Nov 29, 2008

How to buy new leads.

When you work on your email marketing strategy, it always comes to a point where people decide to buy new leads through several means.

First thing, don't ever buy entire databases, especially in B2C (although it's sometimes legal in B2B, I highly discourage you to do so)

Do not exchange data with other companies!

Now, talking about legal methods, some might be more efficient than others.

I will not talk here about natural leads registering on your website, these profiles are of course of the highest quality.

In the list of ways to buy leads, you can:
- Organize a prize winning competition: with this method you will of course pay the price, but also your competition's advertizing on third party websites or email campaigns you will run on rented lists.
- Co-registration: I'm not a big fan of this lead generation process, but it's probably the cheapest way around to buy leads.
- Pay per lead affiliation program: you can set a CPL campaign on an affiliation platform. The benefit is you will only pay for actual leads.
- Indirect campaigns: Media (banners), SEM (google adwords) or email campaigns on rented lists campaigns, pointing either on your website or directly on the subscribe form.

In either case my advice here is to ALWAYS and WHATEVER method you use keep track of the lead source in your database (at least the type of campaign, although keeping track of the type of campaign AND the partner name is even wiser).

The point here is to be able to track in your email campaign reports what kind of leads generates the highest open rate/click rate/revenue.

Once you display campaign statistics per lead origin (sent volume, open rate, click rate, revenue) then you can take decisions on what campaigns you want to continue with and what campaigns you want to stop.

Don't forget as well to have a look at the hardbounce rate and spam complaints rate on each lead source, it's a very good indicator of poor quality or even dishonest partners

Nov 26, 2008

SPAM me again !

I made a post a while ago to tell everyone I was making a study on how spam was actually getting to my email account.

I posted 2 email addresses on my blog but I'm not getting enough spam in.

So I thought I could post them again :)

Here you go: &

Nov 21, 2008

Brands: B&S are SPAMMERS and you should know better!

I made a post a while ago, saying Brands should be more cautious about what lists they work with when they RENT email.
I also made a post a couple of days ago about SPAMS I received from some B&S list.

Guess what? I unsubscribed 3 times the day I made the post and I received a new mail for Bwin today.

Of course I reported B&S to Spamcop and Signal-Spam (a french governmental SPAM complaint system) today.

Last time I said that Brands should be more cautious, I now start to believe that they are partly responsible for this...

In another life I was a traffic buyer for a website and believe me when I launched a campaign (affiliate program, banner campaign or email DB rental) I always tried to get some information on who was the partner and how the campaign would be ran.

It seems to me some Brands are not making all these checks prior to running the campaign, since there are soooo many ways to identify B&S as dodgy list just by checking a couple of elements or asking for a test email:
- B&S has no website (at least in no website link in the email)
- The reply-to email is a Gmail address !!!!!!!
- There is no global unsubscribe link most of the time (only a link to unsubscribe from the Brand they are sending)
- There is an advertising banner on the unsubscribe page oO
- There is no unsubscribe confirmation page (it loads google's website!)

So once again: please, please, please check out who you work with, this kind of practices might one day kill the email marketing and will definitely harm your Brand's image.

Returnpath latest news

Returnpath sent an announcement to his resellers.

Here is a selection of important information (italic sentences are quoted from the email):

1 - Returnpath + Habeas

Returnpath recently asquired Habeas (see news), the habeas Safelist is now called Sender Score Safe List and provides significant delivery benefits to more than a million receiving email systems at partner ISPs, message security providers and enterprises in 190 countries worldwide, including SpamAssassin, Road Runner, Cox, Box Sentry and Bizanga.

2 - Yahoo! + Returnpath
Yahoo! Mail performance data will begin showing up in the Daily Performance Reports the first week of December.
During the first week of January, Yahoo! will begin using Sender Score Certified status in their filtering decisions.
IMPORTANT: Yahoo! complaints will then be taken into account in the Certification scoring.

3 - Prices
The prices have changed (increased) due to all these changes:
Sender Score Certified and Sender Score Safe List will now be bundled together as one offering
The price list is available here

4 - Benefits
New senders who apply for our white listing programs will be evaluated for inclusion in both programs simultaneously.

5.1 - What with Existing members?
Existing Sender Score Certified members don't need to do anything to benefit from the Yahoo! white list enhancements.

5.2 - Concerning the new Sender Score Safe List:
Return Path will deploy a special communication that includes reduced pricing for those who wish to add the power of the Sender Score Safe List to their email marketing programs before renewal.

A second announcement, made on the Returpath website, is related to the Blue Tie blacklist (see my post). It announces the official release of the FBL. You can apply here.
I updated my Feedback loop list.

Nov 20, 2008


I told it once, told it twice, I will tell it for a third time...

Once again I received an email from a list I never heard of (B&S). I expect this is coming from Locafilm, a french company that exchanged data with other list owners, program from which I unsubscribed several times.

What was not my surprise yesterday, when I logged in one of my secondary email addresses to discover I started receiving third party emails from some B&S company... one per day for the last 5 days! Most of these emails (all but one in fact) only proposed an unsubscribe from the partner offers which is I believe the second most annoying thing in receiving the emails (after the fact I never opted in for anything like this).
Finally, there was no word whatsoever about where and how I subscribed to this list (which of course would have been quite embarrassing for them).

This is a plague and I'm pretty much sure this B&S entity will never get any positive reaction from this list they are using, unless one of you have a success story I never heard of :)

Nov 18, 2008

AOL to use DKIM

A very nice post has been made on the wordtothewise blog, stating that AOL will start using the DKIM signature system at the start of 2009 to authenticate incoming emails.

For those not knowing about DKIM, a description is available on the website.

Realtime Black Lists (RBL)

To identify possible SPAM incoming to their email servers, ISPs often use RBL.
These Black Lists, based upon the IP are updated according to user complaints.

These blacklists can be queried on demand to check the listing of a given IP.

I made a list of known Realtime Black Lists.

As always, should anything be missing, please send me an email or comment on the blog.

Nov 17, 2008

Feedback loops (FBL) list

Just as I did for the disposable domains, I am currently making a list (as complete as possible) of available feedback loops.

If you see any missing information, please send me an email or comment on this post, I will be glad to improve this list.

Nov 15, 2008

Open rate vs Click rate

One thing you need to decide when running email campaigns and estimate the success of them is what exact indicator is the most relevant to you.

Only talking about email tracking (post tracking on the website is another level) there are two numbers you might look at : openers and clickers.

Depending on the goal of your campaign, either of these indicators should get your attention.

90% of the time, the click rate will be the most important number to look at. This number will give you the number of site visitors you will get to your website. All campaigns who's goal is to get users to buy online stuff or to register on the website will have to get the most clickers as possible on your creative.

If the goal of the campaign is to make an announcement or to advertise for your brand, then the open rate will be the most important number of your campaign report.

Nov 14, 2008

May the force of email marketing be with you.

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I met some M. Yoda, a funny looking email marketing guru, we talked for a while about email marketing and he gave me a list of advices on how to manage your marketing lists.

These advices I already gave but on several posts, that's a good opportunity to aggregate a bit all of this.

And remember, even if it's always tempting, don't ever slip on the dark side of the force.

- The double agreement of your user to send email to them you need to have.
- The unsubscribe process simple needs to be.
- The targeting of your email wise it always has to be.
- Irrelevant or offensive content sending, avoid you have to.
- Always checking your sender reputation you need.
- Analyzing the statistics always you have to.
- Nice and clear your landing page has to be.
- Whatever possible track you must.
- Your Database cleanup you must once in a while.

Even though his grammar is quite poor... I thought his advice was worth sharing with you.

Nov 13, 2008

Report Spam link in your email

I just received a mail - which actually IS a spam since I never, ever subscribed to this list.
But this time, while reading the footer to try and guess how my email address just ended up in this broadcast, I saw a link that did trigger my attention.

It was reading: If you were not supposed to receive this email, please report an abuse

Now, of course I clicked and got to a form where I could select the reason of my complaint (never opted in, offensive content,...), add a comment and post.

This idea seems very interesting to me, I do use a lot of different feedback loops, but in this case you get to know why people complain and probably get to identify bad lead origins and the reason why you should stop using these.

More over, even if few people use this link instead of the complaint button, you can lower your complaint rate which is, at the end of the day, what I believe to be the major benefit.

Did you ever try such a thing? If so, did you lower your complaint rate?

Nov 12, 2008

Updated - Email marketing feeds

I just updated the opml file I created with the list of - what I believe to be - useful Email marketing feeds.

The list is now (updates in red):
Freemail blogs:
Yahoo! Mail Blog
AOL Mail Blog
Windows Live Wire
Gmail Blog
FastMail.FM Weblog New and Updated Knowledgebase Articles

Email Marketing Blogs:
Blog Cabestan *(FR)
Email Way *(FR)
Pignon sur mail *(FR)
Email Ethics
JDN CRM-Marketing *(FR)
Virtual Target
No man is an iland
Adventures in Email Marketing
denise cox's blog
The Retail Email Blog
Return Path Email Marketing Water Cooler
Email Experience Blog
Campaign Monitor Blog
Inbox Ideas
Online Marketing Business Blog
Ezemail's Blog
Postcards from the Junk Folder
Style Campaign blog
Email Savant
Email Marketing Insight
Vertical Response
Email Sherpa
Email Marketing Journal
Chris Baggott's
DMNews Email Marketing

This file can be downloaded here
Also available in a zip file here

Email refused with no bounce

Sometimes, email marketing is just oO
Recently, one of my clients sent an email to his clients list. This list usually performs quite well, but on this broadcast we where surprised to see that the open rate was at 0 on several domains (yes we do have statistics per domain), but surprisingly enough, no bounce of any kind was sent back to our servers.

After a couple of tests we did see that the creative as it was was just trashed by these providers without further notice.

The email contained two offers, one of which was for a "sex toys" online shop, this one had a disclaimer: over 18 yo / under 18 yo. once we removed this part of the email the creative went through to the inbox.

This teaches us two things:
First, don't ever unless 200% obliged to, use this highly porn connoted disclaimer on your emails. They probably trigger almost every alerts in the ISPs SPAM filters

Second, some ISPs do trash emails without bouncing back, this is of course an extreme example, but having no Softbounce or Spam filtered bounce (the famous hotmail "policy reasons") doesn't unfortunately mean you made it.

Nov 10, 2008

Do you wanna Flock?

Another post far, far, far away from email marketing.

I discovered today a new web browser called Flock.

This web browser is highly valuable if you are a network freak like me. You can add all your RSS feeds (like in most browsers one might say) but also all your networking accounts. your home page will then display the latest news from your network. You can also add your media accounts (Youtube, picasaweb, flicker,...) and your digg and/or Delicious accounts. Finally, you can add your webmail accounts.

All of this will then be available on the sidebar and you can of course interact with it.

This post is of course made through the Blog Post module of my freshly set Flock browser ^^.

You can download this tool here:
For mac / For windows

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Nov 6, 2008

Disposable email addresses

More and more internet users, tired of having more and more spam sent to their email address with no other option than opening a new one and give the new email address to all their contacts on a regular basis, use disposable email addresses.

These addresses, valid for a given time or inactivated on demand are used to (generally) forward incoming emails to the primary address. This way when too many spams are going to the primary email, they only have to inactivate the disposable address and create a new one.

These email addresses are of course of very poor quality and should be - in my opinion - removed from your DB as far as possible.

I edited a list of disposable emails providers available here.

If anything's missing, please contact me or post a comment.

Nov 5, 2008

Blue-Tie Feedback loop (FBL)

As a returnpath client, I received an email telling me that a new FBL has been released with Blue-Tie hosted domains (including, and

A FBL is a process that gets the user info back to you when someone reports a spam in his webmail on one of your campaigns. On the other side, you commit to never send emails again to this user.
This is very useful to get a clean DB and limit over time the amount of complaints triggered on each of your broadcasts.

The service already is opened for Returnpath clients and will be live in a few weeks time for everyone.

Barack Obama - Palmer

Since the beginning of this presidential race, a question haunts me...

As a French citizen, I remember that everybody agreed to say that Jacques Chirac (our former president) was elected for the first time partly because the "guignols", a political and social puppet show very popular in France, made him look very sympathic and funny.

I really wonder how much of Barack Obama's success is due to the 24 series' president David Palmer.

This is probably impossible to measure, but I would bet my right harm that on all Obama voters, only part of them would have felt like voting for a black candidate only a few years ago.

Don't get me wrong, I am very happy about this situation, and other elements (such as war in Irak and the economic crisis) had their impact as well (maybe even more). The point is just that I wonder where entertainment ends and where politics and marketing start.

Is Barack Obama an example of product advertising inside a series? Just like Apple and Dell fighting on who will equip the nice guys and who will equip the bad guys.

By browsing the web to start finding answers, I found the wikipedia article on President Palmer, mentioning the exact same thing as I just did.
You can of course comment as well :)

Here is a passage:
A poll by Blockbuster named Palmer as respondents' Favourite On-Screen President. visitors also named him the TV President they would most like to see in the Oval Office.
On an episode of The Daily Show that aired on June 4, 2008, host Jon Stewart pointed out that newly-christened presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama will be the first African-American candidate for President of the United States "since the first season of 24." However, this statement is untrue, as David Palmer's brother, also black, ends up becoming president in a more recent season.
Dennis Haysbert has claimed that his portrayal of David Palmer allowed viewers to become more comfortable with the idea of an African American president, and consequently may have helped Obama's campaign.

Source: Wikipedia

Anyway, I would like now to congratulate Barack Obama and wish him good luck and success for the 4 (8 maybe ;p) upcoming years.
And of course congratulate the American People for this choice that I personally believe to be the right one.

And please excuse me for this post that hardly has anything to do with email Marketing.

Nov 4, 2008

Email Strategics - Step 6 - Analyzing statistics

The last step for a successful emailing campaign is to analyze the campaign results. This will help get the best out of it and improve future activity on the database.

The important goals are:
- Identifying active profiles
- Analyzing performance per ISP
- Deliverability follow up
- Tracking website activity
- Cleaning the DB
- Creating new scenario according to the profiles' activity.

Identifying active profiles :
After several broadcasts it becomes critical to identify active (and inactive) profiles, these profiles are people targeted several times and that opened and/or clicked in at least one email.
In the process you can then rate your users according to how often they react on your campaigns.
Inactive users are people that never react on any campaign. These profiles should be isolated and targeted differently and/or removed from the DB. If the volume of email will be less, the DB performance will be much higher!

Analyzing performance per ISP :
Analyzing the campaign results (openers, clickers) by ISP is important. This way you can often identify deliverability issues on some ISPs. You can also get to a higher analysis level by checking when users of each (important) ISP open emails for the most.
Sometimes, you'll see some domains for the most open the email during working hours whereas some others during the lunch break or in the evening. This will help you adapt your strategy to the ISPs and the type of reaction.

Deliverability follow up :
Deliverability follow-up is a major issue you might come across. If all the requirements listed in the DB management, the broadcasting and creative articles are matched, then you shouldn't have too many deliverability issues, but you really want to check it each time to react quickly to any abnormal results.
These statistics have to be of course shown per ISP.

Tracking website activity :
You really want, if made possible by your ESP, to track your website pages with your broadcasting tool and identify your DB members that actually buy online your products or subscribe to this or that products.
More than just measuring your ROI, the goal is here to match this info with user profiles. You will then to be able to target campaigns to buyers or to created automated campaigns to be sent on the next day on persons that checked their basket but didn't order or that whent through part of the registration process for a product but didn't validate reach the confirmation page.
Once this information is back in your DB, you can get to another level of email activity where you are able to segment your DB according to buying behavior.

Cleaning the DB :
As I mentioned in the "identifying active profiles" paragraph, one important thing about your DB is that you probably have inactive profiles that damage your DB efficiency and might impact your deliverability (Spam traps are by definition inactive profiles).
Cleaning on a regular basis your DB of inactive profiles will probably not harm the number of orders or registrations made when you run a campaign but will for sure increase the campaign statistics and probably will limit the following:
- Number of mail box full softbounces
- Number of hits on Spam Traps.
- Broadcasting costs

Creating new scenario according to the profiles' activity :
Once you have isolated inactive profiles you can of course trash them or imagine a specific (last) campaign to incentive users to open your emails again.
The idea is to send a specially attractive offer to these users and try to get them to open the email.
People that open this campaign can then be considered active again, users with no reaction can then be trashed.

I hope this guide was useful to you, if you want to discuss it, please feel free to comment.

Email Strategics - Step 1 - Database
Email Strategics - Step 2 - Segmentation
Email Strategics - Step 3 - Email Creative
Email Strategics - Step 4 - Broadcasting
Email Strategics - Step 5 - Landing Page

Email Marketing related feeds

I created an opml file (News reader feed list file) with a lot of email marketing related blog feeds and the blog feeds of some Freemails.

This file can be downloaded here
Also available in a zip file here

The list of feeds is:

Freemail blogs:
Yahoo! Mail Blog
AOL Mail Blog
Windows Live Wire
Gmail Blog
FastMail.FM Weblog New and Updated Knowledgebase Articles

Email Marketing Blogs:
Blog Cabestan *(FR)
Email Way *(FR)
Email Ethics
JDN CRM-Marketing *(FR)
Virtual Target
No man is an iland
Adventures in Email Marketing
denise cox's blog
The Retail Email Blog
Return Path Email Marketing Water Cooler
Campaign Monitor Blog
Inbox Ideas
Online Marketing Business Blog
Ezemail's Blog
Postcards from the Junk Folder
Style Campaign blog
Email Savant
Email Marketing Insight
Vertical Response
Email Sherpa
Email Marketing Journal
Chris Baggott's

I hope it will be as usefull to you as it is for me!
NB: A couple of feeds are in French *(FR).

Nov 3, 2008


I started hosting web pages with articles I wrote or some features such as a calendar or a news reader.

These pages are accessible at the following url:

Nov 2, 2008

Email Strategics - Step 5 - Landing Page

Once you have sent a nice creative to a performing segment of a high quality database and you delivered to the inbox, the next step of a successful email campaign is to get the most out of the reactive profiles.

This step also called transformation rate will be determined by the quality of your preliminary work, the way your call to action is placed on the creative and the transformation process on your website.

What you need at this step is to think about what you really want out of your contacts.

Once you know where you want to lead your users to, you need to work on your landing page, a good landing page is one that matches your creative and that's clear enough to guarantee a good understanding of your users.

You also need to have as few steps as possible up to the final action.

This final action might be a subscription to a newsletter, an order, a registration,...

Matching the creative:
The first important thing you need to keep in mind is that the landing page will be the first page of your website that the users will see after the email creative. Hence, you need to match the message on this page with the message you delivered in your email that had the user click.
For example, if you said in your creative : "Up to 50% off on round trips" then you NEED to have 50% off offers displayed on your landing page (and of course very visible).

Simple call to action:
Having a nice looking landing page matching the creative is not all the job, users don’t stay for too long on these pages and you need the transformation process to be as straightforward as possible.
A visible call to action is necessary, do not put a huge list of products on your landing page with a cal to action at the bottom of the page.
I do advise as well to limit the number of transformations attempts on this page along with links "out of your primary goal". If your campaign's target is to increase online sales on round trips, I think it's a loss of time and transformations to put a "subscribe to our newsletter" button or links to other categories of your website on the landing page. These alternate options can be given for example at the last step of the process in case the user doesn't validate it, you can propose alternate options to limit the number of 100% vanishing users.

Number of steps to the final page.
Whatever goal you have, you really want to limit the number of steps/pages the user has to go through before transformation.
Internet users often have limited patience, a simple 2 or 3 steps process will perform far better than a long and complicated one.
In the case of a targeted subscription to a service, you can for example on the first step get a few information (such as email, first name, last name) and the rest of the necessary information gathered on the next step, this way, profiles that abandon on step 2 can still be contacted by email to try and get them to come back and go through the rest of the subscription process.

Email Strategics - Step 1 - Database
Email Strategics - Step 2 - Segmentation
Email Strategics - Step 3 - Email Creative
Email Strategics - Step 4 - Broadcasting
Email Strategics - Step 6 - Analyzing statistics