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One of the best ways of improving your digital marketing skills is to try and learn from the best.

That’s why awards season is always a fruitful time at Econsultancy, as we receive loads of entries detailing inspirational case studies from a massive range of companies.

Applications for The Digitals 2014 are currently rolling in, and to give you inspiration for your own entry I’ve rounded up some of the best email marketing case studies we received in 2013.

And to find out more about how you can get involved, read my post on 10 tips for writing a stand out awards entry for The Digitals...


Marketing automation has been one of the most important digital trends of recent years, and this Digitals entry from LV= shows just how effective it can be.

The insurance brand set out to achieve the following objectives:

  • Improve ROI from email marketing.
  • Increase the number of new customers purchasing insurance online.
  • Improve branding and build customer rapport through email communication.
  • Support the LV= brand philosophy of caring for its customers.

To achieve these goals users were targeted based on the type of insurance they were interested in purchasing and their stage in the purchase journey.

Marketing automation software enabled LV= to create emails with dynamic content targeted to specific users.

For example, emails were sent 24 hours after the user abandoned the buying journey, then if a user did not return to the site and complete their purchase within three days a follow-up email (‘retrieve your quote’) was sent.

After purchase a ‘thank you’ email was dispatched that was also used as an effective cross-sell by dynamically generating other relevant insurance offers.

The results were very impressive. For all initial abandonment triggers (abandoned quote, unsaved quote, saved quote, abandoned purchase) across the three products (car, home, travel) the following results were achieved: 

  • Average monthly open rate: 51.1% 
  • Average monthly clickthrough rate: 41.83% 
  • Average conversion rate direct from email: 10.77% 
  • Average monthly total customer conversion:18.82%

Overall LV= made £198.40 for every £1 that it spent on the new email strategy.

Sony PlayStation

In the run up to Christmas 2012 Sony created an email campaign to cross and up-sell the PlayStation Vita to existing PlayStation Plus and Inside PlayStation Vita subscribers, and PS3 owners who belong to the PlayStation Network.

Email content was tailored to different customer segments and geographies. So for example, it focused on the additional space PlayStation Plus subscribers would gain to use with downloadable content, whereas with PS3 users it focused on the cross-play features of the PS Vita and PS3.

The local teams also negotiated deals with retailers for offer redemption. 

So in the DACH region consumers were provided with an online Amazon voucher code, while in the rest of Europe and the Gulf states they received email vouchers for use in-store. 

Each audience group received the offer by email once in the month before Christmas.

Email targeted at PS3 owners who subscribe to PlayStation Network (UK)

Overall the campaign touched an audience of 4.2m in 16 distinct markets. 

Of the 1.1m people who opened or clicked the email, 9,236 subsequently connected a Vita console.

Given a relatively low investment of €5,000 the campaign achieved an ROI of 580x for each euro spent.

Argos’ abandoned basket emails

Argos worked with Planning-inc to implement new basket abandonment emails that retargeted customers with personalised messages.

The aim was to increase sales conversions and drive incremental value by contacting the maximum number of users.

As customers aren’t required to register before purchase, Argos used previous browsing data and email engagement to identify people. This same information was then used to tailor the email messages with up to six alternative products the customer might be interested in.

Rather than recommending popular items within the same category, recommendations are based on customers exhibiting similar behaviour as well as acknowledging price point, colour/material choices and demographic information to ensure the recommendations are truly relevant for the customer.

Click to enlarge

The campaign achieved high conversion and revenue figures, and delivered an impressive ROI.


Another example of a brand achieving impressive results from a basket abandonment campaign, this time from travel clothing company Craghoppers.

The retailer used Redeye’s dynamic tagging system to identify the details of items that shoppers had added to their basket before abandoning the purchase.

Two emails were then sent to customers 24 hours and three days after abandonment.

The campaign used multiple different designs based on previous customer behaviour and interaction with the website and emails. The content was also adapted if the user revisited the website at any point to update their basket.

Overall the campaign achieved an ROI of 711% and successfully re-engaged 56% of registered users abandoning a purchase, with 30% clicking on the emails. From all the emails delivered 10% resulted in a sale.


Clothing retailer Monsoon used abandonment emails to combat the fact that around two-thirds of its customers abandon their shopping carts.

Some of the notable features included:

  1. Subject line optimisation with product name placeholders to improve email relevancy.
  2. Dynamic email creative based on the type of products abandoned, with different variations depending on Monsoon or Accessorize products being abandoned.
  3. Animated GIF banner used to demonstrate both brand identities when both Monsoon and Accessorize products are abandoned.
  4. Behavioural segmentation to ensure a second email is sent 48 hours later if customers haven’t yet returned to purchase online.
  5. Product recommendations displayed in the email using a data algorithm based on every transaction on the Monsoon site.
  6. Internationalisaton of the programme to develop the campaign in the UK and five other regions accounting for language and law variants.

Based on a three-month period, the campaign achieved the following results:

  • Email open rate: 55% 
  • Email click rate: 22% 
  • Conversion from click: 38% 
  • Revenue per email: £4.93 
  • Overall uplift in sales: +4.3%


Energy company RWE used email marketing to encourage customers to subscribe to a free online account, achieving an overall conversion rate of 11%.

In the initial planning phase it was considered that a high conversion rate could not be attained from just a single email, so the campaign consisted of four phases and seven mailings overall.

The phases were fragmented by split-test of the subject lines, main dispatch, first reminder and second reminder.

Example of the reminder email

Recipients not opening the main dispatch were to be sent up to two reminder mailings with varying subject lines, both of which offered an incentive.

Recipients clicking on the offer but not successfully registering were to be sent a special reminder email prompting them to complete the process. 

Just over one in ten recipients (11%) registered for the RWE ‘Online Customer Account’, far surpassing the original target of 3%.

RS Components

RS Components found that a lack of relevant content was resulting in a 48% bounce rate from the email traffic that it achieved from sending around 3m messages per month.

To remedy this problem the company overhauled its email marketing in 2012 using different behavioural targeting techniques:

  • Segmenting its audience and tailoring content according to propensity to purchase. 
  • Increasing relevance by product or topic. 
  • Maximising volumes through automated campaign cycles.

In order to achieve its goals quickly and economically, RS Components needed to first improve its architecture, constructing and transmitting regular data update feeds from across the business to its email campaign delivery software.

Campaign automation was also essential, including a flexible process that is easily extendable to add in new triggers.

The most successful campaigns were the welcome emails:

  • Open rate: 47%
  • Click rate: 13%

And abandoned basket emails:

  • Open rate: 38%
  • Click rate: 19%.

The targets for these campaigns were 15% for the open rate and 3% for the click rate.

Enter The Digitals and showcase your finest work, your team and your clients to the global digital marketing and ecommerce community.

This year even more eyes will be on the nominated work and the teams that deliver it. Giving you more kudos, more exposure and more to shout about... but only if you enter before 10 September. 

David Moth

Published 21 August, 2014 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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