Nick Allen
04 April 2018 00:00


Email marketing can be a minefield, especially if you are working for both B2B and B2C brands – which is very common in the events industry, like the NEC Group. In this article, Nick Allen, Digital Marketing Manager at NEC Group, gives you some pointers to make the most of this powerful channel.



“First let’s bust a myth: email is not dead. Far from it.

A study in January 2017 by Radicati Group predicted that by the end of the year there would be more than 3.7 billion email users, meaning almost 54% of worldwide population would be using email in 2018.

From a marketing perspective, having the potential to reach that many customers makes email an essential tool and should be part of any successful brands marketing efforts.

So how do we capitalise on this opportunity effectively? 

1. Measure, don’t guess

This is key. A hypothesis for how you feel the email will work is great, but unless you have data there to prove or disprove, you will never know if what you’re doing is working. Sales and revenue are one thing, but the real insight comes in terms of customer engagement. The more engaged your customers are with your brand, the more likely you are to improve your sales and revenue figures.

Make sure you are able to track your email performance end-to-end, most email service providers (ESP) will provide general metrics such as open rate, click rate, CTO (clicks to opens) rate, bounces and unsubscribes. Some will also include conversion or revenue tracking. If they don’t, it is possible to link your ESP to Google Analytics and track revenue this way. This is essential if you want to accurately measure the ROI of your email marketing channel.

2. Start with content


Before approaching any sort of design work for your email, ensure that your content has been properly thought out. What is your objective of the email? What do you want your users to do?

A well-designed marketing email should have no more than two call-to-actions. Asking your users to do too much can dilute the main message and confuse the recipient.

The inverted pyramid method can help to shape the message within your emails:


With this method, the entire email builds towards a call to action – which will ultimately be your goal with most of your marketing emails.

 3. Think mobile

Making your email work on mobile is now expected practice for effective email marketing. Putting mobile at the start of your design-work will ensure you are producing content in the most readable/actionable way for the user.

However, a quick watch-out, especially for B2B marketing: look at your recipients.

It may be that a large proportion of recipients are still using Desktop to read your emails, so you will still want to make the email look as best on Desktop. But mobile can’t be ignored, and the general trend is towards a mobile majority:

Desktop represents 17% of all email opens, webmail 36% and mobile 47%. – Litmus “The 2017 Email Client Market Share” (Jan 2018)

61% of email opens occurred on mobile, 15% on desktop and 24% in a webmail client. – Adestra “Top 10 email clients” (July 2017)

About 3 in 5 consumers check their email on the go (mobile) and 75% say they use their smartphones most often to check email. – Fluent “The Inbox report, Consumer perceptions of email” (2018)

4. Test, test and test again

This ties in with the measurement aspect of sending emails. Test, test and test some more. The objective here is to understand your customers and then use this to improve your emails and in turn, your measurement KPI’s.

Some aspects we recommend to test are:

  • Subject lines – to increase our open and engagement rates.
  • Button colours – to improve Click Through Rates (CTRs)
  • Personalisation vs standard content in the email body and subject lines.

The aim is to constantly learn and improve. A/B tests are relatively quick and easy to run but can provide invaluable insight to shape your efforts going forward.

5. Segment your data

I’ve focused mainly on the aesthetics of email marketing so far – which are evidently important –  however this will all be for nought if you are not emailing the relevant audience.

Our Business Intelligence & Analytics team at the NEC Group produced an amazing piece of work segmenting our audiences  – including a white paper that can be downloaded for further reading around segmentation (see link to read next in browser bar).

The is key is to move away from batch and blast – the same message or offer will not be relevant to your entire audience. The more you can target your communications, the better engagement and ultimately ROI you will receive.


If you follow these key tenets of email marketing above you will produce effective email campaigns, no matter what sector or industry you are in.

If you don’t follow them, it is highly likely you will not.

Another key topic to be aware of is GDPR.

From 25th May 2018, GDPR will come into force. Amongst other things, this will mean email marketers will need to ensure they are NOT:

  • Hiding unsubscribe links or making the process of unsubscribing difficult (There is a new consumer opt-in that will need to be adhered to at the point in which you collect data).
  • Deleting proof of consent.
  • Deleting or withholding personal information of customers.
  • Emailing customers without explicit consent to do so.

Email is a powerful tool when used correctly. Adhering to the above can help any email marketing strategy develop and grow even if it can sometimes feel like a time-consuming task. However, once you give yourself the time to put them in place, you will be sure to see the benefits in your results."