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86 entries from June 2007

Most Companies Will Have Difficultly Keeping Up With the Growing Complexity of Email

Have you received a significant pay raise lately? A new JupiterResearch study suggests that for the majority of email marketers, the answer may be yes.

The average amount companies spend on personnel for e-mail marketing hit $182,067 this year --up from $169,710 in 2005, the last time the company conducted the study-- and as part of that salaries are up, too, according to the report, Email Spending and Governance, 2007.

According to the study, which surveyed 630 marketing executives, salaries have increased from an average of $50,526 in 2005 to $63,547. Not surprisingly, companies with annual revenue of more than $500 million spend more, on average, for salaries, budgeting $406,403 for dedicated e-mail marketing staff. Companies with revenue under $500 million pay out an average of $135,065 in salaries.

What is surprising: B-to-b marketers pay better, with a combined yearly expenditure of $186,077 versus $157,462 for b-to-c marketers. And there are companies out there that are taking email marketing even more seriously. A fifth, or 21% of all companies surveyed, spend $200,000 or more on email marketing employees’ salaries.

Continue reading "Most Companies Will Have Difficultly Keeping Up With the Growing Complexity of Email" »

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Why Do You Need Permission?

In response to Stephanie Miller's article below, Matt Blumberg continues the conversation and questions whether permission is as relevant as it once was in terms of how ISPs, filters, and blacklists determine whether or not to block mail. This is what he says:

"The argument against permission as a relevant filtering criteria is more nuanced:

1. It doesn't matter if something is opt-out quadruple opt-in. Users think of spam as "email I don't want," not "email I didn't sign up for."  As Stephanie says, bad email I signed up for is even worse than unsolicited email in some ways.  And look at the other side of the argument as well:  would you really mind getting an unsolicited/unpermissioned email if the content or offer was highly relevant to you, e.g., you seriously consider clicking through on it?

2. Permission can be easily faked or loopholed. Companies can operate multiple web sites and email lists and gather addresses from multiple sources and then point to the one "proper permission site" and claim that's the origin of all the names on its list.  And companies can set up privacy policies in such a way that they can automatically opt users into multiple lists without the user's permission unless the user reads the fine print.

Continue reading "Why Do You Need Permission?" »

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Opt-In Doesn't Replace Relevancy

by Stephanie Miller

I spoke at both INBOX and Internet Retailer recently, and at both events heard smart marketers ask, "Why do readers unsubscribe, ignore or complain about my emails? They opted-in!"

The answer is that permission is not forever. Subscribers opt in and then promptly forget about their actions. Many marketers are not clear about what they will be sending, or at what frequency. That disconnect is real -- in fact, it's not unusual to see a high number of complaints and unsubscribes on a Welcome Message.

Nor is permission a panacea. Opt-in doesn't replace relevancy and keeping your promises.

To that end, here are a few key moments in the subscriber experience when permission should NOT be assumed:

  • When you add a new content set
  • When you launch a new product/press release, etc.
  • When you haven't emailed in a really long time (like more than 3 months)
  • When you "find" an old file that hasn't been used (maybe ever) - yes, this happens all the time!
  • When you've already sent more email this week/month than you promised.

Do you need to re-permission everyone just to send a press release or introduce a new type of email promotion/newsletter? Not necessarily.  

Continue reading "Opt-In Doesn't Replace Relevancy" »

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links for 2007-06-13

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You Can't Buy a Good Reputation, You Need to Earn It

According to Pivotal Veracity’s chief executive Deirdre Baird “The misconception around reputation is that for some reason people think they can buy it, or that paying someone will change it,” she said. “And that’s not the case.”

Reputation boils down to three primary metrics, she added. “This doesn’t mean other metrics are not in play, but there are three primary metrics most large ISPs use in establishing what your reputation is.”

They are the following:

  1. Spam complaint rate: the percentage of people complaining that that a marketer’s email is spam.
  2. Unknown user rate: The percentage of the mail going to email addresses that no longer exist.
  3. Hitting spam traps: ISPs often turn unused addresses into spam traps. Hit these, and there is going to be trouble.

“A spam trap is an email address that theoretically has not signed up for any email,” said Baird. “It’s posted on the Web somewhere. It’s out there on chat boards. If you email to it, it means you [or someone you’re doing business with] harvested that email address. It indicates, to be polite, lackluster customer acquisition policies.”

Continue reading "You Can't Buy a Good Reputation, You Need to Earn It" »

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International Email Deliverability: What You Don't Know Could Hurt You!

by Chip House

Internet service providers stateside have greatly developed and adapted their spam filtering tools and allowed more visibility to their inner-workings, with access to complaint feedback loops, friendly bounce messaging, whitelisting and sender support lines. The access to most ISPs around the globe, however, remains murky.

A threat lurking under the surface is the diverse international legal environment. Whereas some joke about our CAN-SPAM Act as being the “you can spam” act, some international laws have more teeth to them. Take the EU Privacy Directive, which specifies a required opt-in when mailing consumers. Australia also has an opt-in standard per their SPAM ACT 2003. Ignorance of your list make-up or opt-in policies could be a threat when sending to either locale. More details can be found at

Another trend is e-mail providers such as Yahoo, AOL (AIM), Hotmail and Google increasing their share of the global demand for personal e-mail, and in turn their mix of a typical global business-to-consumer list. One example would be Yahoo that also manages e-mail delivery for the SBC Global and Rogers Cable in Canada.

Continue reading "International Email Deliverability: What You Don't Know Could Hurt You!" »

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What is a Transactional Email and How Can You Use Them?

Transactional emails come in many shapes and forms and could be a very nice form of business for you, in many cases some of your best performing email.

Here are examples of transactional email:

  • Thank you emails after someone purchases from you.
  • Shipping notification of a product you sold.
  • Your confirmation email when a visitor signs up for your site.
  • Information about your customers rewards or points programs.
  • Your Privacy Policy changes.
  • Product feature changes or releases.
  • Warranty information, product recall information or safety or security information from a product or service you sell.
  • Any account balance information or statements to a subscription, membership, account, loan.
  • Product updates or upgrades, that your recipient needs to know about.

Continue reading "What is a Transactional Email and How Can You Use Them?" »

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How to Get More Out of Transactional Emails?

Question: I want to juice up our transactional emails so we can get some marketing mileage out of them, because they have a better open rate than our regular newsletters. What can I do that will keep them legal under CAN-SPAM?

Answer: Transactional emails represent an untapped resource because recipients look for them and open them more often, as you have said. You have some latitude to add some marketing content to emails sent to confirm a purchase, registration, bill payment or other transaction. But remember, the primary purpose of the email must be to provide the transactional information.

If half or more of the content is commercial, though, it tilts the balance from transactional to commercial, and CAN-SPAM rules would apply. In particular, you would need to add a working unsubscribe link and physical postal address, which is never a bad practice for any message, transactional or not.

Three tips:

  1. Add only 1 commercial element such as an opt-in invitation, a link to related or complementary purchases, or an offer to download a white paper.
  2. Place the commercial material in the bottom half of the message body so that the transactional element is clearly visible at the top of the email, in case the recipient reads the message in the preview pane.
  3. Make sure the subject line reflects the transaction, not the offers.

Source: EmailLabs

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3 Strategies to Find the Right Frequency

Research shows that over-mailing a list leads to apathy, unsubscribes or even spam reports.

Hitting the right frequency is a little bit art, a little bit science, and a whole lot of listening to and respecting the needs and wishes of your recipients.

But, it’s also a balancing act. On one hand, you don’t want to turn off your recipients by emailing too frequently. On the other, you need a permission grant that allows you to contact recipients between scheduled mailings without appearing to violate the original agreement.

In this article, Stefan Pollard lays out some of the principles that make email frequency a thornier issue than in traditional direct marketing and show you how to work out your own frequency equation.

Keep in mind: frequency isn’t just a function of how often you want or need to send your messages. It must incorporate how often your recipients want to hear from you.  Both are valid needs; how you balance them will determine whether your email program succeeds or flops.

Ask yourself this question: Do you send each email message because you have something new, urgent, timely or relevant to tell your recipients, or because you have to meet a publishing schedule?

Read the full article here.

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Do You Have a Good Contact Plan?

Without a good foundation and a strong plan, your program will fall apart no matter how hard you try. One of the key components to a strong foundation is building a sound contact plan.

When building your contact plan, think strategically before you begin. Ask yourself: Who are you customers and what do they value? How can email support this? And what makes this channel unique from my other online and offline touchpoints? Then think about how your customers buy. What does their consideration cycle look like? What information do they need along the way to make decisions and ultimately act?

Once you've answered these questions. you can start constructing your plan.

Continue reading "Do You Have a Good Contact Plan?" »

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Editorial Calendars for Email Campaigns

When you are planning the long-term goals for your email marketing campaign, consider the frequency of your messaging and prepare an editorial calendar.

Editorial calendars, when planned correctly, allow you to get an overall view of the year and will provide enough insight to make changes and adjustments to your planned sends. You also have the ability to lay out your testing plan, approval dates and deadlines for content.

Let's discuss a hypothetical email newsletter that is scheduled to be sent on the Third Wednesday of each month. As straight forward as it seems, when it's laid out on a calendar, you may find that you need to make small adjustments to your send days. For example, the third Wednesday in November is the day before Thanksgiving. This is not the best day to send an email newsletter. On one of the busiest travel days of the year, you can assume that at a good portion of your subscribers will be traveling and your email may end up buried in the inbox.

By planning your editorial calendar in advance you can see early on that the November send should move to the second Wednesday in November. Content due dates, testing and approvals can all be adjusted accordingly to remove the potential for the fire drill that may have occurred without proper preparation.

Source: EmailMarketingVoodoo

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links for 2007-06-08

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

Harvesting Email Addresses? BAD IDEA!

Email address harvesting is the practice of obtaining email addresses without permission. The most sinister form of harvesting is done by computer programs that search public areas of the Internet to compile and capture lists of email addresses from Web pages, newsgroups, chat rooms and elsewhere online.

However, you also are engaging in address harvesting when you put a fishbowl in your trade show booth and then add all those addresses to your email list.

Often marketers that are just starting an email program will harvest email addresses in order to build their list. This is not a good idea for a number of reasons:

1. Harvested addresses are not permission-based, and therefore are considered spam. Always remember that spam is in the eye of the receiver. Just because people put their business cards in a fishbowl doesn’t mean they will recognize your email, which will result in spam complaints and possibly being blacklisted by ISPs. In the worst-case scenario, you run the risk of being fined for violating the CAN-SPAM law, even if your email is legitimate.

2. You are likely to get caught. When harvesting addresses from the Web, it’s likely you will harvest “honeypot addresses.” These addresses are hidden on Web pages. When email is sent to a honeypot address, your IP address is captured and placed on a blackhole list. ISPs and corporate email administrators use these lists to block email messages.

3. Federal CAN-SPAM law imposes stiff penalties on spammers who use harvested lists. Federal law authorizes fines of $100 for every attempted transmission of a spam message containing false or misleading transmission information. Damages increase threefold per incident if a victim’s email address was harvested from a public Web site.

Bottom line, marketers should stick to what works and what they are good at: building great opt-in lists. Leave harvesting to those who are good at it: farmers.


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