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21 entries from September 2009

links for 2009-09-26

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links for 2009-09-24

  • Jeanne Jennings shares two free resources that can help you identify and address potential deliverability issues related to your sender reputation. The first is Sender Score, a free e-mail reputation service from Return Path. The second is EDS Alerts from Email Data Source, which allows you to monitor e-mail sent from a specified IP address or domain name, among other criteria. Either resource alone is valuable; when used together, they can provide the information you need to safeguard your e-mail reputation and deliverability.
  • This report gives insight into the levels of personalisation Irish survey respondents use in their email, what metrics they track, average open and click-through rates, budgets for email and the challenges they are facing in email marketing.
    (tags: study)
  • There are two major changes that have already begun in beta behind the scenes at some ISPs that you, as a savvy marketer, should be aware of. Akin to your postal mail today being tracked by the return address (your actual street address), email has historically been tied back to the sending IP it originated from when handing the message off to the receiver. However, imagine your postal mail being tracked by your last name instead; regardless of where you actually reside. And then, by how many people who receive your postal mail actually open the envelope and do anything with it. That's what's happening with email -- your sending domain, IP agnostic, will be used in tracking the type of mail you send augmented by recipient engagement.
  • In their ISP Insights for 2009 and 2010 whitepaper, they quiz top ISPs on their current and future plans with regard to spam filtering, domain reputation, authentication and more. Very insightful stuff.
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How Are ISPs Changing Their Spam Filters?

The folks at Pivotal Veracity have written a report about how ISPs are changing their spam filters and how legitimate email marketers are impacted by this. You can download it here.

Key take-aways:

  • Domain-based Reputation is here!
    A number of top ISPs including Yahoo & AOL are moving to augment IP-based reputation systems with portable Domain-based reputation systems for those mailers using DK/DKIM authentication.  This is a hugely important development and one that will be welcomed by legitimate mailers.  This means, ISPs will “attach” (compute) your Spam Complaint Rate, Unknown User Rate, and Spam Trap Rates to your Domain (this will be the domain you are authenticating which for most mailers will be the friendly from domain)  in addition to your IP.   Switching IP addresses? With domain-based reputation get to keep (for good or bad) your reputation.
  • Authenticate with DK/DKIM
    With the exception of Hotmail which is still sticking to its proprietary “Sender ID” authentication model, the authentication method of choice by all the other leading ISPs is DK/DKIM.  If you are not already ..authenticate !  You need to authenticate in order to take advantage of domain-based reputation and other ISP services such as Yahoo’s feedback loop. 
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Goodmail in my inbox – on unsolicited mail

Alex Schultz, a good friend and ex-colleague of mine posted the following message on his blog:

I am confused. I thought goodmail was meant to fix spam or help it and yet here I have two goodmail certified mails from a company who I did'n’t subscribe to and have no idea who they are.

These are the first two goodmail certified mails I have ever seen.

Here’s a screenshot of his inbox:


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links for 2009-09-23

  • If readers take one lesson away from this newsletter in 2009, let it be that no reputable firm sells e-mail names for perpetual use. A reputable list owner or manager will sell access to subscribers on a one-time basis and mail the list on the marketer’s behalf, but they won’t sell the names.
    (tags: list_rental)
  • The good news is 51% of e-mail marketers in a recent survey by Forrester Research said they use click-through data as a segmentation attribute. The bad news is 51% of e-mail marketers in a recent survey by Forrester Research said they use click-through data as a segmentation attribute.
    (tags: segmentation)
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Tactics for Reactivating Non-Responders

Successful reactivation begins with creating relevant segments. Specifically, marketers should separate the never-responders from former responders and light responders. This segmentation approach allows the marketer to understand which tactics work best for each group. After all, these segments differ behaviorally.

Former responders once found the email interesting, but no longer do. Never-respondents never did; perhaps they only supplied an email to take advantage of a specific offer. As a result, these different segments may respond to different reactivation approaches.

Consider at least two different approaches for reactivation. We've seen significant differences in the success of offers, especially when comparing results between never-responders and former responders.

Some offers include:

  • One-time discount or gift with purchase. Retailers have the option of bribing the living dead back to life. Those who employ this tactic should do so with the understanding that they may be training their customers to wait for better offers, but some revenue beats no revenue. Also, this option allows marketers to test the value of different kinds of incentives (10 percent off vs. free shipping, etc.).
  • Survey. Give customers the ability to sound off about what they like and dislike about the email and to recommend content they may like. This approach works best if the marketer can use survey responses as preferences. For instance, if the customer merely wants less email, the marketer must have the ability to reduce frequency for this approach to work best.
  • Reduced frequency. If a marketer has stuck to a single cadence for his or her emails, then the living dead may respond to a change in frequency. Even unengaged consumers notice when a regular email disappears from their inboxes and then reappears.
  • Interest check. Very often, the simple approach of asking subscribers if they still want to receive the email works well. This approach may involve sending a simple postcard-style email with the single call to action of "click here to continue receiving these emails." A more subtle approach in this vein may involve changing only the subject line to remind users what they receive. For one retail bank client, we changed the subject line of a newsletter from the branded name for the newsletter to "your June newsletter from [bank name]."

After testing, the most successful tactics will emerge. Of course, the definition of success depends on the marketer. While a retailer may judge success on purchases, other marketers may consider any click or open a success. In general, we prefer the broader definition of any click or open because it shows signs of life, if not a return to constant engagement. Resurrecting the living dead has to start somewhere.

One last thought centers on expectations. Marketers should not expect to reactivate every member of the living dead. Far from it. The most successful reactivation campaigns might reactivate 50 percent of the file, but those efforts involve high-value incentives for a highly targeted group. More realistically, marketers can expect to reactivate 5 percent of the living dead with modest efforts and up to 10 percent with more aggressive efforts.

Source: iMedia Connection

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links for 2009-09-19

  • MarketingSherpa interviewed a marketer from Chick-fil-A to learn how they made their promotional email program more interactive, and have built stronger relationships with subscribers. New content and features are generating an average 15% CTR, and 75% of subscribers said an email inspired them to visit a store. Plus, email drove the growth of a Facebook fan club from 25,000 to 1 million in less than a year.
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links for 2009-09-18

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29 Ways to Collect Email Addresses for Your Business

Janine Popick lists 29 ways to collect email addresses on the Vertical Response blog. Here are the first 10:

  1. Put an offer on the back of your business cards to get people to sign up for your newsletter.
  2. Tradeshows - Bring a clipboard or sign-up book with you to tradeshows and ask for permission to send email to those who sign up.
  3. Include a newsletter sign-up link in your signature of all of your emails.
  4. Send an opt-in email to your address book asking them to join your list.
  5. Join your local chamber of commerce, email the member list (if it's opt-in) about your services with a link to sign up to your newsletter.
  6. Host your own event - Art galleries, software companies (one here has a party every quarter and invites the neighboring businesses), retail shops, consultants (lunch & learn) can all host an event and request attendees to sign up.
  7. Offer a birthday club where you give something special to people who sign up.
  8. Incentivize your employees - Give them $ for collecting VALID email addresses.
  9. Giving something for free like a PDF? Make visitors sign up to your opt-in form before you let them download it.
  10. Referrals - Ask you customers to refer you, and in exchange you'll give them a discount.

You can find the other 19 on the Vertical Response blog.

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links for 2009-09-17

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Free Shipping Emails Work Best When Planned and Segmented, Study Says

More multichannel retailers used free shipping promotions in the first quarter of this year compared to Q1 of 2008—up from 47% to 55%, according to a new survey from e-mail marketing vendor Experian CheetahMail.

With free shipping offered as an incentive more often, retailers should carefully plan such promotions and be selective about when they offer the deal and who they offer it to, says the study, “Free Shipping report: Benchmark data and analysis for email marketers,” which is slated for release next week.

It found 70% of respondents across all industries—online companies offering business and consumer products and services, catalogers, and multichannel retailers—had higher conversion rates on e-mails offering free shipping than on other types of marketing e-mails. Of the 70% with higher conversions, 78% saw increased transaction-to-click-rates—defined as the total number of transactions divided by the number of unique visitors clicking on the e-mail—and 47% had higher average order values in free shipping e-mails compared to other marketing e-mails.

The success of free shipping e-mail promotions varied by industry, with the consumer products and services industry experiencing the largest gains. Transaction-to-click rates for free shipping e-mails in this segment were 60.7% greater on average compared to other marketing e-mail messages.

To create the most profitable and successful free-shipping e-mail campaign, Experian suggests the following:

  • Feature the right products. Free shipping on overstocked items tends to perform poorly. Marketers should pair free shipping offers with products consumers are interested in, Experian’s report notes.
  • Limit free shipping offers. Constantly running free shipping offers may dilute their effectiveness, Experian says. Offering free shipping for a shorter period is typically more successful than offering it over a longer period.
  • Segment the e-mails. Divide the subscriber list into groups of customers based on their product interests, then offer those groups the products with free shipping.
“The release of the free shipping report data and analysis is extremely timely given the upcoming holiday season. Considering that companies will be fighting extra hard for dollars this year, and taking account of the fact that we have seen holiday e-mail volume increase at least 20% or more year over year for businesses in all industries, e-mails should be optimized to maintain subscriber engagement,” says Sara Ezrin, senior strategy consultant, strategic services, Experian CheetahMail.

Source: Internet Retailer

PS. Don’t forget to register for the webinar “Getting the most out of your holiday email campaign” with Andrew Kordek and Tamara Gielen on October 6th.

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Average Email Marketing Performance for UK SMEs published their first ever large-scale report on average email marketing performance for small to medium sized businesses in various UK industries.

The report is based on more than 216,000,000 emails sent by UK based clients in the 12 months to 31st July 2009. They've only included emails from clients who opted-in to their stats comparison service and who declared their industry type. They've removed any industries with less than 450,000 sends so that the averages are more robust and where relevant they've merged several categories together.

Defining terms

All figures that are used are based on unique user actions - i.e. they only count the same recipient opening a campaign once, if they open that campaign again they don't count that as another open.

  • Open Rate: the percentage of delivered emails that were opened (measured by an image load or link click); i.e. number opened / (total sent - bounces)
  • Clicks: the percentage of delivered emails that had a link clicked; i.e. unique clicks / (total sent - bounces)
  • Unsubscribes: the percentage of delivered emails that result in an unsubscription; i.e. unsubscribes / (total sent - bounces)

For some of the reports they used different ratios, as these are a better way to compare some aspects of campaign performance - these are:

  • Click to Open: the percentage of opened emails that had a link clicked; i.e. unique clicks / opens
  • Unsubscribe to Open: the percentage of opened emails that result in an unsubscription; i.e. unsubscribes / opens

They use these 'x to Open' figures as ways to compare the performance of the actual campaign content because these look at what happens after the first objective of someone actually opening the campaign has been achieved.

Continue reading "Average Email Marketing Performance for UK SMEs" »

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Some Interesting Email Marketing Statistics

In a recent article on ClickZ, Jeanny Mullen shared these 7 email marketing statistics:

  • Every year an average of 30 percent of the people who signed up for your e-mail marketing list will not get your e-mails because their ISP will incorrectly block them.
  • 85 percent of the people on your e-mail list will stop reading your e-mails (without unsubscribing) after the third message your company sends to them (yes, company, not just your group inside the company).
  • 25 percent of the people on your list who receive your e-mails and never open them will be among the top 10 percent of your best customers.
  • An average of 39 percent of your current year subscribers will either unsubscribe, or stop reading/engaging with your e-mails by the end of the year.
  • Over 10 percent of people who initially read your e-mail on their handheld device will file it away, intending to take action, but never doing so.
  • About 15 percent of your list will read your e-mails and look to a social network like Facebook or Twitter to see if others are buzzing about the message or offer before taking action.
  • Over 49 percent of people who are happy with their recent purchase from your company will open future e-mails seven times faster than those who have not made a purchase in over three months.

These seven statistics from the Email Experience Council are pretty powerful by themselves but together paint a very clear picture of why you need to absolutely stay on top of your messaging strategy to your consumers.

Read the full article here.

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links for 2009-09-13

  • Growing businesses should create email marketing messages which are catered specifically for millennials, those aged between 18 and 25. New research in Epsilon's Global Consumer Email Study found that those in the age bracket were more willing to receive permission-based email marketing, where they have either subscribed or opted-in to receive the messages.
    (tags: study)
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links for 2009-09-09

  • One trap I see companies fall into when looking at opt-in and permission is they seem to think that permission is a blanket thing. They believe permission can be bought and sold by the companies that collected email addresses.

    Legally, they may be correct. But in practice senders cannot decide that they can sell the permission of their recipients to another entity. You cannot buy an existing business relationship.

    (tags: permission)

  • A study of success metrics for marketing e-mails sent through MailChimp’s distribution service showed that Gmail users were most likely to open and click on e-mails.

    (tags: study)

  • Excellent article by Bob Frady. If you're an email service provider, please read this and then put your developers to work! ;-)

    (tags: esp tools)

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links for 2009-09-08

  • In what is claimed to be a first for the industry, e-mail deliverability consultancy Pivotal Veracity is expected to announce today it has developed technology that allows marketers to track how and on what devices individual subscribers open, sort and interact with their messages. I'm looking forward to seeing the demo real soon!
Need help optimizing your email marketing results? Get in touch!

Email Marketing Works Because...

I asked my Twitter followers to finish the sentence "Email marketing works because..." today. Here are some of the responses I got:

  • @marcmunier: Email marketing works because people spend more time at their inbox than any other online activity
  • @adrianragucos: email marketing works because, honestly, who does not use email these days?
  • @MarkatEMR: Email marketing works because emails deliver value to gain attention at the heart of the online world: the inbox
  • @spamtacularcom: Email marketing works because of trust between the sender and the recipient.
  • @siherron: Email marketing works because it's malleable, measurable and cost effective
  • @DanniEmery: Email marketing works because it enables you to send targeted messages and see instant measurable results
  • @newzapp: Email marketing works because it's affordable, flexible, can be targeted and tracked
  • @djwaldow: "Email Mktg works b/c it has a proven, measurable, ROI; easy to test; "Long" track record; digital glue of SM
  • @stefaneyram: Email works because it is measurable and can be easily tested and optimized.
  • @jewelss: bc it's cost-effective & allows u to form a personal relationship w/ a consumer by way of their inbox! :)
  • @RupertHarrison: Email marketing works because... it allows you to send your customers what they want, when they want it
  • @mbagrrl: Email marketing works because..." you are reaching customers who have opted in and you know are interested in your comm
  • @adRom: email marketing works, because you know the recipients.
  • @Newsmarketing: Email marketing works because there is still a lot to discover with this channel...
  • @resultsrev: Email marketing works because mainstream tech adopters are still leaning heavily on their Inbox
  • @resultsrev: Email marketing works because there is no gatekeeper. Viral potential.
  • @Newsmarketing: Email marketing works because it is (still) communication media Nr 1 in the world
  • @PhilMonk09: "Email marketing works because it's extremely cost effective"
  • @KNLorenz: Email Mkting works b/c it's a 1-to-1 comm. (ideally) & email ties most online activities together-purchases thru personal
  • @DocS: Email marketing works because I know my followers better and I can select, target, test and measure
  • @eWayDirect: when it's the right message delivered to the right person at the right time in the right way
  • @LorenMcDonald: Email marketing works because when done correctly no marketing comms channel resonates more w/ subscribers & delivers higher ROI
  • @thecmunzproject: Email marketing works because it opens up a conversation that otherwise you could not have with your members.
  • @messagingtimes: Email marketing works because it facilitates direct, relevant and measurable conversations with people.
  • @djwaldow: Email Marketing works b/c unlike other social media tools, nearly everyone uses (& regularly checks) email. Even my dad.
  • @DaveMcCue: Email marketing works because doing it right places a premium on audience satisfaction.
  • @tomwyns: because it is a cost effective tool to spread your message instantly and directly towards your readers
  • @resultsrev: Email marketing works because I test & measure subject lines & content that can then translate to other media
  • @tabsharani: Email Marketing works b/c it has a a proven track record & has become a "natural" way of conducting business.
  • @simmsjenkins: Email Marketing works b/c your customers & prospects asked for it
  • @jordancohenpr: Email marketing works b/c you learn something new about your brand and customers with every mssg you send
  • @spinnakerpro: email marketing works because email, as the most widely used web application, builds lasting relationships
  • @LukeAnker: Email marketing works because it shows you care for your prospects and customers and they appreciate this
  • @flatironsi: Email marketing works because email is the backbone of permission-based, digital communication channels.

and my personal favorites:

  • @adrianjock: Email marketing works. U'll know that it stopped working when the spam disappears LOL
  • @emailtransmit: Email Marketing works b/c you can prove that it does.

Feel free to re-tweet these responses :-) I'll update this post with new responses as they come in...

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Upcoming speaking engagements

I'll be speaking at a number of events over the next couple of months. Here's an overview:

Let me know if you're planning to attend any of these events. I would love to meet up!

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