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A Visual Sciences representative will contact you shortly to discuss measuring the effectiveness of your paid search campaigns.

three easy tips to success.

Tip #1: The more that your potential customers see your name in front of them, the more likely they are to call your number and not your competitors.

Many marketing efforts go unrewarded, not because they were off target but simply because they weren't given enough of an opportunity to work. Showing your TV commercial one time, running an ad in the newspaper once, or sending only one mailing piece won't be enough to grab and keep the audience's attention.

Taking the time to really see which messages generate the response you want will really pay off. Don't just totally give up when a response is low - persistence is vital.

Get your name out there. Do it on a regular basis and people will remember you when they need someone in your line of business. Actually, this particular piece of advice cannot be stressed enough - and failure to adhere to it is the number one reason new businesses fail in their first year.

Tip # 2: Measure your return on investment (ROI) in terms of actual money, not response rate.

An advertising vehicle is working when the money that it brings in has more value than the money and time that is spent on the marketing.

Don't fall into the trap of becoming discouraged by a small number of callers responding to a large number of pieces. If you spend several hundred dollars to be in the view of a few thousand possible leads, it may only take a few customers responding for you to make enough of a profit for this type of marketing to be valuable. The usefulness of any vehicle can only be determined after the amount of income generated by the promotion has been calculated. If you spend one-fifth of what you generate or generate five times what you spend, your campaign was successful.

Tip #3: It is much easier to sell to a prospect once you get them to call or come in to your store.

In two step marketing, step one is to get them interested; step two is having them speak to a representative to get all the details - and get "closed" by that representative.

Your design must be eye catching and informative, but don't try to close the sale by explaining all of the details in one piece of advertising. The details of a business transaction may often take many more words to explain than the main concept of what is being sold. For example, if your company offers great prices depending on the quantity purchased, there is no need to list the prices for every quantity that you sell. Simply give examples of two or three different quantities and state somewhere in the advertisement that other discounts are available for other quantities. This will prompt them to call to get the rest of the details once you have gotten their interest.

Press Release: Pure and Rightmove show marketers the measure of email success

Pure and Rightmove show marketers the measure of email success

Release Date: 29 November 2007

The UK’s leading property web site Rightmove’s continued success in generating traffic and return on investment from email marketing was the talking point at an industry showcase earlier this week.

Rightmove, along with email marketing company Pure, presented a case study to brand marketers on creating successful email strategies.

Pure’s Account Director Marc Munier presented with Robin Wilson, Business Development Manager at Rightmove, on how the online property portal’s sophisticated use of the PureResponse email platform and Enterprise eMarketing Toolset has resulted in a huge uplift in the commercial value of Rightmove's email marketing strategy. The case study also demonstrated how improving relevancy of email marketing has provided a healthy return on investment for Rightmove.

“Rightmove puts a huge emphasis on account management and reporting, and continues to make effective use of Pure’s expertise,” said Marc Munier, Account Director at Pure. “The company is one of the top brands within our major accounts division.”

The talk focused on measuring consumer behaviour, and included tips on how to improve the content of email campaigns

Online publisher Mad.co.uk’s ‘Email Marketing for the Real World’ conference took place at London’s Kensington Close Hotel on Tuesday.

About Pure
Award-winning Pure (www.pure360.com) is one of the top email and SMS marketing companies in the UK*, and the eleventh fastest growing new media company in the country**. Founded in 2001 by Darren Fell, Pure provides big brands and small companies with the technology, know-how and support to run effective email marketing campaigns that have a measurable, positive impact on business. Pure’s email platform, PureResponse, was created by marketers for marketers – it’s used in 40 countries by over 1,200 people. Pure counts innocent drinks, Rightmove, Truprint, EMAP and the FT among its stable of over 700 clients. Brighton-based Pure also publishes the Email Marketing Manual (www.emailmarketingmanual.com); a best practice web site and newsletter featuring brand case studies and expert comment from high profile digital industry faces each month, including journalist and industry guru Mark Brownlow - author of Email Marketing Reports.

*As featured in respected online marketing publisher E-consultancy’s Email Marketing Platform Buyers Guide 2007

**GP Bullhound’s Media Momentum awards, March 2007.

About Rightmove.co.uk
Rightmove.co.uk is the UK’s number one property website, displaying details of homes for sale or rent in the UK and overseas to the largest online audience. It has around 80% of all properties for sale and at any time displays a stock of over 1,000,000 properties to buy or rent, worth around £170 billion. The Rightmove.co.uk site receives over 25 million visits every month and is regularly ranked in the Top Ten most viewed UK websites (source: Hitwise).

For further information please contact:
Claire Armitt
020 7754 5507
07985 297842

comScore: Cyber Monday Sales to Top $700 Million

ComScore Media Metrix is predicting Cyber Monday sales of $700 million, far surpassing the $608 million from last year’s Monday following Thanksgiving.

More than 50 percent (54.5) of office workers with internet access - that’s 68.5 million people - will shop at work today, up from 50.7 percent in 2006, despite the increased prevalence of high-speed broadband connections at home, according to a BigResearch survey commissioned by Shop.org (via MediaPost).

Chad White, founder of the RetailEmail blog and director of retail insights for the Email Experience Council, an arm of the Direct Marketing Association, also believes that sales today will be significantly higher than last year. He points to retailers’ email marketing activities as an indication that retailers have been making a hard push to drive sales for Cyber Monday.

However, forecasts have predicted a certain amount of gloom for the holiday season, thanks to declining economic conditions. Marketing pushes began earlier in the season to try to boost holiday sales, and some believe shopping enthusiasm today will be dampened.

Cyber Monday is no longer considered the busiest online shopping day of the season. That day generally falls on a Monday two weeks before Christmas, and is this year predicted to land on Dec. 10.

Related topics: Research, Signs of What's to Come, Feature, Planning, List Marketing, Interactive, Email, Direct...

Cyber Monday post analysis

Week-End Trends: Retailers barely slow down to chew their turkey

Email activity and promotional trends during the past week:

The RetailEmail Index rose 10% to 246—a new year-to-date high—during the week ending Nov. 23, and is up 28% from where it was four weeks ago. The Index score indicates that on average the top 100 online retailers sent nearly 2.5 promotional emails each last week.

Click to view larger
*The RetailEmail Index is a general measure of the promotional email volume generated by 100 of the top online retailers.

Last week, 95% of the retailers in the RetailEmail Index send out at least one promotional email, up from 92% the week prior, and up from 87% during the 4-weeks-ago period.

Click to view larger

Christmas (Dec. 25): Just like last year, I’ve stopped counting holiday references because nearly every retail email has a holiday angle to it at this point.

Thanksgiving (Nov. 22): The retailers in the RetailEmail Index sent 50 emails referencing Thanksgiving last week, up from 28 the week before.

Black Friday (Nov. 23): There were 44 emails referencing to Black Friday last week, up from 3 the week prior.

Cyber Monday (Nov. 26): There was 1 email that referenced Cyber Monday last week, up from zero the week before.

Other things referenced by retailers: winter sports, holiday parties

RetailEmail.Blogspot: Week-End Trends: Retailers barely slow down to chew their turkey

RetailEmail.Blogspot: Week-End Trends: Retailers barely slow down to chew their turkey

CobWebs: 10 criteria for online fundraising

November 26, 2007

CobWebs: 10 criteria for online fundraising

By Herschell Gordon Lewis
Excepting political, of course, a great many veteran fundraisers question the effectiveness of email and a monolithic Web site in competing for the fundraising dollar, pound, euro, yen, and pledge.

Shakespeare anticipated this reaction when he wrote, "The fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves." Some of the accepted procedures for commercial online marketing fall flat when applied to eleemosynary online marketing (no, the terms "eleemosynary" and "marketing" aren't mutually-canceling).

The fundraiser who sequentially at10ds to 10 relatively simple criteria should find this newest -- and admittedly the most challenging -- medium responsive. If you've become disgusted with email as a lead generator or a resuscitator or even as a reminder, a suggestion: retest, with wording congruent to the Web mindset.

An online appeal has the benefit and the curse of fast acceptance/rejection. That's Step One. Holding at10tion and immediately converting at10tion to the first of these suggested criteria is an indication of fundraising professionalism.

Criterion no. 1: Rapport
Of all 10, this one is most crucial. Assumption of a relationship, real or invented, is the essential key to positive attention. That means starting the message with rapport-laden wording, whether in the subject line or the first sentence of text. It also means discarding trickiness, cleverness, and chest-thumping.

Criterion no. 2: Rationale
Saying to the message recipient, "I'm contacting you because you are who you are" adds octane, provided the first criterion has been established. The two are Siamese twins, tightly joined at the brain. Pretending you're getting the message instead of sending it is no great challenge. Ask: Why am I contacting this person? Is it because he or she gave us money before? Is it because the last contribution was long ago or because the demographic matches our best donors? Distilling the answers should result in a rationale.

Criterion no. 3: Heroism
We all deal with the truism that every nonprofit is competitive with every other nonprofit. The typical donor has a finite amount of money to contribute to all causes. So the library competes with the symphony orchestra, which competes with the hospital, which competes with the community foundation. Being able to tell a prospective or lapsed donor, "You can be a hero" -- in credible, digestible wording -- can jog that individual off the stump of apathy.

Criterion no. 4: Logic
"We need help" is half a century out of date. Everybody needs help, which automatically diminishes this ancient approach. Instead, the first three criteria should isolate our cause on a plateau above the phone calls from shadowy law enforcement sources and direct mail that claims worthiness without the rhetorical weaponry of rapport, rationale, or heroism. Projecting the concept of logic isn't wording that says to the recipient, "This matches you"; rather, it's wording that has the recipient saying to himself or herself, "This matches me."

Criterion no. 5: Urgency
Urgency is implicit, and it also should be explicit. What makes the timing tight? Why are we in a hurry, which means you should be in a hurry to participate? What emergency exists? Careful, now: Our rapport-buddy has to accept what we regard as urgent on identical grounds. Don't sink too deeply into the overly dramatic. Panic not only isn't a sales weapon, it's a turnoff, and the rapport-switch can too quickly snap to "off." Urgency, too, becomes controversial because it's at odds with a venerable fundraising method. Note the next criterion.

Criterion no. 6: No pledges
Pledges and immediacy are at the antipodes of online appeals. You're using the "Right now" medium, and your call should stay in sync with the medium. No one can object to testing the pledge-option, but that's what it should be -- a test rather than a given. Inherent mutual speed is a characteristic that doesn't extend from the Web to standard-class direct mail. It does have a cousin -- public service space ads and broadcast commercials ... but they aren't the topic under dissection.

Criterion no. 7: Recognition
Any and every professional fundraiser knows how to stroke a donor. That's nothing new. Inclusion of publicized recognition, often decked with ribbons on a separate enclosure in a direct mail appeal, should be mentioned early on and exploited later on. The nature of online fundraising makes us wary of unexplained defections. Where did we lose that person? Immediately, because we just didn't connect? Was it halfway through the pitch? At the end, was it because we didn't convince? The early mention of recognition is a glue. It might be a weak glue, but certainly that's better than no glue.

Criterion no. 8: Guilt
Guilt is one of the great motivators of our time, and properly mounted it outweighs any of the others in fundraising. The acknowledged others are: fear, greed, exclusivity, need for approval. There are also two "soft" motivators, convenience and pleasure. In commercial online marketing, greed is the runaway winner. Being able to generate a guilt-reaction might well be the height of fundraising art. It becomes "If we fail, you fail," blended with a non-threa10ing but clear "It's up to you."

Criterion no. 9: Satisfaction
Satisfaction links itself to guilt, rewarded. Don't assume the person to whom you're communicating will complete this link without you. Hammer it home: "You'll sleep the sleep of the just tonight" is the effect. Is that specific wording too strong, too obvious, too forceful? That becomes an executive creative decision. Although all fundraising is competitive with all other fundraising, uniqueness is a mandatory component, and whether you enter the arena with guns blazing or roses tendered is a matter of intended projected image.

Criterion no. 10: Verisimilitude
Of all the criteria, verisimilitude -- the appearance of truth and validity -- is the most difficult to impose because without exquisite tuning, explanation inadvertently (or deliberately) gives way to what the reader too easily can interpret as supplication. That's all it takes to wipe out both rapport and guilt.

An absolute rule for online fundraising is that we don't have to justify our existence to those we're contacting. The salesperson who says, "I'll be honest with you," is immediately suspect.
It boils down to this: We've heard it throughout our professional careers: Direct mail doesn't work. Space ads don't work. Broadcast doesn't work. Handouts don't work. And now, online doesn't work.

Opinion: Each one works for some others. So it isn't the medium that doesn't work. It's the use or misuse of the medium that doesn't work. The fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

How Not to Deal With ISPs

Online political group Truthout.org cried foul recently after Hotmail and AOL blocked its e-mail. At the same time, Yahoo! apparently has been shunting Truthout's messages into subscribers' junk folders.

But rather than conducting an internal assessment of its e-mail program to find out why it's having delivery troubles at the three largest e-mail inbox providers, the organization's executive director Marc Ash called on subscribers to pressure the ISPs into delivering their mail.

“NOTHING works better than public pressure,” he said in a post on Truthout. “They can ignore us; they can't ignore you.”

There's a lesson here for marketers: Ash's approach couldn't be more wrong-headed.

Large ISPs don't block e-mail arbitrarily, and certainly not because of the messages' political content.

“In all my years at AOL, I can tell you that AOL never intentionally blocked an organization for their political views. I would not have allowed it,” wrote Carl Hutzler, the former head of AOL's anti-spam team, in a blog post commenting on the matter.

AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo! use spam-complaint rates — the number of people who press the “report spam” button — as the No. 1 gauge to determine whether to block incoming messages. By all accounts, a complaint rate of more than 0.5% will cause delivery problems.

E-mailers who send to too many bad addresses can also find their messages blocked. Sending to dead addresses is classic spamming behavior.

That two large ISPs are blocking Truthout's messages independently of one another is a sure indicator that Truthout's spam complaints are too high, that it's mailing too many bad addresses, or some combination of the two.

“These ISPs are competitors. They're not sharing this kind of data back and forth,” says Al Iverson, director, privacy and deliverability for e-mail service provider ExactTarget. “It's a technical issue. In the case of AOL and Hotmail, there's a big sign on the door that says if you want to come in here, you have to do ‘X,’ ‘Y’ and ‘Z.’ ”

According to Iverson, Truthout could easily clean up its act by doing the following:

  1. Sign up for feedback loops — programs that provide spam-complaint reports — at AOL and Hotmail.

  2. Make sure it unsubscribes people who complain.

  3. Ensure that bounced addresses get unsubscribed automatically.

  4. Apply for whitelist status at AOL.

Or, he said, Truthout could move to a service provider where these processes are handled automatically.

Ash didn't respond to an e-mail asking if he'd taken steps to clean up his group's e-mail practices.


Magilla Marketing, Ken Magill's weekly e-mail newsletter, is archived at http://directmag.com/magill/.

Videos in email: case studies and resources

Videos in email: case studies and resources

Latest posts | Feed | By Mark Brownlow on November 13, 2007

video screenOne of the long unanswered questions about email marketing is whether you can combine video and email in a way that works.

Like many interactive features, there are question marks over how reliably videos display when viewed within an email.

It now seems some best practices are emerging, given some recent posts and articles that crossed my desktop.

First, news of three separate companies claiming significant success with using videos in email campaigns.

Diana Dilworth reports on the results achieved by the Intercontinental Hotel Group and Wachovia. While MarketingSherpa has a case study on a video email campaign by Brighter Blooms Nursery.

The common factor in all three cases: the emails contain links to videos hosted at a website. Not videos embedded in the email itself.

If the sensible move is to use email to drive people to your video message, how do you best format the call to action?

A best practice might also be emerging here. eROI's Dylan Boyd and the folk at Emma Email Marketing both have blog posts and screenshots praising email which include both text links and image links to the online video.

The clever bit is that the images are snapshots of a video player showing a still from the video. So clicking on the player (as if you wanted to use it) will take you off to the website for online viewing.

Check the comments section on Dylan's post for discussion on the validity of the approach and an alternative.

Video looks to have a bright future among the YouTube generation and in a web world replete with enough high-speed broadband not to care about bandwidth issues anymore.

For more help on your video efforts, try this list of 150+ online video tools and resources from the folk at Mashable.

Bad design drives unsubscribes?

Bad design drives unsubscribes?

Latest posts | Feed | By Mark Brownlow on November 15, 2007

load images symbolMore tears were shed in 2007 over rendering problems than perhaps any other email marketing issue. Outlook 2007 broke some designer hearts and much ink has gone into suggesting ways to ensure your design works well wherever people look at it.

Not much actually gets said, though, about the consequences of emails that look ugly in particular clients or webmail services.

We kind of assume it hurts response rates, but is the reaction more extreme than just a missed click?

Buried deep within a small survey by StoneShot of the email habits of independent financial advisers (see press release) is this little gem...

When asked "What would cause you to unsubscribe from an email?", 73% said irrelevant content. (Another vote for relevancy and targeting there). But 8% said "Email does not display properly."

Leaving aside the statistical significance of that result, it's certainly a warning to those (ahem...like me) who thought a few ugly emails can't do too much harm.

Email has this nasty habit of inviting negative responses rather than just an absence of positive ones. A critical point.

Write a bad newspaper ad, people ignore it. Write a bad email, people report you as spam or unsubscribe from all future emails from you. Nobody can unsubscribe from your newspaper ads.

Just another reason to keep on chasing those best practices.

Talking of design and best practices...a couple of new links to help...

Mark Wyner tested various clients and webmail services to see how they handled image maps. Here are the results.

And Anna Billstrom has added another example to her one-woman crusade to bring home the importance of image blocking to email design.

More on design and blocked images | Tags: , ,

Do forms work in HTML emails?

Do forms work in HTML emails?

Posted by Mark Wyner on November 7, 2007

Over the years we've received loads of inquiries about the use of forms in emails, such as newsletter subscribe forms, event registration and surveys. So we decided to run some tests to get to the bottom of just how well forms are supported in all the major email environments.

Is it okay to use forms in emails? It’s not the best idea. But what do you say when your client asks you to put one in an email? You can either tell them “no” for reasons which may not make sense to them, or you can back up your defiance with some hard evidence.

The short of it is that email clients consider email forms to be a security risk. While some email clients simply warn you of potential danger, others outright disable the forms. So if your client wants to send out a form, they should know that most of their recipients will never be able to use it. And for those who can, they’ll think twice about submitting data when they see a warning from their email client.

Results Summary

Common email clients share a propensity to distrust forms in email messages. But they differed greatly in how they handled the intruding forms. Following are some notable oddities.

External data submission

Upon submitting a form in many webmail clients, a JavaScript alert announces that the form is submitting data to an external page and asks if you want to continue:

[Gmail screenshot: You are submitting information to an external page. Are you sure?]

[Yahoo! Mail screenshot: Warning! You are about to send information to someone other than Yahoo! If you do not want anyone outside of Yahoo! to have this information, click Cancel now. Remember Yahoo! will NEVER ask you for your password in an unsolicited phone call or an unsolicited email. Please change your preferences if you do not want to see this message again.]

Scam alerts

Thunderbird recognizes that the form may be malicious but doesn’t strip its functionality. Instead, it warns you of potential danger:

[Thunderbird screenshot: Thunderbird thinks this message might be an email scam.]

Odd behavior

Windows Live Hotmail shows the form. However, the form functions in an odd way; and certainly not correctly. If the form is submitted by keying the “return” key, the page is refreshed but no data is sent and the process is not completed. If the form is submitted by clicking the submit button, nothing happens. Outlook 2007 also exhibits some unique behavior in that it custom renders the form. Inputs are replaced with brackets and the submit button is replaced with the button’s value enveloped in brackets. So it's a plain-text version of what the form would look like, even though the HTML is being displayed.

Complete Results

How Forms Perform in HTML Emails
Client Form is displayed Form is functional
.Mac Yes No
Yahoo! Mail Yes Yes
Yahoo! Mail Classic Yes No
AOL Webmail Yes No
Gmail Yes Yes
Windows Live Hotmail Yes No
Apple Mail Yes Yes
Thunderbird Yes Yes
Penelope (Eudora 8) Yes Yes
Outlook 2007 No No
Outlook 2003 Yes No
Outlook Express Yes Yes
Windows Live Mail Yes Yes
Lotus Notes 8 Yes Yes
Entourage Yes Yes

The Recommendation

Given the sporadic support for forms in emails, we recommend linking to a form on a website in an email rather than embedding it therein. This is the safest, most reliable solution to pairing an email message with a form. More people will see it and be able to use it, and as a result participation will increase.

7 comments so far


wrote on November 8, 2007 2:26 AM

Hmm, have to differ with at least one of your results here I'm afraid, as we have received and submitted forms using Outlook 2003 SP2, and it appeared to function fine.

That aside, I completely agree on leaving forms out of email. If an email is generating enough interest that someone fills in a form, then it is enough for them to click a link to a webpage before they fill it out.

Mark Wyner

wrote on November 8, 2007 6:26 AM

Thanks for sharing, Stormy. It's interesting that we experienced different results because we, too, tested Outlook 2003 on XP with SP2. Maybe the types of forms we used differ?

We probably should have pointed out that we tested the POST which performed very poorly, and then proceeded with a GET form which worked much better. Our chart exhibits results from the latter. Also, our form comprised a single text input with a button. Very simple to see if the most basic form would function.

All said, even if some forms function in Outlook 2003 they continue to be unreliable in many other clients. But know that your feedback is still valuable and we appreciate it very much.

Danny Foo

wrote on November 9, 2007 3:26 PM

I'm curious, by form does it also mean the polls some people include in their newsletters?

I've always been wondering how they achieved this. :S

Dave Greiner

wrote on November 9, 2007 6:06 PM

Danny, yes, this refers to any kind of form element in emails, including polls and surveys. Basically, they are very hit and miss and not recommended.

Jonathan Sweet

wrote on November 10, 2007 2:22 AM

Something that we've noticed is that forms work in Outlook (pre 2007), but not in the preview pane (they won't post to the server).


wrote on November 17, 2007 12:19 PM

The presumption that participation will increase by using a landing page is open to debate. Users are lazy -- make them click, and that's another commitment. If it's possible to present simple survey queries in an e-mail, you'd likely see more responses. After all, they've already opened the e-mail -- all they have to do is tick a few boxes, or fill out some info, and click. But if they have to take another step, they might be more likely to abandon.

Mathew Patterson

wrote on November 19, 2007 6:12 PM

You are right Sully - it is an extra click, and you would expect to lose some people because of that. Unfortunately though, forms just don't reliably work in email, and it is worse for someone to fill out a form and then see it fail.

The raw number of participants may fall by having a landing page, but the number of successful forms lodged would be expected to increase.

Google analytics in email

Analyzing Your Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns Using Google Analytics

Analyzing Holiday Email Campaigns with Google AnalyticsAs the holidays approach, chances are you will be launching several email marketing campaigns. Busy holiday marketing schedules heavily rely on email to connect with customers, promote holiday sales and offers, and to drive revenue. With the flurry of emails you’ll be sending out, analyzing your campaigns is critical to improving their effectiveness. Utilizing a robust web analytics package is a great way to scientifically determine what works best for your specific customer segments, and maybe more importantly, what doesn’t work. So, I decided to write a post that covers analyzing your email marketing campaigns by properly tagging your email links (for analysis in Google Analytics). Then you can break down and analyze your email creative at a granular level in your analytics reporting.

First let's define "tagging your online ads":
Tagging is the process of adding querystring variables to links in your online ads so your analytics package can detect and then associate each link with a campaign. Then you can access reporting based on visitor activity. For example, tagging a banner so you your analytics package knows which website the banner was placed on and which version of the banner led to a click through. The reporting will also provide important metrics for your campaigns such as site activity, sales, conversions, bounce rate, etc. Tagging is critical to understanding how your marketing campaigns are performing.

Breaking Down Your Email Marketing Creative
Let’s start with a wireframe for our sample email marketing creative. As you can see below, we have the following areas that we want to track:

1. header with branding
2. product image
3. headline next to product image with product info
4. special offer
5. footer with company links

Breaking down your email creative and tagging links.

Tag, You’re It! Tagging Your Email Creative:
In Google Analytics, you need to tag your campaigns so you can properly analyze each campaign in your reporting. You achieve this by tagging each link that you want to track. The four variables that you will utilize in Google Analytics for this example are:

1. utm_source
2. utm_campaign
3. utm_medium
4. utm_content

This is the source of your marketing campaign, so for our purposes "InternalEmailList" will work just fine. Just remember to keep this consistent for future campaigns to your internal email list so you can easily segment and aggregate your reporting data in Google Analytics. Other examples of Campaign Source are websites you are advertising with, shopping engines, a search engine like Google or Yahoo, PRWeb, etc. It’s basically the source of your campaign traffic.

This is simply the name of your campaign. Note, you should use a descriptive name here, since it will show up in Google Analytics under the Traffic Sources tab in Campaigns.

Medium identifies the marketing channel you are utilizing for your campaign, such as email, banners, search, pr, etc. Obviously for our example, we’ll use email.

I saved this for last, since it’s what we'll be focusing on for tracking your email marketing creative. You should use a different value for utm_content for each section or specific link in your creative. This enables you to view reporting based on the content breakdown in your email creative (which will help you determine the value of each element in your email). More on this later.

So, for our example, the utm_content values would look like this:

Header: utm_content=HeaderBranding
Product Photo: utm_content=ProductPhoto
Headline: utm_content=Headline
Offer: utm_content=Offer
Footer Links: utm_content= FooterLinks

Note, this is a simplified example, and you may choose to get more granular in your own email creative. For example, you may choose to tag each specific link in the footer versus tagging all of the links in your footer as "FooterLinks".

The Full Picture (or should I say "The Full URL")
I just explained how to set the utm_content variable in your link, but I also mentioned 3 other variables that you should set. Here is what your link would look like for the header element in your email creative using all 4 variables:


Each of the links in your email should contain this querystring using all 4 of the Google Analytics tracking variables I listed above. You can also utilize Google's URL Builder to help build your links.

Blast Away!
At this point, you should fully test your creative to ensure everything looks the way it should across email clients, ensure all of the links work properly, ensure you tagged each link correctly, etc. Then blast away and wait for data to come in (and revenue!)

Tracking Your Email Campaign in Google Analytics
OK, so you blasted out your email campaign yesterday and you are eager to see how it’s performing. Log into Google Analytics and click the Traffic Sources tab. Then click Campaigns. You should see all of your campaigns listed here for the time period you selected. For our example, you would see a listing for PreThanksGiving, since this is the name we gave our campaign earlier. Simply click this listing to view reporting specific to this campaign.

At this point you can see the summary for your email campaign. You can see the number of visitors, avg time on site, bounce rate, etc. You can click the Goal Conversion tab to view the number of conversions from your campaign, and you can also click the E-Commerce tab to view revenue, number of transactions, etc. But you shouldn’t stop there… You can drill in further to view which elements are performing well in your email creative.

Click the image to view a larger version:

Viewing email campaign data in Google Analytics

View the Breakdown:
Click the Site Usage tab again in your report. Now, click the Segment dropdown and select Ad Content. You will now see each of the links you tagged in your email creative. Cool, right? Now you can view detailed reporting based on each element in your email. Why is this important? You may find interesting customer behavior that will enable you to drive better performance in future blasts. You might see that 75% of visitors clicked the product photo versus the offer. Based on that piece of data, maybe you expand your imaging in the email to include other views of the product to see if it increases your click through rate and sales. Or, you might find that a headline next to the photo draws more visitors than a headline above the photo. So on and so forth... You get the picture! When you break it down, your customers are unique and you might find that certain elements perform extremely well and others fall flat.

Click the image to view a larger version:

Analyzing email content using Google Analytics.

Back to your reporting… A sample analysis:
Now click the E-Commerce tab and view sales data for each element. You might find the product photo generated 70% of the revenue from the campaign. You might also see 10% of the revenue coming from the footer links. Why? Maybe customers aren’t sure who you are! Most people receive dozens of emails per day from companies they have purchased from. If you are a smaller company that is still building your brand, it might take customers a second or two to remember who you are… If you see trending that shows people clicking through your About Us link, you might want to promote your company and/or brand more in the email creative. i.e. Provide an About Us paragraph in the right sidebar of the email. This is obviously just an example, but you might find some important data from reviewing reporting like this... Back to our analysis, if you click the Goal Conversion tab, you can view conversions from each element in your email. Now you can track sales, newsletter signups, RSS subscriptions, etc. for each element in your creative. You might find certain email campaigns generate a lot of newsletter signups but only a few sales. You would obviously want to dig deeper and find out why that is...but you wouldn't know unless you track it!

In closing…
Using this technique, you can break down your creative and tag each link so you can view detailed reporting for your email campaigns. During and after each campaign, you should check your reporting for trends in customer behavior. Then test out new ideas and drive elements that perform well. Over time, you can refine your campaigns to maximize your email marketing efforts.

So, if I’ve done my job well, your next move is to run down the hall and grab your email marketing coordinator screaming, “Hold That Blast!” so you can tag all of your links! ;-) Then you can enter meetings armed with data versus opinion!


Related Posts:
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Now Gobble Thursday - More Holiday Tips for Web Marketers

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Tips on the unsubscribe process

Stefan Pollard at ClickZ has put together some tips on best
practice in allowing recipients to unsubscribe from emails. This is
important, as subscribers will most likely mark your emails as spam if
they have any trouble unsubscribing.

Email marketers should therefore make the process of
unsubscribing from emails as easy and trustworthy as possible, as if
ISPs get too many complaints around your emails, this could seriously
damage your sender reputation.

Stefan’s tips are:

  • Use an unsubscribe procedure that requires as few steps as possible
    should be a one or two step process at most, and you should not require
    customers to add any further login details.

    Making customers jump through too many hoops to unsubscribe, as in this email worst practice example, can damage your brand in their eyes, and will often lead them to report your emails as spam instead.

  • Tell users exactly how they got onto your list

    Remind customers exactly how and where they signed up to receive your emails. Otherwise, they may perceive you as a spammer.

  • Place the unsubscribe message where people can see it

    customers look too hard for the unsubscribe link will have them
    reporting you as spam. Stefan recommends placing it in the admin
    section, where people will expect to find it, or else display it
    prominently elsewhere in the message.

  • Test your unsubscribe procedure

    Make sure the process works by clicking the links or sending test emails.

  • Provide alternate unsubscription methods

    people have difficulty unsubscribing online, or don’t want to, give
    them a phone number to call, or a postal address to send the request

How to ensure that your marketing emails are effective rather than annoying

By: Richard Mullins

marketing programmes must be built around the current real needs of
customers and prospects if they are to be truly effective.

we like it or not, the power has shifted from our hands as marketers to
those of our customers. If we want our customers and prospects to
welcome our email marketing messages, we need to embrace this shift and
change the way that we communicate.

Instead, we must use email
to respond to the real, immediate and individual needs of each of our
customers. The point where we are no longer selling, but our customers
are buying is the where email marketing becomes truly effective.

The evolution of email marketing

To reach that point, however, we will need to rethink the practices of old.

five years ago, we would blast a single email message to an entire
database and hope for the best. When we measured and tested the results
their email programmes produced, we were nearly always disappointed. As
the volumes of marketing emails that consumers received started to
grow, so did their impatience with unwelcome and impersonal marketing
messages, which meant that our results became even poorer.

the next phase of email marketing's evolution, marketers started
segmenting databases and gearing offers or content towards specific
customer segments. We could time customised messages to reach
recipients when they would be most receptive. Although this method
created some ROI, it was time-consuming, prone to human error, and
largely static. People's needs change fast, much faster than the static
profile fields captured at the point of opt-in allow for. While this
approach was a vast improvement on what came before, it too, is now
part of email history.

Today, email programmes must be built
around the real, up-to-the-minute needs of prospects: not what we think
a customer's needs are or what they were three months ago, but what the
customer actually wants and needs today. This means that we need to
listen to our customers all day, every day.

Seven steps to more effective email marketing

you've acknowledged that your email marketing should anticipate the
needs and desires of your customers and prospects, you will probably be
unsure of how you can achieve this goal in a way that does not place an
enormous strain on business resources. The best way to get it right is
to break the complex goal down into a series of manageable tasks. The
checklist below offers a good starting point:

1. Go back to basics

your databases into useful categories, ensuring that mechanisms are in
place for customers and prospects to move between segments as their
situation and needs change.

2. Define a strategy for each segment

about your strategies for conversion, retention, deeper share of pocket
and customer re-activation across the segments you have defined.

3. Execute the strategy

life into the strategy by applying it to each customer in every
segment. Listen closely to what customers and prospects are saying by
aligning your email platforms with reports from your web analytics

4. Define business events

With the basics in
place, you can define the key business performance indicators and
success events that your customers and prospects may trigger. You
should capture any event that may reveal something about the state of
mind of the customer.

At the simplest end of the spectrum, this
may be a registration on your Web site or a customer buying something
from you online for the first time. But key performance indicators and
success events can be far more complex, such as a customer abandoning a
shopping cart before final checkout and payment on your Web site.

5. Pay attention to customer needs and respond

to what each 'Event' says about customer needs and desires, and define
an appropriate response to each. These responses become business rules.
To be effective, these rules need to define both the content and timing
of the response - for example, a standard email offering a discount to
a customer that has abandoned a shopping cart worth more than R300
before checkout.

6. Develop a 'Messaging Matrix'

messaging matrix has customer segments (and related strategies) mapped
across the horizontal axis and business events mapped on the vertical.
The 'Business Rules' fill in at each point of intersection where
vertical and horizontal intersect.

7. Pay attention to content

the 'Messaging Matrix' defined, you can pay attention to creative
messaging and dynamic content creation. With the rule set defined
above, it's a relatively simple process to extend this into rules for
building and deploying creative on the fly.

Closing thoughts

is key is to ensure that all the processes outlined above are automated
from the outset. I have seen many sophisticated programmes, which seem
manageable at first, spiral out of control when the volume of email
messages increases. Automation from the outset means that programmes
can be built confidently without fear of resource or administration
nightmares in the future.

Automation does mean an extra bit of
work at the beginning, but once the upfront definitions and automation
is done, you can go back to being a marketer and focus on the important
business of delivering results by responding quickly to your customers'

VerticalResponse Integrates Google Analytics Into Email Marketing Service


New Reporting Integration Measures Email Marketing Campaign Effectiveness Even Further
Highlighted Links

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - September 5, 2007) - VerticalResponse, Inc., the leading provider of self-service email marketing and direct mail solutions, is now offering its users the VerticalResponse Google Analytics Integration, a new reporting solution to measure email campaign effectiveness. Google Analytics provides detailed reports on clickstream activity by collecting and analyzing data based on the succession of clicks each visitor makes on a website. Now any VerticalResponse user can activate the new feature from their VerticalResponse account profile for free, and begin easily tracking recipients' subsequent activity.

"We continually strive to offer new features to optimize our users' email marketing efforts," said Janine Popick, VerticalResponse CEO. "Users can already track opens, clicks and a host of other data with VerticalResponse, now with the new Google Analytics Integration, VerticalResponse users can take their campaign effectiveness to the next level. This integration is an additional tool that empowers small businesses to launch marketing campaigns, and measure them with precision like larger companies have always been able to do -- but at a fraction of the cost."

To enable clickstream monitoring from an email marketing campaign, those who already use Google Analytics simply check a box in their VerticalResponse profile and fill in the domains they want to track. Then all of their email campaigns will automatically populate click data in their Google Analytics account. This information helps businesses learn about where their visitors are coming from and how they interact with their email and website. It also informs them of how these visitors are spending their time on the Internet, allowing them to make site changes, measure abandoned shopping carts or streamline overall website navigation.

VerticalResponse is dedicated to making marketing accessible to businesses with any size marketing budget. VerticalResponse also provides users with two blogs: the award winning VerticalResponse Marketing blog and the recently launched VerticalResponse for AppExchange blog. In addition to announcing new features and providing free user support, these blogs connect users to newsletters, trade shows, live webinars and live chats. This breadth of resources ensures that users get the most effective real-time support for ongoing marketing success.

About VerticalResponse

VerticalResponse, Inc. (http://www.verticalresponse.com) is a leading provider of self-service email marketing and direct mail services empowering businesses of all sizes to create, manage and analyze their own direct marketing campaigns. VerticalResponse's flagship product, which enables customers to deliver sophisticated yet easily deployed email campaigns, is the most intuitive and affordable Web-based direct marketing solution available. VerticalResponse is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For additional information, please visit www.verticalresponse.com.

Why E-Mail Marketing Falls Short


There's been a great deal of discussion lately about why, after 10
years, e-mail marketing is still struggling with the basics of
deliverability and consent. The general consensus among industry
heavyweights is many organizations fail to follow e-mail marketing best
practices. Broadly speaking, blame for bad behavior is placed on three
groups: the new and inexperienced; offline marketers who try to apply
their principles to e-mail; and those knowingly playing fast and loose
to make a quick buck.

Much of the trouble we see today is of our
own making. We messed up, big time. The root cause can be traced to two
phrases: "prior business relationship" and "one bite at the cherry."

Back in 2003, when the federal government sought to enact anti-spam legislation, a variety of industry groups, most notably the Direct Marketing Association
(DMA) pushed for, or acquiesced to those who pushed for, weak
legislation that didn't actually outlaw spam. The DMA's mantra at the
time was "one bite at the cherry,"
arguing that any marketer should be permitted to send one e-mail to
anyone they wished. They and other groups pushed for companies being
permitted to send e-mail to anyone with whom they had a prior business

The end result was the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003,
nicknamed by some anti-spam activists as the "You CAN-SPAM Act" because
it legitimized spam and overrode more restrictive laws in a number of
states. If I had a penny for every time a marketer used the excuse "but
the lawyers say it's OK" to try to send spam, my trousers would drop.
Problem is, the law doesn't clearly and unambiguously require companies
to obtain verifiable consent before sending e-mail to individuals.

CAN-SPAM Act isn't all bad. It outlawed some deceptive practices not
previously barred. Being a federal law, it was, of course, a
substantial compromise. More important, it's failed its basic
objective: to control the assault of non-solicited pornography and
marketing, even among supposedly legitimate businesses. And that's our

Why rehash ancient history? There isn't a serious possibility of a new anti-spam law anytime soon.

must learn from the past. If we don't recognize what a catastrophic
error was made and how incredibly shortsighted it was to push for such
a weak law, we'll continue to repeat the same mistakes.

general consensus is many organizations fail to adhere to best
practices. This failure contributes to significant issues with public
perception of e-mail marketing and delivery of messages. Given this,
one would hope industry groups would have clear statements on the
topic. One would hope they would clearly state that consent is a
requirement. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case.

The Email Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC) guide
(PDF download) begins by stating its pledge to require affirmative
consent but then immediately discusses best practices for opt-out
consent. That's an oxymoron in my book. It seems it's trying but
hedging its bets. I give the coalition a C-.

The DMA guide is
worse. In 2003, the association gutted the Council for Responsible
E-Mail practices prior to publication, removing references to
permission. At the time, my company resigned in protest. The latest version (PDF download) encourages permission-based e-mail but still reads:

or List Owners should only send commercial e-mail to individuals with
whom they have a pre-existing or current business relationship, or when
consent/permission has been obtained.

Reading this you
could be forgiven for thinking that consent is optional. This isn't
good enough in my book. Other sections of the document imply that
permission isn't about doing the right thing by your customers and
prospects but about avoiding blocklisting by ISPs. This definitely
scores an F.

Before moving forward with sophisticated e-mail
marketing strategies, we must get the basics right. Absent a law
requiring consent, we need a united front on consent. That means our
trade groups must make it clear that opt-out is spam and spam is bad
for e-mail, bad for our customers, and bad for us. They must state
without equivocation or prevarication that consent is a requirement and
act to ensure their members adhere to such requirements. Without these
actions, we'll be in just as bad shape in 2010 as we are now.

Until next time,


Optin, Your Key To Effective Email Marketing.

Optin, Your Key To Effective Email Marketing.
Written by Editors Choice
Saturday, 01 September 2007

You know what an optin is right? You know, that little box that pops up on many sales pages that offers you more information or a free newsletter if you become a registered member or some crap like that. Well it may seem annoying and like a waste of valuable time and space, but let me change your thinking on them right now. It is critical that you know just how effective these little things are in the broader scope of bulk email marketing. They literally will double, triple, or even quadruple your income if you use them appropriately.

So what is the basic idea of the optin? Well you have heard of email marketing where you form a list of people that are interested in your product (or other similar things) enough to learn more but not yet interested in making a purchase. Well the optin tool is what forms this list. Then once the list is formed you send them emails that expose their need or a problem that they may or may not realize they have and offer your product as a solution. It's sounds crazy and a bit cheesy, I know, but you would be amazed at how effective it is. The lists that you form are also valuable for other selling other products to that subset of customers as well.

Yeah, well all you need is a simple software tool that adds the optin box and then sorts and manages the lists that are formed. It then allows you to input the emails that you want sent out, in a specific order, and at a specific time interval, and then tracks the outcomes to help you evaluate what emails are good and which ones need more work. So what at first seems relatively simple becomes a complex and incredibly valuable tool for any serious internet marketer who is always looking for ways to increase his (or her) conversions on any or all of his products.

So why is the optin tool so effective? Well, that's a great question and unfortunately not one that has a good complete answer. But i will take a stab at it by giving you some of my ideas that could explain the amazing effectiveness of the optin.

For one thing it allows the customer to delay making a decision on something that they haven't totally thought through. Either they didn't realize they needed it as bad as your are telling them they do or it was just a quick idea that they were checking out for the first time. Second the optin generally gives the bait of free information about strategy or how the product works or life in general. And you know that humans LOVE free stuff so this reels them right in and the rest is simply age old marketing tricks. So there are my two cents, but seriously -- don't let this opportunity escape!

Why Email Marketing Is Like A Resort Vacation

Why Email Marketing Is Like A Resort Vacation :: Posted August 22nd, 2007 by Loren McDonald

Last week at this time, I was relaxing poolside with a prickly pear margarita at our timeshare resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. All the time I was sitting there working on my Email Insider column, I kept seeing how my resort experience underlined some key email lessons:

Lesson one: Timing is everything. The experience: We sat through a long presentation on our ownership and opportunities for additional weeks at some new resorts. Another timeshare was quite tempting, but it was not the right time for us. However, we couldn't pass up a special promotion being offered at our home resort.

The lesson: Your customers might not be ready to buy when they read your email message, or to buy exactly what you're selling, but studies show they often use the information to shop later. Be sure your email message value lasts longer than the day it arrives in their inboxes and provides alternatives. Not everyone is going to pull the trigger on that $200 cycling helmet, so make sure you include the $20 sweat-cap and box of energy bars as alternatives.

Lesson two: Don't hard-sell subscribers on a soft-sell list. The experience: One of the resort pools is for kids and more boisterous activity; another is set aside for relaxing. While I was outlining this column, a group of young men was goofing around in the "adult" pool and clearly annoying some of us "relaxers." A cabana worker was alerted and they were kindly asked to settle down or leave.

The lesson: Make sure your email program stays consistent with subscribers' expectations. If they opted in to a trend or thought leadership newsletter, don't start adding hard-sell content. Instead, launch a new email program specifically geared to product information, specials and discounts where the focus is clearly on sales. Otherwise, you risk losing subscribers who turn to you for news or advice, and you tarnish your leadership reputation.

Lesson three: Align your email program with brand identity. The experience: I love a good mojito, a Cuban-influenced cocktail made with rum, sugar, lime juice, crushed mint leaves and club soda, partly because it's so satisfying to watch a bartender muddle the mint leaves to create a unique drink each time. I expected that kind of custom work when I ordered one at the poolside bar, but watched in dismay as the bartender used a bottled mojito mix. While it was happy hour, my expectations were nonetheless consistent with this resort's brand — but it fell short of the mark.

The lesson: Understand what your brand represents to your customers and what they expect of you. If your brand speaks of quality, craftsmanship, or reliability, for example, don't use your email program solely as a discount channel.

Lesson four: Don't make readers work for benefits. The experience: I had gotten my own drink from the bar when I entered the pool area one day, but when it was time for a refill, I couldn't get the cabana worker even to look my way. It wasn't until I almost tackled her that she took my order.

The lesson: Analyze your customers to see who your best ones are. One customer might open every message but never buy; another might open one in five but buy something every time she opens one. Also, make it easy for them to buy without working too hard. Start with a message design that delivers key information in the preview pane and without images disabled. Next, clearly label buttons with the desired action: "buy," "download," "subscribe." Finally, send those who click your links to a dedicated landing page; don't make them hack their way through your site to find the offer.

Lesson five: Use customer-provided information to their benefit. The experience: The corporation that owns our resort probably spends millions on its customer database, but doesn't give that information to its sales reps. We had to supply even the most basic information, that we were already owners at this resort, for example. Someone tell me the marketing strategy for this, because it violates one of the basic tenets of good marketing.

The lesson: If your customers have taken the time to fill out detailed demographic or preference pages, use that information to populate new forms so that they don't have to repeat the information every time they interact with you. Also, use their past buying history to segment and create relevant messages. Don't send a loss-leader introductory offer to someone who has bought from you for years.

These tips should help you create an email program more closely focused on your subscribers' needs and wants, so that they come to believe working with you is as pleasant and relaxing as a day spent poolside.

FTC conduct enquiry about ValueClick's lead generation methods


On May 18, 2007, online advertising competitor ValueClick, Inc. (VLCK) received a letter from the Federal Trade Commission("FTC") stating that the FTC was conducting an inquiry to determine whether the Company's lead generation activities violated either the Federal Trade Commission Act or the CAN-SPAM Act. Specifically, the FTC is investigating certain ValueClick websites, which promised consumers a free gift of substantial value, and the manner in which the Company drives traffic to such websites, in particular through email....




Regulation FD Disclosure

Item 7.01 Regulation FD Disclosure.

On May 18, 2007, ValueClick, Inc. ("ValueClick" or "the Company") filed a Form 8-K which stated that, on May 16, 2007, the Company received a letter from the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") stating that the FTC is conducting an inquiry to determine whether the Company's lead generation activities violate either the Federal Trade Commission Act or the CAN-SPAM Act. Specifically, the FTC is investigating certain ValueClick websites which promise consumers a free gift of substantial value, and the manner in which the Company drives traffic to such websites, in particular through email. The Company defines the use of ValueClick websites which promise consumers a free gift as "promotion-based" lead generation.

As a result of the Form 8-K filed on May 18, 2007, the Company received several calls from analysts regarding the revenue contribution of its lead generation business in general, and its promotion-based sub-category of lead generation in particular, to its Media segment. In response, ValueClick stated that lead generation accounted for more than 60 percent of its Media segment revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2007. In addition, the Company stated that the promotion-based sub-category of lead generation, which is the subject of the FTC inquiry, accounted for less than 30 percent of its Media segment revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2007.

ValueClick provided these financial metrics for informational purposes only, and the Company does not intend to update these financial metrics in future communications with the financial community, including periodic reports filed by the Company.

Silver surfers


So-called 'silver surfers' could be more responsive to email marketing, it has been suggested.

Matthew Finch, who oversees online marketing for
travel company Warner Breaks, tells E-consultancy his firm has seen
success with emails as a means of targeting the over-50 age group.

He adds that traditional methods of advertising - both online and offline - remain important to older web users.

"We have invested significantly in display
advertising and affiliate marketing to reach new customers - and of
course search marketing," he tells the e-commerce website.

"Email marketing has increased significantly over
the past 12 months as we find our customers are highly receptive to
communication by email."

He recommends a wide-ranging promotional campaign
in order to reach the more mature audience, with internet service
providers and webmail sites among the more successful targets.

A study conducted by Burson-Marsteller recently
revealed that young people with influence over their peers are the most
likely demographic group to respond positively to a commercial message.

Email Marketing Tips - Autoresponder - How To Start Your Own Opt In List

...For best results you should not use a free auto responder service
because advertisements will be added to all your outgoing emails. You
will have no control over which ads are shown and this will distract
your subscribers and dramatically reduce the response rates to your

You can either pay a monthly fee and use a third party hosted auto
responder service like Aweber or Get Response, or you can pay a one
time fee and install an auto responder script like Auto Response Plus
on your domain.

The problem with auto responder scripts is that
the number of subscribers you can store will be limited depending on
how much disk space you have with your hosting plan, and you will also
need to backup your list on a regular basis in case a problem occurs
and all of the information is lost.

Its much easier and safer to
use a third party hosted auto responder service because you will not
have to worry about installing a script and your subscribers will be
stored securely on a dedicated server with no limits.
...Double opt in lists are becoming more popular because they provide
extra security as subscribers must confirm their email address, but
many people will forget to complete this confirmation which results in
fewer active subscribers so you may prefer to use the single opt in

U.S. Email Marketers Now Leading Producers Of Unwanted Bulk Email


Email coming from marketers is now
accounting for 72 percent of the unwanted bulk email that our company
has to divert away from customers, said
Dean. This unwanted bulk email has enormous
cost implications to ISPs and network operators. It has been an annoying
problem to deal with for both us and our customers. Users often
accidentally subscribe to 'Third Party Offerings' but don't know how to
stop it. Now that we allow blocking of 'Commercial Marketers' our costs
have gone down, and customer satisfaction has gone up.

Email Marketers Say List Turnover Is Their Biggest Challenge


Concerns over list growth aren't necessarily
new, but it's interesting that it's become a top concern for email
marketers," said Elaine OGorman, vice
president of strategy for Silverpop. Growing
a strong database of customers and prospects is obviously the core part
of any strong email marketing program. All elements of sophisticated
email marketing segmentation,
personalization, dynamic content, lifestyle marketing and more
depend upon the quantity and quality of the email list.

Yet while marketers work diligently to add new names to the list, others
drop off or become inactive. List attrition for BtoB marketers averages
2.1 percent a month, according to MarketingSherpa's "Email Marketing
Benchmark Guide 2007." The report indicates BtoC marketers lose, on
average, 2.9 percent of their email addresses each month.

Google's warning, permission, relevancy and the future of email


So much for that. Here's what Google just said in an official Gmail blog post on spam reports:

people are afraid to report a message because they aren't sure if it is
"really" spam or not. Our opinion is that if you didn't ask for it and
you don't want it, it's spam to you, and it should be reported.

Adventures in Email Marketing :: Images Off: Unfortunately, It’s the First Impression

Second post


Adventures in Email Marketing :: Review: 10 Emails with Images-Off


Tips: How to Design For Images-Off

- Use of non-image HTML techniques, such as colored background tables and colored text.

- Enticing, clever alt-tags that induce viewers to select “images on”

- Reducing the number of images above the fold

- Not relying on one large image for your email

- For tabbed headers and menu header, using tables and text instead of small images



HTML Email and Using Style

General Notes

An Email template is usually sent as a single-part or a
multi-part. There are several MIME types associated with the various
parts, the most common being text/plain, text/enriched and text/html.
The only MIME type on topic for this WIKI is the HTML. This document
addresses CSS that works safely in the majority of cases. If you have
questions about overall email template layouts and syntax, you can
contact ElizabethDavies directly.

Optimizing CSS presentation in HTML emails


Posted by Mark Wyner on August 01, 2005

This article is a sequel to one that appeared on A List Apart shortly after the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was enacted. (If you haven't read it, you might want to take a gander.) The web has made great strides in standards-coding techniques, and my philosophies have evolved accordingly. I now would like to clarify the intentions of my original article and explain how my approach to HTML emails has kept pace with the rapidly changing internet environment.

Yahoo Mail alters the contents of an HTML email by changing things like ‹body› to ‹xbody› and adding an all-encompassing container DIV (#message) just inside the Body tag. The “xbody” issue disables all presentational aspects you’ve defined for the body of your document. There is, however, an accessible solution to this problem that minimizes gratuitous markup. Create your own container DIV that envelops your entire email and treat it as though it where the body tag. As for the new #message DIV, it’s relatively harmless (at least in my tests) since Yahoo is considerate enough to add #message to any descendant selectors you might have applied.......read on

A Guide to CSS Support in Email


Posted by David Greiner on March 30, 2006
Update: This study has since been superceded by the new and improved 2007 Edition that includes Outlook 2007 and the new Yahoo! Mail. Check it out.

Welcome to the first episode of our Extreme Email Makeover series with Dr. Mark Wyner. We'll be running a series of email makeovers to help illustrate best practices for email design, layout and construction. Dr. Wyner will assess an existing email newsletter for ailments which can easily be cured with treatments in modern “medicine.” A patient’s vitals will be provided (email intent, target audience, etc.) and a diagnosis will be revealed. Finally a cure will be outlined, complete with a brand new email template designed and built by Dr. Wyner.

Extreme email Makeover


Welcome to the first episode of our Extreme Email Makeover series with Dr. Mark Wyner. We'll be running a series of email makeovers to help illustrate best practices for email design, layout and construction. Dr. Wyner will assess an existing email newsletter for ailments which can easily be cured with treatments in modern “medicine.” A patient’s vitals will be provided (email intent, target audience, etc.) and a diagnosis will be revealed. Finally a cure will be outlined, complete with a brand new email template designed and built by Dr. Wyner.

RE: Email Subject Lines That Work?


By Bryan Eisenberg - Jul 24 , 2007

To Read or Not to Read

The amount of poorly written copy is a real shame. (I have ulterior
motives, so I actually open a lot of junk mail.) What’s worse, though,
is seeing examples of really good copy that will never get read because
the subject line screamed out “IRRELEVANT,” “SPAM,” or, basically,

There are a few factors you can control when your email message
enters a prospect’s email client: the Subject line, the From address,
the To address, and (on some clients) a preview of the message. (Yes,
if you want to get fussy, the date, too).

The Horse DOES Go Before the Cart

Many marketers treat writing the subject line of an email like a minor
effort. It’s easy to see why. It’s just a few words. Isn’t it the
100-plus words in the copy that do the selling?

Don’t be fooled. If you can’t get your prospect to open your email,
no amount of great copy is going to make a sale. (Remember the first A
in AIDAS?)

So, how can we make those precious few words in the subject line
grab your prospects’ attention, create interest, and make them want to
open your super sales letter? Below are some principles that work. Keep
in mind, though, that as with any copy, they begin losing their impact
if you always follow the same rules.


Remember to KISS
your readers. Keep it short and simple. Write your subject line so that
there are fewer than 10 words; fewer than 5 is even better. Keeping
your subject line down to a few words will make your email seem more

They’re Tuned to WII-FM, Are You?

Your prospects are always interested in one thing: What’s in it for me? Write with that in mind — which means write about the benefits that matter to them, not features
that matter to you. Remember, your first sale in the email
communication is making them spend their valuable time reading your
solicitation. If you can’t write a subject line that makes them do
that, what makes you think you can make them spend their money?

You Who?

While it’s generally a good thing to use the word “you” in
persuasive copy, it’s a spam predictor in subject lines. Few folks use
the word “you” in emails to colleagues; spam uses it frequently. The
closer your subject line comes to the tone of ordinary email, the more
likely it is that your message will be opened.

Don’t Do It!!!

Don’t use exclamation points at the end of the subject line. Rarely
do you see personal emails that need that kind of “noise” to grab your
attention. Good business writing never does it. It doesn’t need to.

Do It?

Do use question marks, if doing so makes sense. Questions are much more engaging than statements. Wouldn’t you agree?

Would You Buy a Used Car From This Guy?

We have been so inundated with slick sales stuff that it now is an
automatic turnoff. Avoid words like “limited time,” “free,”
“opportunity,” and “only.” Doing so may hook some; it will turn off
many more.

It’s for Me?

You like to feel special? Well, how special do you feel when the
message wasn’t sent to your email address but instead to “undisclosed
recipients” (or somewhere other than to your name or email address)?

If you have a database, use it to address your prospects by name. If
you don’t have a database — first, what are you doing about that? And
second, use your list to accomplish the same thing.

Someone Is Knocking at the Door

People prefer to buy from people, not robots,
autoresponders, or even Web sites. Try to develop a style and
personality in your email communications. And personalize the sender
(you), too. How often do you see an email from “Company XYZ,” and —
since you aren’t ready to buy — you just hit delete? However, that same
message from “Fred Doolittle” makes it seem like it might be worthwhile

Love at First Sight

Not every email client has a preview, nor does everyone who has a
preview have it set to preview. The important thing to remember,
though, is that whether the first part of the message is seen in a
preview or when the email is first opened, it still has to grab your
prospects’ attention and engage them to keep reading.

The purpose of the first part of persuasive copy is to create in
your customer’s mind what is called the FMI, or first mental image. You
want to inspire your prospects to begin imagining or visualizing
themselves enjoying the benefits of your product or service. It is
essential to write copy that creates a strong FMI, one that draws your
prospect into discovering the real value of your message. And remember,
sometimes less is more.

Step 1 Comes Before Step 2

I see a lot of copy that just “vomits” sales talk right out at the
prospect, forgetting that successful selling is like a romantic
encounter. You can’t go straight to the bedroom without even a first
kiss, and you aren’t going to start kissing till you start talking.

Me Too

I get a lot of email feedback from these columns. I really
appreciate it, but when you write to me, remember that I get more than
250 emails per day. Here’s an idea: Use your emails to me as an
opportunity to practice writing your own great subject lines. I’ll even
publish some of the best ones in a future article.