique clickthrough reach over the five earlier efforts

Our final cumulative unique clickthrough reach was 236% higher than the clickthrough rate on the first email; over the course of the campaign more than three times the number of people that clicked on the first email interacted with us.

But the real success story is about what happened to clickthrough on the key call-to-action link:
– Unique clickthrough reach increased an average of 25% send-over-send
– It more than doubled (a lift of 105%) after the second send
– The last email sent provided a 7% increase in our cumulative unique clickthrough reach on this key call-to-action link

When all was said and done, the cumulative unique clickthrough reach on this key link was nearly five times that of the clickthrough rate the link garnered in the first send, a lift of 392%.

Developing a Strategic Email Series

A strategic email series is different than a straight resend. Rather than send the same message over and over again, you craft a “message map” and use it to develop different content all focused on the same goal or offer.

Email series can be used effectively in a number of ways:
– Welcome Campaigns
– Reactivation Programs
– Lead Nurturing Initiatives
– Event, Product or Service Promotions
– Top of Mind Initiatives

Email series allow you to present much more information that you could in a single email. They give you the opportunity to build the case for your brand, product or service over time, while building a relationship with your readers.

The best part of many email series, especially welcome campaigns and lead nurturing initiatives, is that while they take some time and effort to create, they are evergreen. They can be used, without major changes, for years to come since they’ll be sent to different people on an ongoing basis.

Have you had success with an email series? If so, please share your experience in the comments of this blog and let’s get a discussion going!

Editor’s Note: Jeanne Jennings is teaching MarketingSherpa’s Email Essentials Workshop Training in 10 locations around the country this year; the next one takes place in New York City on March 25th. She’ll be blogging about the course material and her experiences during the tour. We’re excited to have her on board and contributing to the blog.

Making Social and Email Work Together

March 1st, 2010

Social is sexy; email is not. Social is alive and well; email is dead. This is the perception, but it’s not reality.

Smart marketers know that social and email work together well, and that by leveraging that relationship they can make both their social media and email marketing strategies more effective. This is just one topic I’ll be covering in the MarketingSherpa Email Essentials 2010 Workshop Training, taking place in 10 locations around the United States beginning in this month.

The strategic link between social and email is supported by “View from the Social Inbox 2010”, released by Merkle last month. It builds on the findings published by MarketingSherpa earlier this year, and by Silverpop in their “Emails Gone Viral: Measuring ‘Share to Social’ Performance” late last year.

Merkle found that people who use social media actually check their email more frequently than those that do not: 42% of social media users check their email four times a day or more, compared to just 27% of those that don’t use social media.

Even better news for marketers: 63% of those surveyed said that they use the same email account for social media messages as they do to opt-in to permission based email.

So those social media users are checking their email inboxes more frequently – and your marketing messages are more likely to be seen and acted upon.

In fact, a recent MarketingSherpa study found that 75% of daily social media users said that email is the best way for companies to communicate with them, compared to 65% of all email users. And 49% of Twitter users said they made an online purchase because of an email, compared to 33% of all email users

The Silverpop study found that social media share links included in email messages were receiving clickthrough rates of 0.5%. It may not sound like much, but it is significantly higher than the clickthrough rates on the “forward this email to a friend” links that marketers have been using for years.

When someone shares your email message on a social network, it’s the ultimate viral marketing. With very little effort your message has the potential to reach all of the recipients’ friends and contacts on that network. Silverpop estimates that posted messages have an average increase in reach of more than 24.3%, based on original email messages delivered.

Better yet, they feel that this is a conservative estimate – and that as social network usage grows, so will this figure.

Social networks and email feed each other – it’s the ultimate symbiotic relationship. But just knowing that isn’t enough. You have to know how to do it correctly to make it work. What type of content is most likely to shared? How can you make it as easy as possible for people to share it? How can you build a relationship with your recipients that will make them want to share your information? We’ll cover this and lots more in the training workshop.

Five years ago we weren’t talking about social networks in conjunction with email marketing. Now it’s a hot topic, one that every email marketer should be leveraging to its fullest.

Editor’s Note: Jeanne Jennings will be teaching MarketingSherpa’s Email Essentials Workshop Training series in 10 locations from March through August, and will be blogging about her experiences in the various cities. We’re excited to have her on board and contributing to the blog.