Email marketing: The CRITICAL factors for success

Posted on May 1, 2015 at 11:13 am Written by

CRITICAL factors with Dr Dave ChaffeyDr Dave Chaffey is CEO and co-founder of, a digital marketing learning resource that helps businesses manage their online marketing activities to compete more effectively through practical guidance in templates, ebooks, videos and training, so when it comes to email marketing, Dave really knows his stuff. Below he shares with us his CRITICAL factors for email marketing success.

The CRITICAL factors for email success

So what does CRITICAL stand for? Can you work it out? Some of the factors that will spring to mind include:

  • How well targeted the campaign is to the interests and needs of the recipients – are the e-mails relevant to the audience?
  • The offer made to encourage clickthrough to the site.
  • You may also have considered the quality of the creative – does it engage the recipient and how well does the copy explain the offer?

My CRITICAL factors are:

Conversation – Email works best for marketing today when it can prompt a dialogue and encourage social sharing.

Relevance (including targeting) – Does the offer and creative of the email meet the needs of the recipients? Is a single message sent to all prospects or customers on the list or are emails with tailored creative, incentive and copy sent to the different segments on the list? Do recipients think the email is SPAM? Will it get trapped in the Spam filters?

Incentive (or offer) – The WIFM factor or ‘Whats in it for me’ for the recipient. What benefits does the recipient gain from clicking on the hyperlink(s) in the email?

Timing – Timing refers to when the email is received; the time of day, day of the week, point in the month and even the year; how does it relate to events or other campaign elements.

Integration – Are the email campaigns part of your integrated marketing communications? Questions to ask include: are the creative and copy consistent with my brand? Do the message reinforce other communications? Does the timing of the email campaign fit with offline communications?

Creative and Copy– This is part of the creative and refers to the structure, style and explanation of the offer together with the number of location of hyperlinks and other calls-to-action in the email.

Attributes (of the e-mail) – The message headers such as the Subject line, From address and format (HTML or text) have all been written about at length.

Landing page (or microsite) – The page(s) reached after the recipient clicks on a link in the email. Typically, on clickthrough, often the recipient will be presented with a direct response form to profile or learn more about them. Designing the page so the form is easy to complete can effect the overall success of the campaign, but is sometimes neglected.

Which of these factors do you think are most important? What am I missing?

About the author: Dr Dave Chaffey is the author of 5 best selling books on Ecommerce including Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice and Emarketing Excellence. He has been recognised as one of 50 marketing gurus worldwide who have shaped the future of Marketing.

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