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13 entries from April 2009

links for 2009-04-29

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links for 2009-04-25

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Creating Best-Practice Transactional Emails

In this post, Loren McDonald makes the point that even though transactional messages are a golden opportunity to engage with customers (to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers, to anticipate and answer questions or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services), many marketers don't take advantage of this easy and obvious benefit.

He offers some best practices for your transactional emails:

    1. Move responsibility for transactional emails into the marketing department.
    2. Set up your transactional message stream on a separate IP address.
    3. Redesign the inbox presence.
    4. Position the transactional message content front and center in the message body. Use HTML design elements to create an attractive and organized message.
    5. Add personality that supports your brand or company image, expresses your thanks for that they're customers and invites them to engage further.
    6. Use the transactional message to initiate or expand the customer relationship.

Read more here.

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links for 2009-04-22

  • (tags: strategy)
  • Though recent high-profile media coverage suggests that a large percentage of the US population participates in online social networking and microblogging, more than half of Americans (51%) do not use Twitter or participate in either of the two largest social networking sites - MySpace and Facebook - according to (pdf) a recent Harris Poll from Harris Interactive.
    (tags: study)
  • one year there has been an increase of 20% of the volume of e-mail... about 4 million users check their e-mail from mobile devices... The mail service most used in Italy is Hotmail (40.7%), followed by Libero (35.7%),, Yahoo! and Gmail (between 20 and 24% each).
    (tags: study)
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Email Marketing's future is looking good

Today Seth Godin came up with a couple of interesting predictions in his post, 'Sixty to zero':

Prediction: 90% of your sales will come from word of mouth or digital promotion by 2011. How do you change what you're doing today to be ready for that?

Prediction: The effort required to outsource a task involving the manipulation of data of any kind will continue to decrease until it will be faster and cheaper to outsource just about anything than it will be to use in-house talent. What will you do today to ensure your prosperity when that happens?

Along the same lines, Simms Jenkins recently interviewed Stan Rapp and he says 'Rapp gets that your online messaging today consists of Twitter and Facebook as well as the email inbox. He fully embraces the simple and powerful differentiating aspect of email marketing -- that it is delivered to the people that ask for these offers, updates, and newsletters. This unprecedented by-request-only aspect is what separates email from its peers. In Rapp's view, it is the most powerful yet underutilized force in marketing today.  '

The interview then goes goes onto say:

Jenkins: You said "the inbox is the beating heart of the internet, and email is the tightest link ever forged between buyer and seller." This resonated with me, as someone that runs an email-focused agency. Can you expand on this?

Rapp: No. 1, the tightest one-to-one link you can have is a relationship in which the consumer invites you to talk to them. The beating heart of the internet is the inbox. Its pulse pounds away as each of us clicks open and sends out our hourly emails.

So, the question is: are you doing everything you can to utilise this powerful channel?

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links for 2009-04-16

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10 key points to revise in your email's copy

David Silverman on the Harvard Business Blog has put down some key points when revising copy for your next email in his post: 'How to Revise an Email So That People Will Read It'

1. Delete redundancies. Say it once. That's enough. If you're repetitive, the reader will stop reading and start skimming. (Like you probably just did.)

2. Use numbers and specifics instead of adverbs and adjectives. "The project is currently way behind schedule on major tasks," is not as clear as "The project is 3 weeks late delivering hamburger buns to Des Moines." (If you don't have numbers, still get rid of the adverbs and adjectives.)

3. Add missing context. Does your reader know that hamburger buns in Iowa are required for the company to collect $37 million? If you're not sure, remind them.

4. Focus on the strongest argument. Should those hamburger buns get shipped because the delay is embarrassing for the company, because it's costing children their lunch, or because it's costing the company tens of millions of dollars? Maybe all three, but one of those reasons (and it depends on your reader) will be enough to get buns on the road.

5. Delete off-topic material. The best emails say one thing and say it clearly. One-subject emails also make it easier for the recipient to file the message once they've taken action, something anyone who uses Outlook to manage tasks appreciates.

6. Seek out equivocation and remove it. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" works for Dickens, not status reports.

7. Kill your favorites. Is something in your text particularly pithy, amusing, or clever? Chances are, it's not. If it sticks out, it's probably a tap-dancing gorilla in boxer shorts — hilarious when you thought of it, embarrassing when it gets in your manager's inbox.

8. Delete anything written in the heat of emotion. Will this sentence show them who's been right about the hamburger buns since the beginning? Yes? Cut it.

9. Shorten. Remember the reader struggling to digest your message on the run — a BlackBerry or an iPhone gets about 40 words per screen. What looks short on your desktop monitor is an epic epistle on their mobile device.

10. Give it a day. With time, what seemed so urgent may no longer need to be said. And one less email is something everyone will thank you for.

Read the full post

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Do You, Subscriber, Take Thee, Marketer, to Lawfully Opt-in?

There's a great post over at Blue Sky Factory addressing the fact that unlike the controversial behavioral targeting feature which Google has implemented, as email marketers we are in a wonderful position to use behavioral tracking - as we have permission from our subscribers.

As Nikki says :'Email marketing is one of the best online marketing mediums to offer permission-based behavioral tracking for online users.   Bottom line: it offers marketers a way of establishing relationships, cross-pollinating social media networks and RSS feeds, and it builds your client base organically. Email marketing enables marketers to deliver campaigns specific to the interests and behaviors of their recipients, while giving measurable results to easily track your ROI.'

Read the full post

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The Only Marketing Rule That Matters

James Myers over on the Ogilvy blog says the only marketing rule that matters is “BE INTERESTING”.

to be interesting you have to all of the following.
(1) segment your market - create personas if we want to get digital about it.
(2) understand your customers requirements
(3) give them the personal treatment
(4) be relevant
(5) get to the point quickly
(6) ignore your (product) agenda until you know what the consumer wants

Read his post here.

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links for 2009-04-02

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