Email Marketing by the Numbers

by Chris Baggott

With a title like Email Marketing by the Numbers, one would expect the book to cover testing and analytics. “The organizations that embrace testing as an integral part of their programs simply outperform those that don’t… Rarely can the people within a company judge what is going to be successful outside of it.”

Baggott encourages testing frequency, but he doesn’t get into depth about this. Personally, I’d be very cautious about taunting my customers to unsubscribe. That’s the ultimate confirmation that your frequency is too great.

He points out that Open Rate is a meaningless metric, since many email clients have image rendering turned off by default. (Opens are tracked by referencing a small graphic file on a web server.) Instead pay attention to Click-Through Rate and Unsubscribe Rate.

Other noteworthy points:

Segmentation “is one of the most effective ways to boost engagement and prevent list fatigue… The smaller you can make the segments, the more likely you are to deliver a relevant message.”

“Email is not an acquisition tool – it’s a retention tool.”

Talk to your customers like they are human beings “and show them you are a human being rather than an institution.”

“The ‘from’ line of your email may be the most important factor when a recipient decides whether or not to open your message… Who owns the relationship with this audience?”

Additional topics include building a database, APIs to integrate an email marketing system with a CRM system, viral marketing, triggers, and deliverability.

Each chapter starts with the author making his point followed by some short case studies.  Then other experts weigh in with their thoughts on the topic. Many, but not all, of these contributors are employees of ExactTarget, the email marketing company which Baggott co-founded.  Each chapter ends with a review of key points in bullet point form.

On a side note, ExactTarget was acquired by on June 4, 2013.

Baggott, Chris. Email Marketing by the Numbers: How to Use the World’s Greatest Marketing Tool to Take Any Organization to the next Level. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2007. Buy from