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May 2007

41 entries from April 2007

Great Example of a "Re-Introduction" Campaign

Ben Chestnut answers this question on his blog:

"I have a list of 9,000 customer email addresses. I haven't emailed them in a while, and now I'm ready to start sending them email newsletters. How can I do this without getting blacklisted, or angering my customers?"

Read here what Ben advises you to do and check out this great example of a "re-introduction" email that Ben received the other day.

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Tips for Lowering Your Opt-Out Rate

It's not uncommon to receive opt-outs every time you send out a marketing message -the industry average hovers around 2.1%- but there are things you can do to bring your opt-out rate down. In this article Stefan Pollard and Janine Popick address some common marketer mistakes that result in subscribers opting-out.

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Email Marketing 2007: Research Results, Analysis and Best Practices

In a webinar called "Email Marketing 2007: Research Results, Analysis and Best Practices", Epsilon will share newly released findings from their study of consumer attitudes and behaviors toward email and spam.

Topics that will be covered are:

  • How consumers say email marketing impacts their purchasing and their relationships with ISPs
  • Why most email users report that spam is on the decline
  • What steps your customers are taking to make certain they get their email
  • Which security technologies are showing up on consumers’ radar, and how they respond to them
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My Next Two Speaking Gigs

It looks like I'll be travelling again soon. I've accepted to sit on a panel together with IBM's Syd Jones and Ogilvy's Skip Fidura on the last day of the Email Insider Summit. We will be discussing how to go global with your email program.

A couple of days later (on May 15th) I will be presenting an eBay case study at the Email Marketing for the Real World conference in London. Hope I'm not going to be too jetlagged ;)

Let me know if you're planning to attend either of these events, I'd love to meet up!

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Authentication and Reputation Go Hand in Hand

According to Stefan Pollard, last week's Authentication and Online Trust Alliance Summit in Boston clearly showed authentication is an integral tool in the fight against spam and e-mail fraud -- and is being widely adopted by senders and receivers alike.

The summit also made clear that authentication alone is not enough. You must have a solid sender reputation.

ISPs use reputation to determine not only the legitimacy of incoming mail, but also whether it's wanted by and relevant to recipients. E-mail delivery statistics will get a lift with authentication, but the full benefit is delivered only when a good reputation backs you up.

To borrow the analogy used at the conference: "Think of authentication as your driver's license and reputation as your driver's record." The ISP may know who you are, but if your driving record stinks because of arrests or fines, the delivery cops won't allow your e-mail into the inbox.

In several case studies, Microsoft showed how it uses reputation data to supersede or override content filters that could block or filter messages. Mail that scored poorly for content actually got routed to the inbox because the sender's reputation score was more heavily weighted than the content score.

Conversely, a whistle-clean e-mail message can get stopped cold or filtered if it comes from a sender with a poor reputation score.

Read the full article here.

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Email Insider Summit, May 9-12

As Justin Foster writes on his blog: "It's cool. It's new. It's hip. It's in Florida. I'm convinced it may be the most neat-o skaleet-o thing to happen to the world of email marketing since the invention of the open tracking pixel.  OK, well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. If you have a career that touches email marketing, You NEED to BE THERE."

I'm going, what about you?

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Three Simple Ways to Get Subscribers More Engaged

In this blog post, Margaret Farmakis offers these three tips to get your subscribers more engaged:

  • Give them a choice. One size doesn't fit all, so provide meaningful options at sign up. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to create more emails. If you are sending weekly now, you might do better to make them four monthly emails that readers can choose from. You'll be sending fewer emails per subscriber, but their engagement level will go up. Don't forget to create preference centers where they can manage their accounts.
  • Ask for their opinions through interactive surveys. Supply them with the option to participate in the relationship, and make this easy for them to do.
  • You can't engage if your email doesn't arrive. Ask permission to be in the subscriber's personal address book. According to an Epsilon study, 78% of respondents have added a trusted email marketer to their whitelist, yet only 57% report being given that option by marketers. There's just no excuse for marketers to lose out on such a simple opportunity to get their emails to the inbox and, in some cases, rendered with images.

If subscribers value what you're sending, they'll keep reading it. Build on this value over time and you'll establish a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship. In fact, subscribers will not only come to associate your brand with fun, interesting email, they'll come to expect it from you. That's a win-win situation for everyone.

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

Microsoft Is Severely Throttling New IPs

Microsoft last week verified it is significantly throttling the volume of e-mail it will allow to come into its Hotmail accounts from new IP addresses.

“If we’ve never seen mail from you before, we’re going to limit the amount mail sent to us,” said Craig Spiezle, director of online safety at Microsoft Corp. “The message to the marketer is: ‘You want to be cautious. Don’t do your major holiday campaign, and on day one, drop a few million mails from a new IP address.’”

When asked how strictly Microsoft throttles e-mail coming from new sources, Spiezle said: “It’s going to be severely throttled.” He declined to get more specific.

He added, however, that a new IP can gain a reputation with Microsoft that will allow the sender to deliver e-mail at full throttle within 72 hours to a week.

“What we want to see is if we let in x amount of thousands of mail, do we get any complaints?” he said. “And then if we double it, do we get any complaints.”

He also refused to get specific about how many e-mails a day a mailer should send from a new IP in order to build its reputation, but indicated 50,000 to 100,000 might do it.

Many suspect Yahoo! is also throttling e-mail from new IP addresses, as well, but won’t own up to it.

Source: Directmag.com

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Windows Live Hotmail Unsubscribe Function

Microsoft last August answered e-mail marketers’ calls to include an unsubscribe button in its interface so consumers will be less likely to mistakenly report permission-based commercial e-mail as spam.

The unsubscribe link appears in place of the report-and-delete button on some e-mails in Windows Live Hotmail, the free e-mail service replacing classic Hotmail.

To get the unsubscribe button to appear, the marketer must add a piece of code to the headers of outbound e-mail. Instructions on how to do this can be found at www.list-unsubscribe.com. The sender must also be on the receiver’s safe list, or Sender Score Certified by deliverability firm Return Path.

A reader who hits the unsubscribe button is taken to a Web page created by the marketer where they can indicate specifically what they want to opt out of.

Source: Directmag.com

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Email Erroneously Viewed as Cheap, Fast, Easy

Are you allocating the right amount of resources to the high-ROI email channel? Is there a core group of email gurus knowledgeable and skilled enough to implement commonly accepted best practices in your company? Then you're probably one of the lucky few!

In this article, Loren McDonald asks the question: "If marketers overwhelmingly consider email their most important tactic, and if most by their own admission feel that it's getting harder to do email well, why does a systemic resource-to-ROI imbalance exist?"

The answer is that email has become, in many ways, a victim of its own success.

Read the full article and learn what some of the prevailing attitudes about email are that contribute to the resource-to-ROI imbalance.

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

Bounce Management Best Practices

In part four of his "how-to" series, Spencer Kollas takes a look at bounce management best practices.

Bounce management is the process of taking the correct action on the error/failure codes that you receive from ISPs and other domains after sending out your email.

Why should you care?

First of all proper bounce management provides you with invaluable data on your use of email and the ROI that comes from it. By keeping track of this information and applying it back to your conversion numbers, you can leverage the data to improve your ROI.

Secondly, bounce management data enables you to keep your lists clean and to maintain or restore contact with customers. With proper bounce management, you are able to remove bad addresses and take action to restore communications.

And last but not least, a good bounce management system will provide you with tons of information for diagnosing issues with your marketing practices (data capture, targeting, etc.) and for taking the corrective action that will ensure both a good reputation and better deliverability. Make sure to review your data regularly, as this will allow you to identify issues quickly, such as if certain receivers are blocking your email.

Continue reading here to find out what makes a good bounce management system.

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Example of a Great Welcome Email

Found this on the ReturnOnSubscriber blog:

After signing up for an email list, you need to send the new subscriber some type of thank you message while you are fresh in their minds.

This email from Wal-Mart does a great job of stating value, frequency, and messaging options in their welcome email. The "how to add us to your address book" option adds a lot of value, as does the ability to jump back to the site and shop. They also add a opt-out option in case the user signed up in error, as well as their privacy policy.

Dear Wal-Mart Shopper,

Thank you for subscribing to our email newsletters! You'll receive the
latest news from Walmart.com, including Rollback savings and more,
delivered weekly to _______@yahoo.com.

To ensure delivery to your inbox instead of your bulk or junk mail
folder, please add walmartnewsletters@walmart.com to your address book.
Here's how:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/catalog.gsp?cat=549532

Sign up for our other newsletters, including Wal-Mart Entertainment and
Advertised Values, and manage your subscriptions here:
http://www.walmart.com/email_collect/subscribe.gsp

Start shopping today!
http://www.walmart.com

Sincerely,
Walmart.com

If you feel we have sent this confirmation email in error, or if you
would like to be removed from future Walmart.com emails, you may
unsubscribe here:
http://www.walmart.com/cservice/ya_newsletters.gsp?email=________@yahoo.com

We value your trust and will never share your information. View our
Privacy Policy:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/catalog.gsp?cat=538369

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The Science Behind the Creativity of Email Campaigns

A superb creative is not enough to guarantee success in a medium where the audience is under daily bombardment from competitor brands, where the risk of blacklisting is high and where you can never be quite sure how your creative will render in the email providers viewing pane.

In this article Antonio Ferrara looks at the factors that need to be considered to ensure that an email campaign has the desired impact. Here's what he says:

General rule of thumb
One of the most important facts that email marketers need to be aware of is that the majority of people consume their emails from within the reading pane of their inbox. Whether they open the email or not will be greatly influenced by what they initially see in the pane. This is an important fact because the size of the pane is much smaller than the full screen of say a webpage (about a third of the size), greatly limiting the area in which an email marketer has to make an impact. It is worth stating this rule upfront as it has a bearing on a number of the elements described below.

Logo placement
Many brand guidelines would have you place the logo somewhere along the top right hand corner of any branded communication. The challenge here is that if people are viewing your email in their reading pane in most cases the top right hand side of the message would be cut off along with the logo. Ensuring that the logo can be seen in the viewing pan is important because, of the vital role it plays in confirming that the email has come from a trusted source.
 

Continue reading "The Science Behind the Creativity of Email Campaigns" »

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