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20 entries from June 2009

links for 2009-06-26

  • this has nothing to do with email marketing, but I really enjoyed watching this video so I though I'd share it with you :-)
    (tags: various video)
  • a great how-to post on creating 360-degree animated Gifs
    (tags: design)
  • Many companies use email newsletters to stay in touch with their employees and business partners. Since sending a newsletter is relatively easy, many senders don’t put as much thought into their publications as they should.
    (tags: b2b)
  • The bigger issue keeping email marketing from truly soaring through the stratosphere is that many marketers are under the illusion that their current email programs are great, even when they may be deplorable. Keep in mind that even the worst email programs (those with no real goal, strategy, or clickable calls to actions and terrible rendering) still drive results. What most marketers don't realize is how much more they could be getting out of their email programs. If they allocated even half the attention and budget to email as it deserves, then results would improve exponentially.
    (tags: strategy)
  • Some of this growth comes from large domains such as Gmail and Yahoo!. But much of this comes from many small domains that are also signing their messages.
  • this little app converts CSS rules into inline style attributes
    (tags: tools)
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links for 2009-06-24

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Microsoft Responds to

Here's Microsoft's response to the initiative. Not sure I like the tone:

The Power of Word in Outlook

This morning we became aware of a Twitter campaign run from the website This campaign is intended to provide Microsoft with feedback about our decision to continue to use Microsoft Word for composing and displaying e-mail in the upcoming release of Microsoft Outlook 2010. The Email Standards Project, which developed the website that promotes the current Twitter campaign, is backed by the maker of “email marketing campaign” software.

First, while we don’t yet have a broadly-available beta version of Microsoft Office 2010, we can confirm that Outlook 2010 does use Word 2010 for composing and displaying e-mail, just as it did in Office 2007. We’ve made the decision to continue to use Word for creating e-mail messages because we believe it’s the best e-mail authoring experience around, with rich tools that our Word customers have enjoyed for over 25 years. Our customers enjoy using a familiar and powerful tool for creating e-mail, just as they do for creating documents. Word enables Outlook customers to write professional-looking and visually stunning e-mail messages. You can read more about this in our whitepaper, outlining the benefits and the reason behind using Word as Outlook’s e-mail editor.


Word has always done a great job of displaying the HTML which is commonly found in e-mails around the world. We have always made information available about what HTML we support in Outlook; for example, you can find our latest information for our Office 2007 products here. For e-mail viewing, Word also provides security benefits that are not available in a browser: Word cannot run web script or other active content that may threaten the security and safety of our customers.

We are focused on creating a great e-mail experience for the end user, and we support any standard that makes this better. To that end, Microsoft welcomes the development of broadly-adopted e-mail standards. We understand that e-mail is about interoperability among various e-mail programs, and we believe that Outlook provides a good mix of a rich user experience and solid interoperability with a wide variety of other e-mail programs. There is no widely-recognized consensus in the industry about what subset of HTML is appropriate for use in e-mail for interoperability. The “Email Standards Project” does not represent a sanctioned standard or an industry consensus in this area. Should such a consensus arise, we will of course work with other e-mail vendors to provide rich support in our products. We are constantly working to improve our products and the experience that they give to our customers.

As usual, we appreciate the feedback from our customers, via Twitter or on our Outlook team blog. 

-- William Kennedy 
Corporate Vice President, Office Communications and Forms Team 
Microsoft Corporation
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Enough is Enough: Outlook 2010 To Use Word To Render Emails

I just received an email from the Email Standards Project saying that Outlook 2010 will also be using Word to render emails. I've copied the email below:


Microsoft have just confirmed they plan on using the crippled Word rendering engine to display HTML emails in Outlook 2010. 

This means for the next 5 years your email designs will need tables for layout, have no support for CSS like float and position and no background images. Not to mention the long list of bugs and quirks that break the simplest of layouts. 

Outlook 2010 is still in beta and Microsoft have confirmed they want to hear your feedback on this decision. It's time for the email marketing and design community to rally together and encourage Microsoft to embrace web standards before it's too late.

What's the best way to do that? Twitter of course. 

Visit to see how you can help and what the community is saying right now.
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links for 2009-06-22

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links for 2009-06-18

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Get Your Recipients To Add You To Their Safe Sender List

In this article, Stefan Pollard explains why it is important to get your recipients to add your email address to their address books or safe sender lists and he shares some best practices on how to get them to do that:

Ask for inclusion at the start.
Don't wait until you begin sending messages. You want to be on that personal whitelist even before you send a confirmation or welcome e-mail. So, make your add-to-sender-list request right on the subscription form. However, you should still repeat your request in your confirmation and welcome e-mails as a reminder to those who overlooked this step or neglected to do it at opt-in. 

Explain why whitelisting benefits the recipient.
Don't expect much action if you simply say, "Add our sending address to your address books or contacts lists." Show them the value of doing so, or what they'll miss if they don't do it. 

Explain that adding your address to the personal whitelist will keep your messages coming. This works, if you make a compelling reason to the recipient that your messages have value. If you simply ask without showing any value, few will respond. 

Add a quarterly whitelisting campaign.
This campaign should remind subscribers to add your address to their sender lists. It's also a great opportunity to test segmenting and targeting of e-mail messages if you are generally a broadcast sender. 

Create segments for low responders -- those who seldom open or click, or recent openers or clickers who have stopped responding. Target those segments with messages that not only spell out the benefit of adding your address to their sender lists but also provide more explicit directions. 

Track actions on these messages. Also, watch your delivery reports to see if delivery and inbox placement improve. 

Include the request in every e-mail, but not necessarily at the top of the message.
In most cases, your preheader line - the first line of copy in the message - should show your call to action or sum up your e-mail contents, because it might be all the reader sees when viewing the message in a preview pane or with images off. Unless, of course, you're sending your quarterly sender-list message. 

However, it definitely belongs in the footer information of every e-mail message, where you include other standing information, such as postal address, contact addresses and phone numbers, etc. Every e-mail should have add-to-sender-list language in the footer. 

Again, don't just ask to be added. Highlight the benefits subscribers will miss if they don't do it. For example: "Don't miss out on future subscriber-only offers. Add to your address book or contact list." 

Create a reply campaign.
Most e-mail clients will either automatically add your sending address to the sender list if the subscriber sends you e-mail, or it will present the option to add the address. Instead of the lame and off-putting "Do not reply to this e-mail address because we won't read it," turn your reply address into a place subscribers can ask questions, comment on products, or even enter to win prizes.

Read more here

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The Email Marketer's Club is Growing!

Back in 2007 I started a community for email marketers, called the Email Marketer's Club. My main goal was to give my blog readers an opportunity to meet, network and share knowledge with each other in an independent environment.

Today the Email Marketer's Club has over 2,550 members from all around the world and it grows every day!

I would like to thank Matt Vernhout for his invaluable help in running the Email Marketer's Club and I would also like to thank all our members that are active daily on our forum! 

Here's an overview of some of our most recent discussions:
For the second half of 2009 we have some exciting new stuff coming up on the Email Marketer's Club, including educational webinars, regular calls and more. So make sure to join the Email Marketer's Club if you're not a member yet!

If you are a member already, make sure to sign up for weekly updates that contain an overview of new forum posts in that week.
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links for 2009-06-16

  • email marketers are often confused about the difference between a bounce rate and an inbox deliverability rate. Most email broadcast systems in the U.S. and Europe report something called "delivered." It's usually a pretty high number - like 98% or 93%. And your ESP would like you to judge them on that number, because it's really high, and it's easy for them to be confident that it will stay high.
  • 20 percent of legitimate marketers' email messages were routed to spam folders or blocked entirely in the first quarter of 2009. Five percent of messages were found in spam folders, with even more - 15 percent - unaccounted for.
    (tags: study)
  • Yes, transactional messages must comply with CAN-SPAM, though there is a different set of requirements for transactional messages. It’s true, you DON’T have to offer up an unsubscribe mechanism, nor do you have to respect unsubscribe requests. Meaning, you can send a transactional message to somebody who has unsubscribed. But, BE CAREFUL! Keep in mind that CAN-SPAM is not the only consideration here!
  • The closest legislation relating to email in India is the newly amended Information Technology Act of 2000. It was previously ammended in 2006, and Indian lawmakers amended the IT Act again in December of 2008. However, the 2008 amendments have yet to be published in the Gazette of India and still do not address email.
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links for 2009-06-15

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Join Me for a Webinar on Effective List Growth on June 23, 2009

On June 23, 2009, Morgan Stewart and I will be presenting a webinar on Effective List Growth: Insights from the 2009 List Growth Study in which we will discuss the results of a recent survey that the Email Marketer's Club conducted in cooperation with Exact Target. 

Continue reading "Join Me for a Webinar on Effective List Growth on June 23, 2009" »

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links for 2009-06-12

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links for 2009-06-10

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links for 2009-06-09

  • DKIM Core is a way to attach a token (or tokens) to an email that tells the recipient who is responsible for the email (typically the token would represent the author of the email, the operator of the email service, or the owner of a mailing list, but it might also represent others, such as email reputation or certification services). The DKIM Core specification is a simplified subset of DKIM.

    Any email that attaches a DKIM Core token is also validly DKIM signed. This means that receivers and spam filters don’t need to do anything differently to support DKIM Core - if they support DKIM, they already support DKIM Core.

  • according Bryan Quilty, this is the LOUDEST email he's ever received

    (tags: cases)

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links for 2009-06-07

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links for 2009-06-04

  • Social sharing features, which allow subscribers to share content from an email with their social networks, are emerging as a counterpart to the long-standing “forward to a friend”. But how do you implement social sharing in your messages, and how do you track the impact?
    (tags: cases social)
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links for 2009-06-03

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Find a Copywriter That Can “Close The Deal”

In this article, Karen Gedney advises us not to focus on cost when it comes to choosing a copywriter. Instead, make sure to find a copywriter that knows how to “close the deal”.

She offers these tips to find the best copywriter for your business:

  • Look for a copywriter with a direct marketing track record. While you want a copywriter with online experience, they should have a solid direct marketing background -- and know all the tips and techniques that bring in sales. You're not looking for a "branding" guru here -- you're looking for a copywriter with direct sales experience in print -- someone who can show you case studies highlighting response rates and bottom-line revenue numbers.
  • Make sure your direct marketing copywriter has entered the 21st century. Some old school copywriters have not yet made the leap to the online world. You need someone who understands the power of a subject line to get your e-mails opened...knows the importance of top-loading your e-mail with your best messages so they can be viewed through AutoPreview...and knows how to motivate your reader to hit the "Order Now" button.
  • Ask for results. Don't get wowed by a portfolio full of creative samples with snappy headlines. Although creativity is tremendously important, you want to know how the copywriter helped the client solve a business problem -- in quantifiable terms such as revenue generated, leads converted to sales, etc.
  • Find a copywriter with experience in your industry. Although a good copywriter can often transition well to a new industry, you will do even better if you work with copywriters who have direct experience in your field. They will know what works -- and what doesn't -- and know how to "drive within the guardrails" of their experience to arrive at innovative solutions that will positively impact your sales.

Read the full article here.

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