Email Campaign Wisdom From South African Digital Marketing Sages

Email Campaign Wisdom From South African Digital Marketing Sages



Email. In the world of digital marketing it is the gem in the crown. It is one of the first, and by all accounts and studies, still the most effective tool out there.

Case in point: A study by a well-known research firm (MarketingSherpa) in 2015 showed that 72% of U.S. adults “say they prefer companies to communicate with them via email”. Market pundits expect this sentiment has not abated over the past year, nor that it will any time soon.

At Active-Trail we take such statistics seriously, following the market closely, not only to see where the winds are blowing for the future of email, but also to find new ways to improve our customers’ results.

A number of email marketing gurus from Cape Town and Johannesburg have agreed to let us in on some of their tricks of the trade, so do yourself some good and lend them your ear for a short while.

In order to give each piece of advice a stage that is worthy of its value, we are splitting this article into two parts. This, the first part, brings some of the more conceptual tips, while Part 2 will highlight more hands-on guidance. 

– Hadar Graf, Author of this article, Marketing Manager EN Markets at ActiveTrail

Related: 4 Revolutionary Behavioural Email Marketing Ideas

My tip is simple: Read on. I’ve been around email marketing for a while now and am familiar with many of the tricks of the trade (some of which we have implemented in ActiveTrail). With that said, there is always something to learn from industry experts, such as the group we have gathered for you here, who have their own spin on how to improve campaigns in their own markets and in general.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my personal thanks and the gratitude of all of us at ActiveTrail to these marketing gurus who agreed to share with us of their knowledge and experience.”

Aziaziza-banderkerza Banderker

Email Campaign Manager at Itopia Interactive

My top tip: Give to receive

Providing customers with a substantial cash-off offer is one of the most basic and often forgotten techniques in email marketing.

“Utilising this strategy can lead to high click-through rates and sales. From my experience, this technique works very well, especially if the offer is only valid for a limited time.

“This method ensures that customers find genuine benefits and see real value in your newsletters and this, in turn, should guarantee that your customers will continue reading them.”

yazeed-osmanYazeed Osman

Email Marketing Manager at

My advice to any email marketer out there is to segment based on behaviour. Whether you’re just starting off or a seasoned pro, database segmentation is something that you should be doing. At we have millions of products that need to satisfy the many different needs of our customers. By observing how our customers interact with our online store, we are able to use dynamic segmentation to group customers together and serve them relevant products.

While dynamic email segmentation and behavioural communication can become quite complex, the easiest way to start is by observing how your recipients interact with your newsletter.

The majority of email platforms allow you to track what each user clicked on. For this to be effective, first do some thinking on the segments you would like to create and then decide on URLs that would be included in the specified segment.

“Once the basic segments are created, perform split tests to find out what works for each segment. If you’ve set this up correctly, you should see an immediate uplift in open and click through rates.”

Related: 8 Email Marketing Tips for Online Retailers

kuhle-verbyKuhle Verby

Online Campaign specialist at Nimbler and Founder of GitFit

Two Email marketing secrets to recover lost sales and grow your business

Managing huge email lists can be a nightmare without segmenting your list correctly by not placing those who never purchase into a newsletter sequence. This, in turn, creates a huge drop in open rates and conversions, given that this is your opportunity as a marketer to revive your list and recover those lost sales.

Below are a two secrets that will help you increase your open and conversion rates immediately:

1. Usage of emoticons in the subject line

The use of emoticons in email subject lines has proven to increase open rates by at least 10%. A perfect example would be a scarcity email subject line which we use once every 3 to 6 months to help grab the majority of our list’s attention and skyrocket our open rates, this subject line is simple yet extremely effective.

Example: bye :–( [SUBSCRIBER NAME]

2. Knowing and understanding your consumer journey

Alongside the highly effective subject line survey your subscriber and find out why your subscriber base may not have purchased your product yet.

This will give you a world of information to help improve your overall business and product whilst giving you the opportunity to convert each subscriber within given reason, as you will know their objection and will be able to counter it.

Always remember that it is not about how big your subscriber base is, but about how great the relationship with your list is.

Related: Top 10 Email Marketing Resources


Offering incentives, behaviour based segmentation, enhancing your subject lines with emoticons and understanding your customers.

While you may have given thought to these subjects, we are confident that our South African contributors have enriched your knowledge with their real-world experience.

We are eager to share the rest of the tips we have collected for you, so keep an eye out on for Part 2 of Email Campaign Wisdom from South African Digital Marketing Sages.

Hadar Graf
Marketing is my passion. Identifying the perfect price point. Determining the best media for advertising to reach a target audience. Butting heads with my colleagues to figure out how to position a new software product. Interviewing clients and gurus to keep a close ear to the market. Collaborating, sharing insights, making tough decisions to help form our company’s marketing strategy. It is an exciting field and I am very fortunate to have been able to make a career of it. Currently, I work for ActiveTrail one of the best email marketing software providers in the market and a company that I collaborated with in the past. Whatever the activity, I am always vigilant, constantly analysing and searching for ways to improve.