Growing email ROI: expense reduction

As you’ve well read many times on the WhatCounts blog, finding and growing email ROI is core to what we do. Part of the ROI equation that we don’t talk about much is the investment side. For total marketing ROI, reducing your overall marketing expenses can help improve your ROI, and email is one of the most cost effective vehicles for doing that.

Reduce expense by driving your email ROI.

Let’s look at an example from the tradeshow world. At any major tradeshow, having a booth is a significant investment, in some cases tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a chance to meet face to face with a few prospective customers. At a marketing conference early this year, I walked around the show floor and did my best “jelly bean jar” guess of how many business cards were dropped in sponsor’s booths on the expo floor. At this show, there were approximately 5,000 people, and sponsors paid around $10,000 for a 10×10 spot on the floor. Each booth had anywhere from 25-50 business cards in their bowl for a free giveaway of whatever the latest Apple device was on a daily basis.

If you do the math, that’s 75-150 leads generated from a 3 day show for $10,000. The cost per lead is therefore between $66 and $133 per lead.

What if there were a way to reduce that expense? Here’s one simple way: when you’re looking at your tradeshow budget, ask the sponsoring organizations what a media buy sponsorship would cost. This is a sponsorship in which you gain access and the right to email the list of registrants for the show, in addition to or in place of a physical show presence. Many show organizers, interested in reaping as much revenue as possible for their shows, are eager to be flexible with sponsorship options and if they don’t offer a media buy already, will usually find a way to work one out.

What if that same show above offered an email send on behalf of a sponsor to attendees? The cost is usually equal to or less than the cost of a booth. If you assume a 10% conversion rate for a good offer (which is quite reasonable and realistic) for the same $10,000, then that same audience would yield 500 leads at a cost per lead of $20. If you had a goal of 150 leads, you could either invest the same amount of money to get a lower cost per lead, or reduce your spent money to hit your lead target number.

Think of all of the different media you work in and do an assessment of your cost per valuable action (lead, sale, donation, etc.). You’ll find plenty of opportunities to use email marketing as a way to either spend less or get greater results, allowing you to grow your marketing ROI through greater efficiency.

Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts

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