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. ( 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

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!