Olympic Gold Email Strategies
By Julie Graham / August 10, 2016

The 2016 Summer Olympics is in full swing and the competition is fierce as athletes vie for the gold, silver and bronze medals. Those that walk away with gold also walk away with a lot of money. However, money isn’t necessarily what’s motivating them to win. Winners are driven by focus, competition, progress, success and opportunity a lot more than they are by wealth. Similar to Olympians, digital marketers should consistently examine existing motivations and strategies, while continually striving to determine whether their email marketing results are worthy of gold, bronze or silver status. How do Olympians achieve the win? And though email marketing is not as physically tough as the sports in the Olympic Games, how can marketers learn from gold medalists and create their own gold-winning email marketing strategy?

Of the on average 416 emails 1 person can receive in a month, most of them will be offers and promotions. 70% of inbox clutter is usually retailers trying to sell their product – so the competition is strong and stakes are high. BlueHornet has taken a few key lessons from the top Olympic sports and put together gold-worthy strategies to help digital marketers make the win!



Define goals and mark the target. Let’s say a marketers goal is to increase engagement. According to Gartner, only 10% of brands feel they’re personalizing effectively to their subscribers. That’s deep water when 78% of people are more likely to be a repeat customer if a brand provides a personalized offer. Technology is on a marketers side here. With personalization reaching new heights through applications like contextualized content, marketers can now deliver real-time and relevant information to subscribers. Conditionally displayed dynamic content based on time, place, device and behavior connects the subscriber with what matters. The bottom line? CTR increases of 30% or more are seen across all industries by leveraging contextual content.

Swimming and Gymnastics 


In order to dive in and experiment, marketers have to be flexible. No good strategy lasts forever so email marketers have to continually flex their testing muscles, gut and grit. While one can spend all day and night testing colors and fonts there are definitely some key elements that can drive ROI right away:

  • It’s not too late to ride along on the emoji wave. They’re fabulous for saving space, expressing feelings and getting an email to stand out right away. Test away with these little guys and have fun with email marketing campaigns.
  • Social media gives customers more than just a voice, it gives them the personal experience of a brand and creates confidence and buying power. Take social media icons or plug ins and test them in relevant email campaigns. It gives email content more momentum and ensures that subscribers understand that this is a relationship and not just a transaction.
  • Another biggie to test is pre-header text. Yes, this is part of the subject line and the gateway to an email – if you want the click, ask for it. Try offering a reward or incentive for clicking, a teaser or just grab attention with something awesome, funny, weird, credible etc.


olympic basketball

This is the moment to make the right shot. The quickest way to see some serious results is to clean up the send lists. Every business is different in terms of which type of customer data they’re aggregating, but some data points don’t require a brand to pre-screen every customer. Segmenting by geo-location (time zone, country, region, city or zip) is a sure fire way to fine tune a basic email into a highly targeted marketing campaign. While the bar for marketing personalization has definitely been raised across all industries, marketers can still get major momentum from a segmented campaign. Get an extra boost by including a map or additional context in the email. Emails with maps increase CTR by 66.67% and segmented campaigns by location generate 62-84% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.



Need a little extra wind in your sales? Use video and imagery. Digital marketing guru, Jeff Bullas says that content with images is 94% more likely to be viewed than text alone, whereas press releases with images or video get 45% more attention than those without. Video platform Wistia published their video email marketing results and found that video improves CTR, engagement and overall strategy performance. Measuring video success by tracking watch time per subscriber, and other metrics using technology like video heat maps, helps marketers to see how subscribers watch their videos, who watches the videos and how to determine messaging that works. In sum, people are 3-4X more likely to click through when there’s a video.



Get a handle on the bumpy roads for a smooth ride with quick results.

  • More than half of email subscribers are reading their email on a mobile device. To quickly improve a recipient’s email experience and interaction with a brand ensure that the images and email template are optimized for mobile.
  • Loosing people on the opens? Keep them engaged with addictive content. Content that tends to perform well are reviews, lists of topics and tactics, Q & A’s, How-to articles, thought leader interviews and case studies, facts, figures and statistics as well as any research, key findings and infographics
  • Leaving money on the table by disregarding the importance of transactional marketing? If an email has reeled a subscriber into a download or purchase, you’ve gotten through the hardest part of the battle. Don’t take a wrong turn here. Keep them engaged with cross sells, upsells, thank you emails and any other relevant transactional email. Automation is key to helping companies save time and money.

Cutting through the clutter isn’t just about luck and fortune. It’s about handling problems and continually improving upon successful strategies.

Improve your game by continuing to measure your work against the standards of the fiercest marketers and your marketing strategy will always be worthy of gold.

If you need a good trainer to get to that Olympic Gold win contact BlueHornet to learn more about implementing contextual marketing, automation, segmentation and testing.

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