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29 entries from July 2009
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Zappos.com is a company known for their customer service and use of social media as a tool to communicate with customers, but how does their email perform? Does it continue the communication with their customers and build on that relationship?
FEDMA's Interactive Marketing Council (FIMAC) will publish the first ever Pan European Email Marketing Benchmark in October 2009.
In a trend that may dramatically increase some e-mail marketers’ ability to get their e-mail delivered, several household-name inbox providers have reportedly confirmed they are increasingly working toward domain-based reputation monitoring.
For marketers who don’t send spam, this is great news and a development to be taken advantage of.
According to e-mail deliverability firm Pivotal Veracity, AOL and Yahoo! are in the midst of implementing domain-based reputation monitoring for mailers that have authenticated their servers using DKIM.
AOL plans to implement domain-based reputation monitoring sometime between the beginning of October and the end of March, according to Pivotal Veracity.
Yahoo! will “soon” begin collecting data based on mailers with good existing reputations that are also using the DKIM authentication scheme, according to Pivotal Veracity.
Microsoft, on the other hand, is implementing a domain-based reputation system for mailers using the Sender ID authentication method—not to be confused with e-mail deliverability firm Return Path’s Sender Score Certified program.
The information was obtained through interviews with the postmaster teams at the various e-mail inbox providers, according to Pivotal Veracity.
Continue reading here: Big Reputation Changes Loom: What They Mean to You.
Considering the fact that email list attrition averages 25% per year, BtoB marketers need to stay focused on constantly replenishing their email subscriber database. And to attract quality email subscribers, the one tactic you cannot afford to overlook is Paid Search.
Some consumers can be very vocal about wanting to leave your list - listen to this soundbite :-)
I was reading an excellent post over on the Copyblogger blog called "Why Email Marketing is Dead (And How to Bring it Back to Life)" and I wanted to share some great quotes from the article with you:
Why you don’t want to give up on emailThis is just a snippet from the post on Copyblogger. I highly recommend the entire blog post.! It's really good stuff!
For awhile, it looked like email was old-fashioned anyway. RSS was where it was at. We were going to create amazing connections with our blogs. Not only could we have terrific conversations, but our content was linkable, findable via search engines, and part of a global dialogue. Who needs boring old email?
But here’s the secret that smart online marketers know: When you want to move from conversation to commerce, email just works better.
Email lists are more responsive than RSS subscribers. They’re more engaged. They’re less likely to drift away and forget you. And they’re more profitable.
Email is a more intimate medium than RSS. If RSS is a networking event, permission-based email is a dinner party. (As opposed to mailing to an email list you purchased, which is some jackass cold-calling you to sell life insurance during your dinner party. Don’t do that.)
The Direct Marketing Association consistently reports that the ROI on email marketing remains far above that of search or other marketing channels. That’s in line with what I see and hear in online business. And guess what? Smarter email marketing = better results.
Here's a few hints/tips from Bob Frady on how to improve your deliverability:
- Regularly mail your file - Constant communication with your file is the key to building your reputation at ISPs.
- Aggressively handle opt-outs & bounces - This is probably the single most important thing you can do to improve deliverability.
- Use an ESP
- Clean up your code - It's amazing how many companies still sent crappily-coded HTML to recipients. Stop with the Front Page templates and have a professional review performed.
- Use dedicated IPs. A lot of them. The key is to have a range of IPs that you use - if one gets "blacklisted", then you swap in new and cleaner IPs to get your mail through.
- When in doubt, slow down - Throttling your email sends can help prevent some basic ISP blocks.
- Send a confirmation email - Double-opt in is (usually) overkill, especially for sites where you're not doing much except signing up to get email. That said, it's still a great idea to send a confirmation email to the listed address.
Read the entire blog post here: Direct Marketing Central: Email Deliverability.
While I agree on point #5, I often come across clients here in Europe that have email lists with only a couple of thousand email addresses at max. In this case, it often doesn't make sense to have their own IP address because they don't send enough volume to ever warm up that IP address - let alone have multiple IP addresses.
Read Jeanne Jennings article on the subject of choosing between a dedicated or shared IP.
To be successful in email strategy doesn't start with a communication strategy. It starts with a framework for how you'll make decisions.
Here are some elements that should be included in this framework:
- What are your monetary goals and objectives for your program, and how do they change by segment and/or product mix?
- What are the consumer actions and motivators that drive a purchase decision? Not just, why do they buy? But, what motivates them to buy, what type of information do they need in what part of the lifecycle? How does it evolve by segment? What type of support does your site, call center, or sales force play in this? What are the tasks your customer must take to complete a purchase -- and how does your operations support those?
- What competitive considerations are important to your business -- and how do they impact the ways your customers make decisions? How will you gather this competitive insight, consumer response and make decisions on this information?.
- How you create customer segments is critical to effective strategy. It's critical that you create actionable segments that can be catered to in-program. Just because you can create dynamically driven segments and event-driven communications doesn't mean you will have the time or resources to truly optimize all the segments.
- Lastly, your framework should include simple hypothesis-driven testing. Your strategic testing framework should include how often you'll test, what hypothesis you want to solve, and what are the actions you'll take once you've proven or disproven this thinking.
Continue reading this excellent article by David Baker here: MediaPost Publications Keys To Great Email Strategy 07/27/2009.
"Last week AOL announced on its postmaster blog changes to the way it will be handling mailer daemon errors.
What does this mean for large-volume email senders? You should expect to see a change in the From: address, as well as the number of asynchronous bounces you receive from AOL. Asynchronous bounces occur after the SMTP conversation, which means that the ISP accepts the senders' email first and then rejects it later. As a result, the bounce notifications trickle in minutes to days after the initial send in the form of an email. This is different from synchronous bounces, which occur during the SMTP conversation. Most MTAs record those bounces in the form of a log entry."
Continue reading here: Changes to AOL Bounce Processing :: Return Path Blog.
I was stunned to find out that Vistaprint now also offers email marketing services... I wonder who they are whitelabeling? Does anyone know?
As marketers, we know that if someone unsubscribed from your list, that you can’t mail them again, that no means no, right? Apparently the folks in Microsoft’s B2B division have a different idea.
Looking for a quick and easy way to segment your file? Sometimes the best answer is to ask subscribers what they want. State Line Tack sent an email asking its newsletter subscribers to fill in a profile and identify themselves as either Western or English style riders.
If you have a great case study, test results, or lessons learned to share with your fellow email marketers, you now have until August 3rd to submit a proposal.
some explanation from Google about the new unsubscribe feature
At this point, the only advice I can give you is to ensure you test before sending IF delivery into Outlook inboxes is important to you.
Gmail is now providing an unsubscribe option for mailing lists to users. They are doing this using the mailto: type of the List-Unsubscribe header. This means that you can get a complaint message in ARF format when someone unsubscribes from you at Gmail.
Non-incident site visitors are those that seek out your website and initiate the relationship. They are already engaged and motivated. You’ve got them on your site, now convert them. Since this is a delicate relationship between visitor and company, lets break it down in relationship terms. If Dr. Phil gave marketing advice...
Role accounts are almost never found on opt-in lists (with some exceptions) and finding lots of “info@” or “administrator@” address is a good sign that there are problems with the seller of the list.
Why do recipients complain about my email? This question is asked over and over again and there is no one answer. There are a number of reasons and all of them interact with one another...
Discover the steps Melinda Baxter recommends to tackle the process of building a communication that drives performance based on individual preferences.
The newly released Epsilon Q1 2009 U.S. Email Trends and Benchmarks Study shows an increase in open rates for the third quarter in a row, with 12 of the 16 industries measured seeing an increase over Q1 2008.
Gmail will be enabling images for users that have sent at least two emails to the sender of the inbound email, and only if your authenticating.
The industry has officially reached the tipping point of diminishing returns. With email frequency, less can definitely be more. Yet the questions need to go beyond finding the right quantity and instead focus on quality. It's time, once again, to email smarter rather than just harder.
According to Return Path’s latest Deliverability Benchmark Report, only 79.3% of commercial, permissioned emails reached the inboxes in the United States and Canada during the first half of 2009. With the undelivered email, 3.3% is routed to a "junk" or "bulk" email folder and 17.4% is not delivered at all - with no hard bounce message or other notification of non-delivery.
Some other interesting findings from the study include:
- The US deliverability rates are slightly better than Canada with an average of 82% inbox placement rate, while Canada's inbox placement rates are lower with just 75% of commercial, permissioned emails reaching consumers' inboxes.
- Reaching business addresses, which are protected by systems like Postini, Symantec and MessageLabs, is even more difficult: on average only 72.4% of commercial email is delivered to the inbox through these enterprise systems!
- In the US, the toughest inboxes to reach are those at MSN, Hotmail and Gmail
This is a MUST-READ article guys...
Here's an interesting discussion that's going on over at the Email Marketer's Club. Feel free to chime in and give you opinion!
some good inspiration for your subject lines
These examples show how some B2B companies use email to build better client and prospect relationships and generate greater ROI from their marketing efforts
Chris Wheeler explains when it makes sense to go for a dedicated IP address and when it makes sense not to...
Gmail says that because of the arduous process for senders to make their email super-trustworthy, the feature is currently limited to just eBay and PayPal. Gmail hopes to add more senders in the future, making the key icon a more widely used and recognizable symbol for verified accounts.
From time to time we run into marketers who think that they have deliverability covered because they have signed up with an Email Service Provider (ESP). You've probably even seen some ESPs that are promoting their very high delivery rates. This is confusing and misleading, because the ESP fully controls only one of the five major drivers of deliverability failures.
Short of going into the pharmaceutical business, I think some of the characteristics spam emails can be of use to mainstream business owners.
Fred Tabsharani of Port25 Solutions wrote a paper that should help give readers a clearer understanding behind email authentication and its potential value.
Because welcome messages have an extremely high open rate, you’ll likely see more response to this email than a standard campaign. So take advantage of this interest and try to convert immediately.
very interesting insights into how the catalog business deals with list rentals... I'm assuming they are not talking about email list rental though...
David Daniels issues another email marketing research report. Price tag: 749$
The Messaging Anti-Abuse Working group (MAAWG) issued a report titled, "A Look at Consumers' Awareness of Email Security and Practices" (pdf).
MAAWG commissioned the study to gauge users' understanding of messaging threats and to identify how best to work with users in removing bots and viruses from infected systems. The report is based on 800 interviews with computer users in the United States and Canada who said they were not "security experts" and who used email addresses that were not managed by a professional IT department.
Some highlights from the report:
- 48% said that they have never clicked on a spam email
- 1/3 said that they were interested in the product or service being offered and admitted to responding to a message they knew was spam
- 17% said that they made a mistake when they responded
- 13% said they simply had no idea why they did it
- 6% wanted to see what would happen
While testing a number of email campaigns in Gmail we discovered that support has been recently added for the CSS background-repeat property and the HTML cellpadding and cellspacing attributes and appears to be suffering from the same lack of support for paragraph tags that affects Yahoo Mail.
A marketer has come forward claiming to have been ripped off in a business-to-business e-mail list deal with Coral Springs, FL-based data vendor Target Point Media.
DJ Waldow started his own blog. Don't forget to add it to your feed reader! I suspect he'll be posting about email and social A LOT! ;-) Oh, and I LOVE the listen-connect-engage buttons :-)
...the 2m x 1m mosaic is just boarding a plane on it’s way to Redmond, personally addressed to Mr Kennedy on behalf of everyone who contributed.
One important thing to remember, when reaching out to any ISP for help with a delivery issue is that the contact is extremely unlikely to result in the ISP letting all your mail in.
Many factors go into ensuring a successful campaign and ensuring your domain is optimized, is just another one to put on your already huge plate. The large negative factors like TLD, age of domain and reputation are the direction where most your focus should be directed, but ensuring your sending domain is setup properly with a valid A and MX record and the name of your domain fits a naming convention that your marketing department approves of is something you also want to be cognizant of.