November 16, 2010

2010 Email Award Winner Campaign Updates: Video in emails and new product launches

SUMMARY: We launched the 2011 MarketingSherpa Email Awards two weeks ago and some early birds have already submitted more than one entry. For everyone still planning to nominate a stunning email effort, entries are due by Dec. 3, so don't delay.

To give you some inspiration, we've reached out to last year's entries to find out how they've updated their award-winning campaigns. Included are two great examples we found of marketing teams pushing last year's efforts even further.
By Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter

Multiple videos in B2B newsletter

Online marketing firm Click Rain won a MarketingSherpa Silver Email Award last year for best B2B newsletter. The newsletter's animated GIF header and compelling mix of content enticed many subscribers to ask Click Rain to make a similar template for their businesses.

The newsletter's mix of articles, charts, videos and social sharing links helped the team maintain high average open rates -- and the team has seen even more success by regularly featuring a link to a video in each newsletter. The hyperlinked images look like video players, but instead of playing directly in the email client, they link to the video either on YouTube or the team's blog.

"That single featured video was by far and away the most-clicked element," says Paul Ten Haken, President, Click Rain

- More and more video

Over the last year, the team regularly featured a single video, and recently tested adding multiple videos in a newsletter (from three to 10). Adding more videos further improved interaction with the newsletters, Ten Haken says.

Comparing two versions of the newsletter (see creative samples below), the version featuring one video link in a prominent location had the following results:
o Subject line: "What's Hot in Online Marketing?"
o 43% Open rate
o 40% Clickthrough rate
o 14% of clicks were on the video

The second email featured three video links in the footer (a less-prominent location) and had the following results:
o Subject line: We're New and Improved!
o 51.5% Open rate
o 54% Clickthrough rate
o 35% of clicks were on the videos

The trend is consistent, says Ten Haken, and the team now features multiple videos whenever possible.

- Residual effects

Aside from clickthrough rates, Ten Haken believes regularly featured videos builds more interest in the newsletter overall and helps boost open rates. People enjoy and have come to expect the videos, so they open the newsletter often.

"So, not only does it help clickthrough rate, but it helps overall engagement as well. It's content that people look forward to receiving."

Launch new products ASAP won a MarketingSherpa Silver Email Award last year for best promotional consumer marketing email. The sleep apnea equipment provider needed to launch a new soft-gel nasal mask, and to make the offer compelling enough for customers to go to a doctor's office to get a prescription beforehand -- a new regulation.

The team crafted the award-winning email promotion (see creative samples below) that achieved the following results:
o Subject line: "Softer. Quieter. Brand New Mask."
o 40% open rate
o 25% click-to-open ratio
o 4.4% conversion rate

The team sold out all inventory for the mask and spurred a huge increase in prescriptions on file.

- Apply lessons to later launches

Ashley Thompson, Communication Analyst,, handles most of the team's email marketing. The product launch described above was one of her first launches ever with the company, she says, and it provided several lessons which she's applied to later launches.

Lesson #1. Launch new products as soon as possible. The strategy builds credibility with customers and gives the team a competitive edge, Thompson says.

"It's always a race to the finish when a new product launches...We found that being the first of our competitors to get out the email about the product definitely gives us a lot more success."

Lesson #2. Keep product descriptions as simples as possible.'s products are complicated and can easily bog down copy with jargon and heavy terms. Thompson pushed for simple descriptions in the nasal mask launch, and has continued to do so with new launches.

"I work with one of our product managers to make sure all the information is correct and easily explained, and all the features are leveraged."

- Continued successful product launches

In March, the team had another product to announce, a sleep apnea machine called the S9, which had two versions. Thompson and the team worked to deliver the new product information quickly and clearly in an email to subscribers.

The email (see creative samples below) included:
o 6 images of the product and features
o Simple, one- to two-sentence feature descriptions
o Number to order by phone
o Buttons to learn more about each version

The team segmented its list to send this email only to subscribers who opened the nasal mask launch email from Nov. 2009. Here are its results:
o Subject Line: "We Wanted to Let You Know First!"
o Open Rate: 71.5%
o Clickthrough Rate: 23.1%
o Conversion Rate: .5%

"We deemed this a successful launch as the machines are very expensive; with the recommended humidifier each machine is over a thousand dollars," Thompson says.

Useful links related to this article

Entry Form -- MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Awards 2011

1. Click Rain: Single-video email
2. Click Rain: Multi-video email
3. Nasal mask launch email
4. S9 launch email

Members Library -- Email Marketing Awards Gallery 2010

Click Rain

Improve Your Marketing

Join our thousands of weekly case study readers.

Enter your email below to receive MarketingSherpa news, updates, and promotions:

Note: Already a subscriber? Want to add a subscription?
Click Here to Manage Subscriptions