I've been invited to give a presentation at an email marketing conference in Stockholm this Thursday. If you can read and understand Swedish, you can find more details here. Otherwise, you'll just have to wait until I get back so I can give you an update :-) Any Swedish people reading this blog by the way? If you happen to attend the conference, come say hi to me.
46 entries from February 2007
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Identify where you can improve your email newsletter:
Frequency: Are you bombarding your customers with too many emails? This is a common problem where you have seen response rates drop over a period of time.
Content: Are your offers and articles appealing enough? How does your content compare to the competition?
Relevancy: This is the biggest problem with most email newsletters and another reason why you may see results drop over time. If the emails you send through have nothing relevant for a recipient why would they click-through? Relevancy can be resolved in a number of ways including: sending to segments of your database each time rather than the whole list, using past email behavior to determine interest and using tailored content blocks or dynamic content.
MarketingSherpa asked people who use email clients such as Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, EarthLink, Outlook Express and Gmail how they view their email. Turns out 26.6% use preview panes (instead of look at your whole email) and 59% routinely block images.
A new survey of 1,500 marketing professionals by Datran Media reports that, while sixty percent of consumers who make immediate purchases from email messages did so because messages contained products they were already considering, only one-third of promotional email marketers said relevance was one of their top-three goals.
The study quotes Jupiter Research Vice President and Lead Analyst David Daniels, as saying, in the Jupiter report ROI of Relevance, "Despite additional campaign costs, relevant campaigns increase net profits by an average of 18 times more than do broadcast mailings."
What happens to our emails when images are blocked? What are the best practices for ensuring accessibility and optimizing presentation therein? What are default settings for the different client and desktop email clients?
Campaign Monitor's Mark Wyner answers these questions in his article "Image Blocking in Email Clients: Current Conditions and Best Practices".
In this article, Stefan Pollard explains how to address issues with blocklists, how to resolve them, and how to restore both your sender reputation and delivery rates.
How do you know if you're on a blocklist?
The fastest way is to use a blocklist checker that queries multiple lists at once. Many e-mail service providers (ESPs) give their clients tools, sometimes through partnerships with reputation companies, to check if they're currently listed. These include EmailAdvisor's Blacklist Monitor, Return Path's Sender Score, and Habeas' RepCheck.
If you find your sending IPs or domains listed, you should also find a link to the blocklist, where you can look for evidence for the listing. Monitoring your bounce logs can also turn up block messages, which often provide the blocklist name and URL.
Continue reading here to find out what you need to do to get off a blocklist.
In this article Justin Curtis suggests that you should think of your email template as a user interface. Users, over time, will become familiar with the way your interface functions. By staying consistent, users will be able to quickly navigate to the things that are of interest to them. Continue reading here.
In this white paper called "Discount Laddering", WhatCounts' Justin Foster explains how to build a business case to develop or enhance an email marketing segmentation strategy based on recency of purchase.
Measuring how purchase recency across the subscriber base affects conversion rate and total revenue produced can provide important clues marketers can use to build behavior-based email marketing programs.
As the recency of a subscriber’s last purchase becomes more distant (i.e. further in the past) it can become more and more “expensive” to sell to the customer. Discount laddering is one approach marketers can use to incite repeat purchases from customers that would otherwise not convert.
The key distinction between direct online marketing and conversion marketing campaigns is the focus of each message. Direct marketing efforts center the focus on the product, while conversion marketing focuses primarily on the recipient. “Buy this item now”, versus “You will find what you are looking for here.”
Once we make that distinction, the way we measure the results clearly changes. For direct marketing campaigns, the first 48 hours are crucial in evaluating the success of a campaign based on its open and click rates.
For conversion marketing on the other hand, the time span we are monitoring increases. We become interested in things like customer satisfaction, repeat visits and total number of purchases. (Excess Voice 2007)
The majority of the results of direct marketing campaigns can be measured 24 - 48 hours after a launch. Measuring the success of a direct marketing effort boils down to the bare numbers. They are deliverability percentages, open rates, and click through rates. And perhaps most important of all, it is the cost of the effort versus your return of investment (ROI).
Even if only one person opens your campaign, clicks through to your site and spends $100 on a campaign that cost you $25, you have a successful direct marketing campaign; your ROI outweighs the cost.
Ryan from eROI attended a deliverability workshop a couple of days ago and says he learned a lot more than he expected. Guest speaker at the event was Brian Holdsworth, product planner for Microsoft Hotmail. Here are a couple of highlights on what he talked about:
- Over 50% of email browser use is MS Outlook
- MS Outlook and Windows LiveMail (formerly Hotmail) represent 600 million people / users in the world. Microsoft expects this to climb to 1 billion in the next few years.
- Of the 4 billion emails per day that Hotmail processes, 90% is spam. Much of this is image spam, and spam generated from botnets and zombies.
Interestingly enough there seem to be some communication barriers within Microsoft. The Outlook team makes major changes/shifts every 3 years, and for Outlook 2007, they are moving to a content rendering engine built in MS Word instead of the natural choice of Internet Explorer. Microsoft's deliverability found out about this at the same time the general public saw the press release a couple weeks ago - and he doesn't know why this decision was made by the Outlook team.
In this article Anne Holland suggests to focus on the email test that will give the biggest bang for your buck. Here are her top two suggestions for testing landing pages and email:
1) Test headline copy. And once you have picked the perfect wording for your offer or newsletter lead article headline, don't get creative with it. Keep the exact same words in your subject line, email headline, and landing page. That way the recipient's flicking, restless eye will immediately see clear visual cues that he is in the right place.
This may not be easy because you have a different amount of space in each -- especially short subject lines vs. possibly longer landing page headlines. But if you use the exact same words as the foundation of each, you'll probably get better results than if you had not.
2) Remove distractions. Pare your landing page to as few visually distracting items as possible so that each person who clicks through will focus on the path you want him to take. This may mean eliminating extra columns, sacrificing spare navigational bars or buttons, and cutting unrelated graphics. The fewer distractions, the more chance visitors will spend more time on the page.
If you have a hotlink on a landing page, an ad, or anything else that's not what the visitor clicked through to see, then it should be there for a specific reason. And if it's there for a specific reason you should be measuring its value. Does your organization make more money in the long run if that extra element is there?
Read the full article here and find out how to run these tests if your web department can't help you. She offers some really great tips (like using blogging and survey tools as low-cost alternatives)!
Dylan Boyd assembled a collection of the best and worst email campaigns that he received in his inbox, and presented them on his blog for you to review.
He judged these campaigns based on the following criteria:
1. Design - you only have 2-3 seconds to make an impact
2. Calls to Action - are they clear and above the fold?
3. Concise - too much copy confuses the recipient to know what you want them to do
4. Organization of copy, images and navigation.
If you're looking for a template for your newsletter you might want to have a look at this website.
INBOX 2007 will run May 31 - June 1 at the San Jose Marriott in San Jose, CA. INBOX has been acquired by Jupitermedia. The conference team will remain the same.
A preview of the conference program is available here. The Conference tracks have been reorganized around these 4 themes:
- Messaging, Collaboration, Social Media
- Security, Privacy, Compliance
- Infrastructure and Operations
- CRM and Marketing
How do you grow your in-house list and deliver messages that prompt sales? In this article, Ken Burke offers these 10 tactics to increase your email marketing effectiveness:
1. Give email sign-ups pride of place.
2. Integrate email sign-ups into the purchase process.
3. If you’re a multichannel merchant, use offline opportunities to drive online sign-ups.
4. Seal the deal with incentives and reassurance.
5. Promote a bonus incentive, such as a discount on the next purchase, to enlist new subscribers.
6. Offer prize contests and incentivized refer-a-friend campaigns.
7. Reassure shoppers that they won’t get more than they bargained for.
8. Provoke continuing interest with tailored, timely offers.
9. Segment your list by asking customers to select their interests and frequency.
10. Track email list subscribers who create wish lists, save items for later or abandon shopping carts, and contact them with offers.
You don’t need to parse reams of demographic data or manage dozens of custom campaigns to use your email list effectively. Using these simple but nuanced tactics, you’ll soon attract new subscribers—and more revenue.
By Neil Schwartzman, Return Path
I was at Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) conference this week and, as always, it was very interesting. Most enlightening was a conversation that George Bilbrey and I had with the head anti-spammer at a large receiving site. His sighed at one point and said, "Senders need to quit whining. We are busy fighting spam here!" While I thought it might not be a particularly politically correct or even polite thing to say, perhaps it is a message that needs to be relayed to senders.
The botnet situation is at a crisis point. If the receiving sites don't put all their resources into shoring up the defenses, there may well not be receiving sites to deliver to.
Perhaps marketers could take a look at the volumes they send, and scroll back. We know that targeted email works better anyway. As Seth Godin says, "Small is the new big." Sending targeted messages to a small, but more responsive, list is going to yield better ROI for marketers and help alleviate ISP overload. Talk about a win-win.
In this article, Vistaprint's Trynka Shineman explains how you can drive first-purchase conversions and increase repeat purchases through transactional emails.
"Using transactional emails to cross sell and to offer benefits when the open rates are known to be high is a perfect way to get your message across, create loyalty and make the customer aware of other things you have to offer.", she says.
Here's what she suggests:
1. Introduce relevant offers. Cross selling a complementary product in order-confirmation emails is one example. Reminding customers who have abandoned baskets to complete their transaction is another example.
2. Create promotions or triggers tied to a specific customer behavior. Examples of created events/triggers (in addition to required password reminder/order/shipping confirmation emails) are expiring customers' baskets, a one-year anniversary and backordered items back in stock.
3. Pay attention to deliverability. Not only are these e-mails a great marketing tool, but they are critical for customer satisfaction and retention.
4. Use HTML instead of text format. Images provide a vehicle to showcase products and draw attention to offers. It also allows the information to be structured in an efficient way, including positioning your logo and offers to create a strong call to action while the primary purpose of the e-mail is kept intact.
She finishes by saying that you should "take advantage of the opportunities presented in transactional e-mails. It's a perfect way to deliver value and relevant messages to the customers you've already worked so hard to secure."
In this article, Bob Hale answers the question "What is the role of email and who should own it?". This is what he says:
Media should be grouped by primary objective. Because email is generally sent to elicit a response, it should be a part of the larger direct marketing program. When it's closely tied to the direct marketing arm of an organization, outgoing email can be managed as one part of a fully integrated initiative, including direct mail, telemarketing and other efforts.
Bottom line? Email can be a powerful marketing tool, but it needs to be held to similar communication and analytics standards as direct mail. As one more tool in the one-to-one marketing arsenal, email goals, timing and response data should be coordinated and aggregated with other parts of the plan.
By applying sophisticated analytics across all media, marketers can create and learn from more effective multichannel campaigns. Segregating email marketing from the direct marketing group can result in weaker campaign results, message inconsistency, lost time and the inability to maximize the overall budget.
Paradise Pens uses brick-and-mortar incentives to gather email addresses. Find out how they avoid customers from opting out after receiving the first or second email. And read what they did when the names they were emailing suddenly started clicking the junk button. Read the case study here (open access until Feb. 19th).
MailChimp's Ben Chestnut tells the story of one of their customers whose bounce rate went through the roof on one email campaign. Why? The message was nothing but one big graphic and AOL just blocked the campaign for that reason...