Jul 26, 2009

Importance of getting your subscribers to add you to their contact list

First, as mentioned last week on this post, Gmail will now automatically display images on emails sent by your contacts, it also often helps to avoid being sent to the junk folder.
Now that Yahoo! allows users to filter messages between contacts and non-contacts senders, problems will probably arise.

A very nice post has been made on the AWeber blog on the impact of being in the Yahoo! contact list.

Before, Senderscore Certified senders tended to remove the 'add us to your contact list' text in the header of their messages, I reckon it will be back on most emails sent in a few weeks time.

Jul 22, 2009

Auto unsubscribe available on Gmail

Since Gmail got out of it's beta a couple of weeks ago, we are facing a rush of improvements :)

One of the latest is the "Unsubscribe from the list" button instead of simply reporting as spam.

For more information you can read the post on the lifehacker blog (which started a tsunami on tweeter):

You can also read the article on the gmail help site:

Gmail will now display images in messages from contacts

Good news for marketers sending emails to gmail users, your subscribers that added your sender address to their contact list will now display images automatically.

This was already possible by clicking on the "always display images from this sender" button on top of the message.

It will now be automatic for your faithful subscribers :)

More information available on the Gmail official blog:

Official Gmail Blog: Now displaying images in messages from your contacts

Jul 20, 2009

Truth comes from 'the street'

One of our clients sent the optin 'proof' following a complaint handle by our abuse desk.
This optin proof was sent to the complainer and his reply made sens to me and is - I believe - typical of people's feeling about email marketing lately...

The complaint was initially made on a campaign sent by one of our French clients (email was in French) and they sent the URL of the form on which the user registered (a prize winning competition) the date and time his information was submitted and his IP.

Funny thing is the complainer in his reply also makes a confusion between the initial list owner and the ESP - which of course is bad as well for the ESP's image.

Please note names and brands have been removed

I am sorry but I don't know French. It seems like you are implying that I opted in to your mailing list. But if I don't understand French, why do you think I would do that? On the other hand, did you hire a contract spammer to run an 'advertisement' campaign for you recently? I strongly believe it must be the [ESP name] ([url].net [url2].net and so on) because I have been getting a lot of French language spam from them lately and they probably created the 'opt-in' record for you. Nonetheless, by hiring them (if you did), you also stand to be termed a spammer and be reported to the major DNSBL services!

[the complainer]

Once again, as a company trying to get new profiles or as an ESP, please be careful when choosing your partners, providers and clients.
Your reputation could be linked to dodgy companies over a few weeks time, regardless how much you match best practices, and you don't want that!

Jul 12, 2009

Not performing the same on all domains?

If your ESP's statistics tool gives you (as it should be) a view of the statistics broken down by the most represented domains in your broadcast, then you might from time to time see quite huge discrepancies between domains.

Why would that be?
Well there's several reasons that could be possible here...

1 - You went strait to the junk folder.
If SMTP logs indicate SPAM refused emails (SPAM bounce), there is no message sent back to indicate the fact your messages were delivered to the junk folder.
A very low open rate/click rate compared to other domains could then be explained by a junk filtered email, this is often true if you have a lower complaint rate than usual on these domains (people usually don't complain when a mail is ALREADY in the junk folder.

2 - Bounce messages issue.
Sometimes (but it's somewhat very rare) domains don't send back delivery error messages (bounce messages) to the broadcaster. This can either be due to a hardcore blacklisting or to a temporary issue.
In this case, your open/click rate will be calculated on the total volume of sent emails although some of the message were not delivered.

3 - Images blocking.
Some ESPs correct the number of openings automatically to take this issue into account, some others (like Cabestan for example) just keep the exact number of openings. As you probably know, openings are counted each time images (including the tracking pixel) are displayed.
Therefor, domains blocking images potentially have a lower number of openers. This discrepancy should be lower on the click rate in this case.

4 - Junk email addresses.
Today, people have several email addresses (a personal one and a professional one at least). Some people also have "junk" email addresses that they only read once in a while. Usually these email addresses are created either on disposable email domains or on freemail domains.
This can be spotted quite easily when you have systematically low open rates on the same domain.

Google gives a list of twits to stay in touch!

For all you google or twitter fans (or both) or for all that want to stay informed about new things coming at google, google gave quite amazing list of twitter accounts you could follow.

The list is available here:
Official Google Blog: Google accounts on Twitter

Jul 4, 2009

Latest Spam trends

Google just posted an article about the latest Spam Trends (for Q2 2009)

They report that the takedown of 3FN had a lower (but still important) impact on the world's Spams.

All information can be read here:
Official Google Enterprise Blog: Q2 2009 Spam Trends

Email Marketing Gadgets

Once you have achieved a 99,5% deliverability, once you've split tested all you could on your email campaigns and that everything is optimized, when all your systems communicate together, when you track your users everywhere and that all systems and teams get the relevant information to be able to interact properly with your clients, there are still some things that you can add to your email strategy to enhance your clients' experience.

I call these gadgets, simply because they are absolutely not necessary but can be very nice to achieve this little something that will make you stand out of the pack

1) First gadget could be considered as a best practice (and might become one over the next years):
Although most people usually read their newsletter on a web browser or a mail reader, more and more people read theirs on their mobile device.
One thing I see more and more (even though most people STILL read emails the traditional way) is adding a second "view online" page.
The traditional view online link points to an HTML page. Well the second "view online" page could then be in text and the link should read: I you are reading this email on a blackberry, please click here to view the text version.

2) Second one is probably one of my favorites although it's probably not suitable for all kinds of email communications :
You (or your team) probably spend a lot of time editing the content of your newsletter, once this email has been broadcast, this content will be read by your openers; but after a couple of days it will die out.
One good way to continue use the benefit of this email content is to create an RSS feed of your email newsletter.
This way you will increase the value of all these brilliant articles you wrote.
This RSS feed could then also be an excellent alternate media to keep in touch with your company.

3) The third gadget is very trendy:
Add social networks publishing or forwarding possibilities to your emails.
As on blogs and websites, an email probably can be considered as an article, hence it's as relevant as anywhere else to add a "share this" button on your emails to post the emails (or link to HTML online page) to Facebook, twitter, linkedin,....)
I believe this has to be the next generation send to a friend process.

There's plenty of other gadgets (each ESP has theirs) but this has to be my top 3 yet.

Jul 1, 2009

Get new clients, keep them and increase their buying frequency.

This is the dream of any marketer and his worst nightmare as well (regardless the media they use).
Recently, a French survey* ran by Init and Thierry Spencer showed how little clients (at least in france) are loyal to Brands:

For supermarkets, 17% of respondents said they were less loyal to it than before. Brands are even in a worst shape when only 15% of respondents claim to be “totally” loyal to their Brands, when 21% of respondents conceded being less loyal than before.

In this nightmarish situation, Fnac.com and Brandalley came with a very good and aggressive campaign:

The first launched a loyalty program for people ordering at least once a week (regardless the amount of money spent), this card (called ONE) is different from the “regular” Fnac program since it grants access to a dedicated hotline and support desk, a dedicated queue and a dedicated welcome desk in shops.
Target here is obviously to push people in buying more often.

The latest made a “pay what you want” campaign, for several days in a row on a selection of products (10 000 products). Result was over 450 000 web visits the first day and 5 000 new clients on this campaign (each costing only 12€ to BrandAlley).

These two examples of marketing strategy shows how aggressive Brands are getting in getting new clients and trying to get the most ROI on them as possible.

*Survey can be seen here (in french)