ClickThrough smashes industry averages with email newsletters

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Email marketing should never be overlooked! Find out how we achieved industry-beating engagement figures for our retail client's email newsletter campaigns.

How we secured scarily good results with email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective, but overlooked, ways of marketing a business online. It’s as relevant as ever and continues to evolve at a constant pace. When our retail client came to us with the need to improve engagement through this channel, we used our four-pronged approach to developing highly-optimised email content, from calendar, to subject line, to the design itself.

Our goals were;

  • To meet the retail industry average open rate of 17.1%
  • To meet the retail industry average click rate of 0.7%


The problem

With no option to buy products online, our client wanted to use email to drive in-store footfall by showcasing current deals and building brand awareness. Though this in itself wasn’t measurable, we felt that we could take steps to increase the volume of Trustpilot reviews, and measure ‘find your store’ visits following email campaigns.

The solution

We wanted to use email newsletters to enhance our existing content strategy. The email newsletter campaign would be tightly aligned to reflect current blog content which (in turn) was designed to showcase current deals and seasonal trends and recipes, driving a cyclical, positive impact.

We took on four-step approach to improving email newsletter content. In addition to aligning the content of the newsletters themselves with business goals (and using them to bring visibility to activity-driving competitions and content), we used careful testing and our knowledge of behavioural science to achieve success.


The day and time of an email being sent is as important as the content itself. We looked at the full content calendar to identify the best times that newsletters could support the wider content strategy.

Our client's typical audience were non-digital natives, in middle aged or older age brackets, helping form our basic approach. We built a weekly email into our strategy, giving us an opportunity to quickly nail down the right day and time to send emails out, after which we were able to stick to a scheduled time.

Email Design

We renovated the email newsletter design, following the ‘triangle’ rule of directing readers’ attention. This would include a bold image at the top, oriented in the centre of the email, followed by content and a CTA to the hero topic of the week.

This format quickly improved email click rates, as attention was drawn to the most important element as the eyes followed the content.

Case Study - Newsletter - Hero - 17.10.2023 - Blurred


Securing data with A/B testing

While each of the above approaches came with a background of best practice knowledge, every brands’ approach to email marketing must be bespoke to its audience. Our team used A/B testing to drill down on the best tactics for engaging with customers. All elements of our strategy were run through, test by test, until we had enough information to ascertain the best way of approach.

SPAR Newsletters - Test Phases - 17.10.2023

These tests included;

  • Email subjects – using questions or statements
  • Email subjects – using emojis
  • Email subjects - using our client's brand name
  • Varying the days and times sent
  • Testing different formats of header casing



Reporting effectively on email activity was an essential step to evaluating activity and ensuring we could take actionable steps to improve and identify the best results from our testing.

  • We took the insights from Mailchimp’s platform and exported it into Google Sheets, giving us more flexibility to compare with other content activity, quickly see performance averages, and see what had worked over a testing period,
  • We used GA to evaluate the journeys of users coming through to the site from email activity, to enhance our strategy with user-behaviour insights,
  • Additionally, we used regular, onsite gamification campaigns to expand our database with user behaviour insights.


The results

Through our approach, we not only surpassed our targets for meeting the retail industry standard, but went beyond the average open and click rates across all industries:

  • Email open rate: 22.05% (surpassing the average rate of all industries, of 21.5%),
  • Email click rate: 2.67% (surpassing the average rate of all industries, of 2.3%),
  • 2% increase in open rate year on year,
  • 41% audience engagement, 24% of which were highly engaged.


SPAR Newsletters - Figures - 17.10.2023

Find out how you can enhance this direct touchpoint for your audience. Talk to us about our newsletter and content project options.

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Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash