Email remains one of the most effective tactics in the toolbox — but maximizing its potential is another thing. Our panel of experts unlock surprising secrets of email success that are sometimes totally counter-intuitive.

Missed it? Access this VB Live event on demand right here.

No question, the pace of new technology continues to help companies do things better and faster. But sometimes, it’s hard to beat the tried and true. That’s certainly the case for email.

The fact is, email marketers are still getting great results. As Stewart Rogers, VentureBeat’s Director of Marketing Technology, says in this VB Live webinar, email is still the best channel to use for maximum return on investment: In a survey of companies regarding email use, enterprise companies saw 117 percent return on investment, SMB firms indicated their return was 183 percent, and midsized companies reported a whopping 246 percent ROI.

While email hasn’t changed that much as a delivery mechanism, there’s a lot of software packages and platforms you can use to improve your email marketing and make it more effective. You can better analyze the success of your campaigns — with analysis of open rates, click-throughs, emails diverting to users’ spam folders, as well as A/B testing and other tweaks to improve your results — not to mention, ways to personalize the emails, either through dividing your audience into segments or tailoring each email dynamically with individualized information, such as putting the user’s name on the subject line.

To that last point, Rogers cited an Experian Marketing Services study that found companies in the consumer products and services segment had 41.8 percent better open rate by putting the recipient’s name in the subject line, while across all industries, the open rate improved by 29.3 percent.

“The idea of personalizing a message when you’re marketing to somebody — that’s been around in advertising and marketing forever,” says Andrew Rothman, West Coast Head of Creative/Delivery for Blue State Digital. “The thing is now, this digital technology — and email in particular — has given us so much more power to tailor these messages, not just to broad audience cohorts or abstract demographic groups, but to each individual.”

“The flip side is that the digital age also has exposed people to so many more messages and offers,” Rothman continues, “and so there are many more brands and organizations competing for their attention. So this creates a little bit of an arms race, and it’s really important to stay ahead of the other guys and stay ahead of the other messages that are out there. Breaking through the noise means being as relevant as possible to people.”

When you think about an arms race, though, the image that easily comes to mind is a potential barrage of bullets and missiles. You don’t want to be part of incidentally creating churn from inbox battle fatigue, so how much is too much? At stock-media company VideoBlocks, CEO TJ Leonard says the company uses email extensively to talk with its members and prospective customers for many purposes. He indicates that they have a good rule of thumb:

“Our standard here is that one more email than you need to send to achieve your goal is one email too many,” Leonard says. “We’re a membership-driven organization, so for us, email is a representation of a member, and members are people and people are finite. There’s a real opportunity cost associated with sending any email, because you’re using up a little of that finite resource that you can deploy toward another objective.”

Ethan Smith, Chief Growth Officer at food website Yummly, relays that careful testing with your unique audience is far better than making assumptions about how many emails will push them to the saturation point.

“Typically, people will decide frequency based on intuition, and their intuition is oftentimes wrong,” Smith says, “and that’s not just email, but for how aggressive you are with push notifications or generally how aggressive you are with your growth strategy.

“We used to send one email per week and we talked about doing two. The discussion was, if I were a user, I would be annoyed at two, I would be annoyed at three. That’s how we thought of email frequency. But then we tested two and that performed well…and then we tested three, and that performed even better.”

Want a simple strategy for email marketing? “If people are not opening your emails, send them less,” Smith advises. “If they are opening emails, send them more.”

The webinar’s panel has many more stats and great advice to give, so don’t miss out on the valuable information it can provide you.

Don’t miss out!

Access this VB Live event on demand here.

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to:

  • Narrow down customer interests and respond with content that is actionable and useful
  • Target the right data to appeal to customers’ needs and desires
  • Manage email frequency the right way
  • Identify warning signs that you may have gotten a little too personal


  • TJ Leonard, CEO, VideoBlocks
  • Andrew Rothman, Blue State Digital’s West Coast Head of Creative/Delivery
  • Ethan Smith, Chief Growth Officer, Yummly
  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat


  • Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat

This webinar is sponsored by Boomtrain.