Explore our Email Marketing and Marketing Automation Toolkit

Making the business case for email marketing investment

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 06 Oct, 2011
Essential Essential topic

Using touchpoint analysis and surveys to find how much email really contributes

Since many email marketing services focus their reporting on open and click rates it can be difficult to show how email is influencing leads or purchase and so invest in putting more resources into email marketing to test, learn and refine.

From opens and clicks to value generated per email campaign

If you are using email marketing to drive visits to a transactional web site you are in a much better position to make the business case since you can use analytics or the email system itself to show sales generated by email. The you can start comparing the effectiveness of emails and reviewing their value through using measures like Revenue generated per 1000 emails sent, much more meaningful than open and click rates.

Using attribution modeling for email marketing

Since reporting in many email service providers is based on a last-click attribution model, this won’t give you the full picture. If you look at the combination of touchpoints influencing sale this gives a much better picture of influence of email and other digital marketing channels. A good example of how how can do this analysis is shown by the recent GSICommerce/e-Dialog Path to purchase study.

This shows research on touchpoints that can be attributed to sale from a single day, November 29th 2010, known in the US as “CyberMonday” across 15 GSI retail e-commerce sites. Note though, that since this is a known peak-day for sales, retailers are active in driving visitors to the site through email and other campaigns:

The research shows a good way of comparing the value of different channels in attribution modelling - by showing:

  • Touchpoints used by shoppers with two-plus touchpoints against
  • Touchpoints used by shoppers with one touchpoint

You can see that the branding influence of integrating email and display ads with other media is suggested here. Another method is looking at the first touchpoint that influenced sale. Again the awareness generated by email is suggested here:

Using customer research to gain insight about the influence of email

Another approach is to use a traditional survey of how they rate the value of their emails or whether they prompt sale. Again email marketing fares well here in comparison to other channels:

I personally prefer observed/actual behaviour to reported/surveyed behaviour, but surveys can get you additional feedback on how your email marketing is received.

I hope I’ve shown that if you go beyond opens and clicks on email to attribution, touchpoint analysis and surveys you can get a better idea of the influence of email and get more resources for optimisation. But where will the budget come from? Social media - not likely?

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

Recommended Blog Posts