Previous month:
February 2005
Next month:
April 2005

16 entries from March 2005

Remember the Preview Pane

Many email users keep their preview pane feature turned on, allowing them to view at least the top two inches or so of your email before deciding whether or not to open the message. Use those top two inches to your advantage by emphasizing the call to action or key point of your email in that area.

Remember: the key is to compel your recipient to open the email, and then include your explanatory copy in the middle section of the message. Repeat your call to action at the bottom of your message for those 'scrolling' types who only read the top and bottom and simply scan in-between. Also remember that the preview pane counts as an 'open' even if the recipient doesn't actually click to open the message.

Keep this in mind when renting lists and reviewing the vendor's open rates, they can be falsely inflated by the preview pane.

Source: Go-To-Market Strategies

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

Using Click-through Data as a Segmentation Attribute for Targeting (part 1)

A JupiterResearch report released in January, based on a November 2004 survey of 680 companies, showed that just 35 percent of email marketers used click-through data when deciding which customers to send promotions to.

Click-through data, however, can be a very effective segmentation attribute for targeting. Let me try to explain with an example:

Company XYZ sends out an email campaign to a targeted list of recipients promoting a white paper. A week later they send out a couple of follow-up messages to various subsets of the original list:

  • the same message is sent to all recipients that didn't open the first email (using a different subject line)

  • a new message is sent to all recipients that opened the first email but didn't click-through to download/order the white paper (using a different subject line, a different message, but repeating the same offer)

  • a new message is sent to all recipients that clicked-through but didn't download/order the white paper (using a different subject line, a different message, and a different offer - maybe they didn't find the first offer attractive enough)

  • a new message is sent to all recipients that downloaded/ordered the white paper (the subject line refers to the white paper, the message refers to the download and invites recipients to a new offer, eg. attend a seminar)

You can even go one step further and segment your list based on click-through data from multiple past email campaigns: eg. those that downloaded the white paper, but didn't register for the seminar.

You can either use you imagination to predict whether a recipient will respond to certain email offer or you can base your prediction on the recipient's past "click behavior".

Give it a try. You may find the results are impressive.

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

Email Marketing 101 Webinar Series

Constant Contact offers an on-demand webinar series on its website to educate visitors on the fundamentals of email marketing.

The following topics are covered in short 3-5 minutes flash presentations:

  • Orientation
  • Why Email Marketing
  • Why use an Email Marketing Service
  • Obtaining Permission
  • Building your List
  • Email Campaign Types
  • Newsletters
  • Getting Email Opened
  • Writing Copy
  • Top 10 Email Marketing Do's and Don'ts
  • Best Time to Send
  • Measuring Results
  • Email Bounces

Access Constant Contact's Email Marketing 101 Webinar Series.

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

Email Marketing: The Devil is in the Details

Executing an email campaign is very easy and relatively inexpensive. It's often regarded as "an ideal channel to gather some more leads -- quick and cheap". However, if you put very little thought into planning the details of the campaign, you will do more harm than good in the long term.

Here are some tips to execute email campaigns that work:

  • Segment your list and run more targeted campaigns to each segment. Not only will you avoid list fatigue, but your conversion rates will also be much higher when you target the right people with the right message.
  • Personalize your emails as much as you can. Start with "Dear {name}" and refer to your recipient's industry, job title, area etc.
  • Include value-added content. Don't tell your recipients something they already know but make sure to offer them something new - like new industry research results, a best practices white paper, a seminar featuring a well-known industry expert or customer speaker, etc.
  • Understand the triggers for spam filters and write your content with these triggers in mind.
  • TEST, TEST, and TEST again before you send because the devil is in the details.

Source: Go-To-Market Strategies

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

HTML Code Affects E-Mail Deliverability

In a recent article on Clickz, Kirill Popov and Loren McDonald explain why using outdated or incorrect code is a major reason why e-mail are blocked or delivered to bulk or junk mail folders.

How do you minimize or eliminate HTML filtering problems at ISPs?

A few suggestions:

  • Make sure your e-mail designer/programmer is familiar with W3C standards
  • Before distributing an e-mail, run the message through your design software's or e-mail application's HTML validator, if it has one
  • Consider using a delivery-monitoring service to track your messages after pre-tests and full-list distribution
  • If your e-mail does get trapped in a bulk folder, check your code and isolate what's causing the filtering

Read the full article here.

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

Webseminar: Why Authentication and Reputation matter

On March 22nd, Return Path is hosting a web seminar called "Two Steps to Solving the Email Delivery Crisis: Authentication & Reputation".

This seminar will include:

  • How different authentication standards work and what you need to do to authenticate your outbound email
  • Ways to combine authentication, reputation and accreditation to solve problems caused by spammers
  • Information on protecting yourself from spam filters, blacklists, unknown user rates and complaint issues
  • Specific ways to guard your reputation in the email world
  • How to fix the areas of programs that most typically hinder a company's email reputation

I will certainly attend this seminar. For those of you that are interested in attending as well, here are the details:

Two Steps to Solving the Email Delivery Crisis: Authentication & Reputation
March 22nd at 2pm Eastern Time (8pm CET, 7pm GMT)
Sign up here

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

Do questions make effective subject lines?

In today's issue of BtoB's E-Mail Marketer Insight, Marilou Barsam, VP-client consulting services for TechTarget, answers the question "Do questions make effective subject lines?". Here's (part of) her answer:

Using a question as a subject line can produce strong results if you follow some simple guidelines:

Know your audience.
If you understand what makes recipients tick, what their priorities are and what motivates them, you will strike a chord with them by asking a question that speaks directly to their specific interests.

Be provocative.
Pose a question that demands an answer. Ask about a controversial issue or industry trend - something that they could not help but have an opinion about because it affects them in some way.

Be brief.
Fewer words are easier to read. A quick question will actually stand out more in the list of subject lines that appear in recipients' e-mail boxes. Use strong words that pop off the screen, but stay away from hype.

Read the full article here.

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

Six Email Marketing Reminders

MarketingProfs published another great article on email marketing by Mark Brownlow. This article features six reminders to help you step back and reevaluate your email marketing efforts.

In short:

Don't let legislation drive you to distraction
Send relevant, valuable emails to people who asked or agreed to get them. Compliance with anti-spam legislation is of course critical to email marketers. But you shouldn't let it distract you from other key marketing issues, like eg. basic permission issues.

Revise your understanding of what email marketing covers
Marketing emails cover more than just dedicated campaigns or retention-oriented newsletters. Every email contact with a prospect or customer is a marketing opportunity. Make the most of all outgoing email to reinforce brand messages, encourage customer communication or cement customer relationships.

Continue reading "Six Email Marketing Reminders" »

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

Targeted Email Newsletters Show Continued Strength

E-newsletters that are informative, convenient, and timely are often preferred over other media. However, a new study found that only 11% of newsletters were read thoroughly, so layout and content scannability are paramount.

Increased spam has made people even more stressed and impatient when processing their inboxes. Users have less tolerance than ever for newsletters that waste their time. Users often employ their spam filters to avoid newsletters that they no longer want.

The fact that many users will declare a newsletter to be spam when they tire of it has terrifying implications: legitimate newsletters might get blacklisted and thus ISPs might block their delivery to other subscribers. This is a compelling reason to increase the usability of the unsubscribe process: better to lose a subscriber than to be listed as spam.

The most frequent complaint was about newsletters that arrived too often. The advice here is to "keep it brief". Only 11% of the newsletters are read thoroughly - they are skimmed, never read or saved for later reading.

Designing for users who scan rather than read is essential for a newsletter's survival. Layouts must be designed to let users quickly grasp each issue's content and zero in on specifics. Content and writing styles must support users who read only part of the material.

Immediate Utility
Newsletters must be current and timely. They must justify their inbox space on a daily basis. Having been relevant in the past is not enough.

Finally, Jacob Nielsen states that email newsletters are so powerful that the best of them do have a future. However, the fight for inbox survival might leave room for only the most useful, targeted newsletters.

Source: Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox

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

Email Frequency and List Control

In her Email Marketing column on Clickz, Jeanne Jennings provides some quick tips to determine the right e-mail frequency for your organization, and explains how to create a situation whereby you control the list and protect recipients from being bombarded.

First of all she states that frequency depends on the goals for your email and the type of content you send.

Some rough guidelines:

  • Mail at least once a month
  • Let content be your guide
  • Take the lead from your readers
  • Work within your resources
  • Watch for trends

Continue reading "Email Frequency and List Control" »

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

Interview With Nooked CEO Fergus Burns is featuring an interview with Nooked CEO Fergus Burns to which I'd like to draw your attention:

Here's an extract:

Q: Do you foresee a time when the number of subscribers to a company's feed will surpass the number of email mailing list subscribers?

A: Yes, we do. We see RSS a complimentary channel to Email, rather than as a replacement.

From a publisher perspective, email marketing has been simple - get people to sign up, push message out and measure the conversion/commercial impact. Publishers have also been working to a monthly/quarterly schedule which acts as an 'excuse' to get their message out.

This has changed dramatically due to Spam, CAN Spam Act, Email email virus, etc. Consumers are moving to a scenario where they will only use email for communications with individuals and groups within a closed environment. Email newsletter view and clickthrough rates are declining.

RSS gets around a lot of the problems of newsletter publication schedules, Spam, opt-in, Virus, etc - it's a clean channel, which is 100% controlled by the consumer. If the consumer subscribes, you have created a communication flow, which can reward the publisher, as long as they don't break that 'trust'.

Q: Do you believe feed marketing and email marketing can coexist? Please explain?

A: Yes - they can co-exist. I think it will take a few years for people to move over completely. In the interim you need to have a hybrid solution - email gets sent out to people, but included is a link to the RSS feed (probably a unique url feed for that person). Over time the publisher will see the shift.

Read the full article here.

RSS 2.0 is quickly becoming the definitive RSS standard, all because of its support for the enclosure tag. The enclosure tag is an optional field in the RSS 2.0 specification that allows the feed publisher to include a link to a file. The file can be just about anything.

Businesses have seized the opportunity, including tutorials, streaming audio lectures, PDF proposals, Power Point presentations, podcasts of sales meetings, and advertising portfolios among other traditional uses for RSS.

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

New Look

I spent most of my time yesterday night to create a new look for my blog. I felt I needed a 3-column layout rather than the standard 2-column layout that Blogger is offering with its templates. Mainly because I'd like to add a list of books which I recommend that you read. I hope to have this list added tonight, so stay tuned!

I'm very interested to hear what you think about the new look and feel. And please let me know if you notice anything that is not working properly.


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

21 Ways To Avoid Email Spam Filters

  1. Use a consistent "From" field.
  2. Have permisson to contact the recipient.
  3. Never spam. Avoid spam trigger words.
  4. Follow best practice email marketing techniques.
  5. Monitor the blacklists.
  6. Don't use carbon copy to lots of recipients.
  7. Personalise the "To" field.
  8. Don't keep mailing to someone if they have unsubscribed.
  9. Don't use a mailing service that tolerates spam.
  10. Remove bounces from your list.
  11. Don�t use the recipient�s email address in the subject line.
  12. Avoid using words that appear in Outlook�s Junk Filter list.
  13. Don�t use multiple exclamation marks or dollar signs.
  14. Ask recipients to add your email address to their "trusted sender" or "whitelist" list or Address Book.
  15. Don�t use excessive capitalisation.
  16. Avoid javascript, embedded forms, and hidden text in HTML emails.
  17. Prefix all links with http://
  18. Don�t use an IP address in links instead of a domain name.
  19. Don�t mention spam laws compliance.
  20. Block generic email addresses from your list ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], etc.)
  21. Use confirmed opt-in (ie. send a confirmation email whenever someone is added to your list).

Source: Emailtools

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

Landing Pages are Critical to the Success of your Campaign

What is a landing page?
A landing page is the page where customers/prospects get to after having clicked on a link in the e-mail that you have sent them.

Why are they important?
Landing pages are an essential component of your email campaign: they help you convert visitors into leads/buyers. Poor landing pages, however, can often compromise great targeting and creative.

For each campaign you should create a custom landing page on your web site that makes it easy for email recipients to complete your desired action.

These are the items that should be included:

  • main graphical element that is used in the email campaign
  • compelling headline
  • opening paragraph
  • compelling benefit driven bullets
  • a closing paragraph
  • lead capture form

Always keep in mind that, on average, web visitors spend just 8-seconds scanning a website landing page before they decide to leave. This means that you should focus on what is it that you want your visitor to do on your landing page: click that button to order the product / download the white paper / view the demo / register for the event.

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

Why Direct Mail Copy is Not Suited for Email

Yesterday I attended a seminar that covered topics ranging from enterprise search to search engine optimization and search engine marketing to web statistics and metrics. At a certain moment I found myself discussing some issues I'm facing day-to-day with another participant to the event. And you know what? It seems I'm not the only one facing these issues. What a comfort! But also: how sad!

Let me give you an example: very regularly I am being presented with copy for an email which is basically just a copy and paste job from the direct mailer. Usually the direct mail copy is written by a copywriter, but not the email or landing page copy. However, copywriting for web & email is so much different than writing for offline communication pieces. Why? Well, first of all people don't "read" a webpage or an email, they merely "scan" the text for something interesting.

This means that you should write your copy keeping this in mind:

  • come to the point early (see my previous post)
  • use very short sentences and short paragraphs
  • use an active voice
  • talk about "you" rather than "me"
  • use bullet points
  • use subheaders
  • use images to support your story (eg: if you're offering a white paper, then include a screenshot of it in your email)
  • make sure your call to action is obvious
  • link to your call to action multiple times (using both text and image links)
  • keep it short: email copy should only be 50% of your direct mail copy
  • focus on one topic per email to enhance your conversion rates
Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Get to the Point Early

If you ever read your email in Hotmail, you know how much of the screen is taken up by all the Hotmail information and advertising. There isn't a great deal of space left over for your email.

Keep that in mind. Be aware of how much of your message will appear on the first screen. And make that information count. You'll need people to start scrolling down to read the rest of your message. And they won't bother to scroll down if the first few lines of your message are not sufficiently compelling and relevant.

Source: FreelanceWriting Tips

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