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24 entries from April 2005

Why You Should Send Every Email Twice

Consider an average email campaign that generated 40% open rate and 5% click rate. This means that 60% of the audience probably saw the subject line and did not open the email and another 35% opened the email but did not find any call to action compelling enough to click. All this information is available to you in real time.

Here is the opportunity to send your second best subject line to everyone that did not open. If this subject line generated 25% opens then you have just boosted your overall opens to 55% of the total audience. That's not all; your clicks went up from 5% of your audience to 8% of the total audience.

The most important trick here is timing, i.e., how long do you wait before you send the second subject line. We generally recommend waiting 3-6 days after sending your original mailing or as soon as your open rates and response rates begin to flatten. Sending the second subject line too soon could generate spam complaints and drive your opt-out rates higher than normal.

Source: Bluestreak's "BlueNotes" newsletter.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Add A Marketing Message To Your Transactional Emails

If you interact with your audience through the online medium then chances are that you already use triggered messages in the form of transactional notifications such as a welcome message, a thank you email, or a purchase confirmation email. It is well understood by most online marketers that these welcome and purchase confirmation messages have very high open rates (sometimes over 70%) and while there is no stated or unstated stipulation that these messages have to be free of marketing messages, they are generally just plain transactional messages.

So always consider placing a marketing message and a call to action in your transactional notification. For example, a purchase confirmation could include offers for complementary products or services, a thank you message could also promote your "refer-a-friend and earn additional rewards" program. A little planning will help you determine which marketing message and which call to action to include.

Source: Bluestreak's "BlueNotes" newsletter.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Direct Email Marketing Guide

I was trying out a new tool called URL Trends this morning - you should give it a try, it's a really great tool which tracks how a domain does over time. Each month it tracks Alexa ranking, Yahoo! backlinks, MSN backlinks, & Google backlinks.

Anyway, when you pull a trend report for a domain name it also gives you an overview of all related sites. In my case there were two results only - of which one was completely irrelevant - but the other one is actually a very interesting website called Direct Email Marketing Guide. This site aims to teach you how to get started with an email marketing campaign.

If you look beyond the ads, there's some really good information on this website. Check it out.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Webinar: Overcoming the Customer Acquisition Challenge

On May 4, 2005, Return Path is hosting a webinar called "Overcoming the Customer Acquisition Challenge".

Sign up for this seminar to learn both basic and advanced techniques for acquiring new customers, as well as how to recognize and apply best-practices to optimize response and build lasting, productive relationships with your email program.

Topics covered will include:

  • Points of pain for marketers using customer acquisition
  • Incorporating behavioral marketing to boost email response
  • How to choose the best list rental sources for your business
  • Organic email acquisition
  • Re-acquiring lost or unresponsive customers
  • Best practices to optimize purchased lists
  • How to target different business sectors (B2B, B2C, IT, etc.) successfully
Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

New Developments in Email Marketing [Report By eMarketer]

eMarketer issued a new report that examines the new developments in e-mail marketing and compares the effectiveness of this still-evolving marketing tool with other direct marketing channels.

Key questions the "E-Mail Marketing" report addresses:

  • Can e-mail be used for customer acquisition, or is it merely a retention tool?
  • Are spam and phishing killing e-mail marketing?
  • How do permission-based in-house lists and better-targeted e-mails go hand in hand?
  • Is there a best content, best day, best time and best frequency for marketing e-mails?
  • Which elements should marketers test in their e-mail campaigns?
  • How can e-mail metrics be used to increase effectiveness?
  • And many more!

Here are some quotes:

"For legitimate marketers, the growth in email volume may be best dealt with by better-targeted emails, by giving the recipient a choice in email frequency, and by delivering messages that truly persuade the individual to open and read it.  And at the heart of targeting is a good list."

"Among the respondents, 26 percent use multiple opt-in procedures when signing up recipients, which helps prevent false or misspelled addresses. In addition, to further create a list of willing recipients, 20 percent notify them and ask for reconfirmation."

Learn More

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Hotmail & Gmail Only Allow Limited Use of CSS

eROI created a test email blast to see what the limitations of HotMail and GMail are in terms of CSS.

Here is what they found:

GMAIL

  • Ignores all styles in &ltstyle></style> tags. It doesn't matter if they are in the &lthead> or in the &ltbody>

  • Does render inline styles, with the exception of:
    • a. Background Images

    • b. Specific Heights

  • Doesn't display ANY images by default. It needs to be activated by the reader to "include external images". Make sure that you use complete alt tags to illustrate the images with text placeholders. Be careful as to the extent of the words you use as your competitors can server Adwords alongside your email based on the keyword index.

  • When displaying external images, it does render traditional background images correctly, for example: &lttd background="image.gif">, as well as height and width.

  • Ignores BODY background images.

Continue reading "Hotmail & Gmail Only Allow Limited Use of CSS" »

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

The Spam Problem Will Get Solved

Larry Chase just released his Top 10 Trends for the Next 10 Years in Internet Marketing.

He states that email marketing will remain essential and the spam problem will get solved. Why? Because it has to. Business and consumers alike now rely heavily on the email platform. Even if email postage is the solution, email marketing will still be faster and more cost-effective than most other competing channels.

Interesting...

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Email List Buying: Hints and Tips

The Email list marketplace is adapting quickly with new list sources, changing legislation and terminology of its own. Richard Gibson, Commercial Director of RSA Direct (Direct Marketing) & Opt -4 (Data Protection Consultancy) looks at some pointers to ensure marketers make an informed choice:

  • Ask to see the website and specifically the registration page where the data is collected. This will help you understand the permission levels.
  • Sign up to the newsletters yourself; see what kind of communications the site sends out and who they rent their list to. This will enable you to see how close a fit the website's brand is to your offer.
  • As with traditional off line lists used for mailing and telemarketing purposes responsive lists will be used frequently. Ask the seller who these successful users are, a further insight into who is using the list.
  • Does the permission level allow the marketer to send a solus campaign or does the template have to be branded from the data owner? This is key to understanding this before planning your campaign. There are arguments for both types of Email campaigns - branded i.e. from the data owner can be seen as and endorsement.
  • In B2B are generic Email addresses included? Should they be? It is common for some business types to use only one, generic Email. The seller should be able to exclude these at your request.
  • How large is the file size? Does it seem realistic within your target market? Be wary of huge file sizes. If the file is significantly more than you expected question the seller. Use selections to further hone in on your target audience.
  • Pricing. Understand what is included in the price. Some providers include transmission and basic reporting in their advertised base rental or CPM's others do not. If not then you need to build these costs into your ROI calculations. 
  • Can the seller provide de-duplication of your house list against the prospect list? What happens if there are multiple lists involved?
  • The media owner should have no problem sharing with you what your report will look like. Ask questions; does the technology they use count unique clicks? How many reports will you receive and when will you see them? Some providers include limited tracking in the price. Some marketers who use a specialist technology provider can report independently of the data owner's solution and therefore get a greater level of detail on key metrics.
  • Ask the seller who will undertake the transmission of the Email. Most data owners and managers prefer to do the "send" or "fulfilment" themselves through their ESP (Email Service Provider), they may have arrangements for other ESP's to undertake the transmission.
  • Ask about the question about bounces. Are there any guarantees and assurances in place for bounces? Unscrupulous data suppliers will oversupply by significant margins to ensure response is buoyed. A small oversupply is to be expected, ask what the oversupply will be and how many hard bounces could be expected; will a credit be applied if it exceeds the oversupply?

A uninformed choice can cost more than the campaign; the recipient will see the advertiser as being at fault, potentially a spammer. Damage to brand can be far greater than the cost of the list and the time involved. With a few pre-campaign checks and questions to the seller you should be able to make an informed list selection.

This article appeared in a newsletter called "B2B Data Matters", a quarterly electronic publication, which seeks to educate senior management, practitioners and users of business-to-business data on how to optimize business data for profit. The primary focus is enterprise and professional personal data for sales and marketing applications in Europe, and internationally.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

B2B vs B2C Email Marketing: Main Differences

You might be interested in this article written by Jeremy Dent called "What are the differences between e-mail marketing (EMM) in B2B and B2C?":

I am often asked this question. Rather like the difference between consumer (FMCG) and business (B2B) marketing communications, there are five main factors that differentiates B2B and B2C email marketing (EMM): time; permission; creative; data and fascination!

Continue reading "B2B vs B2C Email Marketing: Main Differences" »

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Email Append? Get An Explicit Opt-In!

In an article on Clickz about building an opt-in email list, Jeanne Jennings states that if you must append, get an explicit opt-in. A negative option opt-out may be enticing, but if you want results, this isn't the shortcut it may seem.

Email appending is the process of taking your existing customer list and "matching" email addresses to it from a larger (third party) database.  In this article Jeanne states that there are two flavors of permission-based append:

  • Negative option opt-out. This is the more common approach. The vendor handling the match sends an e-mail to the matched e-mail addresses, asking recipients to respond if they don't want to receive e-mail from your organization. Good news: opt-outs are usually very low. Bad news: these e-mail addresses are often non-responsive. So you get the e-mail addresses (great if you're compensated on growth) but not necessarily the response (bad if you're compensated on results).

  • Explicit opt-in. Either the match vendor or your organization sends one or more e-mail messages asking recipients to respond if they want to receive e-mail from you. This is true opt-in. Good news: these e-mail addresses have shown to respond on par with other opt-in names. Bad news: I usually estimate a 25 percent response rate, max. You'll have a smaller list, but a more engaged readership will read and respond to your e-mail.

Read the full article "Building an Opt-In E-Mail List" here.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Give Customers What They Want with Preferences

I received an email from Silverpop a few minutes ago in which they announced their new white paper "Give Customers What They Want with Preferences".

According to Silverpop, research has shown that when customers have the power of choice (the ability to choose what they receive from you, when and how often) they will also choose to maintain an email relationship with you.

In this white paper they explain the why, what and how of creating and implementing a valuable preference center to empower your customers and improve the success of your email marketing efforts.

Here are some quotes:

"By implementing a preference center, you are shifting control of the relationship back into the hands of your customer or recipient."

"When recipients control what messages they get, their relevancy goes way up, and with it their open and click-through rates."

"In a world without preferences, the only option for recipients is to opt-out of all communications: the end of the line for your email relationship."

"You need to figure out how much control you can give recipients without offering an unmanageable number of preferences."

"A good tactic is to check various competitors' sites to see what options they are including to ensure you are not missing anything."

"Customers are naturally sensitive about receiving promotional materials. They'll be more receptive to your message if you give them some control over the amount of promotional material they receive."

"Only certain types of messages lend themselves to recipient-controlled frequencies."

"As marketers and their email service providers get more sophisticated, preference options are going to get more personalized and more specific. Recipients are going to be able to choose not only what they receive, when, and how frequently, but also via what channel."

Download the whitepaper "Give Customers What They Want with Preferences" here.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Quiz: What level email marketer are you?

Bill Nussey, author of the book The Quiet Revolution in Email Marketing has this fun little quiz on his website that tells you what level email marketer you are. Give it a try, there's only 4 questions, so it won't take you more than 2 minutes to complete it and see the results.

Take the Quiz.

And while you're on his website, I really recommend downloading the companion workbook to this book.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

What's Working in Email Marketing: Beyond the Basics [audio conference]

Mark your calendar if you're interested in attending an audio conference on "What's Working in Email Marketing: Beyond the Basics".

This audio conference takes place on Wednesday, May 4, 2005 at 11:30 am - 1:00 pm Eastern.

You will hear practical, "how-to" advice and recommendations about what's working in email marketing today that you can implement in your own campaigns.

You'll get expert advice from Kim MacPherson, an authority in the field of email marketing, author of the book Permission Based E-mail Marketing That Works! and president of Inbox Interactive, a direct response e-mail marketing agency.

In addition, Laura Wilson, the online promotions manager from The New England Journal of Medicine will tell you how they've successfully implemented a number of the best practices recommended by Kim into their own email marketing campaigns.

Topics include:

  • The key components of a successful email campaign
  • How to build a qualified, receptive email list
  • Guidelines for your offer, creative, and email content, including:
    • From lines
    • Subject lines
    • Optimal creative design and layout
    • Landing pages
    • Privacy policies
    • When to send an email series versus one off emails
    • And more!
  • Worthwhile email tests
  • "Send" restrictions and challenges
  • Key email marketing metrics to pay attention to
  • CAN-SPAM - The critical facts you must know!

Find out more here.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

When Is The Best Day To Email My Subscribers?

In the April 7th edition of BtoB's E-Mail Marketer Insight Morgan Stewart, director strategic services for ExactTarget, suggests that instead of relying on various studies, we should consider conducting your own research.

And he explains how to do this:

  • Create a single e-mail message that is not date-bound or time-sensitive. If the subject line is "Friday only" and you send on Tuesday, your results will suffer. The message should be exactly the same so that other variables, such as subject line or content, don't skew the results.

  • Create randomly selected subscriber segments, each with the same (or nearly so) number of subscribers. Make sure to record the final number of subscribers within each segment.

  • Select a time of day that messages will be sent each day and keep it the same for each day you test.

  • Capture results. The simplest way to compare results side by side is to wait a week or more after the last test campaign is sent. More than 99% of people will have responded within that period. For best results, record the open rate and click-through rate for the campaigns at equal intervals past each send date. An interval of 72 hours is good.

  • Compare results. Generally, just looking at the results side by side will tell the story. However, for a more scientific analysis, use a significance calculator (such as the one found online at www.surveystar.com)to compare campaign results two at a time to determine if the results are significant or just the result of random chance.

I welcome your feedback and questions on this subject!

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Challenges Facing Email Marketing [workshop - London]

I know it's short notice, but I just found out about it myself: on Thursday 21 April 2005, the Direct Marketing Association UK is hosting a one day workshop titled "Challenges Facing Email Marketing".

This one day seminar (that will take place in London) will cover the key challenges facing email marketers in 2005 as well as essential refreshers on legislative and best practice issues.

The agenda looks pretty impressive so it's too bad I can't attend the event myself.

More details can be found on the website of the DMA.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Unsubscribing Is Perceived As More Of a Hassle Than Just Deleting Email

A recent Return Path consumer study found that nearly 70% of people reported that they delete unread "interesting" e-mail. Worse yet, many people can just click their ISP's this-is-spam button. So don't think that everyone on your list still wants your e-mail just because you have low unsubscribe rates.

In today's issue of BtoB's E-Mail Marketer Insight the following question is answered by Stephanie Miller, VP-strategic services at Return Path: "What can I do to re-engage inactive subscribers on my e-mail list?".

In her answer she explains how to improve customer response and interactivity by paying attention to your inactive rate. Her tips include pulling these inactives into a separate database, looking for clues in the data to find out more about these inactives, developing other content choices, testing new subject lines and incentives, changing "from" addresses and targetting campaigns specifically to this segment.

Read the full story here.

I wonder if anyone has experience with this in a B2B environment?

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Ten Core Tactics to Improve Email Marketing Campaign Effectiveness and Efficiency [Webcast]

I'd like to draw your attention to a webcast called "Vital Marketing: Improving Campaign Effectiveness & Efficiency" which I attended last Tuesday. In this webcast, David Daniels from JupiterResearch covered ten core tactics to improve email marketing campaign effectiveness and efficiency.

If you have 60 minutes of spare time, I suggest you watch the archived version. It is followed by a demo of RightNow Technologies' Marketing Solution which I found really impressive!

Webcast overview:

Navigating today's complex marketing waters can be a challenge.

Managing campaigns from idea to execution?
Leveraging departmental and historical data?
Coordinating online and offline initiatives?
Tracking and measuring program impact?

According to JupiterResearch, developing new targeting tactics was second only to e-mail delivery issues when marketers were asked about their top concerns in the coming 12 months.

How do you overcome these challenges?

Listen to David Daniels, Research Director, JupiterResearch, in this complimentary webcast. You will learn to drive results and shorter campaign cycles as David presents best practices resulting from the latest research on vital marketing components such as:

  • Incorporating customer intelligence

  • Coordinating multi-channel campaigns

  • Taking a lifecycle approach to marketing

Click here to view the archived version of the webcast

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Finding Out More About Your E-Mail Subscribers

At the initial signup, you don't want to scare people off, so you only request the information you really need. But after the relationship's established, it's smart to go back and request more information from your email subscribers:

  • Get or confirm opt-in status
  • Gather information for more granular database segmentation
  • Collect additional data for personalization
  • Request additional contact information for other channels

This week Clickz is featuring an article called "Know More About Your E-Mail Subscribers" in which Jeanne Jennings gives a few very good tips for getting more information from your e-mail list members.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Benchmarking Email Results: Not As Straightforward As It Seems

In Monday's issue of MediaPost's Email Insider David Baker, vice president of email marketing & analytical solutions at Agency.com, talks about e-mail benchmarking. He states that "while charts and reports are unfortunately a necessary part of this business, they may not be the best guide to help gauge the success and growth of an e-mail program."

And he explains why:

"First, these statistics are usually aggregate by category. There is not a clear distinction between companies or brands within vertical and subsequent categories. Then, there's the accuracy of the source of list, method of permission, type of communication, intent, and the fact that the overall sophistication of e-mail marketing by sector is so scattered. It's very rare that all of these factors could line up to provide an accurate reflection of your program let alone a benchmark on which to measure your success.

Next, while statistics might be considered impersonal, they are in fact very personal to you and what it means to your business. Most of the time, there is little context as to what other's benchmarks mean, how they were derived, and if they are unbiased. I often wondered, but could never prove, if the analysts used biased data for the benefit of the report or industry in general, which could be argued with all the differences in how deliverability is being reported today."

In this article he mentions a few guidelines to keep in mind if you do want to benchmark your results.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Top Tips to Slip Under the Spam Radar

This month's issue of What's New In Marketing is featuring an article called "Spam and the Marketer"

In this article they state that the term SPAM is all too often used to delete messages quickly when faced with an overflowing inbox - which, of course, makes the life of the B2B marketer all the more difficult.

Of the 32 billion emails that are sent every day, 65 per cent are labelled SPAM and even 20 per cent of legitimate emails are trapped by SPAM filters. This means that few messages are actually getting through the countless authentication and reputation programmes, content filters and consumer protection legislation, that are put in place to rid cyberspace of unsolicited messages.

Marketers are therefore faced with a difficult task when it comes to realising a return on investment in this channel. However, there are certain measures that can be taken to differentiate a legitimate marketing message from SPAM, increasing your chances of exposure to the recipient.

Here are some of their top tips to slip under the SPAM radar and get your genuine marketing messages seen.

Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!