WordToTheWise: You might be a spammer if…

A funny one inviting people to suggest ways to identify spammers

You might be a spammer if…
21 Aug 2009

Boomerang: Barracuda and BarracudaCentral RBL

August 26th, 2009

"More and more companies today are purchasing and using Barracuda’s Spam Firewall appliances to ‘block’ email. Barracuda appliances are very flexible in configuration options, but most people choose to use the ‘recommended’ setup for their appliance. While this is easy, it is not wise. As a result, companies may find a higher than normal percentage of false positives. Why?"...read on

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Hmmm Interesting

VR: Make All Of Your Clicks Count

July 28, 2009
You spend your valuable time creating your email marketing campaign, you load it with images, text and links, but where do you send your clickers? Hopefully not a black hole where they don't really know what to do! Let's take a look at 4 places that you are probably sending your clickers to and what you could do better...read on

Nice little article about the bit that we always forget about, the actual landing pages from the clicks.
What it doesn't mention is that the reason most EPSs actually exist is because the marketing department did not want to have to rely on the IT department to market digitally, so people built ESPs to give the power and the control to the marketers.

These same marketers would not have control over the web-site unless enough budget and resource has been given to them to have a CMS. Subsequently unless you have an e-commerce site, a blog or a CMS you still have to cover everything in the email.

Also mentioned is Integration with Google Analytics, my favourite ESP Pure360 also has integration with Google Analytics. I also have it on good authority that Pure360 is also working on an all signing all dancing CMS bolt-on for their email platform. It's not scheduled for release on this year's up and coming software update but some of the stuff on it sounds fantastic - I can't wait - or tell anyone what they are!

Denise Cox: Do you collect too much data?

Denise Cox blogged the other day: "85% collect personal data they don’t use. These marketers are putting off people (how many abandoned filling out the sign-up form because of all the mandatory fields?) and are wasting opportunities to use the information to good affect in crafting personalised emails to subscribers.

I consider opt-in forms to be an essential tool in starting and nurturing a new relationship. Here are some of my thoughts on maximising yours
"...read on
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Denise makes a good point here.

Everyone should have a email address capture on every page of their web-site really. Just the email address or email and first name.

There is no point asking for all of that information if you are not going to use it. So if you are not going to use it, don't ask for it.

Sites which ask me how many people in my family, my job role and my interests and even have the audacity to make these fields mandatory lose my trust immediately and normally won't see me again, let alone have my subscription. If a site needs that much data, most of it is going to be irrelevant, it makes me think they are going to share it or spam me with lead gen 3rd party mails.

The key to it, is to just get them on board and ask for more info as little bit at a time. Start with the welcome email and then regularly ask a question or two in your emails, this way you earn the trust and get the real information, rather than people just putting everything in.

If some of these people did actually try to direct mail me there would be a lot of post going to: Dr. Captain Inbox, 123 private road, Dontspammeville, Itsasecretonia.

ReturnPath: Domain Reputation

Tom Sather writes a great article from ReturnPath on Jul 29 2009 called "Domain Reputation: What It Means for Email Senders".

It makes sense to have a reputation tracker for domains as well as IPs. We already have modes of authentication to ensure the person sending from that domain is actually linked with that domain so spoofers and phishers can't hurt you, why not apply the same levels of reputation management to the domain as they do for the sending IP.

I'm sure ESPs would love it as they will send emails for more than one brand from the same IP address.
It'll make better email marketers if ESPs can track individual senders' reputations from shared IPs and only the sender suffers from their own poor choices.
Most email marketers won't spend enough for a dedicated IP address especially with the costs of repairing a bad reputation if they make a mistake, it is a much better choice to go on a shared system for most people.

Is return path developing this as tool like SenderScore?

listrak: The ‘Inactive’ Subscriber

The article "The 'Inactive' Subscriber" on Listrak (13/08/2009) talks about how inactive recipients can affect your deliverability after Brandon spoke with Yahoo’s Spam Expert, Mark Risher.

We know that negative actions like marking as spam will negatively affect your deliverability and positive actions like, opening, clicking, safe listing etc. will positively affect it but people who do nothing apparently also affect it!
I reckon it's more about volume per IP, ISPs can see how many emails an IP is sending and they can then see the percentage that are actually interacted with and modify it's reputation accordingly.

It's good to see Yahoo properly in the game now, a year or two a go Yahoo was a nightmare, teaming up with ReturnPath was a fantastic idea.

Gmail: replies load images

We all know that Google are very good at what they do and most of know that they allow their employees a certain amount of time for personal projects to help improve Google as a whole and things like Google Docs came from it.

Now Gmail has pipped AOL for the 3rd biggest email provider they are starting to focus more making it more convenient for their users.

The latest cool thing is Gmail "Now displaying images in messages from your contacts" by David de Kloet July 20.
Basically, if you are in the recipient's address book and they have emailed you twice, your images will automatically load. Also your emails need to be authenticated (SPF and/or DKIM).

What does that mean to senders? You have to ask people to reply to your emails!
"Replies!" I hear you cry. Oooh, are you scared?

I hate it when an email is from do-not-reply@ima-rubbish-emailmarketer.com, it alienates people, especially now with all of the social media and Seth Godin taking us, quite rightly, out of the age of the broadcast and into the age of interaction.

The thing is, handling email replies is complicated: you get auto-replies, lots and lots of spam to your mailing address and then if you have a large list someone has to read them all.

Any good ESP will filter out the auto-replies and only send through the real replies and be authenticated with SPF and DKIM - pure360 definitely is.

If this picks up and other ISPs also adopt it, ESPs will have to do something with their software to make this easier and we'll have a whole new strategy to talk about - which is great for me.

Clickz: Behaviour Is Key in B2B E-Mail Marketing

By Stephanie Miller, ClickZ, Aug 19, 2009

"While it's hard to trace business buying behaviour to a specific e-mail or single touch point, these messages earn higher click-throughs than generic newsletters or product announcements. They can also help qualify leads.

E-mail can help you listen to prospects' needs. When it's not clear how qualified the prospects are, use disparate choices to identify their interest level
"...read on
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If you read the actual article, you'll see they have spelled 'Behaviour' without the 'u'? Is that an American thing?

ReturnPath: Yahoo!, Email Stamps and Whitelists

Aug 20 2009, By Alex Rubin

"Several online sources have commented on a paper recently published by a research group at Yahoo! on voluntary email "stamps," which has generated a lot of speculation. Our contacts at Yahoo! tell us this idea is purely in the research realm, and is not scheduled for development in Yahoo! Mail. In other words"...read on

dmcentral: 'Understandable' Email Deliverability

Monday, July 27, 2009

"I had a conversation with a friend of mine about the state of email deliverability. It seems that many companies - including well known companies - have deliverability rates under 90%. In fact, many hover somewhere in the mid 80s. As anyone who was awake in the mid 80s knows, this can't be a good thing. Having your deliverability in the mid 80s is a bit like having Mister Mister as your favorite band. You can do it...just don't talk about it in public.

It seems confusing that any respectable email marketer can't regularly achieve email deliverability rates in excess of 95%. With inbox rates of about the same percentage. It's not that hard. People have been doing the deliverability for quite some time...you would think that people get it a little better.

In the interest of the common good, here's a few hints/tips to raise your deliverability. For those of you whose performance is tied to increasing deliverability, this may mean cash. Don't worry, this advice is all commission-free
"...read on
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As a deliverability geek myself, this is all stuff that's probably encoded in my DNA by now but this is nice article that puts together the basics in a easy way to understand and easy to put into practice.

DotMailer & ReturnPath's: 3 Checklists to improve ROI by building trust in your email programme

Dotmailer decided to copy and paste a bit of return path's Sender Education Programme Kit and blog it, here it is:

"The year ahead may be challenging but that doesn’t mean you can't exceed your revenue goals and enjoy even greater ROI. Building trust is the key to growing your revenue from email marketing. Follow our checklists in this Revenue Booster kit to help improve customer confidence, sharpen your campaign relevancy and reap the rewards"...read on
Article undated, read 28/08/2009

Clickz: The Welcome E-Mail

By Ed Henrich, ClickZ, Aug 20, 2009

"The welcome e-mail has been getting more attention lately as a way to build customer engagement beginning immediately after opt-in. However, it also helps you build your segmentation program because it requires you to market differently to a specific subscriber segment: the newbie."...read on
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You gotta love the welcome email! Because I'll only collect first name and email address from the forms most pages of a web-site, I like to have a call to action on every welcome email for people to click through a give me more information so I can better target them! In fact that link'll be on every email I send but not as a call to action.

listrak: abandon cart triggers

August 13th, 2009 by Megan

"Between June 15 and June 30, 2009, two Listrak employees visited each of the Internet Retail 500. They shopped and abandoned carts on 398 sites. The remaining 102 sites, or just over 20%, could not be shopped or included in the study, either because they required a credit card number to put items in a shopping cart, or they did not require an email sign-in, meaning abandoning a cart could not trigger an abandonment email"...read on

Clickz: The Sweet Spot of Optimal E-mail Frequency

By Stephanie Miller, ClickZ, Aug 5, 2009

"There is no one right frequency in e-mail marketing. Not only are business subscribers fickle; they are also moving in and out and through the sales and service cycle. Timing is just as important as content when it comes to engagement and lifetime value.

Don't settle for "One frequency fits all." E-mail is great at adjusting to subscriber needs. The technology and data you need are readily available.

Finding the right pace is worth time and effort. Nothing fatigues e-mail subscribers like excess frequency. It's a key driver of both unsubscribe requests as well as complaints to the ISPs (clicks on the "report spam" button) and low inbox deliverability. Business professionals seem to have a lower tolerance than consumers, even when frequency is stated up front at the point of permission.

Instead of frequency, which is simply a measure of volume, think in terms of cadence -- a measure of engagement
"...read on

Balanced, rhythmic flow, as of poetry or oratory.
The measure or beat of movement, as in dancing or marching.
A falling inflection of the voice, as at the end of a sentence.
General inflection or modulation of the voice.
Music. A progression of chords moving to a harmonic close, point of rest, or sense of resolution.
I'm not sure how that works? but other than that, a useful article.

Clickz: Approaches to Building an E-mail List

By Derek Harding, ClickZ, Aug 6, 2009

"During the current economic climate, marketers have been employing techniques to build their e-mail lists. While I've examined the pitfalls of some approaches, let's look at some positive ways that lists can be built"...read on

Clickz: Sender Reputation

In a 2 parter for Clickz by Stefan Pollard (Jul 15 & Jul 29, 2009), we are told, in very understandable detail, all about how reputation is decided by the ISPs, how to avoid ruining it and some tips on how to recover if you really get it wrong.

Rehab for Your Sender Reputation, Part 1, breaks it down into: Why Spam Complaints Are Dangerous to Deliverability, The Three U's of Spam Complaints and Top Three Reasons ISPs Block E-mail.

Rehab for Your Sender Reputation, Part 2, breaks it down into: Why Relevance Isn't Enough, Revisiting the Three Us and Managing Issues That Damage Reputation.

Definitely worth a read, Stefan has definitely done his homework here although I think his time frames are quite optimistic when he talks about how to recover if you get it wrong. But if you put in framework in now, you should not ever have to worry about it.

Clickz: Dedicated vs shared IPs

When you are looking to get a new ESP and/or considering taking it in house, deliverability is the key.
If you tell an ESP that you are considering going in house the frist thing they will say iss "oh no, you don't want to do that, deliverability is a nightmare to manage, let us do it". Normally they are right!

If you're a big sender and you have not got complete double optin for every email you send someone, ie: every email they get from you they have specifically requested; you could find your sending IPs dead in 6 weeks, and that's even if they had a good rep to start with. If you just buy new IPs they'll have no rep at all, so like a credit rating they'll be useless.

The legend of Jeanne Jennings, writes about this is detail for Clickz on Jul 27, 2009 in "E-Mail: Evaluating Dedicated vs. Shared IP Addresses".
As with everything Jeanne (and Mark Brownlow) writes about email, it's more likely than not to be bang on the money.

Authentication - SPF and/or SenderID?

After jibbering on about authentication the other day, I had another read through it and thought that I'd best check the details on the old SPF and Sender-ID malarkey.

SPF is is Sender Policy Framework, the idea behind it is to stop sender address forgery.
Sender-ID is also anti-spoofing concept that was supposed to be SPF and more but it did not quite work out that way.

Here is the fun I had trying to find out...

Obviously I Googled it, I've not got into the habit of Binging it and to be honest, Google still gives me better results - I digress.
Google took me here "SPF vs Sender ID", which is the definative blurb but not really written for the average marketer wanting to know whether or not to care about authentication. Wikipedia says something very similar too.

Further down my Google results I find Terry Zink's Anti-spam Blog. This paints SenderID as doing everything SPF does and more, then I look in the URL and see blogs.msdn.com - so it is Microsoft! Anyway, Terry says that SPF is applied at the server level will be stored in the 'envelope', which is the part of the email headers that has all of the lowest level tekki stuff for the email. SenderID is apparently added in the header as well but SenderID is linked with the from address, which is not in the envolope and is displayed to the recipient's email client so that means that it protects content.
That is a lovely idea although it does contradict experiences I have had when applying it.

Further down in my Google Results I found an article from Tamara Gielen called "Sender ID vs. SPF: What's the Difference?", the article is not about SenderID vs SPF at all, in fact it summerises, in a very copy and paste kind of way, an article by Stefan Pollard for Clickz called "Hotmail Delivery Tips for Sender ID and SPF", so I went stright to the article a bit dissapointed. I then read the Clickz article and there is a section called "Sender ID vs. SPF: What's the Difference?" but nothing really comparative.

I then went onto the next page of Google results, I know, it was a brave move and very scary but I got through it.
It all got very tekki from there and not really relevant to the question "which one's better and can they be used together?".

So in summary, there does not seem to be anybody, who can get in the first two pages of Google, writing on the internet who can tell me what the differnce is. So I am sticking with the answer I got from my System Administrator mate who said "Sender ID is only any good for Hotmail and Yahoo and could actually make it worse for everyone else. If you want to get into Hotmail and Yahoo consistently, don't spam people and they'll let you send as many as you like!".
- Never a truer word spoken, amen.

Finally I went to the trusty Email Marketing Reports and even Mark Brownlow has not got a definative answer but he did link to an interesting table from MailChimp of all people about who does what.

If you are having nightmares with Hotmail and Yahoo having a word with Return Path is probably your best bet unless you have a load of IPs with great reputations in the cupboard and you only send double opt-in.
Finally, SenderID is, apparently, not the same as Return Path's authentication. Although what I've seen of it it looks exactly the same, so it might possibly be an SPF record / SenderID that is registered specially with Hotmail and Yahoo to give any emails using it much better deliverability. This is a guess, very logically thought out but a guess non-the-less!

EMR: Amazon Subject Lines (@markatEMR)

Now for many people Amazon are the leaders of e-commerce email marketing because of their personalised content capbilities. This is all down to correct profiling and then using the technology smartly to get the right content out into emails.

Over the last month, the legend of Mark Brownlow has written 4 articles about Amazon's subject lines for his Email Marketing Reports:

Subject lines: Amazon's lessons on branding
Subject lines: Amazon's lessons on personalization
Subject lines: Amazon's lessons on length
Subject lines: Amazon's lessons on discounts and frontloading

Pretty much everything Mark writes is going to be good and useful and this is a nice collection which most of us can relate to as most of us probably get Amazon emails.

Personally, I get too many emails from Amazon, I haven't tried hard but I can't easily find a way to tell them what catagories to email me about, so it appears to be all or nothing. Luckily for Amazon, while inconvenienced, I can tollorate it as I buy more from them on-line than anywhere else but I would like a bit more control.


Email Integration

Finally a tekki email marketing post has passed under my nose!

Someone at Red Pill Email has written pretty good article, yet a bit too tekki for most, on integration for email. Here's my take on integration...

As far as I am concerned integration is about getting that full Central Customer View. Integrating email results with all of the other measureable interactions between one person and the organisation looking to get them to spend money with them and to understand what does and doesn't work in order to get more people spending money. Obvously the key here is making money.

So, on-line: you have your email stats - easily trackable per person through their email address; you have on-line purchasing habits as they would need an email address to purchase; you might alos have web-analytics whoch can be tracked indiviually once they are loggin into your site - if it you have it; Also if you are savvy you'll put tracking on your email links so that someone clicking through from an email will get picked up by your web-analytics and you can store their email address or a userid of somesort in the web tracking and get that too.
Off line you have telephone conversations, these should be in some sort of CRM - preferrably with an email address or addresses, you have postal campaigns; trade shows; face to face meetings etc.

Integration is getting all of these query-able from one spot. Everything has an API nowerdays and it is a matter of cost on how and when to do it. I recommend Apteco's Faststats, it is the no.1 must have query tool in the publishing world at the minute. It sits on top of one or more databases and you can query all of them from one spot with some really easy to user but pretty tools and then export the list for emailing. With my Pure360 I can hit a button and it appears in my account, like magic! All the report data from my account gets sent back to Faststats in real time, as it happens too. Every night my system updates it self and writes all of the new data in Faststats back to right databases ready for the next day. Simples!

Other integration I have been involved with is on the content level. Your online shop or blog type CMS or recruitment database has conent published to it every day kewping it up to date and you want to only email people content that they want or will be interested in but you can't make one email per person, it'll take forever. So, you want to integrate your CMS with your email delviery platform. There are load of ways to do this, I have worked primarily with Pure360's API to get this going and it is a bit tekki as I have to understand the user's database and CMS structure in order to provide the correct soluion and there is always three ways of doing it but it is always worth it as long as you have right user profiling at the data end.

Here is the article from Red Pill Email from July 31, 2009
What is Email Integration, It seems like a simple enough question, but the answer you get usually depends on who you ask.

Ask a traditional marketer and the answer will likely be that it is blending email with other marketing disciplines so that there is one unified message to the consumer. Ask an IT or tech person and the answer will probably be something to do with automating the flow of data between different tools, platforms, or environments.

Ask an email marketer and you’ll probably get a blank stare…. Naw, just kidding, maybe
...read on

Authentication - who needs it?

I've read an intersting one from Stephanie Miller for Deliverability.com called "What Will It Take To Get You to Authenticate" (August 04, 2009) and mainly it is about the success of DKIM.

I've been keeping up with authentication for about 2 years now from SPF to SenderID to Goodmail and Domain Keys. It all seems a bit like bribing someone to let you in the inbox?
As far as I know at the moment, SPF was something that was suppose to save the day but did not work, SenderID was SPF 2 and you pay quite a lot of money to get better deliverability although I am not sure how they measure you to see if you qualify or you just pay more to spray - although Return Path have altered their services and packages lately but I find it very hard to actualy find out the details without holding a phone call with a sales person.
Goodmail seems primarily AOL based and you have to have 6 months on dedicated IP/range of IPs before they'll consider you and then you pay to per email.

Domain Keys, was a Yahoo creation to help them handle the amount of spam they were getting because they could not handle the volumes. It seems pretty easy to administer and people like Google seemed to have incorporated it well. From not really getting too tekki on it, I am struggling to see, at the top level, how different it is from the old SPF records. Someone has to administrate the applicants and reputation yet it is free?

Personally, if you are sending good emails consistently you should get in. The 3 of the big four: Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail will assign your IPs a reputation based on recipient actions and that reputation will define how many and how quickly you can send to them per IP. So if you are spot on you have nothing to worry about.
Google has recently pidded AOL for the 3rd spot but I have not as yet got much information about their reputation technology. They appear to have been coping very well with the most advanced content filter on the free inbox market but at this size they must have something and logic tells me it cannot be far off what everyone else has done but it wil probably be better than everyone else's soon!

utalkmarkeitng: Seven habits for successful Email Marketing revealed

article undated. read on 24/08/2009

A recent report from analyst firm Forrester is predicting that by 2014 companies will spend over £1.2 billion on email marketing in the US alone – an 11% compound annual growth rate.

Yet it also predicts that much of this spend will be wasted as messages are targeted inappropriately or not at all.

In response to this, StrongMail – the email marketing service provider for the likes of McAfee, WebEx and Ticketmaster has published seven habits for successful email marketing
...read on

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Cheeky idea, obviously nicked from the legendary book "7 Habits of Highly Effective People".


Lashback: EU Email Regulation in Full Force

EU Email Regulation in Full Force
Posted on July 31st, 2009 at 10:43 am by Cari Birkner

...officials in the EU have convicted and fined a Dutch spamming suspect. Reinier Schenkhuizen was ordered to pay €250,000 for sending bulk unsolicited email...LashBack expects to see a trend of heavy fines and increasing enforcement across EU regulatory bodies, in addition to the FTC cracking down on mailers in the U.S.who are in violation of CAN-SPAM...read on.
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It looks like it is on the rise, there have a been a few in the US too this year. If you are unsure of your permission status, make sure. The authorities are obviously looking to make it very is much not worth the risk.

Risky preheaders

As I have barked on about for a while now, the preheader is important, I've often coined the phrase: "Trust Earning Text" as you tell someone why they are getting it and sometimes even where you got their details from. You'll always put the browser view link in so that can go to the browser instead of loading the images. It is getting more and more popular to put some teaser text in too at the very top to doulbe up as the snippet text for Google and Yahoo etc.
This recent post from Deliverability.com give us a nice example of where a company simple told each recipient that 'this is not spam'.
An interesting concept, with some risk but it would depend on their historical practices, complaint rates, their status as a phishing target and general reputation...but I like the audactiy!

This is NOT spam
August 04, 2009, By DJ Waldow for Deliverabilty.com

Or is it? I recently blogged about how Bank of America used valuable real estate to tell their readers that the email is NOT spam.
Below I've copied a section of the post that is most relevant to this blog. I've also added a few deliverabilty-related thoughts to consider
...read on


Mixing it up with the subject - just a little though

Subject lines are always a complex one as, like the from name, would have to be thought of from a different angle depending in why you are emailing someone and your relationship with them.

This article gives a good perspective on subject lines for people emailing to very interested parties and how to liven it up a bit and get opened sooner. In a similar way to a previous post of mine "Mixing it up with the creative - just a little though" you can do the same thing with subject lines.
If you are too consistent people will know what to expect and will begin to prioritise reading your email - often this might be 'later'. By giving the subject line a little bit of novelty, you could get that faster response and a better engagement.

BlueSky: Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Emails
August 20th, 2009 by Amy Garland for the BlueSky Factory Blog

A couple of months ago I received an email with “No Chocolate in the Peanut Butter!” as the subject line. Did I open it with a lot of excitement? You bet I did! Two of my favorite things in the entire world (specifically in the form of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg) landed right in my inbox. But what was the email about?

This particular, mouth-watering email was from MarketingProfs. While they always provide clever subject lines for their “Get to the Point: Email Marketing” newsletter (”The Horror! The Horror!” or “Nobody Likes a Wild Goose Chase” or even “Hello? Is There Anybody In There?“), I am always left clueless about what the email’s content will be.

Therein lies this post’s dilemma. Subject lines: cute and clever or strictly informative?
...read on


BtoB: What names should I use for the "From" line of my marketing e-mails?

Jon Miller, VP-marketing, Marketo, August 6, 2009 - 11:51 am EDT

The first decision a prospect makes when looking at an e-mail is whether to delete it. This is where the "From" name comes in. If the e-mail comes from an unfamiliar source, the recipient is much more likely to delete it. Of course, you still need to optimize the subject line to make sure the e-mail gets opened, but it's the "From" that starts the process
...read on

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The oppinion tends to be different depending on the relationship you have with your recipients and why you are emailing them. People who tend not to have a relationship with the recipients tend to use someone's full name - I have trouble trusting that, it's a bit sneaky. People are too savvy nowerdays and it is too easy to damage the brand and it bugs me!
I like consistency and I like to see the brand name. I don't subscribe to a person's emails I subscribe to a company or an organisation or an idea - the only time this has over lapped is Seth Godin who is the person, the brand, the story and the idea! (what-a-guy)

BtoB: Optimizing your e-mail for mobile devices

Judith Nemes, August 13, 2009 - 6:01 am EDT

Are the e-mails you send to customers and prospects viewable on a mobile device? It's a question that has become critical to marketers as more businesspeople rely on smart phones when out of the office.

"E-mail recipients probably aren't going to buy something from another company on their BlackBerry or iPhone, but they certainly might flag something or take action on it later back at the office," said Janine Popick, CEO of VerticalResponse Inc., a San Francisco-based e-mail marketing service provider.

Many smart phones aren't user-friendly when it comes to reading large chunks of text or viewing big images, so marketers must tweak their messages to appeal to b-to-b subscribers scanning their e-mail initially from a mobile device, she said. Popick suggested the following tips to maximize the punch of e-mails—whether they're read at the desk or on the go
...read on

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The hardest thing nower days is to get an email right for a mobile device - they are all so different. It would be nice to know the source device stats for ther most conversions per mobile user - probably iPhone and N95 with the GooglePhone right behind it? It least then we can do out best to make it easy for the frwquest interactors?

The latest craze that we can't quite use yet

Video in email

If we're not talking about Google Wave or trying to analyse results of social media, we're talking about video in emails. It's not here yet and to get it to work we'll need Outlook to be able to handle it otherwise it'll only be half useful. Seeing as Outlook can't even manage a border I can't see it rendering a proper video any time soon.

The main reason why there is all of the excitement is because Goodmail is rolling out their certified video but only for AOL. Also Gmail will render the YouTube video flash object in your on-line gmail inbox but I think the sender has to be in your address book.

Alex Madison and Lisa Harmon (for Media Post's Email Insider, Tuesday August 4 2009) and in more detail the legend of Mark Brownlow (August 18, 2009) talks about it ready for it to spread into the rest of email but I'm not holding my breath.

The idea is that videos are popular on the web and even though video is not here in email yet, it will be and we should start making ready to add it in by putting videos on our web-sites, blog posts, start pod-casts etc. etc. so we're not left behind when it can get to the inbox.

We spend so much time trying to ensure we get people's attention and we make it as convenient as possible for people to take in our content, isn't video going back wards.
I have enough trouble making time to read newsletters lately, I can't get the head phones out and watch videos too. Also you can't copy and paste a video, I'll have to make notes! I often click through on Google Alerts and there is a video of a webinar or something, I won't watch it, I'm just too busy, I cannot skim-read a video but I can an article. Like the cricket - I only ever watch the highlights!

Video does have a place, of course it does but it does require a commitment to fully engage with it. We should all have sections of our business sites with some videos on and/or add them to our blogs as and when we get a good one.
Also with everything going mobile, we've generally got some earphones handy to check it on the smart phone.

We should all get geared up, have a play with it and understand what it is about so we have not got to rely on our agencies or IT depts. to use it in emails when we need to.

I don't count an animated gif as a video, it is an animated image. But if you have videos in your web-site it is a good teaser to get the click, as is the YouTube style image with the play button in the middle.

I expect Outlook will resist but we have had some success lately from the MS-Office team. There is a web-site but I can't find the link to it!

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here it is thanks to the Legend of Mark Brownlow:

Four New Marketing Realities To Live By

by Blaine Mathieu, Friday, August 14, 2009, 7:11 PM for Media Post's Email Insider

Blaine goes through his four main new Marketing Realities which have come about from the 'recession', the rise of social media and the ever changing world of technology:

#1: Consumer and Business Spending is Forever Changed & What does this mean for us marketers?
#2: That 20% Cut to Your Marketing Budget is Permanent
#3: Measurable Marketing Tactics Get Funded, Others Get Cut
#4: Highly Competitive Job Market Means All Marketers Must Up Their Games

It all makes sense have a read...read on

Relevance: What Is It, Anyway?

by Loren McDonald, Thursday, August 13, 2009, 11:45 AM for Media Post's Email Insider

"Ask any of my fellow Email Insider columnists (or other industry pundits) what is the No.1 key to email marketing success. I bet they'll reply with some variation of "relevance." But what does "relevance" mean? What makes one email more relevant than another?

Now, ask the average email marketer to define "relevance." Answers might range from "Sending the email my subscribers signed up for" to "Whatever I think my subscribers want to read" and even "If it they opted in, then it's relevant."

So I was curious and posed the question on Twitter of what "relevance" means. Here are a few responses (not surprisingly, mostly from email industry folks)"...read on
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It's all about relevance...

and permission...

and interaction...

and other stuff too, but relevance is really important

Amount of copy in emails, who is reading it, what will they do with it

Short Or Long Copy In Newsletters: What's The Smart Choice?
by Cynthia Edwards, Monday, August 10, 2009, 10:30 AM for Media Post's Email Insider.

Cynthia hits the nail right on the head with this one, the constant quandary of how much to say in the email and how much to leave for the web-site.

The article does well to categorise emails but in my opinion it does not touch on anything further than the recipient's experience and convenience, which is not enough for me.

I'm a fan of getting the web-site to do as much work as possible, especially when the most commonly use email client, Outlook, is the worst rendering engine of all email clients - apart from from maybe Lotus notes?

Get the click through and send them to the site to engage, interact, share it, comment, buy something, click the adverts etc. etc.

But Cynthia still has a point that different reasons for the email will result in a different action. You have to decide if you want to support the recipients' preferred action and make it more convenient or try and nudge them towards what you want to do and still enable them toget what they want without having to work too hard.
For instance, with recipes, of course the most convenient thing would be to have it in your inbox, so you can have the laptop open or the iphone in the kitchen or print it straight out.

Alternatively you think about the least someone would need to have in front of them to make the decision of whether or not to cook it now, then give them a button to click to get the best view to run with it, make it printable, make it go to the iphone friendly site if they are on an iphone.

Or am I wrong? - are the people who will ask for these emails people who would not be inclined to click that extra link, would they need the whole recipe right there - my Grandmother would probably want it right there out of fear of breaking it - if she could use a computer. My mother (she's 60 next weekend) knows how to click a link and use a browser?

All in all I'm all about the teaser to get the click through. I need to be motivated to allocate my time to read something more than 300 characters.

anyway, it is a good article...read on

Educating Marketers for Email

Email Success Requires Well-Educated Marketers
by Loren McDonald, Thursday, July 30, 2009, 1:15 PM for Media Post's Email Insider

This is a classic and quite close to my heart as this is why I started this blog ... a brain dump!
I know bag load about Email Marketing, web development, web application development, web app frameworks, database management, blah blah blah but I can't just sit down with someone and drop it in their head. I can't even tell them about it because they will have no life experience to relate and reference it against. So instead, I find something out, someone else says something useful and I have and opinion on it etc. it goes on the blog.

Loren is also pointing out the education gap from sending a message to a list and actual proper email marketing. There are webinars, seminars, white papers, blogs, email marketing for dummies books, Mark Brownlow, Jeanne Jennings, me? but it is all opinion and there is a scarcity of quality and nothing definitive, which is why it can be big money if you get it right.
Mark Brownlow's Email Marketing Reports has a little recommendations of books section, which does include Jeanne Jennings's Email Marketing Kit.

You still have to really put in the time and there is not really an environment for trial and error and your lists are real people.

Loren categorises into 8 main areas you need to understand at a good level and it is a great starting point before you delve into the depths of each to really do it in the best way possible...read on

Mixing it up with the creative - just a little though

Great Design Doesn't Always Follow The Rules
by Chad White, Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 10:02 AM for Media Post's Email Insider

Chad points out something that we often forget to take the time on, mixing up the creative - just a little though!
We often spend a lot of time trying to get the perfect template to show our brand the way we want it to be seen. We make it consistent, easy to read and easy to get content into. I know I do!
The idea behind it is so that we have not go to go through the nightmare of getting the whole look and feel right each month, we want to put the effort in early, get it right and then focus our efforts on the content.

There is nothing wrong with that at all - keep doing it, it is good!
BUT - every so often mix it up, a little bit - don't change the entire colour scheme and rearrange everything but give people a chance to get out of the routine. If there is only one big thing to say this month, do more of an alert style email rather than a newsletter. If you've got shed loads to say make the articles shorter. If something new and special and you have something particularly remarkable to say - do it with a twist in appearance to emphasis the event.

People's inclination to allocate time out of their busy day to read your emails is only as good as the feeling you left them with last time they read it. If that feeling is the same over and over, it will become the norm, unremarkable (thanks Seth) and the novelty will be gone.

YES keep the dialogue, YES keep the interaction, YES keep the story, YES keep the branding but ALSO add a visual spark every so often just to perk up the readers' attention.

Chad's 4 points are really useful and give some very good examples to relate it to as well ...read on

David Baker's 5 keys to Email Stategy

Keys To Great Email Strategy
by David Baker, Monday, July 27, 2009, 12:07 PM for Media Post's Email Insider

David lists out and elaborates on his 5 key points for strategy.
Some of it is quite bigger picture. It is a great starting point for a framework and those of us who are already in the place, we can see which bits we are and aren't doing. It's not a blue print but it does help as a validator for our own methods and sums up much of what everyone else is saying in a lot of detail, which his always useful...read on

Make your recipients and customers feel like they're on a Greek Island

Is Scale A Factor In Successful Email Marketing?
by David Baker, Monday, July 20, 2009, 11:15 AM for Media Post's Email Insider

This is a nice piece that drags us out of digi-world and back to reality and demonstrates not only how the volumes of our audiences and customers changes the way we look at things it also made me think about my perspective for using the recent social media, dialogue and profiling requirements with my very large lists.
It left me with a good perspective on it and I think I might re-visit it every so often to drag me back to my audience. If I can make every customer feel like they're a tourist on a Greek island I reckon they'll be happier and more eager to spend too...read on

Yahoo! Adds Behavioral Attributes to Anti-Spam Reputation Mix

"The idea of behavioral data affecting email sender reputation first surfaced three years ago, when AOL announced that dormant addresses would factor into sender reputation. AOL explained at the time that spammers create significant numbers of fake email addresses for the sole purpose of driving down complaint percentage rates..."

"Microsoft’s Anti-Spam General Manager indicated that in the future they would prefer to use recipient behavioral metrics like open-rates in addition to their other spam-related metrics to determine sender reputation..."

"Now, we have confirmation from Yahoo! that some of these same metrics that AOL and Microsoft have considered are now implemented into Yahoo!’s anti-spam reputation processes"...read on
Published by Ben Isaacson at 12:19 pm on Email Responsibly.
- - -

It was only a matter of time before Yahoo caught up. Personally I am relieved because they have been a nightmare over the years. When sending high volumes because they did not have the infrastructure to handle it so they would defer a lot. It is happening a lot less lately and is pretty much the same as Hotmail now. The deferral volumes can be directly related to IP reputation all Yahoo! needs now is an SNDS type tool and we are all good!

Econsultancy & Pure360: What can email marketing learn from social media?

"Just had a “conversation” with our shiny new marketing manager of the benefits of social vs email marketing. Wish I had a tape recorder (doesn’t that sound dated, hmm iPhone anyone?) to hand as I think it encapsulates the position a lot of marketing managers find themselves in...

We are all of course excited by the opportunities that social media provides, but there seem to be as many fails as there are success stories (Habitat vs Barclaycard), which makes it hard to justify to yourself let alone to your board. I think this is because there are few experts in this field – after all it hasn’t really been around long enough for anyone to be classed as an expert.

Marketers are a little stuck, they know loads about 'tradigital' marketing (email marketing, PPC, and SEO) but don’t yet have enough access to proven social media wins to easily get buy in.

So I’ve been thinking about ways of taking the best bits of social media and incorporating them into Tradigital marketing channels – specifically email."...read on

Posted 18 August 2009 11:54am by Marc Munier of Pure360

- - -

It's about time someone did this, trust Pure360 to do it and well. It looks like their new Marketing Manager is really moving things along. Lookout for her twitter link in the post.

In my humble opinion Social Media has now become a bit of a generic word - not as generic as' Mashup' but that is a whole other rant! There is so much social media nowand everything is used in different ways, it should be categorised but I won't do it here.
Facebook is not really much of a B2B channel - but B2C yes. In many ways for businesses it is like digital word of mouth, so it is quicker too. Where as Linkedin seems more for B2B Or am I wrong?

Email is the glue for all of it. You have control over what you get and what to do with it. Twitter and Linked in and Facebook will all email you to tell you that yo have new followers, contacts, friends, photos etc.

What social media has brought us is that controlled public interaction and at the same timed forced us to keep it short and to the point. It's a great way to share information consistently and give control to the readers while still letting them have their say and interact but because email is the private and personal inbox which is used for everything else - shopping, banking, bill payments etc. people will still check there more often, so sending emails to people when something new has happened so they only go there when they need to and allowing people, who prefer to watch than interact, to control the frequency and check when they like or get less email notifications grouping thing together.

Either way people still want the emails and you should profile these people and make sure you give them what they are interested in at a frequency that suits them and give them the chance to interact with you through which ever medium suits their convenience.

More fail from Microsoft Outlook

"On July 10th, Microsoft released an update for the Outlook 2007 Junk Email Mail Filter. The new filter is extremely finicky. Although Microsoft doesn't release information about how their Outlook Junk Mail filter works; we are learning more about it's seemingly erratic behavior every day. The only information I can find regarding this update is the description that came with it:

This update provides the Junk E-mail Filter in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 with a more current definition that defines which e-mail messages should be considered junk e-mail. This update was released in July 2009"...read on

July 23, 2009, Chris Bryan, Email Direct.

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Guide to CSS support in email clients

The Campaign Monitor guys are still plugging away on the rendering standards. They have just released their latest and best CSS Guide with a pdf and spreadsheet download options...read on

6 August 2009, Campaign Monitor.

One click unsubscribe

"It's not the first time this has happened to me, but it still surprises me every time. I send an unsubscribe request by email as instructed in the email I received, and then it bounces back to me because of a spam filter"...read on

July 18, 2009 By Joshua Baer for deliverability.com

I was a a little surprised that something that important was overlooked but I suppose it depends on who is emailing. Not having a link to click to opt-out or an on-line form is just bad practice. If I am mildly interested in something and ask for their emails the first thing I do is check the opt-out process. Often I'll even use a temporary email address tool.

- - -

"Not sure how to go about this today without embarrassing a company, but I feel the need to make a point today about unsubscribing, list management, and Can-Spam.
In the past few days, Kodak or kodakgallery.com started to send emails to one of my own personal spamtrap@ addressees that is not used for anything, but harvesting of email address off my personal website. This means obviously that I wouldn't use it to sign up for accounts, newsletters, etc using that email address. I just have it sitting out their on the Internet waiting to be scraped up by some spammer"..read on
July 29, 2009, By Dennis Dayman

I went to unsubscribe from dotmailer this morning and the landing page asked me to type in my email address!!! These guys are supposed to be a good ESP yet they can't even manage to pre-populate my email address in a form, let alone encrypt it. I could enter in any email address.

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Campaign Monitor attacked by hackers, some accounts compromised

"This is horrible news to have to release, but unfortunately Campaign Monitor has been attacked by one or more hackers, and some of your accounts have been compromised. This has been a deliberate, planned and complex intrusion and we are still in the process of handling the hacks and the impact"...read on

Published August 11, 2009 by Mathew Patterson

Oh dear!
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DMA: Reputation is key for deliverability

For the DMA blog on July 28, 2009 Guy Hanson tells us about how email marketers are now being forced to understand about IP reputation, even if they are using an ESP, he also supplies us with some help in remedying it...

"A recent Return Path study shows that email sender reputation, and not content, is the major factor in whether marketing emails reach the inbox - 83% of the time, sender reputation is the cause of filtering.

That being the case, e-marketers are increasingly having to recognise the principal factors that affect sender reputation, and one of the major ones is spam complaint notifications. This represents a growing problem for legitimate email broadcasters - a typical scenario is where the email recipient knows and accepts that the email was solicited by them at some stage in the past, but now wants to be removed from the list, and can’t see any obvious way of doing so ( usually because the unsubscribe link is buried in a 6 point font somewhere in the email footer in the hope that it won’t be seen ! ). In such a situation, the spam button then becomes a convenient alternative to unsubscribing !

This represents a double-whammy for the e-marketer – in addition to losing a member from the mailing list, these notifications are fed back to the ISP that the email account is held with, which ultimately compromises the sender reputation of the sender if these notifications are received in sufficient quantities
"...read on

It is a git but we all have to do it.

Email Address Verifiers are bad

The other day (Jul 28 2009) Email Wars posted about an Email Verifier tool and asked if it was a good idea, knowing that it could be a spammers' dream.

I said that "this is a basic HELO tool (or EHLO now), it is very popular with spammers, lead-gens and prospectors and WILL definitely harm the deliverability if the IP address making the call.

If you are thinking that you need one, you’ve probably collected your data badly.
If you decide to make one to test large numbers quickly, whatever you do, don’t use the same IP address that you want to send emails or host images and webpages on"

If you need to check your addresses, I doubt you have permission to email them in the first place or you have not emailed them in a long time. Either way, if you think you could use it, you need to look at how you email first.


EMR: Identifying engaged subscribers

Last month Mark did a couple of crackers on "Identifying engaged subscribers".
These are the people who will spend money and who will tell their friends about you and do half your marketing pretty much for free.

On July 10th Mark looks at "Repeat Opens" and on July 17th Mark walks us through "unique opens, clicks, lateral thinking".

Have a look, he knows what he is talking about.


Designing Your Email for Mobile Devices

25/07/2009 EmailVision

"Many consumers are using mobile devices more than ever. They've done something on their mobile device whether its sending a text message, surfing the Internet, or checking email.

So is your business addressing the needs of your mobile customers? I've researched and found some things you can be doing today to make your email a bit more mobile-friendly, that is, make it look better on your recipient's mobile devices.

Here are a few things to think about when creating your emails, if you have recipients who might be reading emails on their mobile devices.

Don't Make them Download the Rest of Message - Your message might get truncated if it is too big. If it is too big your recipient might be prompted to "download the rest of the message".

I'm sure many of your recipients check email on their mobile device to make sure things are not blowing up at the office and they probably save the marketing messages until they get to their computer, so you'll want to avoid running the risk of them not seeing your entire message or worse, deleting it"...Read on for 6 more tips for designing your email for mobile devices