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March 2006
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May 2006

26 entries from April 2006

MediaPost's Email Insider Summit: How NOT To Do Email Marketing

On May 21-24th, Bill McCloskey is hosting MediaPost's Email Insider Summit. Here's how they describe the event:

The purpose of the Email Insider Summit is to bring the best minds in the industry together to share leading edge information and experience on email marketing in a think-tank environment, while exploring new technology, strategies and tactics for effective campaigns.

Hosted by Bill McCloskey, the first summit will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona on May 21-24th. In a tranquil mountain setting, over one hundred brand marketers and agency decision makers will network, discuss and debate, working collaboratively to improve the email channel, as well as their own marketing efforts.

Information-packed sessions will alternate with relaxing networking activities. Each morning attendees will share information and learn more about email marketing through general sessions, keynotes, research presentations, case studies, workshops, and panel discussions. In the afternoons the fun begins with golf, rafting and other activities that take advantage of the Arizona desert.

So far so good. Sounds like you'd really want to be a part of that, doesn't it? Well, that's what I thought too when, a couple of weeks ago, I receive a VIP invitation to attend this event. The email started like this:

Dear Tamara

I would like you to be our guest for the 2006 Email Insider Summit. As a Summit VIP, the cost of your airfare, hotel accommodations and conference registration will be paid for by MediaPost.

The Email Insider Summit Advisory Board has identified you as a senior level marketer or agency executive decision maker within your company. You are among a select few to whom we are extending this special VIP opportunity.

WOW! I wasn't going to say no to that! I sent them an email asking for more details about the event and I was already making plans to ask my manager for a holiday to go to Arizona. I wouldn't want to miss this event!

A couple of hours later I receive a second email from them though. This one started like this:

Dear Tamara:

We apologize if you received an email from MediaPost earlier today inviting you as our VIP guest to the Email Insider Summit.  That email was intended to be sent to a list of 50 top brand marketers in the industry, that have already agreed to attend the event. The email below is the email that you were intended to receive.  If you would like to be a part of the inaugural Email Insider Summit please read below about the summit and how to register.  Again we apologize for the confusion and inconvenience that error may have caused you.

That was it. A cold standard apology and nothing else! Plus an invitation to pay $2,495 to attend the event. Would you register after these emails? No, I didn't think so...

Needless to say that my perception of this event and its organizers isn't too good these days...

I guess if I were the person that launched the first email, I would be out of a job right now...

Funny little detail: on the day they sent out the above emails, MediaPost's Email Insider Newsletter featured an article called E-mail's 'Best of the Worst' - guess what it's about :o)

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

Plan Your Conversion Marketing Campaign (web seminar)

Creating a plan for your email marketing and conversion campaign is easy, if you know what to look out for. Join Topica for a free webinar and learn how to set up a complete conversion campaign that will help you build a relationship with your prospects, understand their needs, and convert them into customers.

Plan Your Conversion Marketing Campaign
Thursday, April 27 at 10 a.m. PDT

Attend this Webinar and learn:

  • Planning successful campaigns to convert more leads into customers
  • Serializing your offers and communications to pique the interest of each segment on your list.
  • Communicating with leads based on their behavior (or lack thereof).
  • Developing campaigns that build relationships and help you convert visitors into paying customers

To ensure the quality of this Webinar, participation is limited to 50 attendees. For past webinars in this series seats filled up quickly, so please make sure you register in time.

Register here.

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

Do the New Anti-Spam Regulations in China Apply to You?

The new anti-spam regulations in China, the "Regulations on Internet Email Services," will affect senders whose emails contain commercial advertising content and who send their messages from servers located within China to email addresses of individuals in the territory. Epsilon Interactive suggests it is also prudent to follow the obligations of these regulations with respect to email originating outside of China that is directed to known Chinese addresses.

China is the world's most populous country, with over 1.3 billion citizens who are increasingly "connected." In fact almost one in ten Internet users worldwide resides in China, which translates into the second-most at-home Internet connections of any nation. As the country continues to rapidly modernize, the Chinese market presents global marketers with an increasingly attractive opportunity, and the impact of these new regulations is therefore potentially very wide-reaching.

What Do the Regulations Say?

The regulations are substantially more restrictive than the legal framework prescribed by the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States. The following summarizes the key obligations imposed on senders of commercial email under the new regulations.

  • Clear and definite consent is required before sending messages containing commercial advertisements. Senders of email messages containing commercial advertisements are required to obtain recipients' consent prior to transmitting such email messages. The regulations do not specify opt-in, but we have obtained verbal confirmation from officials in Beijing's Ministry of Industry Information that their intent is opt-in with affirmative consent.


    • Consent. Although not clearly specified in the regulations, we recommend acquiring, at the very least, "Affirmative Consent," as defined within the CAN-SPAM Act.

    • Commercial. The regulations appear to apply to any message containing advertisements. This is different from the CAN-SPAM Act where the law applies to messages with a "primary purpose" that is commercial in nature. Therefore even messages that are mostly "transactional or relationship," but which contain any promotional content should be compliant with the regulations
  • Recipients must be able to opt-out of commercial email. Recipients who have consented to receive commercial email must have the ability to opt-out of receiving such messages in the future. To facilitate this, senders of commercial email must provide their contact information within their messages, including email addresses and clear instructions on how to unsubscribe. This information and mechanism must remain valid for at least 30 days after sending the message.

  • Commercial Email Must Be Labeled With "AD" in Subject Line. All commercial email must be labeled through the inclusion of "AD" (or in Chinese) in the subject line.

  • Mailers must obey specified content restrictions. Commercial email cannot, under any circumstances, include content in violation of Article 57 of the Regulations on Telecommunications of the People's Republic of China or engage in "activities that jeopardize network security or information security as prohibited in Article 58 of the Regulations on Telecommunications of the People's Republic of China." While this may require further analysis for your own business compliance, our understanding is that prohibited content generally translates into what would be considered "adult" content. Specifically prohibited content may include email advertisements for pornography, firearms, gambling, tobacco, and illegal drugs, but not necessarily alcohol.

What Are the Penalties For Violations?

Senders of email messages containing commercial advertisements that are in breach of these regulations are required to rectify violations and are also subject to fines of up to CNY 10,000 (U.S. $1,250 based on our current currency conversion). Additionally for cases involving unlawful proceeds, fines may be levied up to CNY 30,000 (U.S. $3,750).

It is worth noting that the regulations will be enforced under a "report-based" system requiring consumers and/or ISPs to lodge an official complaint with the relevant Chinese authorities to initiate regulatory action.

Epsilon Interactive's Recommendations

  • Audit your databases for customers that may be located in China.
  • Ensure compliance. Marketers that advertise products or services to individuals known to be located in China should ensure that their messages to these individuals comply with all provisions of the new regulations, as outlined above.
  • Acquire Chinese email addresses through affirmative consent. Marketers seeking to grow their businesses in China should implement affirmative consent practices in order to acquire the email addresses of citizens located in China. Also, never send email to known Chinese addresses that are already on your lists unless you can verify that they were obtained via affirmative consent.
  • Clearly separate marketing from transactional messaging. Marketers should optimize their communications efforts by ensuring that promotional content is not included in what would otherwise be unregulated transactional and relationship messaging.
  • Consider seeking outside legal counsel.
  • Monitor this important issue. Because these regulations have just come into effect, no enforcement actions have been taken to-date, and they should therefore be viewed as "untested." How the Chinese government actually goes about enforcing the new regulations can potentially be precedent-setting and have significant long-term implications for global marketers as the Chinese market continues to grow.

Disclaimer: Due to the rapidly evolving nature of the laws surrounding email privacy issues, including the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, Epsilon Interactive is unable to provide any guarantee that the adoption of its recommendations will result in compliance with these laws. You should consult with your own legal advisors regarding compliance with these laws.

Their analysis of this Regulation and pursuant recommendations are based on a translation of the Chinese language version; The People's Republic of China Ministry of Industry Information's (MII) has not published an official English version, and it is unclear whether it will do so in the future. If and when it does, there may be slight differences in the language that may affect Epsilon's analysis and recommendations. In addition, the overview of the law provided here does not take into account other relevant laws that may impose additional obligations on covered entities and their activities.

Source: Epsilon Interactive's PROfile Alert Newsletter

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

Add To Safe Senders To Achieve Repeat Sales

A recent Adestra survey discovered that 75% of top email marketers will miss out on repeat sales as they are not asking their subscribers to add them to their safe sender lists.

If a sender's email address is added to a safe sender list or a contact address book, almost all email systems will not apply their spam filters. In this article, find out how this simple message can be included in your sign-up process and in every email sent to your existing contacts and will result in significantly higher deliverability rates and therefore your sales.

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

Permission-Based Email Marketing Fundamentals

Most people talk about different things with different people. With one friend the conversation might usually focus on relationships. With another, perhaps talk turns more naturally to movies, books, sports or politics.

You would be unlikely to appeal to your relationship-discussing friend if you were to engage in a monologue about your opinion of our current political leaders. However, if you started in with that same screed to your politics-loving friend, he or she would greet it with a smile that says “Let the games begin!“

The same theory applies to communicating with your customers and prospects. “One of the most important things to keep in mind when developing your campaign is relevance, says Yael Penn, Principal of Imagine Creative Marketing. “If you send a message recipients are interested in receiving, you will get their attention and your campaign will be a success. However, if your message is not relevant to their interests or current needs, they will most likely ignore it, or even worse, unsubscribe from your database and you’ll never be able to communicate with them again!”

There are four main elements of a successful permission-based email campaign:

  • segmenting the database
  • enhancing the existing database
  • communicating with the database
  • tracking the campaign

Neil Anuskiewicz looks at each of these in this article.

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

What Do You Want Your Email Newsletter Readers to Do?

Whether you are selling something in your email messages or not, you want your email readers to take some action. Even if you simply want to inform your recipients, you still want them to do something - read your message! Take a look at this article to discover how to get the response you want from your email newsletters and marketing campaigns.

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

Email Authentication For Marketers

Email authentication has an impact on email delivery. And it's well on the way to achieving the critical mass that allows all ISPs to start acting on non-authenticated email.

So if you are, like the author of this article, in a state of either denial or ignorance (or both) when it comes to email authentication, certification, accreditation and reputation, then you should definitely read Mark Brownlow's article. It outlines what it's all about, why it's important for email marketers, how it works and what you need to do about it.

Bottom line: if you aren't already, you need to start working on implementing authentication standards for your outgoing emails now. The success of your email campaigns depends on it.

Want to get your hands dirty immediately? Then I advise you to read this article on email authentication mistakes and misconceptions as well.

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

Is Implied Opt-In A Useful Permission Marketing Tool Or Is It Spam?

Implied opt-in is a strategy is based on the assumption that since people have given you their email addresses, you have permission to send them at least one email. And if you say in it that you would like to follow up that email with further marketing communications of a specific kind unless they objected, then you have obtained their permission to continue.

Some consider this to be a gray area of permission marketing, and others will consider it to be a useful tool to be used in certain situations.

If used carefully, B2B marketers can find it an effective way to legitimately increase their email files. However, check first if your country's legislation allows this practice.

Read an interesting article about implied opt-in written by Page Duffy, principal consultant with JPD Associates.

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

Return Path Launches Sender Score Reputation Monitor

Last week, Return Path launched Sender Score Reputation Monitor, an e-mail reputation management system that is based on calculating a “credit score” for email.

According to Return Path it gives companies a simple, clear reputation score (a “credit score” for email) based on robust data from email receivers and analyzed by Return Path’s proprietary technology. Basically it allows email senders to view their email reputation as receivers do and gives actionable data to improve reputation, delivery rates.

Sender Score Reputation Monitor aggregates 60 data points from more than 50 million email boxes around the internet to quantify a mailer’s reputation, looking at factors such as complaint rates, unknown user rates, security practices, identity stability and unsubscribe functionality. Data comes from several major ISPs and filtering companies, including Mailshell, Cloudmark and Lashback.

For more information, visit the Sender Score website.

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

Best and Worst Subject Lines

MailChimp analyzed over 40 million emails and compared the subject lines from the campaigns with the best open rates (60-80%), and the campaigns with the worst open rates (1-14%).

Have a look at some real examples of the most effective subject lines and some examples of how NOT to write a subject line.

Bottom line: when it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what's inside, and the worst subject lines sell what's inside.

Read the full article here.

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