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43 entries from October 2008

Getting Through the Postini Filter

Postini, the spam filter owned by Google, is notoriously difficult to get past. Mathew Patterson shares some tips to get past their filters:

it seems clear that Postini is placing a lot of importance on the balance between images and text (or HTML) in an email.

  • Avoid repeatedly sending messages to full or invalid mailboxes. You can do this by tweaking your bounce handling settings for each subscriber list.
  • Minimize the use of these words and phrases in the subject line, message body, sender address, and reply-to address:
    • Use of the word Free (although "free" tends to have more leeway than most other trigger words), $$, XXX, sex or !!! (any excessive punctuation)
    • Subject contains "Double Your", "?", "For Only" or "Free Instant".
    • Email contains at least 70 percent blank lines
    • The from field appears to not contain a real name, ends in numbers or contains the word friend.
    • The email claims not to be spam
  • Monitor new subscribers in your lists. Set suspicious "spamflag" addresses such as "abuse@" or "spam@" as Inactive subscribers unless you know the subscriber is legitimate.
  •   blog it
    Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

    Holiday Email Marketing: Tips From the Experts

    In this article on Mark Brownlow's blog, he shares some advice from industry experts on the topics of frequency and standing out from the holiday crowd.

    Here are some clippings from the article.

    Make sure to read the complete article here.

    The main problem is that everyone is upping frequency, so that alone may not be enough to break through.

    "Your signal will fade simply because everyone else is also ramping up messages."

    "I would encourage folks to watch their spam complaints and unsubscribe rates closely during the holidays and perhaps send fewer emails to their less engaged subscribers."
    "A purchase can trigger an email asking the customer to rate or review the product. Then, come holiday time, you can send a top rated products promo email."
    "Segment on past purchase behavior, consumer type (high vs. low value), click behavior, location, etc."
    "...increasingly, segmentation and targeting are the keys to standing out. We talk all the time about how important relevancy is, but it's even more important when your inbox is suddenly getting 50% more mail."

    Everyone offers free shipping around the holidays, so offer something more to your email subscribers to reward them for their loyalty and to encourage list growth.

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

    Retailers Can Generate $2.9 Million in Additional Revenue With Transactional Email According to JupiterResearch

    A new JupiterResearch study on transactional email finds that the average retailer can generate an additional $2.9 million in revenue annually by integrating promotional offers into transactional messages.

    The complete, 15-page study is available for download from the StrongMail website.
    clipped from

    adding promotional messages to transactional email can generate $2.9 million annually in additional revenue, according to "The Transactional Messaging Imperative," a new JupiterResearch study commissioned by StrongMail Systems.

    With the highest open and click-through rates of any type of email and volume rates set to double by 2012, transactional email represents a powerful channel for increasing revenue through the addition of relevant cross and up-sell promotions.  More importantly, it is an existing channel that can be readily leveraged for marketing, brand building and customer retention. According to the study, 60% of email marketers are already driving new revenue with transactional email.

    The study recommends centralizing ownership of marketing and transactional email within marketing in order to gain efficiencies, facilitate coordination across channels and optimize marketing programs for transactional messages.

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

    The Impact of Social Networking on Email Marketing

    Some clippings from a great article on the role of email in a social networking world by Renen Watermeyer:
    As brand owners turn to social networking sites and services as a marketing channel, many industry observers are beginning to question the role that email marketing will play in a Web 2.0 world.
    In reality, however, email marketing volumes are not declining
    email and social networks do not compete with each other for online marketing spend or for end-users' attention. Instead, they complement each other and can be used in an integrated fashion to create better user engagement than either could on its own.
    Companies will need to evolve the way that they use email by making better use of transactional and triggered emails that are relevant to the customers, rather than blasting them with untargeted promotional messages.
    Perhaps the most important factor of all is to measure one's marketing campaigns in an integrated fashion. This enables marketers to understand how their email and social networking marketing are interacting to drive engagement with their audience.
     blog it
    Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

    Do Personalized Subject Lines Work?

    DJ and Julie over at Bronto did some testing and asking around about the effect of personalization in subject lines. Here are their main findings:
    clipped from
    Do personalized subject lines work? Do they lead to more opens/renders, higher click-through rates, a bump in conversions?
    Answer: It Depends!
    Ask yourself, is personalization relevant to your audience?
    What is your goal with your personalization tests? Higher open/render rates? More click-throughs? An increase in conversions? This is critical. Some tests will prove that personalization will lead to higher opens, but if there is no noticeable positive impact on conversions (and this matters to your program), then who cares?
    Your subscribers may not respond the same way if you personalize on every single email. Mix it up once in awhile.
    Bad data can cause incorrect (”Dear Firstname,” or “Dear Bob,” when their name is Mary) or even blank (”Dear  ,”) content, potentially endangering the trust and credibility you have built with your recipients.
    Any way you slice it, it all boils down to testing.
     blog it
    Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

    The Decline and Fall of Email for Acquisition

    Some very valid points in this e-consultancy article:
    The use of email marketing to drive customer acquisition is in significant, and terminal, decline.
    email is not a customer acquisition tool. In fact it never has been, but in the early years of the media, the novelty of receiving email meant that acquisition and lead generation emails wereopened and clicked on.

    Any email marketer who thinks that consumers expect and deserve regular, mass email marketing will find their reputation and results flowing rapidly down the toilet.

    Email marketing is a retention tool, and used cleverly it is the ‘killer app’

    Cold emailing as a core business proposition just doesn’t work because the need to flog as much data as possible is totally contrary to email marketing’s core requirements - targeting, relevance and quality. 
     blog it
    Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

    Amp Up Email Results with Honeymoon Segmentation

    Jason Baer has a great post up on his blog about what he calls the Honeymoon segment. Here are some highlights:

    Subscribers to your email list are most likely to open, click, forward to a friend, and buy in the first 30-60 days after joining the list.

    This is the Honeymoon and you need to use it to boost your email results - especially in the 4th quarter holiday shopping season.

    Treat Honeymooners entirely differently than you do your other subscribers. Mail more frequently, ask them to forward to a friend, use aggressive offers.
    Two components of the Honeymoon strategy you absolutely must employ are thank you messages and testing. Send an immediate thank you message to all new subscribers. That thank you should include a meaningful offer (preferably with a time limit) and a request to forward to a friend.
    Second, use rigorous testing to maximize the impact of the Honeymoon.
    Subject lines. Day of week. Time of day. Layouts. Offers.
     blog it
    Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

    links for 2008-10-12

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

    New Forrester Report: Benchmark Your Email Organization

    You can download this report for US $279.
    clipped from
    Forrester surveyed 260 email marketers to better understand the challenges they face in their email organizations. We found that the business processes guiding most email organizations are less sophisticated than their years of experience would predict. Email organizations require higher-level strategies; better approaches to testing, metrics, and analytics; and more grounded testing and tracking programs. Marketers should use Forrester's Email Marketing Review — along with a business case for improving email processes — to help strengthen email organizations and improve results.
     blog it
    Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

    links for 2008-10-11

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

    DMA Event in London - not to be missed

    The DMA UK are holding a not to be missed event on the implications of the latest internet
    and email security measures for digital marketing, on October 29th in London.

    The Keynote speaker, Craig Spiezle, Chair of AOTA and Director of Online Security and Safety, Microsoft Internet Explorer will be addressing two topics of importance for the digital marketer:

    • Internet security issues: – what are consumers most concerned about
    • Trustworthy browsing, privacy and behaviour targeting – can they co-exist and how can a user make an informed decision and relative the value exchange

    Other topics include:

    • Changing rules of deliverability - presented by Dela Quist of Alchemy Worx
    • Authentication - the why's and how's - presented by Dennis Dayman of Eloqua.

    To read more about the event click below:

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

    How to Make the Unsubscribe Process Easier For Your Subscribers

    Here are some guidelines to make your unsubscribe process as easy as possible for those that want out:

    • Include the unsubscribe link at the top of the email – don’t bury it in the footer where it might be missed. If people can’t find the unsubscribe link, they’ll use the Report Spam button instead
    • Implement a single click unsubscribe process instead of requiring subscribers to enter their email addresses
    • Include a way for subscribers to opt-in to your lists again in case they accidently removed themselves from your list
    • Set up a valid email address subscribers can reply to in order to unsubscribe from your list and monitor it closely.
    • Remember that your opt-out mechanism must be able to process requests for at least 30 days after the message was deployed
    • Always always always use a suppression list

    Source: Listrak's white paper Increase ROI with List Management Tactics

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

    MarketingSherpa Releases 2009 Email Marketing Benchmark Guide

    Marketingsherpa2009emailmarketingbe MarketingSherpa released their 2009 edition of the Email Marketing Benchmark Guide. Here are some of the highlights:

    • A down economy means more email - means more competition at the inbox
    • Attitude toward email budgets correlates with performance
    • To increase opt-ins, offer real benefits - consumers want to opt-in but they want something in exchange
    • You can overcome image blocking - good email design can trump image blocking - to an extent

    Read the executive summary here.

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

    Content and Segmentation Are Key To Successful Email Marketing Campaigns

    A couple of weeks ago I attended an email marketing conference in the Netherlands at which Bill McCloskey was a keynote speaker. He did an excellent job!

    He recently wrote an article for the UK DMA's Email Marketing newsletter Infobox (to which I highly recommend subscribing by the way) that drives away the point he was making in his keynote speach. Namely, that you shouldn't focus your attention on getting more emails delivered (you can pay someone to do that for you), but you should instead focus more on the the message that you are delivering to those that do receive your emails.

    Deliverability, the ability to get your message through the often
    byzantine gantlet of rules and regulations constructed by the ISPs to
    keep your message out of the inbox, is a very hot topic.

    Why? Because it is a solvable problem. There are vendors out there with a SOLUTION to that problem. And vendors sponsor trade shows. And so we have a disproportionate amount of conversations about reaching incremental groups of customers, but almost no conversation about what you send to the people you do reach to make your message more compelling. And that is because technical problems are relatively easy. Creative problems are much more difficult to solve.

    The real secret to email marketing has nothing to do with deliverability, rendering, or any number of other technical issues we discuss to take our minds off our dwindling response rates. The real secret has to do with Creative. What are you sending to the customers that you reach to make them want your message in the first place? Not only want it, but desire it?

    Key to a successful email marketing campaign is providing something unique through the email channel, something that the customer can’t get any other way. Everyone wants to be an insider. Everyone wants to be part of an exclusive club, to get the deal before anyone else hears about it, to be in the know before the masses. Leveraging the inbox to create that exclusive insiders club is the key to a successful email marketing programme.

    A great place to start creating that ‘insiders’ relationship with your clients is in your welcome letter. Welcome letters have the highest open rates of any email you will send. People are expecting it. They just signed up for your programme. And yet it is amazing how many marketers throw this opportunity away.

    Make sure to read the article titled "The True Secret of Successful Email Marketing", as it contains some examples of companies that are doing it right by leveraging the welcome letter to develop a strong relationship with their clients.

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

    How to Build a Good Email List?

    In this article, Kath Pay shares these 11 tips to build a good mailing list:

    1. Make the initial opt-in form simple and fast to fill out.

    2. If you need more information, such as demographic data or buying behaviour to target emails, send follow-up emails asking for this a little later in the relationship.

    3. You also can add a couple of fields after the required fields but mark them clearly as being optional fields.

    4.Use a form script that can detect typing errors. Or, ask users to enter their email addresses twice to eliminate errors.

    5. Tell subscribers up front what you plan to do with their data.

    6. Clearly label whether a field is required or optional.

    7. If you ask for more detailed information at opt-in, add a brief explanation.

    8. Use blank tick boxes that the subscriber must tick to give permission both for the opt-in and to
    share their information with your third-party or co-registration vendors.

    9. Don't try to trick subscribers with confusing  opt-in instructions.

    10. Don't mix blank and ticked boxes.

    11. Tell subscribers up front if you require them to receive third-party messages or offers you send on your vendors' behalf, even if you don't share that information with the vendors.

    Read the full article here.

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

    Email Marketing Wisdom Selected Especially For You

    You might have noticed that I haven't been blogging much in the last couple of weeks. That's mainly due to a heavy workload at the office and a personal side project that I'm working on and that I'll be telling you more about in the next couple of weeks and months.

    Right now I have a couple of overloaded inboxes and an overloaded RSS reader but I am determined to catch up - sooner or later :-) Until then you'll see more of these link summaries containing the best articles I read on email marketing, and occasionally also on social media/networking which, as a blogger and community manager, is becoming more and more a focus areas.

    I would like to thank Loren McDonald and Kath Pay for continuing to contribute great content to this blog and I would like to extend the invitation to become a contributing author to this blog to anyone that interested. Let me know if you're interested!

    Here is some email marketing wisdom that I selected especially for you during my weekly 2,5 hour train ride to Amsterdam:

    E-Mail Marketing History Lessons

    "The incredible ROI (define) of e-mail was supposed to turn it into the medium of choice, and essentially replace traditional direct marketing almost entirely. Clearly, that was a shortsighted perspective."

    Case study: How ClearBrick built its e-mail list
    "The integrated e-email and PPC campaigns maximize the company’s marketing budget by helping the two build off of each other. Howard can select PPC keywords based on which items are best received in the newsletter, and the PPC campaigns help to build the company’s e-mail marketing list. It’s a strategy that he intends to continue."

    4 Reasons Not to Add Social Networking to Your Site
    Here are four reasons it may not be a good idea to add social networking features to your site.

    E-mail Increasingly Blurs Work, Home
    While e-mail is increasingly blurring the lines between Americans’ work and home lives, it has also led to more flexibility and most workers don’t believe it has added significantly to their overall workload, according to a recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

    The True Secret of Successful Email Marketing
    Deliverability is a very hot topic.Why? Because it is a solvable problem. There are vendors out there with a SOLUTION to that problem. And vendors sponsor trade shows. And so we have a disproportionate amount of conversations about reaching incremental groups of customers, but almost no conversation about what you send to the people you do reach to make your message more compelling.

    Email ROI – Spoiled By Our Own Success
    No wonder subscribers ignore us. Honestly, most email marketing today is pretty terrible. It’s irrelevant, poorly timed, creatively uninteresting and completely generic. -- When we abuse the trust that subscribers gave us and send boring messages or more email than could possibly be relevant, subscribers tune all our messages out. They may not actually unsubscribe or complain to the ISPs, but they unsubscribe with their delete button. These subscribers are now lost to us.

    E-Mail Marketing Gone Wild, Part 2
    What is the purpose of your e-mail marketing program? Is it to facilitate low-profit purchases from customers craving discounts and promotions, to communicate a marketing story, to drive the customer to the website, to communicate authority on key items, to clear excess inventory? Kevin Hillstrom advises us to be consistent, and communicate this strategy.

    Simple content plan for an email newsletter
    A regular newsletter is far easier to produce if you have a content plan. It not only acts as a prompt but also means you can prepare some material ahead of time, knowing what 'slots' you have to fill. Here are a couple of examples.

    Stay tuned for more great articles as I continue to catch up on my reading...

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

    links for 2008-10-9

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

    Think Global, Speak Local

    As I sit at Heathrow Airport awaiting my flight back to the U.S., what a truly global village we've become - even in email marketing.

    As I spoke with clients from Germany, Holland, the UK and elsewhere - the challenges, opportuniities and even lexicon was all very consistent. Terms I had thought were very American - "batch and blast", "pray and spray" and others were widely used by my Silverpop peers and clients.

    And of course challenges such as deliverability, proving ROI to management, having enough resources to deploy "world-class" programmes, etc. were also frequently discussed. But the opportunities to maximize the email channel, delivering increasingly relevant content, integrating email with social networks and taking advantage of the explosion of the growth in mobile devices was alsu universal.

    But as I edited my Powerpoint presentation for a UK audience, I was also reminded of another maxim - "Think Global, Act Local." It was a great reminder that even when we think we speak the same language - we don't. And email is no different - with increasing customer choice, it is vital that email marketers speak to their customers not just in general terms - but in a voice that resonates with each individual on your list....and off to my plane...

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

    Links summary

    I noticed that Delicious did not post the pages that I bookmarked last week. Here they are:

    VistaPrint provides blueprint for how to irritate your customers via email
    "There is no reason to email your customers every single day…N-O-N-E. This is probably as major a violation against building trust with an email list as I’ve ever seen or experienced and I’d be hard-pressed to recommend VistaPrint to anyone in the future because of it." -- I had a similar experience with Vistaprint and will never buy from them again because of it.

    MarketingSherpa Seeks Nominations for 2009 Email Marketing Awards

    Here’s your chance to get some recognition for your email savvy. Enter MarketingSherpa's 2009 Email Marketing Awards competition. The fourth annual competition honors B2B and consumer marketers for email campaigns that really work. Think response rate, overall strategy and campaign goal

    12 questions to ask about your email marketing

    See if you can answer all of them. You might learn something along the way... Great stuff Mark! Thanks for sharing!

    Email Marketing Q&A's
    "At the eec, we don’t claim to have any silver bullets, but we do have expert answers to the most frequently asked questions in email marketing"

    E-Mail Marketing Gone Wild
    Folks, how do we ever expect our customers to take us seriously, when six in ten messages tell the customer NOT to pay full price?

    Free HTML Email Template - "Welcome"

    Aweber's latest HTML email template is designed to help you quickly and easily create one of the most critical (and often-overlooked) messages: the welcome email.

    Restaurant Marketing: 5 List-Building Ideas
    Just as with any other business, a restaurant’s email marketing campaign has to start by getting subscribers. So where/how can restaurant owners build their lists?

    5 Factors for Measuring Your E-mail Reputation

    To solidify your organization's e-mail reputation, Return Path suggests monitoring the following five data points that each ISP looks at...

    The shelf life on email permission
    Even though they opted in, subscribers are still marking your messages as spam -- and ISPs are noticing. Here are some fresh ideas to keep your email list from stagnating. -- Great article DJ!

    Check out all my email marketing bookmarks on

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

    Anatomy of an Excellent Transactional Message

    A passable transactional email focuses on only the event that just happened or is about to happen, such as a subscription request, a hotel reservation, a product order or a recurring payment. A great one describes the event in detail, uses language that makes the customer feel good about what just happened, invites him or her back to the website for more information or to expand on the event, and provides contact information for questions or concerns.

    According to Wendy Roth, superior transactional emails include the following elements:

    1. A personalized greeting. This is nice for general events like newsletter subscriptions, but it's essential when the transaction involves money, such as a shipping confirmation or hotel reservation.

    2. A detailed description of what happened. Not just, "Thanks for your order. Your items will ship soon." Instead, list what the customers bought, the prices they paid, any special instructions, payment status, out-of-stock notices, shipping locations, order numbers, etc.

    3. Customer-support contact information, including toll-free phone numbers, mailing addresses and links to online contacts.

    4. Other links that encourage the recipient to go deeper into the relationship, including:

    • Email newsletters or offers
    • RSS feeds for product information or updates
    • Loyalty programs
    • Offers that cross- or up-sell products that relate to a purchase
    • Customer forums, blogs, social-network sites
    • How-to information for the product

    5. A clear, action-oriented subject line.

    6. Any data, except a password, that the customer needs to complete a pending transaction. This may include information needed to pay a bill or go back to a past one, change an order, or update email preferences.

    7. All copy in either text or HTML text -- not images -- so that the crucial information is received even if the reader views the message in text on the dinky screen of a low-rent cell phone.

    8. A link to your homepage. You never know what's going to drive someone back to your site, and this basic element gets left out more often than you can imagine.

    9. A statement about what you will do with the customer's email address, plus a link to your privacy statement.

    10. Any terms or conditions that apply to the transaction, such as exchanges and returns, hotel policies or posting schedules for account payments.

    Source: iMediaConnection - don't forget to check out the examples on page 2

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