Overstock.com’s Geoff Atkinson on CertifiedEmail Delivery
For most e-mail marketers, getting campaigns delivered to their intended recipients has become more difficult as ISPs have stepped up their efforts to filter out spam. Increasingly, these efforts include disabling links and images as a security precaution against phishing and other e-mail-based fraud. To ensure its messages reach its customers intact, Overstock.com, an online closeout retailer based in Salt Lake City, signed up to be the first marketer to test Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail service. This service enables accredited senders such as Overstock.com to imprint their e-mail marketing messages with a secure token recognized by participating ISPs and mailbox providers such as AOL and Yahoo! and guarantees these e-mails are delivered intact.
Overstock.com went live with the service on May 4. In a month-long test of five distinct e-mail marketing campaigns sent to a customer list split between those receiving CertifiedEmail messages and those receiving non-certified e-mail, the CertifiedEmail customers received the full brand experience on every e-mail, with images intact. This group also showed a boost of 18 percent in clickthrough rates and a 22 percent increase in revenue generated per e-mail. Overstock’s Director of E-mail and Web Site Marketing Geoff Atkinson spoke with Target Marketing about the company’s experience with Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail Service.
Target Marketing: Why did you decide to test Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail service?
Geoff Atkinson: The main reason we decided to partner up with [Goodmail] is that we saw it as an opportunity for us to expand our e-mail program. We didn’t look at [Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail] as a threat to e-mail marketing. We sort of looked at it as an opportunity, and we wanted to get in early and test it out [to] see what the actual results [would be].
We’re continuously testing at this point and figuring out exactly who we want to roll this out to—trying to establish who this [service] really works for. Right now, we’re just using it for our marketing e-mails, but one thing we plan on testing in the future are the operational e-mails—the ship confirms, order confirms, etc.
TM: What are some of the challenges the CertifiedEmail service helped to resolve?
G.A.: One is deliverability and [another] is making your message stand out from the competition. I think Goodmail offers a possible solution for both of those problems. [It has] certified e-mail icons in the inbox that makes [your e-mail] stand out, and it says certified e-mail in the e-mail header itself. Another [challenge] is the trust feeling with e-mail. [With] so many spam e-mails coming into inboxes, Goodmail sets your e-mail apart. We hope it creates a feeling of trust for our customers, that we’re sending an e-mail that can be trusted.
TM: How else has Overstock.com benefited from the CertifiedEmail service?
G.A.: I think it’s hard for us to pinpoint the exact cause of [our] success—whether it’s the trust factor; whether it’s helping delivery; or whether it’s the displaying of images automatically—but we have seen a nice lift. And for certain customer groups it makes sense for us to continue to test and use the Goodmail service. For different clients, I’m sure there will be different results.