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March 2007

46 entries from February 2007

Help Me, Help You: Take My Reader Survey

I noticed that Return Path put up a reader survey on their blog recently and I thought: hey, what a great idea! So I decided to do the same - I even stole a couple of their questions because they were so good :)

Take the survey today and tell me what you think about this blog. It will only take you a couple of minutes to complete and I promise to share the results with you on my blog.

Take me to the survey now!

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

What Makes People Open and Read Email?

Return Path's Third Annual Holiday Survey found once again that subscribers love email, they even want more email. But they don't make time for email that isn't relevant.

What makes people open and read email? According to the survey the top factor is "prior value" - that a previous email had been interesting to them. Email is not a series of transactions, it's a relationship.

Sign up for this free webinar to hear Return Path's Stephanie Miller explain the results of the survey. She'll offer practical ideas for improving your own subscriber experience – which is key to driving higher response, more revenue and better customer engagement.

She'll be joined by a panel of top-tier marketers talking about how the survey results compare with their results this holiday season.

Date: Wednesday, February 21st
Time: 2pm ET / 1pm CT / 12pm MT / 11am PT / 8pm CET

Sign up here.

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

What's the Impact Of Image Rendering on Your Email Campaign?

Want to know the answer to these questions?

1. I already get a test message from my [designer/agency/esp/design-software] and review it before I mail. I don’t understand what all the hoopla is about — isn’t what I see what my customers will see?

2. Doesn’t my [Agency, Designer, ESP] already QA my email in the various email readers for me?

3. Are images “off” by default in every email reader/client?

4. I was told using Goodmail turns my images on everywhere. Is this true?

5. Some third-party companies offer you the ability to get “white listed” and thus say the images render. Is this true?

6. Do I have to pay somebody in order to view what my email looks like in the various email readers?

7. If images are off, doesn’t the text version of my email show?

8. If images are off, do ALT-TAGs always show?

9. Our email design software already has a built-in HTML Validator. Isn’t this good enough?

10. Why all the hoopla about the preview pane — is it important?

11. Does my design affect my delivery, reputation, and/or ROI?

Read the answers here!

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

Email Spending is on the Rise

Seventy-one percent of marketers plan to increase spending on e-mail acquisition campaigns, and 63% plan to increase spending on e-mail retention efforts, according to results from what is being characterized as an "informal survey" of 1,500 marketing executives by Datran Media, a performance marketing company.

In addition, the respondents ranked e-mail optimization techniques, including landing pages, subject line testing and triggered messaging, as "very important."

The survey was conducted online with follow-up by phone.


Read more here.

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

US E-mail Marketing Consumer Survey

Jupiterresearch released a new report this week called "US E-mail Marketing Consumer Survey - E-mail Marketing Attitudes and Behavior". Here the executive summary and the key questions that it answers:

Forty-three percent of e-mail users believe signing up for permission-based e-mail from retailers and banks leads to more unsolicited e-mail, while nearly one-third believe the unsubscribe button in e-mail offers does not work.

Despite such attitudes signaling an erosion of confidence, nearly one-half of online users opting in to receive e-mail marketing messages have been influenced to make purchases from them.

Increasing e-mail volumes, changes in composition of messages in the inbox, and use of secondary e-mail accounts will continue to challenge marketers to cut through the clutter.

Key questions that are answered in this report:

  • How many consumers purchase from e-mail marketing messages, and how many messages do they receive?
  • Which types of messages are consumers most interested in receiving?
  • How much confidence and trust do consumers have in e-mail marketing messages?

You can purchase the report here.

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

Survey Reveals Chronic Lack of ROI Measurement

A survey of UK email marketers has found that almost half of companies are failing to track their return on investment from email.

The Email Marketing Industry Census 2007, published by E-consultancy in association with Adestra, surveyed more than 500 in-house and agency respondents across different industry sectors.

The overriding and most worrying finding is that 47% of in-house marketers are not measuring how much revenue their email campaigns are making despite a high level of investment in this channel.

The Census also found that, on average, companies are spending a fifth of their online marketing budget on Email Marketing (second only to website spend).

But despite this high level of investment, 81% of email marketers say they are not using email marketing as effectively as they can, compared to only 13% who are.

Continue reading "Survey Reveals Chronic Lack of ROI Measurement" »

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Matt Blumberg Talks About Email Reputation - Podcast

For his 112th podcast interview, Eric Mattson (an American marketer living in Stockholm) doubled-back to chat again with Matt Blumberg of Return Path. In the first interview last year, they chatted about feeds, email marketing mistakes and his entrepreneurial advice. This time, they delved into the realm of email reputation - what it is, why it's important and how to manage it.

Click here to listen to the podcast (mp3).

He's done a couple more interesting email marketing-related podcasts, make sure to check them out.

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

Net-a-Porter Ups Conversion Rate After Cutting Email Activity

Online luxury fashion retailer has cut down the number of emails it sends to customers from up to 10 per week to two. The company had been emailing some customers up to 10 times a week with information including generic updates, highlights from specific designers and details of new products.

They now send each user two automatically generated emails a week that take into account their specific interests and preferences. Product update emails achieve a conversion rate of more than 10% and newsletter emails are opened by nearly half of recipients.

The company sends out around 300,000 emails a week. Email drives 32% of Net-a-Porter's sales and generates more than £1m in revenue each month.


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

Four Strategies to Have Great Relationships with ISPs

ISPs are trying to protect themselves from cold-hearted spammers that have threatened to break their networks and to render email useless for everyone. Good deliverability is the result of good relationships, both with your recipients and with the ISPs who deliver their mail. ISPs are telling you all the time what they think about your email marketing practices, but you need to pay attention.

In this article, Wendy Roth offers four tips to have great relationships with the ISPs and ensure deliverability.

1. Clean up your act
ISPs will be monitoring if your list hygiene stinks and your bounce rate is high. A high bounce rate occurs for several reasons, none of them good. For legitimate marketers, the most typical reason for a high bounce rate is neglect. If a sender neglects to scrub the list of bouncing addresses, the bounce percentage will increase over time. Sometimes, this neglect is due to inaccurate reporting or poor bounce-management by their email marketing software.

But more often, the failure to remove bounces lies squarely on the shoulders of the list owner who resists anything that reduces the size of their list. Bouncing addresses may also be addresses that were never any good to begin with. If users on your website need to register with an email address, they may provide a bogus one if they don't trust that you'll respect their mailing preferences. Some ISPs have identified what they consider to be a high bounce-rate. AOL considers a 10 percent bounce rate excessive, but I have seen mail blocked by other ISPs for much lower bounce rates. A frequently mailed and well maintained list will have a bounce rate in the low single digits.

Continue reading "Four Strategies to Have Great Relationships with ISPs" »

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

Email by the Numbers

In this article, Jeanne Jennings says that the success of your email campaigns is driven by strategies based on solid metrics. You should take a numbers-based approach to prove your current theories, to forecast, or to prioritize your testing focus. You'll find results can be pretty compelling and very addictive. And they just may uncover something new.

Read the full article in which she shares some great lessons learned.

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

How Would You Rank Your Organization's Use of Email Marketing?

Last week, MarketingSherpa's Anne Holland had the honor of meeting a top email vendor's Client Advisory Board. Everyone in the room was a head of email marketing from a well known company, including B-to-B and famous consumer brands.

At the start of their meeting the organizers asked each of them to introduce themselves and say how they ranked their organization's use of email on a scale from 1 to 10. And guess what? No one ranked their company as high as a '10'. Nor even a 9 or an 8. Most felt they were anywhere from 1-5.

Why were some of the top emailers in the world dissing their own programs? Because we all know what can be done with email, and we're nowhere near that glory yet...

Everyone around the table agreed that "the challenge is execution" -- mainly on the IT & staffing side of email marketing.

Read the article here.

I can totally relate to that, especially the staffing part. It's one thing to say that you should segment your database and send relevant messages to each segment and it's another to actually go ahead and do it -- especially if you're just one person handling everything from strategy to content to design to send. There's no way one person can handle all of that. And believe me, I know what I'm talking about...

So how would I rate my organization's use of email marketing? Hmmm... I'm afraid I can't give a high rank either. I'd say we're a 3. Why? Because our email platform is downright pre-historic and we're not good at best practice sharing among the different teams. My major frustrations are the fact that we can't do subject line testing or any other testing for that matter (unless we do it manually but remember the staffing issue?), no easy way to do dynamic content, building campaigns takes up too much time, we need to work on deliverability...

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

Refer a Friend Benchmark Study

Email Experience Council's Chad White recently reviewed several email newsletters each from 103 of the top online retailers that he tracks to see which included refer-a-friend (RAF) links in their emails. Only three did.

The 3% of the sample that uses RAF stands in sharp contrast to the 44% that use send-to-a-friend (STAF) programs (according to Chad White's Send to a Friend Benchmark Study), another customer acquisition tool that relies on existing customers. Unlike STAF, which forwards a newsletter along to a friend, RAF programs send an email that introduces the friend to the retailer.

The Refer a Friend Benchmark Study looks at the unique way in which each of three retailers implemented their program, and also addresses several areas of concern with these RAF programs—namely, a lack of attention to privacy issues, ease-of-use problems, limited integration into email campaigns, and concerns with adherence to the JumpStart ruling.

You can read the executive summary and purchase the study here.

In addition to releasing the Refer a Friend Benchmark Study, Chad also published a reportlet on special holiday email series.

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

Are You Having Problems Delivering Mail To AOL?

In this article, Al Iverson talks about what causes AOL delivery problems and how to fix them.Basically, there are three primary things that cause delivery issues when sending mail to AOL:

  1. You're not whitelisted,
  2. Your bounce handling is broken, or you're not looking at bounces; or
  3. You're generating too many complaints or too many bounces.

1. You're not whitelisted.
Fix that! Go here. Read it. Agree to the terms. Fill out the form. Work through this simple process and AOL will respond with a yay or nay. If yay, you're on track to be exempted from some of their basic spam filtering. This will resolve some of your issues, potential or actual. If nay, see steps two and three below, as they're probably preventing you from getting whitelisted.

To get whitelisted, you need to make sure you're mailing from an IP address that is being used just for your mail. If you're small enough to share a sending IP address with other people sending mail, you're not really a sender. You're a customer of a sender. Whoever owns, maintains, or supports that IP address should be filling out the whitelist form on your behalf.

Continue reading "Are You Having Problems Delivering Mail To AOL?" »

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

Study on Consumer Attitudes Toward Email and Postal Direct Mail

I found this one through Hendry Lee's blog:

Journal of Interactive Advertising has published an academic paper studying email and postal direct marketing. Here are the hypotheses drawn from this study:

  • Consumers are likely to find spam more intrusive than direct mail.

  • Ad intrusiveness caused by a) spam; b) postal direct mail negatively correlates with attitudes toward the advertising technique.
  • The level of perceived loss of control by consumers will be greater for spam than direct mail.
  • Perceived loss of control mediates the relationship between ad intrusiveness caused by spam and ad irritation.
  • Consumers are likely to experience a higher level of advertising irritation from spam than direct mail communications.
  • The degree of advertising irritation caused by a) spam; b) postal direct mail is negatively correlated with attitudes toward the advertising technique.

For methods of measurements, refer to the paper for details.

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

Seven Ways to Be Mistaken for a Spammer

1. Ignoring "unsubscribe" requests.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you don't stay on top of your "unsubscribe" requests, you might get an unwanted surprise from a frustrated user who gets your newsletter once too often -- getting dropped into the spam bucket of his or her email service.

2. List "repurposing."
Recycling customer email lists may be handy to the marketing department, but it could hurt your business in the end. And sharing addresses with your sister company counts, too. Symantec's Fubini says he's seen cases where a company builds up a mailing list for one product and decides to just apply that mailing list to a new, unrelated product, which can cause problems. You have to ask whether the customer really wants to hear about this second product, he says.

3. Providing unclear privacy checkbox instructions, and ignoring users' responses.
If a box is pre-checked to opt in, that may appear suspicious and unprofessional. And if the opt-out instructions are confusing or unclear, you could turn users off -- and potentially get into hot water.

Continue reading "Seven Ways to Be Mistaken for a Spammer" »

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

Using Email Marketing For Customer Lifecycle Campaign Management

"Acquire. Convert. Grow. Retain. Reactivate. These should be the objectives of your email strategy at different stages of the customer lifecycle. You start out with a welcoming campaign with a new customer. You nurture them with loyalty campaigns and grow them with cross-sell and upsell campaigns. You improve the lifecycle and avoid quick drop-offs."

I read the above in an article on the DM News. I very much believe in sending highly targeted email campaigns that reach customers at perfectly timed moments in their own unique lifecycles -- all automated of course. But I also know from experience that it's not easy to get there. You need to have good insights into the behaviour of the different segments in your user base, be able to translate these insights into actionable campaigns, have access to web behavioural data that you can integrate with your existing data in your database...

Just don't get frustrated or overwhelmed by this. Just take one step at the time, work together closely with the person responsible for customer insights and know that you can ask more than 600 fellow email marketers on the email roundtable for advice if you get lost!


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

Becoming A Member Of The EEC

Eec_certseal_grey_highres69 There. I've done it. I'm now officially a member of the eec! The eec (email experience council) is a global professional organization that strives to enhance the image of email marketing and communications, while celebrating and actively advocating its critical importance in business, and its ROI value.

Being a member means I now have access to all their reports - for free. I can also participate in their roundtables on topics such as deliverability and rendering, list growth and engagement, developing "web standards" for email and lots more...

If you interested in joining the EEC as well, click here.

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

MarketingSherpa's Email Marketing Summit: Who Wants To Join Me?

Yesterday night I registered for MarketingSherpa's Email Marketing Summit in Miami on March 4-6th. If any of you will attend this event, let me know, I'd love to meet you!

I still have to find a decent hotel room -- preferably one that costs less than $150 and comes without bugs ;-) so if anyone has a good recommendation, let me know as well!

There are 3 Belgians attending the summit (as far as I know), so if you're from Belgium (or the Netherlands) and you're going to the summit, let's hook up.

Tip: both the EEC and the Email Roundtable discussion group are organizing private meetings for their members at the Summit so you can do some networking! I still need to sign up for an EEC membership, need to make a note of that...

Email me at tamara [at] b2bemailmarketing [dot] com or leave a comment to this post. I'd love to hear from you!

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