Email Copy: the Customer, the Prospect

Back on September the 9th, Marco Marini wrote an interesting article for Clickmail about copy writing in emails and how you have to come from a different angle for customers and prospects.
As per all marketing, it is about empathy. Every recipient has a different perception of your brand due to the rapport you have with them and their experience of your brand.
Obviously you can't write one email per person so you 'normalise' it. Each person gets categorised depending on what we think their perception is based on experience, path of entry, interaction etc. Some categories might be different but might have a a very similar perception and can be merged.

At the end of it all you will have a group of categories with different groups of perceptions. At the very least you are likely to have Customers and Prospects. You might be able to break prospects down depending on how much interaction they have with you. The same might be said of customers, although if they are a frequent buyer, blog commenter, etc. etc. you might be able to less formal than you are with someone who buys once or twice a year.

You then decide how you want to communicate with these groups of people and write different messages or content blocks.

Does this seem familiar? It sounds like profiling again only with copy and not content!

This is something that is often missed. We decide how are brand says and phrases things and we do it consistently, we then change the content to make sure each person gets the email that they are most likely to respond positively to but we never consider changing the felling of our words!

Worth a thought, I do write differently to friends than I do strangers and it is the same with customers and prospects depending on how they are. A customer that I hardly ever hear from will be written to formerly while a prospect that I have a laugh with but just can't close the deal will get swear words!

BlueSkyFactory: 5 Things All Email Marketers Need to Know

September 23rd, 2009 by Amy Garland

So you want to be an email marketer, huh?

All you need to do is buy a list, set up the email, hit send, and you’ll see a spike in sales, right? WRONG. While email is an effective marketing channel, there are a few rules - unwritten and written - that all email marketers need to know. While this list is beneficial for beginners, it also serves as a reminder to the pros out there. So, without further ado, here are the 5 Things All Email Marketers Need to Know on

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Another classic from BlueSkyFactory - love your work Amy.
Everyone should read it once, because While this list is beneficial for beginners, it also serves as a reminder to the pros out there.

Certified Spam?

Yesterday I had a little exchange with Return Path after I quoted someone's opinion that if you are a good sender, you won't need certification and if you need certification, you're unlikely to pass the permission tests to qualify in the first place! Return Path made a good point that the images do get loaded automatically and then got a bit confusing about how fully permitted campaigns can still get better results with certification but without any clear reason?

Then morning I found Tamara Gielen's post about getting an email that she'd never heard of who is Goodmail Certified?
Oh dear, there may be a chance that Goodmail are too busy getting sued to vet their customers properly or was there just a bag load of money? I'm sure Goodmail did everything they could to ensure that every address had permission though!

If certification will get you better results even with the best deliverability already, what is the difference? Does it bypass personal spam filter training to avoid false positives, are ISPs deliberately harsher on non-certified email's IP and creative, does certification completely write off IP reputation?

Also if you see my comment on Tamara's post - spot the deliberate typo

Unsubscribe Options and Feedback 2: Optout Reasons

In a follow up to their post "Listen to your reader’s unsubscribe feedback" which I mentioned in "Unsubscribe Options and Feedback" Email Garage has come up with some stats.
They even suggested asking about feedback options when you collect the address in the first place. That's a great idea, I wish I'd thought of it - oh!

In the latest post Why email subscribers unsubscribe, check out the on
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I suppose it is not a new stat and appears to be staying quite static this year.
It all comes down to the same thing - don't email people content that they have not asked for and won't want...Sherlock

Holiday list hammering can really screw you up

A cracking article from Stefan Pollard for ClickZ on Sep 9 2009, called "Avoid Desperate E-Mail Tactics This Holiday" covers a very good overview of today's deliverability concerns and some of the causes.
It goes from old school spam reports to the latest plans for domain reputation, worth a read but it's quite long!
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On the subject of holidays, it is really easy to really bugger up your reputation as a sender, not just with the ISPs but with your recipients!

You want to really make sure that every one gets the best chance to buy from you but also you can overload them and scare them away.

Pure360 has a cheeky little check box called Contact Frequency Limiter. You can set it to only send an email to one address every X number of days and Pure360 sorts the rest out.
I don't use because I profile but if you are a generic sender this could save your list!

E-Mail Versus Twitter?

E-Mail Versus Twitter? Errr, email. Bill McCloskey explained for ClickZ on Aug 27, on

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Twitter's somewhere between an RSS feed that you can reply publicly to and an instant messenger that everyone else can see, with an SMS interface.

It works but it can drag you in so far you can lose perspective. You can forget that 80% of your readers, customers etc. might not interact with you this way but they do and will do in other ways. Also this Twitter 20% might not be the 20% that accounts for 80% of your revenue - don't get dragged in, remember it for what it is and use it with quality and not quantity.

And yes, I stopped following you cos I don't care what you had for breakfast, what you bought from the shops and I really don't care how your dentist appointment went! Unless you're Stephen Fry...but only just... you'd best keep it funny Steve!

WordtotheWise: Goodmail sued for patent infringement

21 Sep 2009, Laura, Word to the Wise: Late last week RPost sued Goodmail for infringing two patents. One patent authenticates content and delivery of documents. The second verifies the message was received by the on
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Oh dear!

Wise man say:
If you need to pay the likes of Goodmail and Return Path to get in the inbox, you probably won't pass their tests to qualify for it.
If you pass their tests to qualify, you don't actually need them!

oooh, controversial!

Apology Emails

It's that time again, every so often we get another, very similar, in-depth Apology email article.
This article by Stefan Pollard, for ClickZ, Aug 26, 2009 is one of them but as it is for Clickz it is particularly detailed and on
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In my experience, while you should obviously avoid needing to apologise but when you do, that apology email could bring you that much closer to your customer base.

I remember getting a call from a travel company I worked with who had put a typo in the merge field so instead of "Dear [firstname]", they actually got the word firstname rather than the actual firstname from the list and it was in the subject line!

They were on the phone to me as soon as the first replies came in: "stop the delivery", "take it back" , "can't you hack in and change it?" quite delirious.

We calmed them down and talked them through the structure, copy and subject line for an immediate apology email written from the person who actually made the typo, the marketing manager! This email had more replies than any other email campaign ever, in fact they might have had more replies in that one campaign than all campaigns had received in the last 12 months!

It revolutionised their marketing because it opened the dialogue and this was BEFORE TWITTER!

Ads in Emails

The legend of Jeanne Jennings has written two articles, for Clickz, about 3rd party advertising in your marketing emails.
Tips for Selling Ads in E-mail Newsletters, Part 1 & Tips for Selling Ads in E-mail Newsletters, Part 2

It is something that a lot of people would like to do but cannot allocate the amount of time it takes to actually implement in a way that does not annoy the recipients.

This is a complex thought process but can be extremely lucrative if done correctly.

It is not something that can work for everyone and more often than not it is more suited for content publishers than on-line sellers. This is mainly because senders with an e-commerce click through target want everything to go to their shop and not risk competitors as the ads would normally be trying to do that too.

At the surface level you decide where on the email the ads are going to go and then if everyone will be getting the same ads or you want to make it targeted. I expect most people to be doing the same ads for everyone.

Then you decide how you are going to charge: one sum to have the ad on there - yellow pages style; cost per click - Google Ads style; cost per acquisition - don't bother cos you can't control the landing pages.

If you have the profiling available for each person you could really go to town on it and make the ads dynamic depending on the interests and behavioural actions you have per recipient! This could be stage two, once you have recorded the Ad actions of recipients on the generic ads, you may then have enough data to target. You could also push small surveys here and there to help this better - a bit like the preference centres extension.

Some companies will do a dedicated 3rd party mailing once a month or so, this can be more lucrative in bursts but over time you are likely to see the list shrink.

Either way the important thing is to take ownership of the ads and make sure that the recipients know that it is still you, only you get their data and you don't share it with anyone else!

This can be a good complementary revenue stream to your normally emailings but as soon as you start thinking of it a separate thing or allow it to take priority over the reason why people signed up in the first place your list and your relationship with your customers will suffer.

It was Seth Godin who said that interruption is bad, so don't allow the ads to get in the way of the content on the page but it is not interrupting if the content you supply is accompanied by ads which complement the content in a non intrusive way.
For the actual implementation tips check out Jeanne's articles from Aug 10, 2009 & Aug 24, 2009.

Finally, normally you put the Ads on the right to stop stops them intruding on the main content. This is because people read from the left.
But one thing I've noticed and something that Google tried recently, is that if you put the Ads on the left they will get more clicks!
You have to decide if your recipients will tolerate, or even notice, that they have to read your content from further over in the screen!

Vetical Response: 29 Ways to Collect Email Addresses for Your Business

September 15, 2009

There are a ton of ways to get people to sign up for your email marketing offers. I've put together a list for you to read, so you know all of the ways you can be growing your list.

1. Put an offer on the back of your business cards to get people to sign up for your newsletter.
2. Tradeshows - Bring a clipboard or sign-up book with you to tradeshows and ask for permission to send email to those who sign up.
3. Include a newsletter sign-up link in your signature of all of your emails.
4. Send an opt-in email to your address book asking them to join your list.
5. Join your local chamber of commerce, email the member list (if it's opt-in) about your services with a link to sign up to your newsletter
, for the other on

I have one thing to add, make sure you send them all at least a welcome email. Whether it is an immediate transactional response to the sign-up or a campaign to the list you gathered at a face to face event. In fact with face to face events and trade shows with today's mobile internet could might consider adding them to the list there and then but there is the argument that the next day message would be good.

BlueSkyFactory: Preference Centres - I'd take it further

This is the second time today I have had the opportunity to mention a previous post - I hope that doesn't mean I've covered it all now?

Anyway, a while back I mentioned email preference centres and it came up again recently when talking about Unsubscribe surveys.

About two weeks ago, BlueSky factory took the old Burger King slogan "Hold the pickles hold the lettuce special orders don’t upset us, have it your way" and stated that "Email marketing should be this way too" which follows on nicely from their article "I Just Don’t Love You Anymore" published two week before.

They say that "There are several ways to allow your readers to have it their way"
1. When they opt-in
2. By having options on your subscriber preferences page
3. By sending a specific email asking readers to update their preferences

Obviously I am a fan of this concept and so far I think the Clickz preference centre is the best one but BlueSky's article also gives some great examples.

Personally I don't think BlueSky went far enough...

Yes ask them about categories and frequency as early as possible and always allow them to change their minds, always do that but there is more...

In the grand scheme of things you might want to know so much more about them in order target them better. You might - should - be taking your recipients' responses back to your marketing database/warehouse and comparing them with your web analytics, ecommerce etc. etc. Also categories may change and you can't just email people about the new categories until they change their preferences, they might just opt-out.

That kind of information would be one giant survey and no-one will take the time to fill that in unless you are giving them something very expensive for free.

Robin Kennedy calls it "Profiling" and I agree. The key is to ask a bit at a time. Profiling needs to be a gradual thing as you build that trust, that rapport, that dialogue!

Every so often have an underlying theme in a message which would relate to a section of your profiling and include a link to a small form to collect just that information, maybe 3-5 questions with multiple choice predefined answers. Obviously don't start with personal stuff as you have not built enough of a rapport yet.
Alternatively just see if any of your messages relate to part of the profile you are trying to build and stick a link in the message.

Imagine all of your Web-analytics data, ecommerce data, email marketing reporting data, and everything else all query-able from one spot! This is possible and without a great amount of data migration.
If you like the idea give Apteco a shout and ask about Faststats. They might even be at Ad:tech.
It also has full loop integration with Pure360 and it's really pretty too! Don't forget to let them know who referred you either!

Robin told me he has been working with a few companies on profiling strategies for brands through Pure360 and it sounds pretty exiting. You could even ask him about it at Ad:Tech London next week.

Domain Reputation 2: List Headers - the way forward?

To follow on from my previous post "Domain Reputation - it's gotta be a good thing" I've found out a bit more and I'm sure this will become more and more popular and maybe even the standard.

The short version is:
There are some extra bits and bobs which can be put in email headers which allow ISPs and Inbox Hosts to know where to forward emails to in order to unsubscribe someone, just like a feedback loop!
I reckon all EPSs and email marketing software developers should use incorporate it and if not why not?

Allow me to elaborate:

A couple of articles from Lashback, one in on July 23rd and the other appears undated, started me off looking into List Headers.

It is a very interesting concept, although the technology has been around for years, it has not been embraced until recently when Google rolled out their "Unsubscribe and Report Spam" button. This reportedly uses these list headers in pretty much the same way as a feedback loop. Now while Return Path's feedback loop is becoming more popular with the big ISPs, Google, being Google, has decided not to follow the likes of Yahoo but to use existing technology to do the work for them and not pay anyone for the privilege.

As far as I can tell at the moment, the standards were created a while ago to enable mailing list members to control their subscription options by sending an email and the settings would be automatically be controlled, instead of have a person reading emails and taking actions.

This seems quick obvious to me and I am wondering why it was not used by the first ESPs, maybe someone who worked at Buongiorno in their email days can tell me?

Anyway, the standards RFC 2369 and RFC 2919 basically involve putting particular names and values in the header. One of them being the email address to forward the email to for the unsubscribe and another being the email-id which is the unique id for that mail to that recipient from that sender. Any decent ESP will employ some form of unique identifier in each email.
Google will see that they are there and give the reader the option of mark as spam and unsubscribe and then they will forward that email back to the unsubscribe address and the sender will pick up the email-id opt that recipient out.

Those ESPs who already plug into ESP feedback loops (Pure360) will find this easy to integrate, other EPS who employ an automated abuse@ opt-out mechanism too (Pure360 - yes, I know, I'm biased) would probably just use that address at the very least.

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When someone marks an email as spam, there is a very good chance that every other email afterwards will go to their junk folder. Subsequently, not only will the sender begin sending an email that is highly unlikely to get seen, sending consistently to the junk folder harms the IP reputation. So ISPs will notify the sender, the sender will opt that person out and then no more emails will be send straight to junk. In fact Hotmail and Yahoo tell us that marking as spam is the same as an unsubscribe request.

Not every ISP has a feedback loop.
Some, Outblaze for instance, will only give a feedback loop to guaranteed double opt-ins. To be honest that seems like utter madness, IF YOU ONLY SEND FULLY DOUBLE OPTIN EMAILS - YOU WOULDN'T NEED A FEED BACK LOOP

This List Header method could make it very easy for everyone to have a feedback loop without paying a company loads of cash or completely updating their technology.

If, as rumoured, this also ties into future domain reputation, we could all have a lot more control over our own deliverability and that is definitely a good thing!

I think all ESPs should do this and open that door for ISPs and Inbox hosts who want to use it! and if not, why not?...discuss

Or am I talking utter twaddle?

CIO: Top 10 Spam-Friendly Registrars Named and Shamed

Thu, February 05, 2009 Robert McMillan:
"IDG News Service - When it comes time for spammers to register their Internet domain names, some companies are more popular than others.

Spam-fighting organization KnujOn has released a report on the top 10 registrars it has linked to spam and other illicit activity. It found that some companies have cleaned up their act in recent months and that others -- most surprisingly Network Solutions and GoDaddy sister company Wild West domains -- have suddenly popped up on the list
" on

Benchmark email: Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Back in August (Aug 22 2009) Benchmark Email wrote an interesting piece about what 'not' to do...

"Email marketing, if carried out in the right way, is extremely economical and can provide you with some spectacular results. Best email marketing results require a moral, and extensively detailed plan to be in place. Setting this plan in place usually takes up a substantial amount of thought and energy; this is something a lot of email marketers fail to give consideration to.

To avoid making typical beginner mistakes, take a look at our list of common email marketing mistakes
" on

Robin Kennedy at Ad:tech London

I've just been informed that a good mate of mine, Robin Kennedy, will be doing a Seminar at Ad:tech next week called:
"Email - to Blast, to Broadcast, or enter into Dialogue?".

Robin is one of the most knowledgeable people on email I have ever met and great laugh to work and socialise with.
Anybody who wants to learn something, anything or almost everything about email marketing should make sure they attend whenever this guy's doing any seminar.

This Ad:tech seminar is on the Tuesday 22nd Sept, 3.50pm - 4.20pm in the Email Marketing Thaetre.

Be there!

SEOhosting: Make Your Links Count

"Usability expert Jakob Nielsen once said that email marketing is “probably the single highest ROI-action you can take to improve your internet presence.” Some studies have shown that an effective email marketing campaign can generate an ROI of nearly $10 for every $1 spent. Research by the Direct Marketing Association concluded that email marketing outperformed all other direct marketing methods in ROI.

In other words, email marketing is a highly effective tool for putting money in your pockets. At the core of email marketing is linking. Within your newsletters, you’ll be asking your customers to click links to learn more about your products and services and to take action on special deals.

To help you get the most from those links, I’ve come up with this short list of email marketing linking tips
" on

Written by: Eric Brantner Aug 2009

Have you been de-prioritised?

I've mentioned a couple of times that recipients can de-prioritise you to a brand that they do not want to forget but aren't going to do anything about now.

This ties in with Seth Godin's "being remarkable" and always having a good story (As Seth has written soo much great stuff - these two links are actually Google Searches - pick your own blogs or videos).

On the 20th of August Kara Trivunovic for MediaPost's Email Insider wrote "Can You Walk And Chew Gum?" which is a great real life example of how people can see your emails and prioritise on

Popup sign-up forms! Are you sure?

Two weeks ago I saw a tweet from Vertical Response, recommending using a pop-up window with a subscribe form to pop-up when someone leaves the site.
While I can see the attraction, as a last grab at getting someone's details, if you have to ask then, there is something wrong with your site!
To be honest, if a site tried that with me I would not go back to it.
Sites with pop-ups are traditionally not trustworthy and are to avoided.
Don't do it!
I also believe that my opinion is shared by Andrew Kordek and All Web Email amongst others.

Passive Recipients: rescue emails

As we all should be doing now, there is a sign-up form on pretty much every page of our sites to collect just the email address and maybe the first name. We did this to make subscribing as easily as possible. Then down the line we might ask for more details in order to better profile our subscribers.
Over time some people just stop interacting with our emails, they stay on the list, we send them the emails they requested but we get nothing from them. You don't want to just remove them from the list because they still might have money to spend.

Firstly we have to think about why they are not doing anything with our emails but have not opted out, there are a few reasons:
  • They marked an email as spam but their provider did not have a feedback loop so all future emails from our address go to junk but the there was no way for us to know to unsubscribe them.
  • They got a new really sensitive filter and/or safelister which is causing a false positive and we are not on their safelist/addressbook.
  • They did not give us their primary email address so we go to their second or third email address which they don't ever really check but they need it in case they don't trust a web-site or they need it as an login, eg: primary Gmail users will still have Yahoo so they can access places like Flickr etc.
  • They moved primary email address and did not see fit to tell us - eg: moved from Hotmail to Gmail

So we need to know if they are still interested but we need to get in front of them to find out without spamming! what do you do?
Personally if you can do it, get a second email address with a different domain to send from, take the passive recipients and send them one email asking them to confirm their subscription. We use a different domain because there is a chance that their inbox's self learning filter will use your email address and sending domain to block emails.
The email's call to action confirm subscription should be a link to click, which sends them a welcome message - preferably with reporting on opens and clicks, anyone who does not take action, remove them from the list, you are just wasting bandwidth and harming deliverability if you are going to junk.
Anyone who hits opt-out on this, 'rescue campaign' should be opted-out from everything so they do not get any other emails, apart from transactional emails, until they manually opt back in again from a sign-up form of clicking that link in the rescue email.

Also, the welcome message we send people when they sign-up should come from the same email address as the emails they are signing up for. This should make it as easy as possible for them to add you to their safelist straight away, that is assuming we are all asking people to do so!!
If you are uber permission and use double-opt-in (love your work) it is not always possible to send that email from the same address as the campaign emails, in this situation you should make sure that email address is in the content and you can ask them from there.

As long as the rescue email is brand compliant and you are up front and honest with why you are sending them the email and what you want to them to do, you should maintain the trust enough to get an honest answer and then have a clean list.

Part of this idea has come from common sense, empathy and experience.
Some of it came from the Spamhaus permission pass
I was triggered to blog this idea by an article from Cakemail on 27/08/2009 called Blacklists and Spam Reporting Services are our Friends.

I have considered this approach carefully from a spammy point of view and I know this is easily abused if only part of the process is followed, but please let me know if I have missed something and it is more spammy than I thought!- Cap.

Unsubscribe Options and Feedback

The last thing any of us want is for someone to unsubscribe but even if we get everything right, sometimes people's priorities change and they just don't want our emails anymore.

Obviously there are some common reasons that people opt-out that are our fault, eg: poor creative, bad subject lines, un-remarkable content, frequency to high etc. etc.
Some of these can be handled before sending the emails by just spending a little more time empathising with the audience and focussing on why you are actually emailing them in the first place and then ironing out your priorities.

Once someone who has the email decides they want to optout, obviously we make it easy: click a link submit a form. That does not mean that your relationship is over, it just means that from their most recent experience they do not want those emails anymore.

What ever you do with the opt-out form, avoid asking them to enter their email address, that scares people. If people think that anyone can enter any email address and press go to opt it out, they won't trust you and that can domino down to other parts of your core business.

Now this optout form can do more than just let someone optout...

Apex Auctions and Pure360 found that Apex's problem was that they were sending too many irrelevant emails as everyone was on the same list. Pure360 built them a preference centre so people could tell them what they wanted to be emailed about. Apex started sending a lot less emails, but everyone was getting emailed about the products they were interested in, retention went up, ROI went up and then subscriber acquisition went up.

I would also suggest considering collecting feedback at the that point, to elaborate on a post from EmailGarage, maybe a tiny survey or just a text area for comments. personally a survey would easier to transfer in to stats and would require less resources mind you. with the results you can easily and quickly keep an eye out to see if you are doing some thing wrong.

BlueSkyFactory blogged about an optout page that also gave you the choice to specify how many emails a week in their opt-out form. I'm not realy a fan because if you think about it how would you manage that? You send 3 emails out in one week but some people are only letting you send one - which one do you send?
I love Clickz's subscription page, they give you a tick box for everything they publish and then a tick box to manage the frequency - so I can either get an email every time a new article is published on one of my chosen catagories or I can get a weekly email with a snippet and link for everything.

Giving the recipient as much control as possible and being as up front as you can, will earn you trust and get you interactions.
Especially nowerdays when so much content is bloggy, the RSS feed can easily be used to grab content, format it into email html and email it out depending on the rules defined by the users. It can be really easy and low maintenance, I think it's great.

Domain Reputation - it's gotta be a good thing

I've read a bag load of talk about ISPs moving towards domain reputation over IP reputation.
Personally, I think it's about bleeding time!

So many companys' emails come from a shared sending platform where more than one brand will send from the same IP address, it seems silly not to use something that separates and identifies the senders - the sending domain.

A small complexity is how that will be identified because the from address for the recipeint's eyes and the from address in the envelope are often different but I'm sure they'll come up with something.

I also had a chat with a particularly intelligent System Administrator yesterday who speculated that this domain reputation could also be linked to the abandonment of feedback loops from ISPs? But that is another post.

Domain reputation cannot come fast enough, although one article I read speculated that some places will be using DKIM and others (Micorsoft) will be using Sender ID (not the ReturnPath one).
This is where it gets ambiguous! Already we have to chose between an spf record and and senderID depending on where you mainly want to send to, if you have mainly hotmail and yahoo you go with senderID, if you are mainly B2B you go with SPF, or do you??

I love the idea but I'll need more details before I am going to rely it, seeing as so many things have been tried and not made anough of a difference to separate the trillion or so spam mails sent a day from our few million sales and marketing emails.

BenchmarkEmail's 8 top tips to compelling copy

For some reason we don't always focus on the copy, it's only the writing, as long as people can read it'll be fine.

Well, it does help to do it well, there are more pedants out there than we think and to be honest with our selves, most of us are a little too. So why drag their attention away from our meaning by giving them bad spelling, grammar and copy to distract them.

Benchmark email has written a nice little post on Aug 05 2009 called "Writing Compelling Email Marketing Copy" with 8 easy tips to stay mindful on


EmailAdvisor: Pointers for optimizing your HTML Email messages

One of the most tedious thing about email is the html rendering ambiguities, it really gets boring!
Even with the Email Standards Project, we are all still up against the control freakishness that is Outlook, which is just being awkward cos it can and like to show off how much market share it has by making everything more complicated and watching the rest of us rush around to comply. GGGrrrrr! ... and relax,

Email Advisor has a couple of tips here which makes thing a little easier once you have ready the Email Standard project: the article was in June some time and is called "Pointers for optimizing your HTML Email message" on


EmailDirect: Email Marketing Inhouse is a bad idea

I'll always say that as long as you never get marked as spam and every email address is double opt-in, you'll never have to worry about deliverability until you start trying send in the millions, well over 600k at a time to be safe!

I can't really name any brand that I've interacted with in email terms that would send that kind of volume of sales and marketing email whilst having full on all singing all dancing permission all day every day.

Subsequently, these people should never go in house, they should use and ESP.

I like Richard King's post for Email Direct on August 16, 2009 called "Why Doing Email Marketing In-house is a Bad Idea" it breaks it down pretty on

Emotion causes interaction

With today's requirements for dialogue in email marketing you need ways to get that interaction.
Obviously you need the framework at the back end, whether it is one person replying to emails, a blog or a sophisticated CMS with all of the frills, as long as people can interact with you and each other you're a away.

Now you need a reason for someone to interact; typically you'll be posting blog posts and asking for opinions, maybe tweeting links to the posts and updating your Facebook status at the same time but not everyone comments, many people will read it and that'll be that.
You will probably find it is the same people each time commenting and retweeting and that is all good - pay them attention - but you want more people doing it, people who would not normally get involved.
How do you do that?
Make them care more?
How do you do that?
Do or say something that'll spark their emotion, make them feel inclined to get involved and preferably emotionally obligated to interact but without burning any bridges!

There are a few things you can do, some are quite risky like annoy people so that they retort or you can give them the power and the tools to make it is easier, reward them for their interactions, make feel them part of the brand more.

Using polls is a good idea and on Aug 22 2009 there was a useful article from Benchmark Email called "Using a website Poll to build traffic" which supports this idea and gives some really handy on

MobilizeEmail: Not respecting your subscribers can be extremely damaging to your business

August 17th, 2009
"Always send your subscribers content that they subscribed to receive and nothing else. If you subscribed to receive information on the latest wine specials from New Zealand wineries you would not expect to receive special deals on trips to Fiji.

Well, one company did send their subscribers content that a subscriber thought was not relevant and found out that sometimes this can massively backfire especially if one of the subscribers is a very influential blogger
" on

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Permission, permission, permission!

White House Spamming

The blogosphere has been full of articles about the Whitehouse spamming people recently. I belive we tried it in the UK a while back but they didn't do their home work and spent loads of cash on a poor solution where the emails were actually sent from US servers! - Dime bar anyone?

Anyway, people in the US have been complaining that the Whitehouse emailed them when they had not opted in.
Two articles that seem to cover it quite well are:
White House Email Acquisition Controversy, by Chris Wheeler on August 14, 2009 for BrontoBlog
White House sending spam?, by Laura 14 Aug 2009 for Word to the Wise.

It's a tight one as while you do need permission to email people to avoid being a spammer there is also some arguments that some content from the government are required, whether it is email or paper. Where do you draw the line?

At what point does information from your government, how every it is delivered, move from marketing (propaganda) to transactional (info that everyone must have).

In the UK:
Should they create email addresses for everyone registered to vote in the UK using maybe their National Insurance Number and communicate that way?
If I could vote digitally that would make my lifer easier but I'm pretty tekki, it would be a great risk to expect that many people to be able to do it and keep it secure.
I expect with all of the forgotten passwords it'll cost too much to run as you'll need people to work it. Maybe in 50 years time!

Of course you also have thing that the government want to do but need the support of parliament and the people to do it, so would their direct communication directly to us count as propaganda or keeping us informed?

You don't have to watch the news if you don't want to, you don't have to buy a news paper, you don't have to search for it on the internet so you shouldn't have to have emailed to you whether you want it or not?

Hhmmm it's a thinker!

Lyris: What Good is a Click?

That is a very good question, we've been on about the difference between render-rates and opening-rate and email html standards for so, we've forgotten the reason for the email in the first place - to get the click through to the web-site!!!

Obviously on 14th Aug 2009 Dan Miller hadn't when he wrote "What Good is a Click?" for Lyris.
Have a look see what you on

Don't forget your plain text

So much of our time is spent on testing and getting our html right, people forget the plain text. Some ESPs will try to make a plain text version of the html and some will always ask you to make it from scratch.
I personally am not that much of a fan of the automatically built ones although as long as you have a link to view the html in browser you're OK.

Spam filters also pay attention to the plain text as well as the html. Spam Assassin will actually read the first 200 or so characters of both versions and if they are different, you could get junked!

On August 14th 2009, Jonathan Miller for Email Transit writes: "Plain Text Emails: Half the Battle" a nice little bulleted list of how to present the plain text version for those plain text only recipients and many mobile on

EmailResponsibly: The Tangled Web of Email Segmentation

Segmentation is the key factor in ensuring you are engaging properly with your audience. This might be separate content for separate lists, auto pre-scheduled campaigns based on days since sign-up and triggers for activities or it would be who they are and what they do etc.
Don't forget, you've also got dynamic content to ensure that each individual in each category gets the right content too!

A three parter here from Jordon Lane for Email Responsibly for cover it for the most part!
Aug-07-2009: Part I - Behavioral segmentation
Aug-12-2009: Part II – Demographic segmentation
Aug-14-2009: Part III – Segment by acquisition channel

SimplyCast: Simple tests that improve email marketing results

Everybody, who gets email marketing even close to right, knows that testing is the key.
Never release that campaign until you are certain that you have tested everything you can to ensure that it will work for everyone.

SimplyCast gives a nice little walk through on August 14, 2009 with "Simple tests that improve email marketing results" on