When chatting with a client about digital advertising, targeted email is easy to overlook. We tend to start with the bright and shiny – Instagram, people-based re-marketing, foot traffic attribution – and shy away from tried and true products that work.

In this blog, I will share how to use ROI to position targeted email to your clients – especially those who favor direct mail. We will focus on targeted email’s average ROI (42:1), and show you how to drive productive sales conversations from the Customer Needs Analysis (CNA) to close. This blog post will help lead you to success in selling targeted email. You will see increased margins and significantly increased sales for your client.


Targeted Email Positioning: Conducting a CNA and Asking Questions that Matter

When selling targeted email to direct mail clients, your positioning statement should be “Targeted email will deliver better and more measurable results for less money.”

Asking engaging and informative questions that spark rapport is a great way to kick off a meeting with a potential targeted email client. Assessing their goals and how targeted email can help reach them is a critical step in your sales process. A CNA will help you achieve this. It’s a series of questions that pertain to the client’s advertising and business strategies.

Here are some examples of leading questions to start with:

  1. What keeps you up at night when you think of your business and your growth?
  2. How do you plan to grow your business in the next six months?
  3. What are your sales goals for the next quarter?
  4. How are you currently advertising?
  5. What events are scheduled (sales, promotions, giveaways)?
  6. Who is your target audience? Who is your ideal customer?
  7. How do you measure success?
    • It is essential to know the client’s key performance indicators (KPIs)
  8. Are you currently doing direct mail?
    • How is it performing?
    • How do you measure success?
    • How much does it cost?

Show your client how Targeted Email can help them plan for growth, save money and provide a valuable return on their investment. The needs analysis detailed what is important to the client, so you can position targeted email to their direct marketing needs.


Targeted Email Positioning: Designing and Validating a Plan

Now that the CNA is complete, construct a solid marketing plan by getting strategic. Your notes indicate what is most important to the client, so position your sale by drawing them in. Focusing on the client’s pain points is a great way to achieve this.

For example, say you’re working with a university, and fall enrollment is down. The client said they want ten more students to apply for admission. If they can get ten applications, they will deem your email successful. Here you’ve identified their key performance indicator (KPI).

Pain Point: They need more students ASAP

KPI: If the client can enroll more students, they will be happy!

Now walk them through how a targeted email fits flawlessly into their digital marketing strategy to capture those students and get them enrolled.

Position the email to show your client that you can reach people who are interested in hearing from the school. It is vital not to get too technical. Keep it simple: you have access to self-reported data from consumers who have double-opted into the database.

Walk your client through how to pull a count request that focuses on ideal candidates. A count request will specifically target the audience your client wants.

For a university, the example below would make sense!


Males and Females


High School Degree

Interest in Education


Minneapolis, Minnesota

You detailed the client’s dream audience, and you can help them access it! Pulling avails is something you can do relatively quickly. That is another great factor to selling targeted email: it is very turn-key. Counts only take a few minutes to fill out, and they can be a great selling tool to leverage with your client.

Once you talk through the audience, it’s crucial to stress the value creative has. We have an upcoming blog post focusing on this, but give your client subject line and call to action ideas. Validating a plan early in the conversation will inspire confidence in you!


Targeted Email Positioning: ROI-Based Selling

One of the most common threads in a sales pitch with a client is talking about cost. A client can be skeptical of the cost-effectiveness of a targeted email. In a sense, it seems too good to be true! Targeted email outperforms direct mail every time.

Targeted email has a 42:1 ROI. Targeted email is the new and improved version of direct mail. You have the same messaging, more precise targeting, better analytics after the send and ZERO costs for printing, paper and postage.

Take this example: A business owner says they have $600 to spend on either targeted email or direct mail. Direct mail costs range between $.60/piece to upward of $10 per piece, depending on the paper, printing, colors, etc. For our example, we will use the cost of $.60/piece for direct mail. Targeted email can cost from $10 CPM upwards of $50 CPM.

Here is a simple breakdown of the math:

Direct Mail = $600 per thousand pieces ($600/1,000 or $.60/piece)

Spending that same $600 dollars on targeted email at $10 CPM would yield 60,000 emails or  $.01/piece.

Email = $600 at $10 CPM = ($600/60,000 or $.01/piece)

The client’s ROI is much higher because they spend much less, even if they yield the same results. Direct mail can cost upward of $10 per piece of mail that goes to just one person!


Targeted Email Positioning: Closing the Sale

Closing the sale can be the hardest part of any sales meeting. You’ve made your pitch, discussed an innovative digital marketing plan, shown you are the expert on targeted email, and talked about targeted email’s ROI.

Targeted email is one of the easiest, and most overlooked, strategies to drive revenue for businesses looking to dive into digital advertising. The income targeted email can produce when amassed with the low cost is a win-win opportunity for your client.

Start and end there with your client. Targeted email will cost thousands less than direct mail ($.60/piece versus $.006/piece), and has the potential to drive sales exponentially.


Now What?

We walked through the steps to position targeted email, to build the CNA, and finally how to close the sale. But your client is likely still thinking about dollars. End with this: for every $1 they spend on targeted email, they receive up to $42 in return. The ROI on targeted email is incredible!

Stay tuned for our next blog in this series – until then – happy selling!

Here are a couple of resources to help pitch targeted email.