It's been one week (pretty much down to the minute!) since I sent out my first mass mailout for Design-a-cake, If you read my first post on this you'll know that I sent out 3663 emails, all to individuals who have special attributes which led them to be selected for our mailout (mainly shoppers who are currently active with the business, or are VIP members) The results we have got back have been absolutely astounding! to be honest I didn't really know what to expect from the campaign, but I was blown away by the positive responses. Before I talk about it though, here is a copy of the email as an image for you to look at (i.e. the links will not work), also, a point to note, the people who signed up for the mailout got a discount code, which I've blurred out in this jpeg, as its still active, and is only available to people on the mailing list!
First Newsletter

First Newsletter graphic

First point to note, I know that this isn't the most visually pleasing email ever, the future ones will have a lot more time and effort put into them to "tart" them up before they go out, but with the first one, the time went mainly into making the template, once that was done I was pretty much out of time to get the content to a level that I was honestly happy with, so I know, it needs work. But even so, it's my first one, and I have personally been very happy with the response I have gained from it, and more importantly, my employers are happy with it. And it might sound cheesy, but If my boss is truly happy with my work, then I'm happy. So. Mailchimp. Its probably the best thing on the web since the stalkers wet dream that is google analytics. here are a few stats from the campaign so far, sent emails: 3663 opened: 2139 (59.4%) unique clicks: 786 (21%) bounces: 60 (1.6%) unsubscribes: 18 (0.49%) The official averages for retail businesses, or hobbies (both of which DAC fall into), say that the open rate should fall between 18-20%, which as a target, we have SMASHED! now, I know, this newsletter was new, so there may have been a certain level of "wow factor" going on, but still, nearly a 60% open rate is fantastic, and with only 18 unsubscribes, I feel like I've defiantly done something right. The click data told us which of the links were actually used in the email, which will help me to figure out what to place where in the next email, and what products were popular and which no one was bothered about. The data we managed to gather as the customer was leaving the email was totally amazing, but, unfortunately  the info gathering ends once the user actually gets to the site. The customer might click one link in the email, then spend a whole hour browsing the links on the site, then place an order, or they might click one link, think "meh, not that bothered" and then leave, and I have no way of tracking this (yet...) so, to help with this, and as a little reward to people who opened the email, we put in a discount voucher. This gave the user a "real reason" to open it, they get something tangible  out of the experience of reading my email, but it also gives us a good indication of how well the email has performed. (after all, its a retail business, its all about the coin at the end of the day, right?) We can't tell from the discount code if the customer was planning a purchase anyway, and just took advantage of the opportunity to save some cash, or, they weren't planning a purchase, and this persuaded them to, and there will have been people who got the email, were inspired to make a purchase, but didn't use the code (there are always a few, dunno why, but there are!), and, there are people who get the same level of discount, or higher, who may have been persuaded to make an extra purchase because of the email, but don't show up in the stats, as their discount code overrides the email one. So, because of this I decided it was "fair" to count all email discount codes from the email as "new" customers, who were only ordering because of the email. The money that the discount code pulled in (and total number of orders) was far beyond my expectations, I'm not going to divulge the full info, it wouldn't be right, as it is not my business, so discussing its finances would be improper and disrespectful to my employer, but, I can safely say that it defiantly paid for itself, and was a worth while endeavor. Its been a really positive experience for me, and its only going to get better from here, as I now have a basic template that I am happy with, so I can use my time to get the look of the email just right. For the next one I will be hopefully trying to source a tutorial from one of the employees of the company (a fair number of the people who work for us are cake decorating pro's, so getting them to write a tutorial shouldn't be a problem), which will give the reader a nice, free article to read which they may otherwise have had to purchase a magazine or book to get the same info. I have "big" plans for the email campaign, and plan to run it on a tri weekly basis, which gives me enough time to collate some data from the last one, and gain new material for the new one. In conclusion, I have learned a vast amount about email design from this experience, and not only that I've learned a lot about the business I work for. I'm very happy with the results that the campaign has given us, its helped me learn a lot, and given me a great deal to think about for future email campaigns. Thanks for reading. Chris

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