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47 entries from December 2007

UK Email Delivery Rates Continue to Fall

The UK Direct Market Association (DMA) has urged email marketers to focus more closely on deliverability after another drop in delivery rates in the second quarter of the year.

The group’s latest stats show that delivery rates fell to 68% for acquisition emails and 80% for retention emails in the period, continuing the drops seen in Q1.

Skip Fidura, deputy chair of the DMA’s Email Marketing Council, said:

   

“The first step in any marketing campaign is getting the message to the consumer. Regardless of how good the copy and creative are and how compelling the offer is, a campaign will fail if your target audience never sees the message. It’s therefore vital that email marketers place more importance on ensuring that a message reaches the inbox.”

The report points to reputation as the most important factor in deliverability, while list hygiene, content and authentication were also seen as significant. Yet it also found that tracking of delivery rates was low in some cases, with 22% of ESPs failing to monitor soft and hard bounces.

This echoes the findings of another recent Industry Census, which showed a lack of measurement in general among email marketers. Almost half of the firms that were surveyed, for example, did not know what their company’s Return on Investment from email marketing was.

To address the deliverability issue, the DMA report recommends that brands make more use of spam filter checks, ensure they have obtained all necessary permissions, maintain their list regularly and develop good ISP relations. Richard Gibson, chair of the Email Marketing Benchmarking Hub, added:

   

“The continued growth of email marketing is a clear demonstration of the effectiveness and ROI of email marketing. Clients are obviously seeing returns from email marketing and are budgeting for further increases in their marketing mix. However, to ensure its continued success, it is vital that email marketers make deliverability a priority."

Source: E-consultancy.com

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

Chad's takeaways from the Email Insider Summit

Chad White posted his takeaways from the Email Insider Summit on his excellent blog. Here are some of the highlights:

  • While sender reputation was, of course, much talked about, the newer angle was the effect of content links on deliverability. For instance, Craig Spiezle, director of online trust at Microsoft, said if you create a link to an IP address, [the email] is going to be blocked because that’s a known spammer tactic. “Just like you don’t want to look like a spammer, you don’t want your links to look like a phisher,” he said.
  • Dennis Dayman, director of deliverability, privacy and standards at StrongMail, told the story of a teen furniture and accessories retailer that was getting blocked by MSN/Hotmail because they used “teen” throughout their emails along with other key words that led Microsoft’s systems to suspect that their emails were pedophilia-related. He said it took six to eight weeks before the realized the issue and were able to get it resolved.
  • 8% of email users triage their email with handhelds, deleting spam and unimportant emails so when they get to a computer only the relevant emails remain, according to Daniels.

Continue reading here.

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

How Can Your Unsubscribe Process Boost the Performance of Your Email Marketing Program?

Lyris/EmailLabs just released a white paper called "Unsubscribing in 2007: Marketers Can Get More Out of Goodbye" based on their survey of unsubscribe policies and practices among email marketers.

The good news is that almost all are complying with best practices about giving customers the opportunity to unsubscribe from their mailings, making it easy to find and use the unsubscribe link and honoring that unsubscribe relatively expeditiously.

However, marketers can do so much more to learn about their customers from the unsubscribe process and to offer alternatives that would retain them as customers somewhere within their databases.

Here are some of their findings:

  • 96% of marketers include an unsubscribe link in their promotional emails but fail to include it in other critical contact points in customers, including email communications, including welcome emails, transactional and customer support messages or autoresponders.
  • More than three-quarters of marketers use an easy unsubscribe method, such as a one-click unsubscribe link or reply to the email message, and another 25% let sub scribers access a profile-update page without having to log in first.
  • Over half of marketers acknowledge the unsubscribe on the landing page, while less than a third send an email confirmation. Eleven percent of marketers either don’t acknowledge the unsubscribe or have language that says they might continue to mail to the address until the 10-day CAN-SPAM window closes.
  • Fewer than 20% of marketers use the unsubscribe confirmation to remind recipients about other communication options or seek valuable exit information.
  • The bottom of the message, the area commonly called the “footer,” is the most likely location for the unsubscribe instructions.
  • Marketers continue to use tricks to discourage users from unsubscribing.
  • Most marketers rely on their email list software to encode the unsubscribe mechanism without testing the program to make sure it’s working.
  • 83% of marketers act to prevent future mailings to unsubscribed addresses, while 14% only delete the data records.
  • 6 in 10 marketers offer only a global removal option for unsubscribers.
  • Fewer than one-third of marketers go beyond the standard “click here to unsubscribe” language to include options that add value to their unsubscribe messages.
  • 90% of marketers honor unsubscribe requests that come through alternative channels.
  • Most marketers use one- or two-click unsubscribe procedures, although 1 in 10 requires three clicks or more.

Download the white paper here and read what they recommend us to do.

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

Stephanie Miller's Top 5 Observations and Predictions for the Email Marketing Industry

Over on the Email Insider Summit blog Stephanie Miller (one of the industry thought leaders that I admire very much) posted her top five observations and predictions for the industry:

  1. Relevancy is key to success in email marketing.  As email marketing expands to include mobile distribution, social networking and multi-channel approaches, creating amazing subscriber experiences now includes not just pace and content but place.  We have more opportunity than ever and the technology is making it easier to tap multiple messaging channels to reach and engage with subscribers and prospects.

  2. Subscriber fatigue is real.  The bar is higher and we marketers need to step up and work harder to create compelling subscriber experiences.  Even outside of the horrible spam, our inboxes are too full of messages that do not speak to us as individuals.

  3. Sender reputation matters.  The ISPs and receivers are working harder than ever to battle the spammers, and legitimate senders still get caught in the trap.  There is still a lot of friction between marketers and ISPs/receivers, and marketers and government regulators.  We as an industry need to step up here to remove some of this friction. 

  4. Segmentation isn’t going far enough.  Stephanie was delighted to see how many more marketers are employing segmentation in 2007 than in 2006.  Bravo, bravo!  But the net effect for subscribers is still that too many programs feel generic.  We are not yet creating 1:many experiences that feel like 1:1 to our subscribers, and that is what is driving up fatigue and complaints and depressing response rates.

  5. List growth will come from well timed, short term email experiences, rather than one size fits all opt-ins.  Not every email experience has to be forever.  Instead, we marketers will be able to tap into the key moments of the customer lifecycle to create unique and powerful experiences when the customer is in market.  When the customer is not in market, we’ll send less email that focuses on relationship rather than transaction.

Thanks for sharing this wisdom with us, Stephanie! I really hope I can make it to the May edition of the Email Insider Summit.

Source: Email Insider Summit blog

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

links for 2007-12-12

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

Email Marketing Benchmark Guide: Main Findings

Yesterday I posted a link to the executive summary of MarketingSherpa's new Email Marketing Benchmark guide. Here's are some of the most interesting findings:

  • Inbox overload is the #1 concern of marketers. 
  • Lack of trust among recipients due to spam is their #2 concern. 
  • Only 2% of email marketers rate deliverability as their biggest challenge. 
  • Increasing trust is central to increasing open and conversion rates. 
  • Consumers judge companies they are familiar with less harshly than those that are new to them BUT if these companies cross a certain line, they become spammers in the eyes of their customers 
  • Positive reputation scores aren't necessarily a ticket to delivery, nor is the use of one or more authentication protocols. Content continues to play a role in filtering.
Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Content or Reputation: What's More Important?

In his latest blog post, Spencer Kollas says it depends.

"If you have a poor sender reputation it won't matter what your content looks like, because it probably won't get to your customer's inbox. On the other hand, if you have a good reputation, but your content is getting caught by every anti-spam software available, your customer still won't get your message."

Head over to Spencer's brand new blog and read what he recommends us to do.

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

Email Marketing Benchmark Guide: Executive Summary

Yesterday you could read on this blog that MarketingSherpa released the 2008 edition of their Email Marketing Benchmark Guide. Today they've made the executive summary available. Download it here.

Don't forget to sign up for the teleconference on December 19th in which Stefan Tornquist will present the main findings. Register here.

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

links for 2007-12-11

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

New Study Shows Shoppers Respond to Email Marketing

Say what you will about marketing solicitations clogging your e-mail inbox. A new study conducted by Endai Worldwide shows that marketing emails are surprisingly effective at doing what they are designed to do: Getting people to buy.

The survey revealed that over the past 12 months, 50% of men and women have made a purchase as a result of opening a marketing email solicitation. Over 50% of respondents said they couldn’t resist and even check their junk mail folders on a daily basis. Sixteen percent admitted to making a purchase from messages tagged as spam.

“We were very surprised by the results of this study,” says Michael Ferranti, CEO of Endai Worldwide, an international online advertising and marketing firm based in Manhattan. “It reinforces what we’ve believed at the gut-level all along, and that is that consumers will always be motivated to buy if the offer is appealing and customer-centric.”

Ferranti, whose firm only endorses email solicitations that are opted-in—in other words, the recipients agree to receive emails from the company—believes in the power of a well-crafted email message. He also says that the study indicates email marketing is most effective when the purchaser recognizes the sender’s name and the offer is appealing.

Indeed, almost 60% of purchasers cited a recognition of the sender’s name as the reason they clicked on the email to begin with. One quarter was most drawn to buy because the product offering was of interest to them. Recognition of the company or brand name mentioned in the email and an interesting subject line were also mentioned as draws that helped to close the sale. Over 21% of respondants indicated that the emails they open and buy from are about something they’re “specifically interested in.”

“A well-designed email marketing campaign should be in every company’s arsenal,” says Ferranti. “If a firm has had any doubts, this study should prove its overall effectiveness.” What’s more, Ferranti points out, when coupled with the relative low-cost of producing and distributing marketing emails (pennies on the dollar when compared to their snail-mail counterparts), online marketing is the most cost-effective way to market.

The online advertising and email marketing company quered 7,500 men and women just before the start of this year’s holiday buying season traditionally known to begin on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The company received a 90% response rate to the queries, which were sent as an email questionnaire.

Source: Rosica PR News

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

Email Insider Summit: David Daniels, Jupiter Media

Dylan posted his notes from David Daniels' session at the Email Insider Summit. Here are some highlights:

  • How are people spending time? Email 87%, Search 70%, Research 64%, Purchase 60%, IM 37%.
    These are the top activities by online consumers, not consumers in general.
  • The average person gets 274 emails a week in personal email.
  • 304 emails a week at work email.
  • 74% of people have 2 email accounts.
  • 8% triage emails with handheld devices. (Growing)
  • 18% of heavy email buyers use their mobile device to deal with emails prior to reading them in the inbox.
  • 26% of the inbox is opt in marketing campaigns, the other 74% of the emails are typical personal or business correspondence.
  • Why people opt out:
    53% of people unsub due to irrelevance.
    40% due to frequency
    26% unsub using this this is Spam or Junk button.

Read more here.

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

Email Insider Summit: Is Technology Good or Bad for the Industry?

On the Email Insider Summit blog, Stephanie Miller talks about a lively debate that occured at a panel in the morning.

"Moderator Matt Blumberg of Return Path asked if technology is helping or hurting email marketing - and in particular how the do not track registry would potentially restrict marketer’s ability to create relevancy. 

The panel reacted quickly with different opinions.  Jack Hogan, COO of LifeScript took a strong tack, advising marketers to match email subscriber files with web analytics.  “If your customers are not engaging online with your site or your brand, take them off your email file.”

Hal Brierley, founder of eMiles, was defending the FTC’s Do Not Track registry saying that marketers don’t need all that behavioral data to make good decisions about how to create relevant subscriber experiences.  He firmly defends the importance of self reported data.  “Being obsessed with data is not a good thing for marketers.”

David Daniels of Jupiter Research felt the opposite - and eloquently proposed that behavioral data is the single most powerful way to create relevancy.  Jack agreed.  Both felt that the benefits to consumers outweighed any privacy concerns.  If marketers use the data well, the result will be relevant experiences tied to consumer interest and behavior, making email and the web a better place. “We are helping consumers."

Continue reading here.

Matt Blumberg also talked about Facebook in another session.

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

2008 MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Guide

image Today, MarketingSherpa released the 2008 edition of its Email Marketing Benchmark Guide. According to the press release:

"the updated guide delivers exclusive results data from real-life marketers' campaigns. Containing 260-charts and tables, this is the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted with professional email marketers. Readers will learn how the impact of email marketing has changed over the past year and how to overcome various future challenges of email marketing."

You can buy the Email Benchmark Guide here ($347). As soon as I receive my hardcopy, I will post a review.

Results of the study will be previewed in a teleconference on December 19th. Register here.

Some early highlights reveal that more than a third of in-house emailers don’t have a separate line item in any budget for email marketing. More than two-thirds (68%) of the respondents who said they have no email marketing budget were companies who have more than 100 employees.

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

links for 2007-12-10

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

Study: Wednesday Afternoon Is the Most Active Time for Email

eROI has just completed their Q3 2007 email study.  Some highlights:

Day of Week:

  • Monday and Wednesday lead the way for users to open email.
  • The weekends, for the first time in over a year, are the low point.
  • Clicks on the other hand see spikes on Wednesday, Thursday and, the highest day of the week, Saturday (however, Saturday volume is so low it is incomparable to the rest of the week).

image

Time of Day:

  • Activity builds as the day moves on with Wednesday afternoon being the most active time for email.

Consumer Industries:

  • Retail (brick and mortar) companies bring up the rear with a 19% open rate and a 1.6% click rate. This is far from ideal.
  • Travel and Lodging is leading the pack with nearly 50% of all subscribers opening their email and almost 10% click on an email, this is great in anyone’s book, but especially so for a consumer-oriented list.

Download the full study here.

A word of caution though: just because a study says that you should send your emails on Wednesdays, don't just blindly follow this advice. Find out what the best day and time is for your business, you should run your own tests.

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

links for 2007-12-09

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

links for 2007-12-06

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