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28 entries from March 2006

UK Email Marketing Laws Are The Weakest In Europe

Press release: A unique probe into European email marketing laws has revealed that the UK is bottom of the league when it comes to policing opt-in/opt-out rules.

European law firm Osborne Clarke's 17 country survey, conducted with help from legal experts throughout the Osborne Clarke Alliance and beyond, answers ever louder demands by digital marketers for clearer information on how Europe's interactive marketing laws vary, what differing penalties lurk for the unwary and in which European states they are most likely to get caught.

With Brussels dictating that it is "country of destination" rather than country of origin for email and mobile phone marketing (meaning businesses have to comply with "opt-in/opt-out" laws where recipients live), this information is vital for those planning international digital marketing campaigns and looking to manage risk.

Amongst the key findings of the survey are:

  • the UK (just one legal case to date, a civil action in which £270 damages were paid), Malta (0) and Portugal (0) are the most spineless European states when it comes to penalties for getting it wrong and enforcement action to date
  • the most active enforcement regimes are in Austria (over 500 cases to date), Greece (over 70), Italy (over 50) and Spain (over 50)
  • the highest penalties for those who get caught have so far been in Denmark (£154,000) and France (£205,000)
  • a majority of EU states forbid unsolicited commercial emails to company employees ("corporate emails") without prior consent, with the UK in the minority in allowing these on an "opt out" basis
  • the vast majority of EU states allowing corporate emails to be sent until the recipient opts out follow the UK example and restrict these to messages promoting business products.
Stephen Groom, a marketing law partner at Osborne Clarke, said:

"This survey confirms what many feared, which is that UK digital marketing law enforcement is in crisis, with responsible marketers wondering why they are bothering to be compliant when they see their competitors riding roughshod over the laws, gaining market advantage and suffering little or no penalty.

"The results also underline that despite the many years and untold aggregate expense involved in negotiating, signing off and introducing harmonising legislation, Europe is still way off the mark in terms of establishing a level playing field for those wanting to use cutting edge marketing techniques. Digital marketers must continue to check local laws wherever their messages are bound to ensure compliance."

More details of the Osborne Clarke survey will be revealed soon on Osborne Clarke's website.

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

What Was Your Average Open Rate in 2005?

Those that know me, know that I'm incredibly curious :) This time I'm curious to find out what your average open rate was in 2005. If you're an email marketer in a corporate function or if you publish a newsletter, I invite you to take the poll in the column on your right. Your vote is anonymous, and you can only vote once.

I'll let this poll run until April 7th and publish the results in a new post. Feel free to check the poll results by clicking on the "view results" link. Keep in mind that open rates do vary by industry.

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

Email Authentication Best Practices for Marketers Abroad (online seminar)

On March 7th, the DMA is hosting an online seminar on the topic of "Email Authentication Best Practices for Marketers Abroad". Attendants will learn to implement effective and inexpensive procedures to improve their e-mail deliverability and response, both in their home country and abroad.

The DMA has developed this focused online seminar to help international marketers ensure a consistently high delivery rate. Working closely with all major Internet Service Providers, campaign management vendors, and consumer software developers,  they have created a clear best-practice procedure to help marketers e-mail effectively and responsibly.

In just one session you'll get clear, easy-to-understand information and advice about:

  • Delivery challenges and solutions for international marketers
  • How different authentication methods work and which will work best for you
  • Ways to combine authentication, reputation and accreditation for highest deliverability
  • How to protect yourself from spam filters, blacklists, unknown user rates, and complaint issues
  • Specific ways to guard your reputation in the e-mail world
  • How to fix mistakes that may be damaging your company's e-mail reputation

Michael Della Penna, CMO, Epsilon & Chair, DMA Council for Responsible Email (CRE)

Registration Fees:
DMA Members: US $149 - Non-Members: US $199

How to register
To register or for more information, go here.

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

Lyris Q4 2005 ISP Deliverability Report Card

According to Lyris' ISP Deliverability Report Card for Q4 2005, the combined average rate of gross email deliverability of permission-based email marketing messages for U.S. and European ISPs and ESPs rose by 2 percent from a rate of 87 percent in Q3 to 89 percent in Q4, while inbox deliverability rates also increased to a Q4 average of 87 percent.

With gross deliverability rates at 86 percent, deliverability for European providers continues to lag behind their U.S. counterparts with an average gross deliverability rate of 92 percent. However, European providers are improving deliverability more quickly, blocking 3 percent less email in Q4 compared to Q3, as opposed to U.S. providers which have improved deliverability only 1 percent in Q4.

An increase of false positive spam filtering by a single top European Union provider pushed the average for all false positive spam filtering from 1.2 percent to 2.6 percent in Q4.

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

Relevancy, Segmentation & Testing On Limited Resources

If you'd ask me what are my main priorities for 2006, I will answer you: relevancy, segmentation and testing. Neither of them are easy to accomplish, especially if you have limited resources.

Focusing on relevancy means that you first need to segment your database and then target each segment with a message that is relevant for that audience. Easier said than done. So I decided to do it in phases. Phase 1 will be about analysing the database and coming up with a number of relevant segments. So far I have come up with 7 fairly large segments.

Because I have limited resources and being an email marketer in Belgium means that you have to do everything in two languages, I will continue to target these segments with the same message for at least one quarter. This will give me a good idea about how each segment responds to my email campaigns and it will allow me to further refine these segments based on the data.

Phase 2 will be about defining the different messaging strategies per segment. I will gather input through surveys, research into the past behavior of each segment and analysis of campaign data. The last phase of this project will then be to implement differentiated messaging for all segments based on the learnings of phase 2 and 3.

And then there is testing. I've compiled a list of all the things I'd like to test and it's a long list. So I had to cut it down to those things that really have an impact on my company's revenues. First and foremost, I will focus on subject line testing. Simply because that has the most direct impact on our business: if my readers don't open the email, they won't even see the call-to-action, let alone respond to it. So step 1 is to increase open rates. Step 2 will be the optimization of the content and the call-to-actions. I will try different kinds of content combinations and calls-to-action to determine what works best for my audiences.

I'd be interested to hear what your main priorities are and how you plan to achieve them!

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

20 HTML Email Design Tips

Loren McDonald offers 20 HTML design tips in three key areas: format, functionality and usability. He covers issues that affect how your message appears, including coding, images, message width and file size.


  • Code emails by hand if you can.
  • Avoid nested tables.
  • Do not use canvas background images.
  • Host images on your Web site instead of embedding them in emails.
  • Avoid 1x1 pixel spacer gifs.
  • Avoid using Cascading Style Sheets.
  • Keep HTML Emails to 500 to 650 pixels wide.
  • Keep message file size under 100 KB.

Continue reading "20 HTML Email Design Tips" »

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