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8 entries from August 2005

How To Treat Links In Emails

This week's issue of MediaPost's Email Insider features an article by Melinda Krueger in which she shares what she's learned about links in emails thus far. These are her 4 tips for linking:

Most Clicked - The most popular link in a single-offer e-mail is the graphic button-type link that follows a complete description of the offer. Buttons far out-pull text links and they are more likely to be clicked if they are not placed above or to the side of the copy that tells the consumer why they should click. This is not to say that you shouldn't offer other options for clicking, just that the button following the offer should be the most prominent.

Continue reading "How To Treat Links In Emails" »

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Marketers Who Neglect A/B Split Testing Are Losing Millions of Dollars

This press release was issued on August 23rd:

Online marketers routinely leave large amounts of money on the table every time they launch Web and/or email marketing programs because they rely on intuition instead of empirical testing.

That's the essence of the clarion call found in the A/B Split Testing research brief just issued by MarketingExperiments.com (MEC). The research brief is currently available for free in The Marketing Experiments Journal.

"Many of the best marketers in the world rely exclusively on their instincts," said Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, director of MEC Labs and editor of online research journal MarketingExperiments.com. "Unfortunately, those instincts are often wrong. As we demonstrated at MEC Labs in our most recent research brief - 'A/B Split Testing' - marketers who do not rely on A/B split testing are leaving money on the table every time they launch a new Web or email sales/marketing program. In fact, some companies are losing millions of dollars by not testing new marketing campaigns."

A/B Split testing evaluates the impact of a Web page, email, letter or other promotional material by creating two or more alternatives of a specific message or product to determine which is more successful in maximizing conversion, click through, sales completion or other measurable objectives. Incoming traffic among the multiple versions is divided equally. Customers' behaviors, as seen through key performance metrics, are tracked to determine which version works the best. This process may be repeated over and over until optimum performance is achieved, or a diminishing returns threshold is reached.

The research brief outlines three specific A/B split tests conducted by MEC and examines how the findings can be used to create more effective promotional materials. The results also show that the outcome of one test will tend to inspire questions that stimulate further testing and result in the best possible marketing efforts and materials. In addition to its empirical findings, MEC's research brief also discusses proper testing protocol to help beginners get started with A/B split testing within their organizations.

"We all know businesses rely on effective marketing strategies to achieve long term success," McGlaughlin said. "That's why it is so imperative that promotional materials get the messaging right; and we know that the way to do this is through repeated testing. This is why our consistent message to marketing professionals is: Take the time to research and test. It is worth it."

MarketingExperiments.com tests every conceivable methodology to determine which online strategies and tactics are the most successful to improve conversion, drive traffic and sell product. Results of its experiments are published online in The Marketing Experiments Journal.

Those interested in finding out more about A/B Split Testing in their Web and email marketing programs can visit: www.MarketingExperiments.com.

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

Avoid Producing Last-Minute Campaigns

In this month's issue of Subject Lines there's an article called "Keys to Success: Killing the Producer". In this article, Tricia Robinson, states that change management and rushed campaigns are always the reason big mistakes are made.

To improve the likelihood of error-free campaigns try the following, she suggests the following:

  • Never schedule a campaign less than one hour before it is set to go
  • Establish a campaign checklist
  • Agree to only send one message type
  • Check, double-check for the unsubscribe
  • Keep clean master templates
  • Don't skip the QA process
  • Don't approve until you're ready to go<

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Thought Leaders Commune on Email Marketing: Spam Is Not the Issue

Email marketing has come of age. And we all know what happens with age. Zest, effectiveness and energy diminish. Younger and more effective players emerge. And, before you know it, you're pensioned off!

Which begs the question: Is email marketing, as we know it, doomed?

Stephan Spencer answers this question in a MarketingProfs article.

The full version of this article is available to Premium Members of MarketingProfs only. 

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

JupiterResearch Finds Targeted Email Marketing Campaigns Can Generate Nine Times More Revenue Than Broadcast Mailings

JupiterResearch released a new report entitled, "The ROI of Email Relevance: Improving Campaign Results Through Targeting," which quantifies the top and bottom line impact that targeted marketing tactics can have on email campaign performance. According to the report, using Web analytics to target email campaigns can produce nine times the revenues and eighteen times the profits of broadcast mailings.

"Spam and the cluttered inbox have not killed the email medium for marketers," said David Daniels, research director at JupiterResearch. "With a clear messaging strategy that is built off of a lifecycle relationship driven approach, there is still tremendous value that can be derived from email," added Daniels.

To date, however, few marketers are sending highly contextually targeted email campaigns; most are utilizing broadcast and basic personalization tactics that do little to make these marketing messages highly relevant. According to Daniels, "the failure of CRM systems to centralize all customer insights haunts email marketing and in many respects relegates it to a second class medium. Because the lack of integrated customer data is the top challenge for large marketers, these data deficiencies bind many of them to relatively simplistic targeting tactics."

The JupiterResearch report also addresses the following emerging trends and tactics that marketers should begin to incorporate to their practices:

  • When asked about promotional email's influence on their purchasing decisions, 60% of consumers who made immediate purchases from email did so because the email contained products they were already considering, underscoring the need to catch the customer at the right time with the correct offer.
  • Adopting a lifecycle approach requires additional up-front work and ongoing creative development, but these repeatable campaigns can be set up once and then largely leveraged with little or no impact on staffing.
  • Marketers must be realistic in setting performance goals because many targeted campaigns (e.g., life cycle, clickstream) require not only data integration, but also the appropriate amount of data for a meaningful segment of customers.
  • The proliferation of integrated email marketing and Web analytics tools will drive Web analytics growth and fuel ESP (Email Service Provider) consolidation.

The complete findings of this report are immediately available to JupiterResearch clients online.

Source: JupiterMedia

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Mid-Year Update of Ten Top Email Marketing Trends

ExactTarget released its mid-year revised forecast of the top email marketing trends for 2005. The predictions first made at the start of this year are adjusted to reflect current market adoption, common practices and new theories on email marketing.

1. Relevance is King.
The number one email trend for 2005 continues to be relevance, defined as delivering messages that contain specific value to an individual subscriber. "For too long marketers have been focused on marketing as a campaign," says Chris Baggott, chief marketing officer and co-founder of ExactTarget. "Customers no longer accept that. The value is in the individual and in driving lifetime customer value."

2. Email is a Retention Tool.
"Email is not an acquisition tool; it is a retention tool," says Baggott. Some 90 percent of marketing dollars are invested in acquisition programs, including keywords, banner ads, direct mail, etc. He recommends those tactics should be leveraged to acquire permission to continue the relationship through email.

3. Data Appends Can be Used to Enrich Customer Data.
"Appending email addresses to existing customer data and assuming that you have permission to email is a bad email practice," says Baggott. However, with data appending, marketers can ask a minimum number of questions on a registration form and let the appending process fill in the gaps with address and even demographic information.

4. Test and Optimize Your Emails. The success gap is widening in email marketing and it is defined by a line drawn between marketers who test emails and those who do not. "Even yesterday's A/B type testing is being replaced by more advanced multi-variant and Taguchi testing," says Baggott. "Before dynamic content, advanced testing was virtually impossible. Now it's easy, and the results are dramatic."

5. Control Corporate Spamming.
Organizations are responsible for every communication that originates from any one of its employees. "How does a marketer know that someone in the company is spamming or engaging in other practices that could result in the company being blacklisted or even fined?" asks Baggott. "Marketers must control outbound email at the enterprise level."

6. Leverage Transactional Emails.
Transactional emails are an opportunity to touch your customers. Marketers are almost guaranteed that transactional email will be read. "Take advantage of this opportunity to grow the customer relationship. Transactional emails are a chance to convey relevant information to the customer and to gather additional data that will help build your relationship," advises Baggott.

7. Create One-to-One Relationships.
"A relationship takes two people," says Baggott. "While brands are important for the credibility and reputation of your organization, at the end of the day, decisions are made between people," says Baggott. Marketers can be expected to leverage emails to facilitate and enhance one-to-one relationships. "The best way to do this is with the 'From Line.' Make email come from humans, such as salespeople, spokespeople, relationship owners, store managers, and customer service reps, rather than institutions. Including pictures of the sender makes email more personal."

8. Measure Results with Multi-Channel Analytics.
Measuring email success based on opens and click-throughs no longer is enough. Marketers need to focus on how the individual subscriber behaves after the click. This is accomplished through multi-channel analytics, integrating email with web tracking software and then with the company's CRM system.

9. Integrate Customer Data.
"Marketers make the greatest impact when they talk to people like they know them. The trick is to learn as much as possible about your customer and to collect data at every touch point possible then centralize that data into one source," advises Baggott. With API's and Web Services, marketers can feed data automatically into a single database from various touch points such as the web, email, POS, telephone or personal contact.

10. Email Only When You Have Something to Say. Email frequency and relevance go hand in hand. "Marketers should only email individuals when they have something to say. The idea that it's Thursday and I've got to send an email is antiquated," says Baggott. "Marketers have few opportunities to constructively engage their customers and prospects, and they must maximize each opportunity to touch the customer."

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

4 Tips to Email Branding

This week's issue of the VerticalResponse newsletter is featuring a very good article on email branding:

"Every interaction with a customer or a prospective customer is an opportunity - an opportunity not only to make a sale, but also to create, refine or enhance the way you are perceived. Yes, email is a functional, cost-effective way to communicate - that's why we love it. But just because email is easy and inexpensive doesn't mean it should seem cheap. Or boring.

Below, we've included a checklist of steps you can take to inject your email campaign with a personality that expresses the character of your company and sets it apart from the crowd.

1. Define your Values

  • Identify the key traits or values your business represents and write them down. Attributes such as "reliability," "responsiveness," "efficiency," "creativity," and "economy" are ideals that resonate with customers.
  • Keep the list at hand when preparing external communications and try to infuse your messages with as many of the desired attributes as possible.
  • At the conclusion of the first draft email, refer to the list and see how many of the terms you've successfully incorporated.
  • Represent some concepts visually. Think about ways to complement the text with images, if not in the actual email, then through a link at the top of the message that leads readers to a site where they can see the entire display - text and graphics - without interference.
  • Create a style guide that establishes ground rules for email communications. Style guides can encompass which logos to use, what your company does, what your design layout should be and how to emphasize the organization's core values.

Continue reading "4 Tips to Email Branding" »

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Creating Email Relevance In The Era of Inbox Overload [webcast]

On August 9th, Bluestreak is hosting a free webcast called "Creating Email Relevance In The Era of Inbox Overload".

Attend this Webcast to Learn:

  • Are consumers really fed up with email marketing?
  • How can marketers create emails that are relevant and valuable to their customers?
  • What are the best ways to grow an email list?
  • What can marketers do to ensure their messages are getting delivered?
  • What tools or technologies can marketers use to create relevance and ensure delivery?

Date/Time: August 9, 2005 11am ET/ 4pm GMT (UK)

Register here.

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