Simple framework for iterating & optimizing email marketing

Recently one of our teams walked us through how they had significantly improved their conversion rate in their email marketing channel. They used a simple but highly effective user incentive trigger to make more people click on the sig-up link. This was great. But of course we then started discussing how this could potentially be masking other things we may not be doing so well – the messaging, mechanics, distribution strategy, etc. The only way to find out is of course to alternate and compare.

There are lots of great email marketing frameworks, but we ended up with this very simple one. We basically split up email marketing in to the following elements:

  • Messaging: this is basically the text, your claims, your promises, your language, etc
  • Mechanics & design: these are things like whether the sign-up button is red or green, it’s plain text or html, you use screenshot A or B
  • Incentives: these are things like “first 100 sign-ups will get x”, “only 200 beta slots available”, etc.
  • Distribution: this is for example when you (what time and day) send an email out (it can matter a lot), do you send to groups of people with the same company email address at the same time or staggered, etc.

You then narrow down each element to say five alternatives. And you go through a few (sensible) combinations of the alternatives:



Until you have your winning combination of the right messaging, mechanics / design, incentives and distribution strategy.

3 Comments on “Simple framework for iterating & optimizing email marketing”

  1. Simon Hoff says:

    Thanks for the post. Do you test your alternatives and send out to sample groups and compare CR or on what basis do you decide which alternative is the best?

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