Experian CheetahMail and Origins Natural Resources Inc., a multi-channel retailer of natural cosmetic, beauty and wellness products, wanted to determine the impact of utilizing whitelisting instructions in their email templates. Whitelisting instructions are lines of text in an email suggesting that a recipient add the sender’s ‘from’ address to their list of accepted email senders. Acknowledging potential benefits to their email program, Origins worked with Experian CheetahMail’s Strategic Services and Client Services Teams to determine the impact that whitelisting language would have on future email subscriber activity. The group’s finding was that Origins could gain significantly higher clickthroughs and transaction rates in the long-term, by including whitelisting instructions early in the customer lifecycle.
By coupling a well designed testing strategy with best practices, Experian CheetahMail’s Strategic Services team was able to accurately assess the best way for us to optimize deliverability and consistently reach our email subscribers in a dependable manner. Best of all, we’ve seen a great increase in transactions and the performance of our email program as a result.
- Miriam Maracich
Already having a highly successful email program in place, Origins worked with Experian CheetahMail to find out if they could improve email performance even further with the inclusion of whitelisting language.
To get the analysis underway, the Experian CheetahMail team designed a testing strategy that would maintain a controlled environment by including only those subscribers that were brand new to Origins’ subscriber file. Testing began with the first promotional mailing sent to these subscribers (after the initial “welcome” message had been sent) which featured one of Origins’ new products, enticing imagery and an offer for a free two-month product sample with any online purchase.
The test group was randomly split in half so that 50 percent of new subscribers in Origins’ database were flagged to receive emails containing “add to address book” text in the header of the email. The other 50 percent did not receive the whitelist text in the email header.
Factoring in the three-month time span necessary to obtain a large enough test population, the analysis was conducted over a five month term. To ensure validity, each subscriber remained in their test group for a minimum of three months after sign-up. The subscribers that were part of the “add to address book” group continued to receive promotional emails with this header text using Experian CheetahMail’s dynamic content tool while those that were part of the ‘No Header’ group received mailings without any whitelisting instructions. After the test period came to a close, email metrics for both groups were aggregated and analyzed to determine if there was any significant difference in performance.
Through careful analysis of Origins’ email campaigns pre- and post-testing, Experian CheetahMail was able to discern that new subscribers that received the ‘add to address book’ header text were more responsive and engaged in subsequent campaigns than those that did not receive the whitelisting instructions in the initial series. Origin’s emails including whitelisting instructions outperformed prior versions by the following factors (see chart, below).
Now equipped with a proven tactic for improved customer engagement and deliverability, Origins ensures the utilization of whitelisting language in the first few promotional emails that customers receive after they subscribe. In addition, Origins is continuing to work with Experian CheetahMail to mold other aspects of their email marketing strategy around similarly impactful campaign performance metrics.