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E-Mail Gains In Usage But Traditional DM Media Decline: Survey

E-mail has become the top medium for direct marketers, judging by Direct’s annual forecast survey. Of the firms polled, 72% send e-mail to customers, a 10% increase over 2007, and 50% to prospects, a 9% hike. Furthermore, 55% of those who use the medium plan to increase their budgets for it next year.

Direct mail, while declining, remains a strong second. Of those polled, 66% are sending mail to customers this year, a 4% drop from 2007, and 59% are mailing to prospects. That number is 1% lower than last year. In addition, 37% of those companies plan to spend more on mail to customers in 2009, and 39% on mail to prospects.

Other online channels have also gained in usage. The survey shows that 39% of those polled conduct search engine marketing, a 10% increase over 2007 and 41% advertise on other Web sites. However, that number is flat from last year. In addition, 25% conduct affiliate marketing, a 4% increase over last year.

Traditional media appear to in decline. Only 7% advertise on radio (down from 10% last year). And 16% buy direct response space (down from 23%). Inbound telemarketing is used by 17%, down from 21% in 2007. And 20% conduct outbound calling—the same as last year. Meanwhile, card pack usage rose four percentage points to 10%. But statement stuffer use fell by half to 9%.

Source: Direct

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Campaign Monitor's 2008 Email Design Guidelines

In this article Mathew Patterson discusses the technical, design and information elements that make up a successful HTML email.

Here are the quick and dirty guidelines:

  • Don’t waste your readers’ time — An email inbox is a busy place, you won’t get much attention.
  • Permission matters — Not only do you need to have permission to email people, but it helps to remind them of how they gave you permission, as specifically as you can.
  • Relevance trumps permission — Just having permission is not enough, the content you are sending must also be relevant.
  • Make unsubscribing easy — There’s no point emailing people who are not interested.
  • Image blocking is common — You can’t rely on people actually seeing your images.
  • Bring back tables — Structural tables are still often necessary for creating columns.
  • Add inline styles — Gmail removes anything else.
  • Don’t forget your plain text version —  You can make blocks of text more readable.
  • Meet your legal obligations — For example, CAN-SPAM for US senders.
  • Test, test, test — It’s the only way to be confident about your design working.

Read the full article on the Campaign Monitor blog.

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Your Newsletter: The Basics

When designing your newsletter always keep in mind the amount of time you can expect your reader to spend viewing your newsletter. Everyone today is information hungry, but always in a hurry. How you display your content within your newsletter can capitalize on this assumption.

What Information Should I Include in My Newsletter?

Obviously, this will depend on your business and the audience in which you are marketing, but here are three recommendations:

  • Announcements: Include recent information about your company and/or products that impacts your readers. For instance, you can include a link to an upcoming tradeshow where your company will be exhibiting or perhaps a seminar that your company will be sponsoring.
  • Article: Include an article that relates to your products or services and helps your readers. It is also a great idea to develop a resource library that contains additional articles and provide a link for your readers so they can find more information on similar topics.
  • Case Study: Provide an example of a client who has achieved great results while using your products or services. This will help build credibility with your readers. Again, provide a link where your readers can view additional case studies.

Those are three key items to include in your newsletter. If you include these, you are keeping your readers up to date on recent information about your products or services, including an article providing value on topics affecting them and by providing a case study you are proving to your readers that others are achieving success by using your products or services.

Making Your Articles Easier to Digest

Think of how we read newspapers; the same holds true for how we read material on the web. We skim headlines looking for something that interests us and only then will we begin reading an article. We also stop to view photographs and any visual cues offering greater insight as to the information held within an article.

I see far too many articles within newsletters that are very long (greater than 900 words). When writing your article try to keep it at 800 words or less and break each section into smaller, easy to read blocks with bolded headlines over each section. This will encourage your reader to skim your article and stop at each section they find interesting. If you are finding it impossible to trim your article simply find a good point within 800 or fewer words and provide a link to a webpage that contains the article in its entirety.

Sharing Your Newsletter with Others

Always give your readers a reason and a means to share your newsletter with others. By providing valuable and relevant content to your subscribers, they will be inclined to share this information with others by forwarding your newsletter. Most email marketing platforms provide a "Forward-to-a-Friend" feature that inserts a link within the footer of your message allowing your readers to easily forward your newsletter. The goal is to obviously reach out to as many people as possible by providing valuable, relevant, timely content and an easy way for your readers to share this information with others.

Source: iContact's Email Marketing Monthly

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Re-activating Bounces

A while back someone raised a question on the Email Marketer's Club: 'Can we re-activate bounced addresses?' and I thought it would be a good thing to share the the numerous reasons why not to do this.

  • It can negatively affect your brand. If the recipients haven't received any communications from you in a couple of years, then they can question why you are sending emails to them and report it as spam - this can affect not only your IP's reputation (which your ESP won't be happy about) but also it can get your domain listed.
  • This in turn will reduce your deliverability so that you no longer are able to be delivered into the inboxes of your active database (thereby actually damaging your existing active database).
  • Also, the fact that most of these addresses will be likely be inactive (and some may possibly be spam traps), will also raise the red flag to the ISP's, which in turn will reduce your reputation and possibly cause you to be blocked.
  • Legally, resending to bounced addresses is not an issue (assuming you originally had permission to send to them) - it's more the age of the addresses and the problems this can cause.
  • Adam Covati from Bronto also recommended that if you must restore addresses, don't restore anything that hasn't been sent to in the last 6 months. For those you do restore, you should send them a re-subscription notice so they understand why they have experienced a gap in sending.
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Oopsy-daisy! Creating strategies for email errors

Everyone makes mistakes, but it's how you handle them that will leave a lasting impression on your audience (either positive or negative!). Email as a medium is prized for it's quick nature--though when you rush through preparation, the likelihood of errors increases.

With email there are basically three routes you can take when you've made an 'uh-oh'. The correct method usually depends on the severity of your error.

    1. Leave it be - Perhaps you've spelled something incorrectly, used the wrong title, typo in the subject line, made in error in the personalized greeting... These are usually embarrassing blunders, but honestly not worth taking any action on. In this case, sending an apology/correction email is likely to either draw attention to the error to those who may have not noticed or even annoy subscribers who may have not noticed/not cared about the error. Move on and learn your lesson for the next one!
    2. Make good with some - In the case of an incorrect link, a strategic approach to fixing the mistake is to contact only those who attempted to click on the link. Again, for those who did not click on that particular link, you are just drawing attention to the fact you made an error. Especially if there are many links in the email, it's likely not crucial that everyone know you made a mistake. Worried future clickers might miss the message? Set up a mailing to trigger the message each time someone tries to click… Your ESP probably has this capability-ask if you're not sure. Another side of this is to subtly apologize or correct your error in a future mailing.
    3. Mass apology - Although I believe sending more email should be avoided, there are circumstances--such as the inspirational email for this post--where it's absolutely necessary to send a correction email. In this particular case, a national retailer was holding a contest; it selected finalists for each region and sent those people an email to invite them to the private party for finalists. I think you can see where I'm going with this… EVERYONE received the finalist email for one region. I'm sure chaos ensued for this poor retailer--who issued an explanation and apology email within half an hour of the first. Certainly the right course of action, except, the email simply placed blame on the email service provider for the error. While I don't doubt the ESP was responsible, given the nature of the error it would have been appropriate for the retailer to take responsibility and provide a peace offering (we're so embarrassed-we're giving you a 10% off coupon) or some other sort of small gesture. Truth be told-this probably would have resulted in more sales than the contest anyway, and it would pay for itself pretty quickly!

If you make a mistake, chances are your subscribers will only remember how you handled it. If you take no action when necessary, then you don't care. If you apologize for something trivial, you're annoying. It's a fine line, so planning your strategy before it happens will ensure you make the right choice in the heat of the moment. Hopefully it's one strategy you will never have to use!

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Mobiles: The new inbox

The Email Insider's Summit was fantastic and one of the sessions held looked at all things mobile and in particular designing for the mobile.

But before we have a look at these facts and figures, I'd like to make a special note of Chip House of Exact Target's pertinent remark in his session of 'Subscriber Rules', which was that carrying mobile devices makes receiving an email more personal now...more so than receiving it on your computer.

This has always been the general feeling about SMS/text marketing and now it is also becoming applicable to mobile email users. Therefore the potential for annoyance increases as it affects their personal space. So, the key of course to this, is to engage with the subscriber and ensure they are receiving what they want, when they want it.

Deirdre Baird (Pivotal Veracity) and Morgan Stewart (Exact Target) brought forth some facts, including that 52% access same email account through mobile and computer and 48% maintain a unique mobile email address. do we design for the 48% who are not going back to the office to veiw their emails in pretty HTML?

Here are design some tips:

  • Designing for images off is now the norm for inbox emails, this also needs to be the norm for designing for mobiles.
  • Calls to action need to be easily accessible at the top of the email.
  • Keeping in mind that according to Jupiter Research, 48% of recipients have 'add to address book' at the top of the email and 60% have 'click to view' up there as well, the downside to this is that mobile's window area is taken up with these links rather than call to action or branding or having something which compels readers to scroll down.
  • Important to check how email renders in variety of mobiles.
  • 640pi wide is the magic number.
  • B2B need to use a single column layout for mobiles otherwise, depending upon the mobile, you either scroll right or it places the right below the left column.
  • Weight should be a maximum 20kb with images.
  • Urls - Symbian doesn't recognise links -it needs the full url. The Blackberry however pulls both the image url and link url. So don't use unecessary images (which includes image spacers) and make urls shorter so they take up less screen space.

The bottom line is that it is an overwhelming task to get rendering correct for all mobiles out there at the moment, but if you follow the above tips, it should make for a better user experience.

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Survey Reveals Consumers More Receptive to Marketing Messages Through Email Than Text or Social Networking Sites

ExactTarget announced the results of their 2008 Channel Preference Survey at the Email Insider Summit and in a new whitepaper, How Consumer Preferences Impact One-to-One Marketing Success. The whitepaper addresses the impact of consumer communication preferences on marketing success and highlights the challenges marketers face in today’s world of multi-channel, one-to-one communications.

“We asked over 1500 users detailed questions about how they prefer to receive marketing information,” said Tim Kopp chief marketing officer for ExactTarget. “The results outlined in the whitepaper allow marketers to quickly discern which channels will best serve their one-to-one marketing needs with the highest return on investment.”

The core component of the whitepaper is ExactTarget’s 2008 Channel Preference Survey, which surveyed U.S. internet and cell phone users over the age of 15 about how they prefer to receive both personal and marketing messages.

“There is a clear trend within younger demographics toward communication via text messaging and social networks; however, without reliable research on consumer preferences for guidance, marketers have been forced to throw darts in the dark—hoping to hit the perfect channel and message bulls-eye,” said Morgan Stewart, ExactTarget’s director of research and strategy. “It’s time to start paying attention to individual subscriber preferences and communicate with each individual on his or her own terms.”

Key findings of ExactTarget’s 2008 Channel Preference Survey include:

  • Preferred personal communication channel is not synonymous with preferred marketing channel.
  • 65% of those surveyed have made a purchase as a result of a marketing message received through email (the highest rate among all digital channels studied).
  • Email was deemed the most acceptable digital channel by which to receive marketing messages.
  • 95% of respondents have granted a company permission to communicate with them via email.
  • Only 9% of regular text messaging users prefer SMS marketing messages to email marketing messages.

Along with analyzing the results of ExactTarget’s 2008 Channel Preference Survey, the whitepaper offers many valuable marketing insights including:

  • How marketers can better allot valuable marketing resources.
  • Long-term one-to-one marketing success depends on marketers’ ability to listen over time, effectively capture preferences, individualize communications and proactively adapt to the needs of subscribers.
  • Greater success will come to marketers who give their subscribers complete control over the means and manner of marketing message delivery.


Click here to download a copy of the whitepaper
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Study Confirms Strong, Ongoing Demand for Email in Direct Marketing, Mobile and Web 2.0 Applications

Habeas released its 2008 study of consumer attitudes towards email and online interaction with businesses. The study, completed in May 2008 by research firm Ipsos, found that consumers prefer email as a primary method of communications in their personal and business capacities; they will continue to prefer email in the future despite the rise of online threats and the emergence of other communication channels and Web 2.0 applications. The report also revealed an interest from consumers in gaining more control over their online interactions with businesses and an increasing level of concern over spam and virus threats reaching consumers through their mobile devices.

"Regardless of their concerns over email and online threats, consumers are becoming even more dependent on email for their relationships with each other, via social networks and Web 2.0 applications, and those with whom they do business," said Des Cahill, CEO, Habeas, Inc. "This Ipsos study illustrates the relevance and longevity email has within the online ecosystem - today and in the coming years - and touches on the role consumers want mobile devices to play."

This year's research covered subjects as varied as security features and email protection, consumer abilities to identify spam, concerns about fraud, preferred modes of communications, online purchases resulting from email communications, email privacy, email unreliability and online marketing practices and reputation management.

Highlights from the study include:

Email's Vitality

  • Sixty-seven percent of respondents prefer email as a communications channel over other online vehicles and 65 percent believe this will continue to be the case in five years.

  • Consumer opinion of the future importance of email registered far above future expectations for video conferencing (19 percent), instant messaging (17 percent), SMS text messages (12 percent) and Web meetings (12 percent).

  • Sixty-five percent of the demographic between the ages of 18 to 34, the age demographic most comfortable with IM, SMS and emerging communications methods, will favor email to communicate with businesses in five years.

Consumer Concerns Regarding Online Threats Increasing

  • Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed expressed concern about being victimized by email fraud scams, a significant rise from the 62 percent finding in the 2007 Habeas report.

  • Forty-three percent of respondents voiced concern over the spam and virus threat to mobile devices, which represents a rise from 2007's 36 percent and a sure reflection of the increasing use of the "mobile inbox" through smartphone and internet-enabled phone devices.

  • As many as 35 percent of those surveyed do not know what to look for when trying to sift through emails that might potentially be dangerous.

Online Reputation Management Best Practices to Build Trust

  • More than 88 percent of respondents said they would like organizations to give them more choices over the content and frequency of the emails they receive, including options on advertisements, special offers, articles, newsletters, white papers and other specific content options.

  • More than 80 percent of participants favor doing business with organizations that use opt-in permission to send them email.

  • Monthly emails and content and frequency options positively impacted a company's reputation.

  • Three of every four respondents prefer engaging with organizations that exhibit strong privacy practices.

  • Only 12 percent of respondents acknowledged making one or more purchases from businesses they did not know.

Online Business Practices to Avoid

  • As many as one in four respondents lose some degree of faith in an organization that is unable to deliver email reliably.

  • Daily email messages ranked with pop-up advertisements as the most damaging online tactics to a company's online reputation.

  • On average, about 80 percent of respondents are not comfortable with businesses sharing their email address.

  • Internet users believe that about two thirds of companies are likely to share their email addresses with third parties.

  • More than 80 percent feel that a business' reputation is negatively affected if it shares customer email addresses with third parties.

The 2008 Habeas study confirmed the consumer "Email Insecurity Factor" findings uncovered in the 2007 study. This year's report again found that nearly 60 percent of users employ two or more personal email addresses, giving a different address to entities they do not trust while maintaining separate accounts for trustworthy sources.  

"Far from being eclipsed by Web 2.0 and other emerging communications methods, consumer expectations suggest that email will be the workhorse channel around which future online communications will revolve," Cahill continued. "This tells us that email will be as central to online commerce and communications in the future as it is today. Organizations that build trust with consumers by implementing forward-looking online reputation management strategies will differentiate themselves and gain a long-term competitive advantage by establishing themselves as a trusted online brand."

Source: Habeas

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Live From the Email Insider Summit

Greetings from Captiva Island. Yes, I will be live blogging again today and tomorrow. Feel free to comment and chime in!

 Live Blog: Email Insider Summit, Day 1(05/22/2008) 
Powered by: CoveritLive
Tamara Gielen -  Goodmorning everyone! We are just getting started here

Tamara Gielen -  David Daniels is on stage now and talks about the state of the industry
Tamara Gielen -  He says we've seen enough of this slides, so we're doing a panel instead :-)
Tamara Gielen -  they are putting a couple of university students on stage - interesting... they will talk about their communication preferences and how they use email
Tamara Gielen -  Student 1 cannot live without her cell phone - spend a lot of time on email, on the internet - she spends a LOT of hours on the internet
Student 2 prefers the phone but used email for applying for jobs etc
Student 3 wakes up in the morning and checks email and Facebook first - uses the iPhone to check emails when he's really "itching for it"
Tamara Gielen -  they check their emails anytime they get to a computer, then facebook
Tamara Gielen -  Student 1 doesn't use Facebook very much to communicate with people - "you CAN'T poke your professor, it's just inappropriate" :-)
Tamara Gielen -  "Facebook is solely about communicating with friends and former classmates"
Tamara Gielen -  Student 2 is more hesitant towards emails. "when I get an email, it's usually because somebody wants something from me"
Tamara Gielen -  Communicating with friends happens more on social networks
Tamara Gielen -  Student 3 only uses email mostly with older people :-D
Tamara Gielen -  Facebook is a social thing - he wouldn't contact bosses and professors through it but he does use it to talk with friends
Tamara Gielen -  Social networks/platforms are not seen s  professional platforms - so they do believe that as soon as they join the workforce they will start using email
Tamara Gielen -  they don't want to interface with heir professional contacts via social networks
Tamara Gielen -  they don't want their bosses to check their Facebook profiles and see "incriminating" information
Tamara Gielen -  how do they feel about marketing messages that they receive via email?
Tamara Gielen -  the more targeted and less intrusive it is, the more interesting it is
Tamara Gielen -  "marketing messages via email? That's why we have spam filters!"
Tamara Gielen -  opt-in is very important! If it's something they are interesting in, then it's OK but if it's just an ad, they get ticked off
Tamara Gielen -  Student 3 describes his hobby: "I guess I like surfing the internet and go to tech blogs"
Tamara Gielen -  Right.
Tamara Gielen -  He's kidding right?
Tamara Gielen -  Student 3 does not want people to target him in his mailbox, because that's "his personal space"
Tamara Gielen -  He makes the point that he "junks" things because he doesn't trust unsubscribing - he just thinks he will get more email because he confirms that his email address is active
Tamara Gielen -  Student 3 says he has other hobbies as well :-)
Tamara Gielen -  Melinda Krueger makes a point that teenagers (in high school) don't use email AT ALL. Student 1 confirms this
Tamara Gielen -  Student 3 says "I agree" :-D
Tamara Gielen -  Student 3 forwards all his personal email to Gmail - he likes the spam filter better and he thinks it's just a better interface
Tamara Gielen -  Someone asks whether they use text messaging for communication. Student 3 says that he rather uses email on his iPhone because it's free
Tamara Gielen -  as opposed to texting for which he has to pay
Tamara Gielen -  they wouldn't like to receive unsolicited text messages - their cell phone is way too personal for that
Tamara Gielen -  wondering who my 2 current viewers are...
Tamara Gielen -  Student 3 loves the email he receives from Apple - they are sleek and fun to look at
Tamara Gielen -  Student 1 is looking for an apartment so right now she loves the emails she gets from
Tamara Gielen -  Frequency - they want to know up front how often they would receive a company's emails
Tamara Gielen -  Habeas' Erick Mott is covering this summit via Twitter, check it out:
Tamara Gielen -  Q: What would it take for Facebook to replace email?
Tamara Gielen -  they don't think Facebook has the potential
Tamara Gielen -  to replace email for business communications
Tamara Gielen -  they even wonder is "adults" are on Facebook
[Comment From Maddy]
Tamara - I'm loving the play by play of the Summit!
Tamara Gielen -  Hi Maddy! Too bad you can't be here! I met two of your colleagues yesterday.
[Comment From Matt]
Hi Tamara - Thx for the live feed.
Tamara Gielen -  Hi guys, I love doing this for you and I'm glad to hear you like it :)
Tamara Gielen -  The students are gone now...
Tamara Gielen -  the next panel will talk about privacy, policy and the industry. Jenniey Mullen, Dennis Dayman, Alan Chapell and Tom Bartel are on the panel.
Tamara Gielen -  they are talking about the new FTC rules

Tamara Gielen -  Alan doesn't think there are any huge surprises here - we've been waiting for 3 years for this
[Comment From DJ Waldow]
Early takeaway for me...nobody really understands privacy
Tamara Gielen -  I have to agree with DJ: we definitely need to dig into the privacy issue to get a better understanding of it - the panel is currently talking about a scenario that goes as follows:
[Comment From DJ Waldow]
Hoping that this conversation moves away from LEGAL and more towards Best Practices. The law is the MINIMUM....
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
I agree with DJ. I don't think everyone gets that "privacy" is or entails. I think that there are so many paths you can take this discussion on that it is a deeper scenario exploration than just this panel.
Tamara Gielen -  this is what they are discussing about now:

"we are in the process of rolling out e-delivery for all of our products. However, the rule per our legal team is that you have to notify the owner for each product they own. So if I own 13 products, I would get 13 separate emails. I think this is a horrible user experience and am wondering if there are rules or best practices on this? I know you can't opt out of service messaging, but the messages would be so similar that I think it defeats the purpose to send them separately, especially when some mail programs will combine them to one anyway (Gmail). Obviously as we become more advanced we could do dynamic content so they would get only 1 message with a list of all their products. However, I'm just trying to figure out how to manage both the legal requirements today an not inundating them with multiple email messages in a delay or shorten time from. Can you help me or point me in the right direction?"
Tamara Gielen -  second topic: a company goes bankrupt. their website privacy policy says that they rent and sell their lists to select marketing partners. Does that policy allow them to  transfer their list as part of the bankruptcy proceeding?
Tamara Gielen -  Interesting topic. I guess the same applies to companies that merge...
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
This new scenario is more relevant to me. We have encountered it a few times when companies buy other businesses. So how do you own that new email relationship when people have NO CLUE what you are or why you are emailing them
[Comment From DJ Waldow]
Answering build a campaign around it and marketing the heck out of it...create an experieence
[Comment From DJ Waldow]
*market, not marketing
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
It is a really tough situation of how to approach this. When you buy another business you do buy the customer base as well. That includes email addresses. Anyone have some good ways to approach this? We try to coach our customers to be VERY careful. Message on site, send an email from the company you are acquiring before you start a relationship, but then be ready for unsubs and negative emails. They will come even if you are respectful of their privacy and do it right. There is NO magic bullet here. PR and Marketing and a strong value proposition are going to be key.
Tamara Gielen -  good points guys- I think the new company cannot just start emailing to that list as if nothing happened - I guess the best approach here would be to send an introduction email in which you introduce yourself and tell them how you will be emailing them going forward and give them the opportunity to re opt-in
Tamara Gielen -  but yes, I agree that it would be a good idea for the company going bankrupt or being acquired to send that first email announcing what is going to happen
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
This new scenario is more relevant to me. We have encountered it a few times when companies buy other businesses. So how do you own that new email relationship when people have NO CLUE what you are or why you are emailing them
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
They gave a good example of when IBM sold the PC business to Lenovo they sent one email to the customer base. This email told them that they had sold the business and that they would never email them again, NOR would Lenovo. Unless they clicked on the link to pass permission to Lenovo that was it. This move lost 98% of the customer list for Lenovo. OUCH
Tamara Gielen -  sorry about that... I pushed the wrong button :)
Tamara Gielen -  shoot... I forget to bring my power adapter :( does anyone have a dell power adapter that I can borrow?
Tamara Gielen -  @dylan it hurts, but it does say something about the engagement of the audience base with the company's email practices, don't you think?
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
I do agree that it was a good approach. I actually clicked on that link years back from IBM and still get Lenovo emails. Have not bought one for a while but still get them.
Tamara Gielen -  next topic: "we're an online publisher offering premium content to our subscribers via our website and via email newsletters. We require our subscribers to log-in every time they want to visit our website, and to make changes to their account, unsubscribe etc. How will these new FTC rulings impact us?"
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
I personally have HATED people making me login to manage my email preferences. Not allowing me to change or unsub is the wrong thing to do. It has been wrong long before the FTC made this ruling.
Tamara Gielen -  someone proposes to send people to a page where they are automatically signed in... not sure how secure that would be though...
[Comment From Adam Covati]
It's aggravating when people don't get something just because it's counter to their current business or way of doing things. It's not complex, you just don't want to change
Tamara Gielen -  apparently July 7 is the day by which you have to make changes to your preference centers
Tamara Gielen -  next topic: unsolicited marketing messages being sent to my Facebook inbox - does can-spam apply?
Tamara Gielen -  according to Dave Hendricks (Datran) can-spam does not apply
Tamara Gielen -  social networking platforms seems to have their own rules
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
Just talking to David Baker about this and so many brands have this issue. Credit card services, social media sites, group lists, magazine publishers, and many many more. There are going to be some BUSY people over the next 40 days
Tamara Gielen -  Alan Chapell argues that there are two suits that say that can-spam does apply...
Tamara Gielen -  this was an interesting panel :)
Tamara Gielen -  Next up is a panel on "deliverability secrets unwrapped". On the panel are David Atlas, Jack Hogan, Melinda J Smith and Spencer Kollas.
Tamara Gielen -  what is deliverability? Spencer makes the point that lots of companies calculate the delivery rate differently
Tamara Gielen -  which of course makes it difficult to compare apples with apples
[Comment From DJ Waldow]
The great unknown: Deliverability. To me...another one that marketers don't really get. Thoughts?
Tamara Gielen -  they are talking about deliverability best practices. nothing really new: you must set up feedback loops and deal with spam complaints, you need to drop unknown users, review your unsub practices, monitor whether your campaigns are being delivered to the inbox...
Tamara Gielen -  we've been talking about this for the last 2 years...
[Comment From DJ Waldow]
Jack from LifeScript - gets it. So does Spencer at StrongMail...
Tamara Gielen -  Jack Hogan from Lifescript makes the point that lots of senders still do not get that they need to comply with best practices
Tamara Gielen -  uh-oh - battery levels are getting really low :(
Tamara Gielen -  need a dell power cord in the next 30 mins... anyone?
Tamara Gielen -  Jack makes the point that you should check whether the new IP addresses that you are using are not on any blacklists
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
that idea of checking IPs is an interesting one. When an ESP sets them up there should not be that issue, but I personally never thought of that. Going to add that to my list for my dev team @eroi
Tamara Gielen -  Spencer says: some ISPs don't allow more than x number of messages per hour to pass through their mail servers from one IP address

Tamara Gielen -  @dylan it's new to me as well, but it definitely makes sense to do a quick check
[Comment From DJ Waldow]
Jack knows his stuff. I just worry that FAR TOO MANY marketers don't get it at all.
Tamara Gielen -  @DJ that is definitely a reality that we are facing today. And that's why we have events and blogs like there :-)
Tamara Gielen -  they are talking about Sender ID, DKIM, SPF, DomainKeys... Melinda makes the point that it's not too difficult to set these up and that they are well documented on the web - so it's a no-brainer: everybody should publish these records and authenticate their emails
Tamara Gielen -  they are getting into third party solutions now
Tamara Gielen -  did you know that Goodmail has a competitor now? they are called Brandmail Solutions
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
They are kind of putting me to sleep. I need MORE info that brings up things most of us don't know. Give me more.....
Tamara Gielen -  I agree - not a lot of new things in this panel - kind of feels like email deliverability 101
[Comment From DJ Waldow]
@dtboyd. there IS no more. just need more to IMPLEMENT...all about education
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
Brandmail is sponsoring the event TG. I have not seen it yet.
Tamara Gielen -  @dylan yeah, they are just entering the market apparently
[Comment From DJ Waldow]
uh mention of PV on this slide...uh oh.
[Comment From Maddy]
Intersting... MindComet calls their email solution BrandM@il. That could cause confusion.
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
They are from the UK and on the way to the states now. Really need to have more than one page to have a website not even a contact form or newsletter opt in.
Tamara Gielen -  @dylan as far as I know they are a US company operating out of California
Tamara Gielen -  test

Tamara Gielen -  there's someone from Dell sitting right behind me. I should ask him if he has a power adapter that I can borrow :-)
[Comment From Kelly Reaves] - this is the CA company's site. And I thought we were the only one using the term, BrandM@il.
[Comment From DJ Waldow]
Managing your reply-to inbox is KEY!!
Tamara Gielen -  new session on social media called "reaching the social community with email"
Tamara Gielen -  the Dell guy had a powercord! DELL RULEZ! :)
[Comment From Melinda]
We actually use PV at Expedia. Good feedback. One of the things that I find difficult in these panels is understanding what is it that the audience wants to hear about on the subject.
Tamara Gielen -  Hi Melinda, you did a good job on the panel - the speakers were great, there just isn't that much new to say about this topic I guess
[Comment From Melinda]
Deliverability is kind of a boring subject for the non-geeks and not as "sexy" as social media. =)
Tamara Gielen -  :-) that is sooo true. I think it still sounds very complicated to most marketers and I guess that they have the feeling that it's not their job but the job of IT to take care of that. I wonder that we may not be talking to the right people about deliverability
[Comment From Melinda]
Agreed, we need to find a forumn that will get our IT folks engaged, AOTA is probably one option, but I don't think it reaches the network/datacenter folks broadly enough. Was it EEC that proposed volunteering to speak and non-standard conferences?
Tamara Gielen -  Some Jupiter Research data:
- email will be a 2.1 billion industry in 2012
- the amount of email to someone's primary email inbox hasn't really gone up in the last couple of years
- cell phones are used a lot to check mail instead of the inbox
- 18-24 year olds: emails is still an effective driver for purchase for this demographic, they are less engaged with email as an application though
Tamara Gielen -  - 18-24 year olds: when they enter the workspace they will be using email just as much as the rest of us
Tamara Gielen -  I do NOT appreciate MediaPost posting the attendee list with address details included on the web!
Tamara Gielen -  Gather are talking about their social network "for adults"
Tamara Gielen -  no, not THAT kind of adults :-D
Tamara Gielen -  they're a social network for older folks - the average age is 42
Tamara Gielen -
[Comment From RonB]
FB for the geritol set?
Tamara Gielen -  @RonB LOL
Tamara Gielen -  he talks about how their users have switched from forwarding emals to each other to using friend feeds for sharing stuff
[Comment From Melinda]
As an adult, I'm primarily on Facebook and LinkedIn, also Friendfeed, Livejournal and Twitter (and less so on Myspace). I think Brandon summarized it best earlier. I'll go wherever my friends are.
Tamara Gielen -  @Melinda: I agree
Tamara Gielen -  Is this a sponsored session about Gather?
[Comment From RonB]
Same here. Don't need a social network for "people my age"
Tamara Gielen -  I don't need an additional mailbox - I already have 6
[Comment From RonB]
Only 6! You pauper -- I have more testing accounts than that -- how else do I know if my campaigns work?!?
Tamara Gielen -  6 is not including test email accounts actually :)
[Comment From Melinda]
What I really want, is something that aggregates all of my social media feeds and interactions into a single "dashboard."
[Comment From RonB]
ok ... now *that* makes sense
Tamara Gielen -  Melinda: check out
[Comment From RonB]
So, Salesforce for your life
Tamara Gielen -  
[Comment From RonB]
I'll coin a new term - PRM - Personal Relationship Management - I want to know that my friend has added a new book on their Amazon wish list, but I don't want to go to Amazon. I want that integrated into a system that also has all my emails and phone calls to that person -- and maybe comments from other systems as well (like some sick video on YouTube) -- I can see this ... now, how do I do a market capitalization?
[Comment From Melinda]
Friendfeed is a good first step. Too bad Facebook won't play nicely.... and the UI needs some improvement, but I'm getting into it.
[Comment From RonB]
I like their concept of "invisible friends"
[Comment From Melinda]
@RonB Once you figure out the perfect PRM solution, then can you make an awesome mobile version of it?
[Comment From RonB]
if it ain't mobile-enabled then why bother making it?
Tamara Gielen -  Next session is on "performance marketing and lead generation"
Tamara Gielen -  they are going to talk about using email for acquisition
Tamara Gielen -  we have Matt Wise and Craig Swerdlow on the panel
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
this should be interesting in regard to the new Can spam rulings and how this works when there are multiple parties involved
[Comment From RonB]
Is "BeRelevant" hosted using Amazon S3?
Tamara Gielen -  @RonB not as far as I know, why?
[Comment From RonB]
Seeing data transfers from S3 and I was trying to figure out if that was the blog, CoverItLive, or the Twitter feed -- that's all ... ;-)
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
Discussion of should there be MORE than one unsub system n an email. The Audience is chiming in on all sides of this issue. More passion about one system vs what Datran is saying people should have ways to unsub from multiple brands, etc
Tamara Gielen -  It's an interesting discussion indeed
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
That s from the CoverItLive system I think @RonB ... Twitter is not using S3 right now that I know of
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
What do all of you think? I think that giving more than one relationship to unsubscribe from creates and opens up a larger issue. One person should own, manage and control the relationship.
Tamara Gielen -  I agree - I think adding multiple unsubscribes is creating a really bad user experience
[Comment From RonB]
That's the problem with us IT/Marketing guys - we keep looking at little details.
Tamara Gielen -  :)
[Comment From RonB]
I agree also - one place - make it quick, make it secure, make it prominent to the user.
Tamara Gielen -  if you're going to have people unsubscribe from ads within an email, then you should basically let them unsubscribe from each and every topic in that email
Tamara Gielen -  if you're going to have people unsubscribe from ads within an email, then you should basically let them unsubscribe from each and every topic in that email
[Comment From Maddy]
I agree Dylan. One place to unsubscribe, but the option to either get all the way out or to change your preferences - including your email address.
[Comment From Dylan Boyd]
We are actually using S3 for some massive file hosting for client email campaigns. When you send to 500K or more folks at once, using S3 makes a BIG difference on instant image loading
Tamara Gielen -  if people unsubscribe from a newsletter because of the ads in it , there's something wrong with your monetization model - or maybe you shouldn't be monetizing your emails in the first place
[Comment From RonB]
@Dylan - I bet! As long as it stays up & running
RonB -  Good point @Tamara - thus far, the campaigns I create do not use advertising of any kind, exactly for that reason.
DJ Waldow -  relevant, targeted, timely - simple, right?
DJ Waldow -  Said another way...why do we spend so much time on FTC Laws, Deliverability issues, etc? It's all about relevancy, timelieness, targeted messages. Simple.
Melinda -  We are always at war so to speak with the advertising group about sponsored emails and banners. Yes, I get their position to have the revenue stream, but we don't want to carte blanche let them sell anything.
RonB -  @Melinda - hold your ground!
Melinda -  So, we push back and figure out *when* it's appropriate (aka relevant) to the consumer.
Tamara Gielen -  when I was still at eBay I would only allow them to add advertising in our emails if they were relevant for our audience
Dylan Boyd -  The hot button with Unsub always gets pushed at these events. People are really heated about unsubs. Like their customers slap them in the face. Guys... it's ok to break up, often times they are still buying from you, just dont have time for your emails
Tamara Gielen -  in the 2 years I ran their email program we only had ads in our newsletters 3 times
DJ Waldow -  Yes, but relevancy is from the consumer perspective...NOT the sender. As senders, we think our subscribers want to read everything we send them. not always the case
Melinda -  I want to spend more time figuring out how to get better content management solutions to enable "hyper segmented" content, and to coincide, a better mechanism for personalization or preference centers
DJ Waldow -  @Melinda: you nailed it.
Dylan Boyd -  Interesting while this panel goes on "someone" sitting next to me just showed me that they opted in to one of the people in this room that does 3rd party emails. And in 15 days they have got 73 emails. WOW. What was event more interesting was that they are ALL from major brands. So are these major brands just as much to blame for this 3rd party email CRAP and why we are always fighting this perception of spam VS valid emails
Melinda -  @DJ Waldow True, we're not considered reasonable consumers and it's a challenge to measure or know what it is the consumer want. Even if you ask them, what they say and what they do are often at odds.
Tamara Gielen -  great panel - it definitely sparked some great discussions
Tamara Gielen -  we have two vendors in Belgium that provide an opt-in list that you can mail to. They basically run campaigns to gather opt-ins and the people opting in to their newsletters basically get promotions and messages based on a very extensive profile that they fill out when signing up. They even have a category for people that have false teeth
DJ Waldow -  how to effectiively manage 15 ESP relationships
RonB -  @Dylan -- sounds like you have nailed that one
Tamara Gielen -  lunch time now... will be back tomorrow at 9am PST
RonB -  @Y'all -- gee thanks ...
[Comment From @emailkarma - Matt V]
Dylan - I completely agree with that statement - why so any unless your hiding something
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links for 2008-05-18

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New FTC Rules Under the CAN-SPAM Act In Layman's Terms.

Recently the FTC has approved four new rules under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. You can find the press release here.

In this article, Mark Merckler, General Counsel for UniqueLeads explains what it all means in layman's terms:

  1. Contrary to what many believed they would do, the FTC did not shorten the time frame for honoring opt-outs. For the foreseeable future it will remain at ten (10) days.

  2. The FTC limited acceptable opt-out procedures to simple, one step operations, requiring no more than the user supply his or her email address and preference.

  3. The FTC modified the definition of “sender” to make it easier to determine which party is responsible for complying with the Act’s opt-out provisions.

  4. The FTC specifically allowed the use of a USPS PO Box, or private mailbox service as meeting the “valid physical address” requirement. (Thank goodness the legal folks won’t have to negotiate this point anymore.)

  5. The definition of “person” was expanded to clarify that the Act’s provisions apply to companies as well as individuals.

These are the most important points affecting our industry. However, the Commission’s Statement of Basis and Purpose will be published in the Federal Register in the next several weeks. It will provide a lot more guidance on what the FTC was thinking when it promulgated these new rules.


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links for 2008-05-16

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Clever pun or typo?

When crafting your subject lines, you have to consider how your audience will perceive it, especially if you want to get 'cute' with it. And be sure to follow up right away in the message...

This morning I received an email from a retailers in which I immediately noticed something odd in the subject line. First a little background... In Canada, we have a long weekend in May around Queen Victoria Day (May 24). This weekend also usually means the start of hot summer weather after a cold and dreary winter. So naturally, it usually means packing up and heading to the cottage or camping to drink a few cold ones. Therefore this weekend is commonly referred to as "May 2-4 Weekend"

Back to the email-- the subject line reads "May 2-For Long Weekend", which obviously says to me it'll be a 2-for-something sale. However when I open the email:

There's really no mention of any sale or promotion, except for the 35% off circle, which has nothing to do with 2-for-anything. It's not until I scrolled down to see the "2-for-$100" text at the very bottom of the email.

I guess this is more of an above-the-fold lesson--but if you're going to use a clever play on words in the subject line, make it obvious right away when the email is opened!

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links for 2008-05-15

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Conference: Customer focused email - marketing to people not lists

In this day and age of marketing via the email channel, it's becoming more obvious than ever that we, as marketers need to change our methods to keep up with our subscribers' requirements. We need to be more subscriber/customer focused and ensure we deliver emails which the subscriber wants. In return we will be rewarded with better deliverability, increased ROI and happier subscribers.

Stephanie Miller of Return Path, a great advocate of the 'subscriber experience' will be Keynote Speaker at the UK DMA's Email Marketing Conference coming up on June 5th at the London Zoo (and yes, you can visit the zoo in your lunch break!). The title of the conference is: Customer focused email - marketing to people not lists.

To find out more about the conference go to :

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