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You’re an IT Director in financial services. Or the Head of e-Delivery in the public sector. From our decision-maker research, we know that you receive around 30 supplier marketing emails every day (without even considering more regular spam emails) – and probably find barely a quarter of these to be relevant.
It’s a sign of email’s growing popularity or even over-use in isolation from other activities (as a more ‘measureable’ and ‘cost-effective’ digital channel) and of some common mistakes being made in how it is used.
We recently reviewed a year’s worth of emails sent out as part of wider relationship, lead generation or thought leadership programmes. The key conclusions are presented – and illustrated with examples – in a paper available to download here.
Increasingly, active email marketers are wondering how they can engage with their subscribers in social media.
It’s a bit scary, because most email is still of the “batch and blast” variety, and that dog will not hunt in social media, where the marketing is conversational and the name of the game is relevance.
But, assuming you aren’t looking at social media as a messaging venue, but rather an opportunity to learn about your customers, and for them to learn about your brand, tying your email and social media efforts together should be a 2009 prime directive.
Here’s 3 easy ways to do so:
1. Collect Profile Data in Subscription Forms
Offer your email subscribers the option of including their Twitter name on your subscription form. Something like:... read on
Added:Dec 10, 2008
A strong subject line is the key factor in improving the return-on-investment of email marketing campaigns, rather than the length of the subject line, according to new research.
The study, from Email Services Provider Epsilon International, analysed the impact of more than one billion emails over nearly 20,000 separate campaigns sent out by five US retail clients and five US consumer goods clients, in what is understood to be the biggest ever study of the impact of subject line length...read on
Ready to hear the horrible truth? 64% of key decision makers are viewing your carefully crafted email on their BlackBerrys and other mobile devices, according to new MarketingSherpa data. And, chances are, your email looks downright awful.
By Chris Heine | MarketingSherpa - July 2007
What do you do? First, find a BlackBerry and see for yourself. Then, call for an immediate meeting with your email design team. To help, we’ve put together a list of tactics and creative samples so you can see just how truly bad it is. Plus, hotlinks to two cool simulators ... read on
The mobile phone continues to rise in popularity as a primary communications device making email rendering on mobile devices a serious issue. According to data from MarketingSherpa, approximately 64% of “key decision makers” are reading messages on a BlackBerry or other mobile device. Let’s find out why this issue is finding its way to the top of many a priority list.
What is the problem?
Right now, mobile devices only display text emails. Basically, they make a mess of a finely crafted HTML message. They are fussy about font size and the user is often scanning, not reading, the text. Email marketers will also have a challenging time separating their mobile users in email databases from traditional computer receivers. The segmentation will be necessary, however, to ensure proper rendering of messages to non-HTML-friendly email clients. Another snag is that mobile devices also make it more difficult for email marketers to determine the true open rate of their campaigns. Metrics, we know, are key to evaluating success and implementing positive change.
How do email marketers solve this problem?... read on
February 8, 2008 1:30 PM
Checking your open rate by domain is a very good way of identifying ways of improving results from your mailing. We have noticed that Microsoft has recently been reacting very quickly to response rates (in particular the percentage of recipients who hit the Junk or 'mark as Junk' options) by first rate limiting (slowing down the speed they accept email from you) and then delivering the content to the junk folder, rather than the inbox. We have also seen more cases recently, where Microsoft has gone beyond this and actually blocked the mailing altogether. In these cases they send back either a soft or a hard bounce in the SMTP transaction. Microsoft has filters and response management tools which are watching the metrics of your mailings and taking decisions as to how to treat your email on a hour by hour basis.
Microsoft does give legitimate senders good feedback on how they are treating mail from your IP address. You can see this by signing up to the Microsoft SNDS program
Microsoft changes the way your mailing is treated over time, whilst your mailing is being sent. So, your mailing can be delivered to the inbox in your tests and in the first couple of hours and then, due to response rates, the rest of your mailing can be delivered to the junk folder. How can you tell if this is happening?
- Firstly, you can check your general open rate against previous mailings. If you have a consumer list, Microsoft domains will make up a large percentage of your list and so you will see a lower open rate.
- Secondly, you can check your open rate for hotmail and compare with previous mailings. You can do this by creating a segment of all hotmail recipients who have opened the email and dividing the total by the number of hotmail recipients who received the email (another segment). Alternatively you can use SQL queries for this or make a custom report. If you have any questions on this, please do contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Thirdly, download the .csv file of the segment of hotmail recipients who have opened the email and check the alphabetical distribution of the first letter of recipient addresses. Listmanager starts sending at letter 'a' and goes on through the alphabet. If you find that you have a large percentage of hotmail openers with 'a' or 'b' at the beginning of their email address but very few with 's' or 'w', there is a strong likelihood that your mailing has been delivered to the inbox at first and then after the first couple of hours, delivered to the junk folder or blocked.
How do you optimise your chances of consistent delivery to the inbox at Microsoft Domains?
The method we have employed is to split a mailing into two; send first to all the recipients who have opened an email in the last 3 months, then send the rest of the mailing to recipients who have not opened in the last 3 months. This means that the responses that Microsoft sees in the first few hours of a mailing are overwhelmingly positive. The mailing therefore doesn't get assigned to the junk folder. This means that engaged recipients don't miss out on the mailing at the start and 'inactive' recipients are more likely to respond because they will actually 'see' the email in their inbox. This method also shows you how well your content is doing at re-engaging the 'inactive' members of your list. If you get an open rate of 4% on your inactive list, for example, that is a cause for celebration. This means thousands of people have opened the email who have not done so in the last 3 months.
I was reading Ben Chestnut's interesting post on the MailChimp blog about how Sending to old lists will kill your deliverability. Our approach, as outlined in the paragraph above, goes one step further than what Ben is suggesting and gives you a much better chance of improving response rates.