September 16, 2004
Case Study

Do Duplicate Email Sends Pay Off? Test Results of Compelling Email Offer Sent to Same List Twice

SUMMARY: This July marketer Richard Kadzis sent an email campaign offering a new $100 report to his association's membership that got such an blockbuster response rate that he was dancing in the office hallways. But, what do you do to follow-up to a campaign like that? Like Hollywood movie stars, a marketer's got to keep pumping out a string of hits to make management happy. Learn what he tested next, and the mixed results. (Includes creative samples you'll want to steal copy tips from):

On July 1st Richard Kadzis, CoreNet Global's Publications & Media Relations Director, sent out what was destined to be perhaps the most successful email campaign of his career. (Link to sample below.)

It shouldn't have worked. Four reasons:

#1. The timing, just before a holiday weekend, stank.

#2. Kadzis didn't have any past test data about what worked to go on. (Although the association's membership list had gotten a few campaigns for events, this was the first campaign ever for a publication offer.)

#3. The landing page was dreadful. (Kadzis' hands were tied on that front.) Instead of a dedicated page offering the publication, clicks first had to log into CoreNet's site, and then wound up on the association's store home page which featured several different products.

#4. At a flat $100, the price was blah. (Tests show $97, $95, or $99 convert better for business publications.)

However, Kadzis had a highly compelling product - a new industry compensation report. Inspired, he applied best direct response copywriting practices to the email which was sent to all North American-based association members, including:

- A must-read subject line, "How Much Are You Worth? Compensation Report Has the Answers"

- Multiple, duplicate hotlinks scattered through the copy, including one as high up as possible

- Very short copy (prints out to half a page)

- Detailed bullet points starting with actual data from the report to illustrate how valuable it was

- A reminder that members got a discount

Results? The combination of great copy, great product, and great list overcame all limitations. The campaign got a 44% open rate. (The only time CoreNet had ever seen opens that high was when they announced Bill Clinton would be their meeting keynote speaker.)

49% of all opens clicked through - also astonishingly high. And 27% of all clicks converted to purchasing the publication. Everyone was extremely happy about getting hundreds of sales for the new publication.

Then they asked Kadzis, "What's next?" How do you follow up after a success like that (aside from sharing your joy with the editors over at MarketingSherpa)?


Kadzis decided to run two email tests springboarding off the success of the first campaign.

Test #1. Duplicate mailing to non-responders

In postal mailing, direct response marketers often send waves of campaigns to their top performing lists. Why not test running the same proven creative again to the same list -- minus buyers of course.

Kadzis scheduled the send for August 9th, five weeks after the first to give the file a rest. Anything too soon after would look a bit spammy.

Test #2. Slightly altered creative to non-members

Like most associations, CoreNet Global sets member and non-member prices on its publications. In this case the non-member price was $175.

Kadzis figured since he had a winning publication, why not use it as a lever to pry more names on his opt-in house list of prospects and former members, into the paid member world? Paid membership was $495. So, in addition to touting the savings new members would get on the Compensation Report, his copy also listed other member benefits. (Link to sample below.)

The non-member campaign launched July 15th.


At 42%, the duplicate mailing got almost a duplicate open rate. However, results began to plummet from that point on. Just under 27% of opens clicked, and of these only 4.4% converted to buyers.

4.4% conversions is actually fairly respectable, and CoreNet's ROI was profitable. So, Kadzis might do a two-wave mailing again sometime, but he won't count on stellar results.

The non-member mailing had a 30% open rate and 9% of opens clicked. Just under 2% converted to paid membership. While this is a lower conversion rate than the publication offer, you have to consider how much higher the price is for membership. A 2% conversion rate for a $495 offer is a giant success in our book.

Kadzis is already planning to roll out additional segmented tests, including tweaked email creative for members in Asia, Europe, Australia, and Canada. We bet these will be big successes.

Useful links related to this article:

Samples of the two different emails:

BrightWave Marketing - the email marketing and customer relations consultancy who helped CoreNet with their program

CoreNet Global

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