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19 entries from July 2005

How Annoyed Are People About Spam?

Here are some "fun facts" taken from the Yahoo! Anti-Spam Resource Center:

  • 77 percent of Yahoo! Mail poll respondents said they are more aggravated by weeding through spam than they are by cleaning a dirty toilet.
  • Spam is already considered more annoying than junk postal mail and door-to-door salespeople, and it is quickly becoming as annoying as telemarketing calls.  Most annoying forms of spam are as follows:
    1. Telemarketing calls
    2. Spam e-mail
    3. Door-to-door salespeople
    4. Junk postal mail
  • Three-quarters of e-mail users think spammers should be punished, with the majority favoring stiff fines as the ideal punishment , while 8 percent think spammers should do jail time.
Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

The ROI of Email Relevance [web seminar]

I want to draw your attention to another interesting web seminar that is scheduled for August 17, 2005 called "The ROI of Email Relevance: Improving Campaign Results Through Targeting".

Few marketers rank relevance as a top-three e-mail marketing goal, even though it drives 60 percent of consumers who make immediate e-mail purchases.

According to a recent JupiterResearch study, tactics that improve relevance, such as life cycle marketing, behavioral targeting and triggering, deliver substantially higher improvements in revenue and net profits than do broadcast mailings.

Join Research Director David Daniels as he examines how targeting tactics outperform broadcast mailings, boost revenue and net profit improvements.

Representatives from Responsys, premier provider of on-demand email and lifecycle campaign management solutions, and Coremetrics, leading provider of hosted Web analytics and precision marketing solutions, will highlight how customers such as PETCO, Intrawest, and Wells Fargo have improved email marketing ROI by leveraging web site behavior and click-stream data to target and time email communications.

Attend this Webcast and learn:

  • What spurs consumers to purchase from e-mail?
  • How will the adoption of increasingly relevant targeting tactics impact the e-mail marketing industry?
  • Which types of targeting tactics and e-mail campaigns drive the greatest improvements in revenue and net profit?
  • Has the ability to efficiently use Web site clickstream data as a targeting attribute finally arrived?
  • Which lessons can be learned from early adopters of advanced targeting tactics?

Sign up here.

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

Content Always Wins - Everything Else Comes In Second

This month's issue of Loop Consulting's EMI newsletter is featuring an article called "Content Always Wins - Everything Else Comes In Second".

Which is more important - how the eNewsletter looks or what it says? Marcos Menendez has no doubt about the answer.

According to him the most important things to consider when crafting content for your e-newsletter are:

  • Target the audience.
  • Write what you know.
  • Enhance the experience.
  • Think advice.

Read the full article here.

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

TRUSTe launches e-mail privacy seal

Here's an interesting piece of information:

TRUSTe announced Tuesday that it has launched an e-mail privacy seal program that will allow certified e-mail senders to display a TRUSTe approval seal that reads "We don’t spam." The expectation is that the e-mail marketing industry will adopt the program as part of an overall effort to combat spam.

According to Matt Blumberg, president and CEO of Return Path "it's a logical next step in the evolution of the struggle that's going on between good and evil. Solid permission-based policies and practices are critical to both e-mail deliverability and e-mail acquisition improvements."

Certification will require a continued examination of seal holders' e-mail practices. TRUSTe will use a proprietary list seeding system and a consumer complaint mechanism to flag investigation.

The certification process insures legitimate e-mail senders follow best practices. Question remains how TRUSTe will address "We Don't Spam" seal forgeries by unauthorized e-mail senders.

Sources: BtoB and Clickz
Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Best Day To Send Email

Bill Doerr posted a question in the MarketingProfs know-how exchange asking what the best day/days are to send emails. There is no easy answer to this question, but he did receive a lot of very good responses from other marketing professionals. It's definitely worth a read!

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

Make Sure Your Email Looks As You Intend It To

What does your email look like when it arrives in your customers' inboxes? Is it the masterpiece you created and checked in your email client?

In this month's issue of Return Path's newsletter "Email Survival Guide", Matt Blumberg suggests checking the below four things before sending every email campaign to take precautions that your email will look exactly as you intend it to in the inbox before you hit send:

1. Check for problematic HTML
Due to different designers and methods, many emails have problematic HTML code and syntax errors that aren't accepted by certain email readers. Mistakes such as missing graphics or raw HTML code cause many emails to show up in the inbox in an unreadable format. If your HTML content isn't formatting correctly and is not aesthetically pleasing, response will fall considerably. It could even be so bad that your email won't get delivered at all.

Continue reading "Make Sure Your Email Looks As You Intend It To" »

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

Email Authentication

Here's Matt Blumberg's take on email authentication as it was published in MediaPost's "Email Insider":

"By now every marketer has learned that Internet service providers (ISPs) take e-mail authentication quite seriously -- with Microsoft leading the charge with Sender ID. Microsoft is using a stick, not a carrot, to make e-mail senders get on the authentication band wagon. E-mailers who do not publish a proper sender ID record are now going to find themselves in the bulk mail folder at Hotmail and MSN, as well as have a big fat disclaimer thrown on top of their e-mails from Microsoft warning users that the source of the e-mail can't be authenticated.

I'm a big fan of authentication. Here are some positive aspects of authentication:

  • It WILL make a big dent in spoofing, phishing, and fraud, right away. Why? Because those particular elements of the 'Internet Axis of Evil' are identity-based. Therefore, identity authentication will either stop those things, make it easier for consumers to steer clear of them, or make it easier for law enforcement to go after them.
  • It WILL NOT make a big dent in spam right away. Why? Because spam is much more nuanced than fraud. If I'm Microsoft, and I know that you are the particular sender of an e-mail into my network, that's all good and well. But I might not have any idea if I want to accept that mail. Another way of saying this: Spammers can publish sender ID records too.
  • It WILL lay the foundation for longer-term spam solutions. Why? Because it is important to understand exactly who is sending mail into a network in order to answer that next question of "do I want to accept your mail?"

Authentication is the precursor for both reputation and accreditation. Once ISPs can identify who you are, they can decide whether they like you or not. Lots of factors play into this decision, including complaint rates, identity stability, unknown user volume, security practices, unsubscribe policies and more.

When it comes to reaching the e-mail inbox, one thing is clear: It is not automatic, nor is it an easy path. Vigilance is required by all e-mail senders to make sure they are keeping up with the technologies and best practices necessary to keep their customers happy -- and avoid negative perceptions by e-mail receivers making filtering decisions."

Matt Blumberg is the CEO of Return Path. Return Path owns Bonded Sender and Sender Score, two email accreditation services.

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

Avoid Spammy Gimmicks

The July issue of Silverpop's newsletter "The Digital Marketer" featured an article called "Eight Easy Ways to Boost Email Deliverability".

One of the tips is this one:

Avoid spammy gimmicks
: your email shouldn’t resemble a bad Las Vegas lounge act. Spam filters seek patterns and irregularities often found in spam, so resist the temptation to spice up messages with all-caps, big fonts, weird punctuation, exclamation points, repeated phrases, or common advertising come-ons such as “free!” or “limited time offer!”.

It’s also a good idea to screen your messages with a spam filter such as SpamAssassin to flag any potential content problems before you send. The other seven ways ways to boost email deliverability are these:

  • Never send commercial email to people who haven’t consented to receive it
  • Practice good list hygiene
  • Don’t ignore ISPs
  • Keep volume low
  • Protect your corporate IP address
  • Implement authentication protocols
  • Consider an Email Service Provider

Read the full article here.

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

Don't Assume That Switching Vendors Equals Better Deliverability

If you are experiencing deliverability issues, don't just assume that your email vendor is too blame. First of all make sure you've done everything you should on your end to get the mail through.

Apart from the fact that you should only be mailing people that a) have signed up to receive your messages and b) are interested in what you have to say to them and c) you're doing this at a non-annoying frequency, Anne Holland from  MarketingSherpa suggest you double-check these three factors:

1. Are you currently using a dedicated IP address to send email that no other mailer ever uses? If not, you're at the mercy of every other mailer sending from the same IP address. If any of the folks on their list block or blacklist them, your mailings are tarred with the same brush because you appear to be identical.

2. If you send in HTML, is it coded properly? To see if your HTML passes the test, run it through the online validator.

3. Content filtering is *huge* in the corporate world. If your copy contains enough junk-mail-looking words, your mailing to folks at work may not get through. To see if your copy passes the test, run it through the Lyris online validator (or ask if your ESP provides a similar checker).

Read the full article here.

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

UK Email Survey Shows Drop-Off In Acquisition Click-Through Rates

Acquisition emails saw declining response rates while retention emails saw improving response rates in the third quarter of 2004, according to new data released by the DMA's Email Marketing Council.

The council has only just released its second Email Benchmarking Survey, covering the period from July to September 2004, due to delays in getting data from around 25 email service providers surveyed. It released the April to June 2004 survey in January this year.

The new data shows that business-to-consumer acquisition click-through rates dipped from 8% in the second quarter to 6%, and business-to-business click-through rates dipped from 8% to 4%.  The rates measure the number of unique individuals clicking through divided by the total number of emails sent out.

However, business-to-consumer retention click-through rates climbed from 9% to 12%, and business-to-business click-through rates climbed from 11% to 13%.

Caution was counselled by the council's chairman, Richard Gibson of RSA Direct. "Two sets of data do not necessarily amount to a trend," he said. The council is now hoping to speed up the process of getting the data, according to DMA member Simone Barratt, managing director of e-Dialog. "The survey's frequency may in future be reduced, especially if the next quarter's results show little variation," she said.

The survey also showed that the total number of emails sent increased over the quarter by 29% to 412m, while deliverability remained fairly static.

The third-quarter survey saw the introduction of a new question, which asked email service providers whether their clients and their recipients had fallen victim to phishing within the last three months, to which 15% said yes.

Source: Brand Republic's DM Bulletin

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

6 Tips to Improve Email Delivery Rates

1. Use opt-in form instructions: Provide clear, step-by-step directions that indicate how subscribers can guarantee delivery of your emails straight to their inboxes. After registrants complete an opt-in form on your website and click “submit”, direct them to a page which suggests they add your email address to their address books. Then, to make the process nearly foolproof – and keep people from abandoning the task in frustration - provide specific instructions for each of the major ISPs (AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail etc.)

2. Use emails as reinforcement vehicles:
In all of your email communications, make sure you include a line of copy – at the top of the message - reminding subscribers to add your email address to their address book. Placing this reminder at the top of the email ensures it will be read even if your content is blocked due to the users’ preference settings and gives them the opportunity to add you right then and there. For example: "To view all images and links, please add [email protected] to your address book now."

3. Host your newsletter: Combine both images and text in your emails. Then, if graphics are stripped from your emails due to the recipient’s preferences, at least they are left with text they can read. If you must use an image as the dominant form of communication (we know, some graphic designers won’t have it any other way!), then insert a link at the top of the email that lets people read the message without interference. For example: "If you have trouble viewing this newsletter - click here for the online version." Use the link to redirect the reader to a page where you host the newsletter. This increases the probability that your email will get read and that subscribers will add you to their address books.

4. Use a filter:
Run your email through a spam filter before you launch your campaign. If words get caught in the filter, replace them with alternatives that will pass the test before proceeding with your mailing. This easy-to-perform trial may dramatically reduce the risk of your email being mislabeled as spam.

5. Meet the Challenge Response
Make sure you reply to any "challenge responses" you receive. A challenge response is an attempt to verify the sender of an email and that the administration of the list is not being mismanaged. When a challenge response is initiated, the sender will receive a message asking you to respond with a particular code. Simply enter the password; doing so marks you as a responsible emailer and may prevent the loss of a relationship. If managing these responses becomes burdensome, you might consider hiring a part-time employee to handle this task.

6. Market to those that want to hear from you:
If you know people "double opted-in" - meaning they checked a box requesting an email and took a second step to click on a link in an email to subscribe - segment them in a separate list. Slowly, over time, add your clickers and openers to that "responsive" list. Your goal should be to transfer as many people as you can onto that list, since it will be the one with the highest response rate and the lowest complaint rate. Just because you have a prior business relationship with someone doesn’t mean they want to communicate with you via the email medium, so work diligently to manage your list so you can easily determine your core recipients.

Employing these practices will improve your message delivery, but don’t view them as a one-off solution. As with most relationships, quality email relationships grow with time. Reinforcement is key. So don’t be afraid to let your customers know you care by launching a new campaign. After all, they’re only a click away.

Source: Vertical Response's Hot Tips Newsletter

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A/B split testing [teleconference]

If you are interested in A/B split testing and how to do it right, you might want to call in and listen to a teleconference event hosted by on August 4th. They will be talking about how to optimize your A/B split testing and micro-testing to improve conversion, ROI, and profitability.

You can find out more and sign up for the call here: It's free, and it should be interesting, as all of the observations will be based on tests they have conducted.

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

Authentication, Accreditation & Reputation - For Marketers

The Direct Marketing Association and e-mail marketing company Bigfoot Interactive recently released a white paper that educates marketers about authentication, accreditation and reputation, among other key e-mail marketing topics. Realizing that the standards are always changing and sometimes confusing, the DMA collaborated with Bigfoot Interactive to produce the document.

Legitimate marketers will find that authentication is often complemented by accreditation and reputation solutions, which can improve the reliability and deliverability of their e-mail. Entitled "Authentication, Accreditation & Reputation—For Marketers!" the white paper covers such issues as leading authentication, accreditation and reputation (AAR) solutions; AAR development and implementation; AAR navigation, practical advice for marketers trying to increase revenue by e-mail marketing and the short-term AAR process.

The leading solutions section gives marketers a background on many current solutions, including Sender ID Framework, which according to the white paper is "like a Caller ID for e-mail." Development and implementation discusses the reasons behind AAR solutions. Practical advice and navigation techniques include a list of "keys to success" and a checklist for success in deliverability.

The white paper is available online at

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

Best practices For Confirming Opt-Ins

Customers or prospects who sign up to receive e-mail messages from you deserve something in return: a confirmation. It should come in the form of a triggered e-mail, a message that goes out automatically and immediately.

By following a few simple rules, you can ensure that you not only keep that customer, but keep him or her happy, too. Michael Haggerty, managing partner of political consulting firm Trellon, and David Herscott, managing director of interactive agency MEA Digital, provide these tips to help you do just that.

Source: BtoB Online

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How To Build An Email Delivery Framework

To help marketeers look at the challenges that new legislation, technology, consumer attitudes, and the industry's move toward adopting best practices pose to email deliverability, Kirill Popov and Loren McDonald developed an e-mail delivery framework that can be used to reengineer your e-mail marketing program. They explain this framework in an article called "A New Framework for Email Delivery". In short, this is what it boils down to:

  • Make sure your permission process is up to standards and best practices.
  • Make sure your email does not contain broken lines & bad HTML code.
  • Make sure you remove incorrect and outdated email addreses from your mailinglist.
  • Establish relations with major ISPs and corporate domains.
  • Prove your identity. The most common methods, and the ISPs that use them, include SPF (AOL), Sender ID (MSN/Hotmail), and DomainKeys (Yahoo!).
  • Manage your reputation - how much e-mail do you bounce with each send, how many spam complaints do you generate, and how do you respond to them?
  • Test and monitor from content creation through delivery - set up test accounts at key ISPs or utilize a delivery monitoring service. Fix any problems before sending to the full list. Then monitor open, delivery, bounce, unsubscribe, and spam complaint rates across all key domains in your actual send.

Source: Clickz

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Yahoo! Will Be Adding A Preview Pane To It's Free Web-Based Email Service

Yahoo will soon start beta-testing a new version of its free web-based email service. One of the new features this new version will include is a preview pane - much like in Outlook and Outlook Express.

A lot of your recipients never get futher than screening the content of your email in the preview pane, so make sure that you use the top 300-400 pixels of your email wisely! With more and more email clients disabling the downloading of the images in your email -- unless the user specifically requests it -- it is very important that you don't waste this space with images only. The email should also make sense without the images. So be sure to test this before you send!

Source: ZDNet

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Getting Off Blacklists

In this weeks issue of Ralph F. Wilson's Web Marketing Today newsletter he wrote about how to get off blacklists. Well, it doesn't seem to be easy. The hardest part is in fact finding out who the administrator of the blacklist is and how to contact them. Here are some tools that can help you:

Read the full article here.

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