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14 entries from December 2005

A/B Split Testing: What Should You Test?

One of the absolute best ways to continuously improve the performance of your email campaigns is to use split testing, also called A/B split testing. A/B testing is a simple, scientific way to isolate and test variables in a real-world environment.

One of email marketing's greatest advantages is that it is easier (and much less expensive!) to test than any other marketing vehicle. This means with just a little effort, you can increase the effectiveness of your email campaigns and get the results you're looking for.

Testing can be as simple as breaking up a list into two parts (the proverbial A/B split) and emailing each group a unique "something."

Here are a couple of things you can/should test:

  • Subject Line
  • From name
  • Timing
  • Lead article/offer
  • Call-to-action
  • Length
  • Salutation
  • Landing pages

Tip: If you're testing more than one variable, it's critical to make sure that you test each of them one at a time, meaning one variable per test cell. This makes for more accurate results.

Sources: Maxenews | Constant Contact

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Email Marketing Service Providers, Q4 2005

Looking for an email marketing service provider? Then this new report from Forrester might come in handy: "The Forrester Wave™: Email Marketing Service Providers, Q4 2005". It contains an evaluation of nine top email marketing service providers across 75 criteria.

The evaluation process included a comprehensive assessment of each vendors offering across more than 75 different criteria as well as a technology demonstration, review of supporting documentation and in-depth interviews with key executives and reference customers. Email Marketing Service Providers were then ranked across four categories (Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders and Risky Bets) to create the comprehensive market landscape.

The report reveals that integration with other applications, dynamic content capabilities, and flexibility of the data model are primary points of differentiation.

Scorecard summaries are available for the following vendors: CheetahMail, Digital Impact, DoubleClick Email Solutions, Epsilon Interactive, Harte-Hanks Postfuture, Premiere Global Services, Responsys, RightNow Technologies, and Yesmail.

The report doesn't come cheap though: US$ 795

Merry Christmas!!!

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

DoubleClick's Sixth Annual Consumer Email Study

DoubleClick Email Solutions today released the results of its sixth annual Consumer Email Study. Here are some highlights from their press release:

  • According to the data, fifty-seven percent of respondents view their work email at work during the day at least occasionally, while almost as many view work emails from home in the evening (55%) and on weekends (54%). In addition, forty eight percent of respondents check their personal emails at least occasionally at work during the day, with twenty-one percent doing so all the time.
  • Almost half of all respondents report owning at least three email accounts. While ninety-five percent consider one of their addresses to be their primary account, almost three quarters of respondents (72%) use a single address for making online purchases.
  • Of particular interest is the value that consumers place on free email addresses, which have been maintained for an average of six years, probably due to their accessibility from home, work or the road.
  • While spam is still an issue that concerns a large number of consumers (55% are very concerned), viruses (75%), identity theft (67%), spyware (66%) and scams (61%) are of greater concern to consumers.
  • Consumers have consistent views of what constitutes spam, most of which match industry definitions, although almost half of respondents also consider permission-based email that comes too frequently or that is no longer relevant as spam.
  • With regards to dealing with spam, almost half of respondents check their bulk mail frequently, usually to confirm that no wanted messages have been incorrectly filtered into their bulk folder. More than forty percent report finding legitimate email in their bulk folders.
  • Seventy-four percent of respondents point to "a brand I know and trust" as the element most likely to drive a response to an email.

The full research is available to DoubleClick customers and an executive summary of the findings are available here.

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

10 "Must Dos" for 2006

These are Loren McDonald's Email Marketing "Must Dos" for 2006:

  1. Get relevant – dive into personalization and segmentation.
  2. Resolve or minimize deliverability and rendering issues.
  3. Redesign email messages for the inbox and users who view them in the preview pane and block images.
  4. Optimize the beginning of the email relationship.
  5. Get on the permission train.
  6. Focus on metrics that matter.
  7. Take better care of long-term subscribers.
  8. Maximize search with email.
  9. Test, test, test and improve.
  10. Create an email marketing plan and align resources.

Read the full article here.

Source: EmailLabs Newsletter "Intevation Report"

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Things to Consider when Choosing An Email Service Provider

Vertical Response is offering a white paper called "Eight things to consider when choosing an ESP". The list of criteria they offer is quite comprehensive, but in my opinion, it misses one important criteria: if you will use the ESP to send emails in multiple languages you should test the capabilities of the ESP in these different languages.

This is a piece of advise I'm offering from my own personal experience working with a US-based ESP that did not support special characters for any of the European languages like umlauts, accents etc... The workaround was extremely labout intensive, so please make sure to test this if it applies to you!


PS. Vertical Response are an email service provider theirselves. If you're looking for a more objective source or you want to compare vendors against each other, you might want to have a look here:

Most of these sources focus on the US market. I don't know if there is a source for European vendors, but I would be very interested to find out. If you happen to know one, please let me know!

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iMedia Connection: Email Objects in the Review Mirror

I agree with Silverpop's CEO, Bill Nussey, when he says that he "hopes marketers learned during the past year and took to heart that while email is inexpensive compared to other messaging channels, it is by no means easy".

Email marketing isn't about tricking a recipient into opening an email and then try to sell them something. It's about building trust and being relevant. It's about provided the right content to the right people. It's about segmentation and testing.

Source: iMedia Connection: Email Objects in the Review Mirror.

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Anatomy of an Email Report

On December 13th, ON24 is hosting a web seminar called "Anatomy of an Email Report: How to Improve Your Email IQ" with guest speaker Melinda Krueger, President of Krueger Direct/Interactive, an email marketing consulting company.

She'll give you some practical tips about the following topics:

  • Get the story behind the numbers
  • Present information to executives and designers
  • Spot trends and make comparisons
  • Improve your understanding of what works with your audience
  • Conduct a year-end review

Tuesday, December 13th @ 11AM PST (2pm EST, 8pm CET, 7pm GMT)

Info & registration details

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

Should You Re-Send Your Email Newsletter to Non-Openers?

On April 29th I published a post about re-sending your email to people that didn't open it the first time. Well, mouse2house, an online retailer providing digital imaging products to the UK market, actually tried it out.

Their promotion was broadcast to the entire database, and then following a three week delay, the promotion was resent to all recipients who had not opened the email -- and with some very good results: across both sends, the newsletter generated a 35% increase in sales from existing customers. Of these all the orders, 31% of them were generated by the second send. View the complete results here.

You can read the extended case study on MarketingSherpa (open access until December 18th).

I agree with MarketingSherpa's comments at the bottom of the article: a lot of email clients (Gmail, Outlook 2003, Outlook Express, Lotus Notes...) are blocking images and if the user doesn't download the images, there is no way of knowing if they opened the email or not. So if you would like to apply this tactic, please do so with caution. You don't want to be perceived as a spammer.

Source: Adestra |

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Predictions For 2006

Here are some more email marketing predictions for 2006 and as Bill McClosky so nicely puts it in this week's issue of Email Insider: "it's that time of the year again".

Indeed it is! :) Everyone in the industry seems to feel the need to predict the future. In this case though, I think Bill McClosky hits the mark. These are his predictions.

  • We are going to see a renaissance in e-mail marketing.

  • It's still too early for RSS. We may see the Year for RSS at some point, but 2006 is not it. 

  • Spam is not going away, but nobody will care -- people will just get used to it and consider it a part of their online universe and move on.

  • E-mail will surpass search in the battle for marketers' hearts and minds.

Read the full article here.

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

Email Metrics Top Trends for 2006

Silverpop is co-hosting a teleseminar with MarketingSherpa about Top Trends in Email Metrics on Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 2pm EST (8pm CET / 7pm GMT).

The content of this teleseminar is based on findings from MarketingSherpa's new research report "Email Marketing Benchmark Guide 2006".

You'll learn:

  • How to grow your email list
  • Average open, click and conversion rates
  • How to get better campaign results
  • Business-to-Consumer vs. Business-to-Business email stats
  • How your peers are budgeting for email
  • Plus: eyetracking lab tests reveal scientific data on how to design your
    email newsletter and alert templates for better results.

Presented by:                                      

  • Anne Holland, President & Publisher, MarketingSherpa
  • Stefan Tornquist, Research Director, MarketingSherpa
  • Bill Nussey, CEO of Silverpop

Click here to sign up.

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Email Design Guidelines for 2006

While I was surfing the internet this morning I stumbled across some very good articles about coding HTML emails:

Continue reading "Email Design Guidelines for 2006" »

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