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 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.

Getting into the in-box: relevance and reputation

The reaction to the recent changes announced by Microsoft and AOL,
two giant e-mail gateways, confirmed our worst suspicions — many e-mail
marketers still resist following best practices to the detriment of
their e-mail campaigns and the industry on the whole. We hoped
marketers and e-mail service providers would embrace these changes and
have long insisted that clients follow practices that will let them
easily accept these adjustments.

What are the changes?
Microsoft now severely limits the amount of mail a marketer can send
from a new Internet provider address through the Microsoft gateway
until the company can determine the e-mail reputation of the marketer.
AOL is newly blocking images and links from rendering by default in
their Web client, in addition to this being a standard feature of AOL
9.0. These changes are intended to root out illegitimate mail and
protect customers from spam, viruses, phishing, and similar practices.

actions by Microsoft and AOL are only the latest in a series of
industry efforts over the past few years, which include the advent of
authentication and accreditation schemes and of course, legislation, to
cut down on spam. Each of these brought about new deliverability
challenges, but through them all one overriding best practice has
helped marketers consistently get their mail delivered: relevance. Now
the industry is looking at reputation and again relevance is the key.

marketers who have been protecting their reputations all along will
have no problem accepting Microsoft’s, AOL’s, or any other Internet
service provider’s (ISP) changes in the way they process e-mail for
delivery. Your e-mail reputation is based on the credibility of your IP
address, which can be accomplished with authentication and further
enhanced by accreditation, your deliverability rate (at least 90
percent, preferably higher), a low level of complaints (below 0.5
percent), and the weeding out of spam traps on your lists. You can
ensure a good e-mail reputation if you meet these criteria and just
follow one simple rule: Send the right message to the right person at
the right time . These will be to people who have opted onto your
e-mail list and find value in the relevant e-mail you send — so they
won’t complain or opt-out.

The message here is not that you
should aim for relevance in your e-mail campaigns just to get around
the latest ISP hurdles. Rather, by focusing on relevance you will have
more successful e-mail campaigns in the long term. Legitimate marketers
and ISPs are on the same side in this battle. Relevance boosts e-mail
success along with boosting your e-mail reputation. Sending
data-driven, relevant e-mail will build a good reputation. Opens,
clicks, and conversions naturally follow, and u ltimately revenue will

The Great White-Listing Lie - Part II

In the second part of his article looking at email deliverability,
Darren Fell, Founder and Major Accounts Director of email marketing
company Pure, offers more tips on what really matters if you want your
emails to reach customers

Business benefits of email marketing

The growth in demand for email marketing continues to be a key
trend in the market. We estimate that UK
businesses spent £178m on
email marketing during 2006 – an increase of 20% over 2005.

Companies can derive many benefits from an investment in email marketing. Let’s take a look at a few…

  • Customer acquisition

    Even if they don’t
    buy anything, capturing the email address of a visitor to your site –
    or, if you don’t have one, your shop - gives you a second chance to
    persuade them to return and buy something.

    Online retailers
    lose many consumers that abandon purchases at checkouts, for example –
    and unless you have their address, they will be lost.

  • Customer loyalty
    new customers is more expensive than retaining your existing ones.
    Email is a great way to inform your customers about new offers and
    products – something you can’t do in detail except when they are
    visiting your website – as well as to cross-sell and up-sell.

    of that helps you increase the lifetime value of your customers and
    reduce churn. Use email to build relationships with your customers.

  • Brand awareness and credibility

    your messaging and creative into email campaigns will allow you to
    provide a more holistic customer experience, enhance perceptions of
    your company and improve recall.

    Entertaining and informative
    campaigns can also help you build relationships by engaging users more
    effectively. Through email marketing, there is also an opportunity to
    exploit rich media to engage more effectively with customers.

  • Efficiency and automation

    is a cost effective and speedy marketing channel. Integration with web
    analytics software can also help you plan campaigns more effectively
    and tailor campaigns to individual consumers. It is relatively
    straightforward to set up automated, trigger-based emails, to reduce
    the burden on resources.

  • Customer service

    emails offer a chance for your customers to comment on your online
    performance. Analysing the data from email campaigns can also provide
    clues as to their requirements. Again, you can use automated email here.

Return Path gets images in inboxes

Marketers sending e-mail with a high Return Path Sender Score
certification will now be able to display images and links in Microsoft's
Windows Live Hotmail e-mail. Images and links typically default to "off" at
Windows Live Hotmail, which can affect creative rendering for e-mail
campaigns. Now, however, Return Path Sender Score Certified e-mails will
default images to "on."

Read the story here