E-mail marketing company Constant Contact Inc. drastically boosted revenue but stopped short of achieving profitability in its 2008 second quarter.
Please take 5 to 10 minutes to answer Sherpa's annual Email Benchmark Guide Survey. In a few weeks, you'll get a Highlights Report featuring new data charts. Plus, you'll be invited to attend their annual Research Results Teleconference Presentation (complimentary).
Stefan Pollard is "getting a little impatient these days with e-mail marketers who gripe about ISPs that block or filter their e-mail messages or blame their lousy delivery rates on not understanding how ISPs operate."
"more information over on the AOL Postmaster blog about the upcoming conversion of the AOL FBL to ARF only. Specifically, she provides instructions for how to read the FBL emails in different email clients."
"After publishing a list of top resources on HTML email design, it's only fair to turn attention to the text-only format."
36 entries from August 2008
Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!
MarketingSherpa is moving to new offices this month and would like to reduce the amount of boxes they have to move so they decided to offer a 30% discount on ANY MarketingSherpa Report, Handbook or Guide. Check them out here.
According to MarketingSherpa these are the best selling ones, so you might want to get hold on one of these:
- 2008 Email Marketing Benchmark Guide (only 12 copies left)
This offer is valid for 72 hours only, starting at 8am EST on August 13th.
Ken Magill's take on the Habeas acquisition by Return Path. Interesting read...
Google apologizes on their blog for the outage on Monday, Aug 11.
I would like to commend the folks over at MarketingProfs for the elegant and effective footer they have set up and suggest it as a model for you.
The right message to the right person is only the right message to the right person if it arrives at the right time. So email marketing has always posed the million dollar question, "What is the right time to send my email?"
MailChimp scanned over 234 million emails and calculated average open rates, average click rates, average soft bounces, average hard bounces, and average abuse complaint rate by industry.
MailChimp scanned over 218 million emails and calculated average open rates, average click rates, average soft bounces, average hard bounces, and average abuse complaint rate by company size.
DMNews is seeking submissions for its upcoming 2008 Essential Guide to E-mail Marketing, which will be available at the DMA08 show in Las Vegas in mid-OctoÂber, and published as a supplement to its October 27 issue.
To help you make the most of your welcome, the EEC added a Welcome Message Checklist to their email checklist series. The checklist offers a collection of ideas that you can easily apply to your own message style.
Matt Vernhout writes a plea to email marketers... check it out!
how do we represent incremental gains to the business and attribute these to the email channel? David Baker prefers to answer this never-ending question with a few more questions and observations...
United sent out a clever email marketing campaign asking the recipients to add United's From Address to their address books. Check it out!
This article by Ken Magill made me laugh this morning, especially this part:
I’d like to propose The E-Crapper Index. The idea behind this index is that as mobile devices become more mainstream, the percentage of people who say they’ve engaged in a specific Internet activity while on the pot is directly proportional to how integral it is to their lives.
Here's the full article:
Internet searches are quickly catching up with e-mail as consumers’ top online activity, according to a recent report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
The percentage of Internet users who perform online searches on a typical day has risen steadily from about one-third in 2002 to 49%, according the Pew report.
“With this increase, the number of those using a search engine on a typical day is pulling ever closer to the 60% of Internet users who use e-mail, arguably the Internet’s all-time killer app, on a typical day,” said the report.
Can you say: “bullsh*t?”
Though search may be catching up from a used-on-a-typical-day standpoint, the Pew report would be more accurate if it focused on people’s usage during a typical day.
Take AOL’s recent “E-mail Addiction Survey,” for example.
According to the world’s fastest-failing Internet service provider, 46% of e-mail users surveyed said they’re hooked on e-mail, up from 15% last year, and 51% said they check their e-mail four or more times a day, up from 45% in 2007.
Also, 20% of e-mail users said they check their e-mail more than 10 times a day, according to AOL.
Twenty three percent said they check e-mail as soon as they wake up, according to AOL.
Of those surveyed, 59% said they have checked e-mail in the bathroom—up from 53% last year—67% said they check e-mail in bed, 50% said they check e-mail while driving—up from 37% last year—and 38% said they check e-mail in business meetings. .
Can Google claim that kind of bathroom usage? Well, can it?
While the idea that digital material will replace all things print would seem to be a little overblown—I’ve always said that as long as there are men and bathrooms, there will always be printed reading material—the constant improvement of handheld devices certainly raises the stakes.
As more and more people are able to comfortably surf the Internet with their phones, it’s a safe bet the percentage of men heading into bathrooms with newspapers, magazines or books tucked under their arms will drop—particularly at work, where the printed matter is an advertisement to co-workers that we’re going in to do a fairly long No. 2.
As a result, I’d like to propose The E-Crapper Index. The idea behind this index is that as mobile devices become more mainstream, the percentage of people who say they’ve engaged in a specific Internet activity while on the pot is directly proportional to how integral it is to their lives.
While bathroom-media consumers may increasingly read articles and books on electronic devices while on the pot, it’s difficult to imagine online searching will ever overtake e-mail from an E-Crapper Index standpoint.
Chad White shares some takeaways from a conference he recently attended. These are my favorites:
>>Timelife.com has improved email capture over the phone by moving email collection up in the script, changing the wording of the request, and changing the response if customers ask why they want their email address, saying it’s to send them order and shipping confirmation emails and to send them free shipping and other offers.
>>BabyAge built an abandoned cart triggered email in two hours. To avoid seeming like Big Brother, the email doesn’t say what was in your cart. It uses the subject line “Did You Forget Something?” This email offers the shopper a free shipping deal that’s not tied to what was in the cart, so shoppers often use it to buy something else. Space said that this triggered email outperforms their regular promotional emails by 10-to-1.
>>Redcats USA, which operates Chadwick’s and other apparel retailers, has found that triggered emails work better than regular promotional emails, citing abandoned cart emails among those. They implemented abandoned cart emails a year ago and they don’t include an offer in those emails to incent shoppers; they just remind the shopper about the item in their cart to avoid training shoppers to abandon carts in order to receive a discount. Their shopping carts are persistent for 30 days.
>>Circuit City uses the most popular search terms from their website to determine the content of their emails.
>>When asked how retailers should process and react to negative feedback on blogs and social networks, Jack Jia, the CEO of Baynote, replied: How do you know that what people say on blogs and social networks is statistically relevant?
In this article over on MarketingProfs, Louis Chatoff, shares some tips on how to keep a recipient from hitting the Spam button:
Before they open your message:
- Make sure the From address is easily recognizable; it should contain the name of your company or organization.
- Make sure the Subject line is relevant and truly matches your content.
- Send your messages in regular intervals so the recipient comes to expect them.
- Do not over-send. If you send monthly, do not start sending weekly.
- And, most important, send only to those who have requested to receive your message. Do not send to addresses that come from a third party, and do not add members who have previously unsubscribed. Remember, it only takes one complaint in 1,000 to get all your messages blocked.
After opening your message:
- Consider adding a sentence to the top of mailing, such as this: "You are receiving this message because you have subscribed to list XYZ."
- Make sure the content matches the subject line and is relevant to the recipient.
- Make sure the Unsubscribe link is easy to find.
In this blog post, Mathew Patterson offers these 3 tips to help you send out newsletters on a regular schedule:
- Create a publishing calendar
Pick a realistic frequency, whether that's weekly, monthly or whatever, and add recurring tasks to the calendar.
Don't forget to add in special notes for emails close to major events like Easter, Christmas or relevant times like school holidays as appropriate for each client.
- Appoint an owner for the newsletter
Make sure a single person knows that it is their job to make sure each issue goes out on time. They can solicit content and help from others, but it is their job to get everything ready to go.
It's just too easy to think 'someone else will do it' when a group of people are all responsible.
- Keep an ideas file
Keep an ideas file in a shared location, where you can record ideas and information.
When the newsletter owner comes to put together an issue, they can go through the file and slot items in. Other content sources could include blog posts, customer feedback and industry news that occurs between issues.
By creating some lightweight structure, you can remove a lot of the barriers to regular email newsletters, and create consistent, effective publishing.
Source: Campaign Monitor
- MarketingSherpa: New Chart: Email Recipients Give New Meaning to "Spam": 3 TakeawaysMany more email recipients are hitting the "spam" or "junk" button for legitimate emails simply because the content does not interest them. As a result, they are giving a new definition to spam without worrying about the consequences to senders with excellent reputations, products and marketing practices.
- Plan your holiday e-communications now
To avoid getting lost in the holiday shuffle, interactive marketers need to prepare their year-end strategies during the summer months. Check out these tips for a stress-free approach.
This book reveals 49 proven email marketing best practices and bite-size, easy-to-use techniques that get results.
Mullen and Daniels introduce you to email marketing basics, demonstrate how to manage details and describe how you can track and measure results. Case studies, step-by-step guides, checklists, quizzes and hands-on tutorials will help you execute an email marketing campaign in just one hour a day.
don't write short copy because everyone tells you it's the only way to go. Instead, try testing long copy vs. short copy in a head-to-head test to find out what your audience responds to best.
Looks like Ken Magill was right back in April when he posted "Habeas Getting Shopped Around". Return Path announced today that they will acquire Habeas.
From the press release:
"For Return Path customers, this acquisition solidifies Return Path's market leadership with a larger client base, more innovative tools and services, and a larger professional services team. It also increases the company's base of ISP and filtering/receiver partners and brings the industry's two leading third-party whitelists under one roof, making Return Path the undisputed leader in third-party email accreditation.
The deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, was signed on August 6 and is expected to close on August 18. While specific integration plans are still being worked through, the company plans to maintain the Sender Score Certified whitelist and the Habeas SafeList as separate and distinct programs."
Read also what Matt Blumberg has to say about the merger on his blog.
Well done guys!
The gaining popularity of social networks, as well as increased texting and cell-phone use, is beginning to impact the effectiveness of e-mail marketing, according to “The Social and Portable Inbox: Optimizing E-mail Marketing in the New Era of Communication Tools,” a report from JupiterResearch.
According to the report, 22% of e-mail users said they use social networking sites instead of e-mail for communications.
Jupiter also found that 44% of Internet users said e-mail marketing had inspired at least one online purchase, and 41% said e-mail had inspired at least one offline purchase.
This is down from last year, when 51% of e-mail users said e-mail marketing had contributed to at least one online purchase, and 47% said e-mail had inspired at least one offline purchase, according to the report, based on an online survey of 2,460 Internet users conducted in April.
Return Path recently released its Q2 Reputation Benchmark Report. Here is George Bilbrey's high level take on what they found:
- Most of the servers sending email shouldn't be. Only 20% of the IPs we studied were legitimate, well-configured, static email servers. It's important to point out that this doesn't speak at all to the quality of the messages from those servers - lots of horrible spammers know how to configure a mail server. The other 80% of the mail is coming from servers that are either identifiably bad or unidentifiable and probably bad. No wonder ISPs and other large receivers feel besieged.
- Servers with good reputations get their messages delivered. Servers with bad reputations don't. This might seem obvious to those of you reading this blog, and of course it is. But again, having that empirical data is gratifying. We found a direct linear relationship between an IP's Sender Score and that IP's average delivered rate. Of course I have to point out here that it is not the low Sender Score that is causing the delivery problems, a common misconception. The reputation issues that give an IP a low Sender Score are what also cause that IP to be blocked from inboxes.
- Specific best practices have a direct result on an IP's delivery rates. We found a 20 point difference in delivery rates for IPs with just one spam trap hit. For servers with unknown user rates above 9% the difference was 23 points versus servers with cleaner data.
- Blacklists don't cause blocking, they predict it. We found that servers listed on any one of nine public blacklists (the lists studied are noted in the report) had an average delivery rate of 35% versus 58% for servers not on these lists. But the reason is not that those blacklists are used by receivers. In fact, some of them are not used very much at all. Much like with the Sender Score, the behaviors that land a server on the blacklist also cause that server to be blocked by many receivers.
Reconfirmation is an essential technique for list cleanup when there's trouble. High complaint rates, high bounce rates, spam-trap hits, uncertain list provenance, periods of inactivity, all point to a need for reconfirmation to clean a bad list. However it can also be used day to day as part of the routine maintenance of a list.
In this article, Derek Harding provides these 3 rules for reconfirming email lists:
1. Select the recipients. To maintain an effective reconfirmation exit strategy, it's vital to know when recipients last responded. This should include all potential activity, clicks, opens, profile maintenance, and non-e-mail activity such as purchase behavior. While I would not recommend stopping reconfirmation due to a lack of e-mail activity it may well be worth factoring in to a weighting system.
For example your strategy may be to put recipients into the reconfirmation phase when they have not purchased (off-line) for three months, not opened for six months, and not clicked for a year. This would mean that someone who has not responded for a year but who purchases will have another three months before entering the reconfirmation process, just in case they have renewed interest.
One might wonder why the purchase wouldn't have a longer time frame. The reason is that since it's an offline activity it tells us nothing about the current state of the e-mail address even though it tells us a lot about the owner of that address.
2. Keep options open. This is not an emergency reconfirmation where it is essential to remove problematic addresses immediately. It is a mechanism to gracefully retire addresses from the list once the owners are no longer interested. To this end offer both an opt-in and an opt-out button, a "Yes, I want to remain on the list" and a "No, I'm done". This gives the option to send a second message to non-respondents before retiring a recipient's address.
3. Ensure the creative is clear, simple, and has a strong call to action. If you're running two messages it's possible to have a relatively soft sell on the first and a much stronger one on the last chance message.
that's a lot of money for a daily newsletter!!! Congratulations, guys!
According to AOL Mail's fourth annual Email Addiction Survey, 46% of email users said they're hooked on email (up from just 15% last year) and 51% check their email four or more times a day. One in five said they check their email more than 10 times a day.
27% are so overwhelmed by their email that they've either declared "email bankruptcy," deleting (or planning to) all their email messages to start anew. 20% of users said they have over 300 emails in their inboxes! 24% admit they've signed up for a new email address to start fresh. 69% of email users said they have multiple email accounts, up from 52% in 2007.
Regina Lewis, AOL Online Consumer Advisor, noted that "We really do live in a 24-7 society and it's not uncommon to be online and checking email at all hours of the day..."
- 88% of respondents said that they pay attention to spelling and punctuation when writing emails, and 68% said emails with spelling and punctuation errors annoyed them. 74% said they excuse errors when emails are sent from a mobile device like a BlackBerry or iPhone.
- 62% of at-work email users said they check their work email over a typical weekend, and 19% check email five or more times in a weekend. 28% said they feel obligated to check work email while on vacation, and 19% choose vacation spots with email access.
- More than 50% said they check their email while on vacation. It's even higher among mobile users. Seventy-eight percent of those who have a mobile device check email while on vacation.
- Twenty-three percent said they check their email as soon as they wake up, followed by right when they get home from work (11%) and right after dinner (9%).
Among email users, 16% said they check their email from a mobile device and 55% said they upgraded to a new cell phone in the last year so they could get their email while on-the-go. 30% of mobile email users said that since getting a mobile device with email capabilities they feel "married to the office."
41% of mobile email users said they keep their cell phones near them when they sleep so they can hear when a new email comes in. 49% of mobile email users said they check their email every single time a new message arrives.
People today check their email:
- In bed in their pajamas: 67%
- From the bathroom: 59%
- While driving: 50%
- In a bar or club: 39%
- In a business meeting: 38%
- During happy hour: 34%
- While on a date: 25%
- From church: 15%
Of those surveyed, 60% said they've never gone more than 5 days without checking email and 17% can't go more than one day without email. They're so hooked that 11% have even hidden the fact that they're checking email from a spouse or family member.
For more complete data, please visit AOL here.
Their Welcome message does what a Welcome message should - confirms the sign up, makes the subscriber feel delighted to have signed up and gets recipients shopping. And all this in a well-designed format similar to the regular messages Sephora sends.
Shop.org was so so close to a perfect execution of an email re-engagement campaign. Timing, subject line, copy, creative, calls-to-action, welcome message - all were brilliant.
Too many email newsletters have fantastic design and useful content, but then they just suddenly...stop. The designer and author forgot to give people something to do once they are finished reading...
ISPs typically block (or junk mail) your e-mail due to four simple reasons: Technical sending problems, Excessive invalid addresses, Excessive spam complaints, Spammy-looking content. There are other reasons, but these are the most common.
Most importantly for marketers, the law has been amended to be opt-in based, where prior permission is required to send commercial e-mail, according to the report.
video in email is not reliable in the way that website based video is. It wonât work for all your recipients, and those it does work for, may well not be happy it did. Extensive inbox testing is essential if you are embedding video.
Marketing to 3rd party lists does not perform as well as to your own lists. Here are some guidelines to using 3rd party lists successfully.
if you donât have a custom DNS and a unique IP address, you will not be able to participate in sender verification, white listing and reputation management programs.
A new Reputation Benchmark Report from Return Path (http://www.returnpath.net/downloads/Q2BenchmarkReport.pdf ) shows that the top tier of email marketers enjoy delivered rates more than 30 points higher than other legitimate senders.
Hereâs a compilation by Guy Kawasaki of silly and stupid ways companies are hindering adoption of their products and services.
and Matt shares a few of the highlights.
When shopping for an email service provider, you need to be prepared to answer questions too. By providing the right information up front, you can lay the groundwork for successful campaigns in the future.
In this article, Loren McDonald debunks 6 email marketing myths:
- Myth #1: The CAN-SPAM Act doesn't require permission
"CAN-SPAM is just a start. Permission, in fact, is the foundation of customer relevance and trust."
- Myth #2: Open rates are a good measure of email success
"In the early days of email, the open rate was a valued metric because it captured who opened and, by inference, who then viewed or read the email. Today, the preview pane and image blocking have turned the open metric into a tired, inaccurate and irrelevant metric that no longer measures what it was originally intended to."
- Myth #3: Email is cheap, so send again. And again.
"Consumers and the ISPs control the ecosystem. Yes, increased frequency can often deliver short-term results. But it also increases list churn through higher spam complaints and unsubscribes and, subsequently, higher acquisition costs to replace the lost customers and revenue."
- Myth #4: "I don't control my delivery rates"
"There is, however, no magic pixie dust to sprinkle on the email list to get high delivery rates. It simply requires following well-publicized best practices."
- Myth #5: Larger lists are better
"Yes, growing your email database is important because you'll typically lose about one-third of your list annually through normal churn. Additionally, various studies suggest that one- to two-thirds or more of your list members are actually inactive (no opens or clicks for some extended time frame)."
- Myth #6: Moving beyond "batch and blast" is really difficult
"No, it isn't. Advances in email marketing software now make sophisticated techniques such as lifecycle, trigger- and behavior-based email programs possible for marketers at all tiers."
Read the full article here.