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March 2005

21 entries from February 2005

RSS feeds: Cheaper and More Effective to Use Than Email?

According to the recently released book "Unleash the Marketing & Publishing Power of RSS", spam blacklists and decreasing customer conversion rates are turning web marketers from email to RSS feeds.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary - depending on who you're talking with. RSS feeds are free content feeds from Web sites that contain article headlines, summaries and links back to full-text articles on the web.

The author of this book, Rok Hrastnik, claims email marketing is no longer an effective way to deliver information to customers and readers. According to him, RSS feeds are cheaper and more effective to use than email.

Even though RSS has been around for a couple of years, marketing with RSS is still not common practice. However, with the future integration of RSS in Internet Explorer 7 (available this summer), I think this technology will certainly boost.

Is RSS Going to Replace E-Mail? I don't think so: email is a two-way communication medium while RSS is only a distribution one. Email marketing is, however, being threatened by spam and deliverability issues, so RSS may well poised to substantially challenge email in its ability to be the best and preferred distribution/subscription mechanism for newsletter publishers on the Internet.

In my opinion, email marketing is not dead yet. I see real value in adding an RSS feed to your website and even in publishing your newsletter as an RSS feed. However, you should not replace it with an RSS feed. Think of RSS as an additional communication channel. With RSS you can easily inform customers & prospects of new content that is posted to your website, new product releases, upcoming events, etc. without cluttering your recipient's inboxes.

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

What kind of newsletter content works best?

Q & A in BtoB's E-mail Marketer Insight: "What kind of newsletter content works best"? Scroll down in the Feb. 17, 2005 issue to get Debbie Weil's answer in the "Ask the Expert" section.

Q: What kind of content works best in my newsletter?

A: Best practices continue to evolve for developing effective content in a lead-generating, stay-in-touch e-newsletter. Here are five tips for 2005:    

1. Keep it short: 500 words or less.    

2. Build each issue around one key article. Stick to one editorial item and you're much more likely to get a response. If you must include other information--upcoming events, quick tips, etc.--list them at the bottom or in a sidebar. And limit the number!    

Continue reading "What kind of newsletter content works best?" »

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

Is Your Email Strategy an Integrated Part of Your Customer Strategy?

Success means rethinking your email marketing approach by designing it in the context of a customer-based business strategy. According to Becky Carroll, Senior Consultant at Peppers & Rogers Group, there are four steps to high impact email marketing:    

  • THINK customer experience    
  • MAKE privacy protection a part of your brand promise    
  • ENSURE recipients know you    
  • MEASURE consumer impact

In the archived webcast "The New Rules of Email Marketing - Strategies for Success in a Changing Climate", Becky shares insights on how to ensure effective e-mail marketing efforts that intelligently build the customer relationship.


  • Combining customer relationship strategies with email marketing best practices
  • Incorporating the "Four Steps to High Impact Email Marketing"
  • Learning from case studies on best-in-class email marketing approaches

View the webcast here.

Do you prefer reading a white paper over watching a webcast? Then download the white paper "The Four Steps to High Impact E-mail Marketing".

Source: RightNow Technologies

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

Selecting the Best Time to Send Your Email Message

When is the best time to send your email? Great question. In fact the time you decide to launch your campaign can have an impact on the overall results of your email campaign. This detail may not be as important as the audience you select, the subject line, or the list you are using, but it is a factor.

But if you are working to get the maximum results and put everything in your favor then these are commonly accepted as the BEST times to launch your campaign.

Source: Business Email Lists

However, in his blog Chris Baggott, co-founder and chief marketing officer of ExactTarget, states that there is no such thing as a best day. He states that: "The day and time at which you chose to send an email message can have a real impact on response rates. As an email strategist, I'm frequently asked about the latest trends regarding the "best day to send." Conventional wisdom on the topic often changes, and several theories suggest opposing days. So it's no wonder why so many people are looking for the answer!"

ExactTarget recently conducted its own research on the topic. The study analyzed twelve months of historical data, 2000 organizations, 160,000 email campaigns, and 800 million email messages-which makes it the largest amount of data ever analyzed in a study on this topic. The study focused on metrics measuring customer response, with controls set by basing response rates on the number of messages sent, not messages delivered.

One of the key findings of this study is the following: Best days for opens are not necessarily the best for clicks. Read about this and other key findings in this post.

Source: Chris Baggott's Email Best Practices

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

Average Email Read Time is 15-20 Seconds

So, what are your readers looking at during that 15-20 seconds? And, how much are they seeing during that brief time span? Sometimes readers are excited about the content and click on a link immediately, but sometimes they close the email very quickly.

Ultimately, this means that you have little time to grab your readers' attention. So, if your email has graphics aside from text, your readers are most likely spending some of that 15-20 seconds looking at the graphics, like your logo, instead of reading the copy you've worked so hard to write.

Your readers are only giving you a few seconds to convince them to take action and are reading a lot less of the copy in the email.

Read how to appeal to short attention spans

Source: Informz

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

Writing Successful Subject Lines

If you can't get your prospect to open an email, that great copy or offer inside will never matter.

Still, the subject line's importance is often overlooked. SubscriberMail states that in their experience with clients, it's common to find them agonizing over the offer, the creative and landing page. Yet, too often it is the pivotal subject line that is written or chosen just minutes before mailing.

Fact is, your subject line deserves as much attention as any other component in your email campaign.

Creating a successful subject line is critical in a world filled with marketers competing for attention. Without a good one, even the best offer from the most trusted brand can be deleted in one quick click.

Source: SubscriberMail (February Newsletter)

Tips on how to write successful subject lines:

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

The First 48 Hours Are Critical

The next time you broadcast a permission-based email to your customers, members or newsletter subscribers, monitor your response for the next 48 hours. That's when the vast majority - 80% - of those who would open your message will actually open it, according to the results of our recent study.

What's more, 95% of people who read your message do so within six days of your mailing. The 'Email Marketing Use and Trends Report: H1 2004' shows performance by industry for the first half of 2004, based on over 70 million opt-in email messages sent by MailerMailer customers. It includes delivery/bounce rates, unique open rates, click-through rates by industry; open and click rates by day of the week; and the effect of personalized subject lines and messages on open and click rates.

Read this MarketingProfs article here

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

Why people don't read email newsletters

When you send an e-mail newsletter, you want people to read it, don't you? Actually, maybe you don't. Most website visitors don't read the page word by word. Instead, they scan it, looking for highlights that catch their eye...

The process is less like reading text, and more like viewing a painting or photo. The eye roams across the surface looking for somewhere to focus. If that point can't be found, we interpret the image (or page of text) as 'difficult'. More...

Source: iStart

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

Use E-Mail to Enhance Lead Generation and Sales

Properly implemented, e-mail can be a cost-effective way to boost lead-generation and sales efforts. Jeanne Jennings developed these 10 questions to check if her clients use e-mail as an effective part of lead-generation and sales programs:    

1. Do you use Web analytics to understand how people navigate your site?    
2. Is there a mechanism for people to provide e-mail addresses and get more information above the fold on your home page?    
3. Is there a similar mechanism on every page of your site?    
4. Do you ask only for the information you need?    
5. Do you use the online form to qualify prospects?    
6. Do prospects dictate the terms of your relationship?    
7. Is e-mail a secondary contact when you're unable to reach a prospect via phone?    
8. Do you use an automated sequence of e-mail messages to educate prospects about your products or services?    
9. Do you publish at least one e-mail newsletter to keep your brand top of mind with prospects?  
10. Do you have a comprehensive, consistent strategy for using e-mail in your lead-generation or sales process?

Read the full article here.

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

Email Metrics 101

We turn the spotlight on the post-send portion of your email marketing campaign. Reviewing the results - your metrics (or statistics) - should be a key part of your email marketing strategy. It's what will help you improve on each mailing, producing better results every time.

The article "Email Metrics 101", explains common metrics terminology, plus provides good resources for further research. Sourced articles include MarketingSherpa's just-released third annual Email Metrics Survey results.

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

E-Mail Bounce Management

In their November ClickZ column, Kirill Popov and Loren McDonald explained why processing bounces is important. Still, there's plenty of confusion surrounding soft and hard e-mail bounces.

Most commonly, a soft bounce is a temporary condition, such as 'mailbox full.' A hard bounce is permanent, 'user unknown' being one good example. These definitions make intuitive sense. Many e-mailers recommend ignoring soft bounces. They only process hard bounces. This, too, makes intuitive sense.

If the condition is indeed permanent, a soft bounce will eventually become a hard bounce. The recipient's mailbox will be closed, and 'mailbox full' will replace 'user unknown.' This all seems logical and straightforward.

In the real world, things are more complex. There are too many scenarios under which the above definitions can lead to misidentification and unprocessed bounces.

Read the full ClickZ' article: E-Mail Bounce Management, Simplified.

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

Welcome Messages get Highest Open Rates

Big news: chances are more recipients will open your list's welcome message than any other email you ever send them in the future. We've long suspected that welcomes are more important than most marketers believe. Our theory is that response is driven by recency of opt-in. If someone just joined your list a few minutes ago, they're darn likely to open the first few messages they get from you.

Read how can you tweak your probably-standard welcome to take advantage of this extra level of reader attention: four specific tactics tested by real-life marketers.

Source: ExactTarget - MarketingSherpa

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An E-Mail Marketer's Guide to Deliverability

SPF (define), Sender ID, and DomainKeys are relatively new technologies on the cutting edge of the fight against spam and false positives. The goal of all these technologies is to verify a message's sender is who he says he is. Falsifying sender addresses is a common practice among spammers.

The logic: if you make it harder for spammers to hide their identities, it's easier to hold them accountable for the e-mail they send. This may discourage their efforts. Though these technologies aren't silver bullets for stopping spam, they should help diminish false positives. They're the first steps toward a technical solution to spam, combined with reputation, authentication, and accreditation technologies.

The three technologies are somewhat hierarchical. SPF provides the most basic level of authentication. Sender ID takes it a step further, while DomainKeys offers an additional verification level. SPF is already used, most notably by America Online, to filter spam.

Read all about SPF in ClickZ' "An E-Mail Marketer's Guide to Deliverability"
Read all about Sender ID in ClickZ' "An E-Mail Marketer's Guide to Deliverability"

Source: ClickZ

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

Top 10 Tips to Give Your Newsletter Impact

There are thousands of email newsletters or "ezines" produced every week, and most of them have great material and are written by passionate people who want to share valuable information. Unfortunately, very few of them have many subscribers. Perhaps the biggest problem they face is that many of them are too hard to read!

In this article you can read some tips & tricks about formatting and presentation.

Source: EmailUniverse

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Minimize the Effects of Image Blocking

Get whitelisted. This ensures selected email is allowed through the system with minimum filtering, image blocking included. If a user adds the sender's address to her address book or "safe list," the email is untouched by most ISP and personal filters.    

Add a "view Web version" link
. Host a version of your message on your company's Web site. Provide a text link to it at the very top of your message. Regardless of image or personal settings, the recipient can always click through and view the message as a Web page.

Continue reading "Minimize the Effects of Image Blocking" »

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

Keep HTML Emails to 500-600 Pixels in Width

Ever notice that most of the HTML emails you receive appear to about the same width? Measured in pixels, most HTMLs fall into the range of 500-600. The early email clients were developed pre-HTML and thus were not designed to render wide Web page-like emails. More recently, the message windows of popular Web-based email services such as Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail and Gmail will typically present 500-600 pixels - varying based on the user's screen resolution settings.

In simple terms this means that your HTML messages that are wider than this range will require the recipient to scroll horizontally to view the entire width of the email. While forcing a user to scroll horizontally might be OK on your Web site, it should be avoided with your emails. Users may only give your email a quick glance and with key content and images getting cut off, you risk losing a transaction or reader, and at minimum being an irritant.

Source: EmailLabs

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11 Email Marketing Trends for 2005

by Loren McDonald -- Email marketing arrived in 2004. Despite the huge attention and real issue of over bloated inboxes due to increased volume of spam, no marketer could ignore the value and importance of email in their overall marketing program. What's in store for 2005? Following are 11 trends EmailLabs has identified for 2005 - read the full article for the detail behind the trends listed below:    

1. The Email Marketing Manager Role Emerges as a Full-Time Position    
2. Email Delivery Divide: The Haves and Have Nots    
3. Increased Integration with Corporate Databases and Other Applications    
4. Use of Advanced Email Technology Features Grows Rapidly    
5. Design Takes on Greater Importance    
6. Marketers View Email in Larger Context Than Just Marketing    
7. Resource Constraints Fuel Demand for Consulting Services    
8. Companies Continue Shift from Software to Hosted Model    
9. Only Spammers Will Spam  
10. Marketers Place Greater Emphasis on List Quality  
11. Marketers Cede Control to Customers; Focus on Building Trust and Lifetime Value

Source: EmailLabs

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