Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Forbes on Email's Value

Why Email Marketing Is Vital To A Brand's Health
Just a few weeks ago I wrote an article entitled As If They Need It, Another Reason Brands Need To Be Mobile which essentially spelled out the fact that the most powerful brand ambassadors in the world, moms – are a very mobile demographic and if marketing & advertising folks want to succeed, they better be mobile as well. Literally.
In fact one of the things I used to make my point was this chart, courtesy ofeMarketer which spells out what the activities moms most like to do via their smartphone. Pay attention to the first two. Then hold that thought.
Not long ago I received the results of a survey entitled Shopping with Social Media which was conducted by Ryan Partnership, a behavioral marketing agency. In the online survey of primary household shoppers, which yielded over 10,000 results, consumers were asked which digital tools they were aware of and which they used in the past year.It is the third year they’ve conducted this study and according to Kim Finnerty, SVP Research & Insights at Ryan Partnership, this year they saw continued increasing penetration for newer, more mobile tools like Load to Card coupons, product reviews, and mobile payments.No real surprise there as far as I am concerned given the mobile world we live in, of course.In speaking with Kim, I asked her if should could break down the results to show just one particular demographic. A demographic which accounts for anywhere from 80-90% of all household decisions. A very powerful and influential demographic. Of course I am referring to moms.The reason I asked for this breakdown is I wanted to see how moms fared compared to the national averages and lo and behold, it seems good old email, the medium many predicted years ago would go the way of fax machines, is not only popular among moms, it outranks other mediums in the eyes of this most sought after demographic. Go back and look at the eMarketer chart above, then look at this: 
Do you see it?
The question posed was “When have you used X to help you shop or plan to shop?”

Retail emails
U.S. average – 13%
Moms – 16%

Brand emails
U.S. average – 17%
Moms – 19%

Retailer texts
U.S. average – 29%
Moms – 31%

So, moms are mobile, we know that. They check email and texts on their smartphones but they are also checking email via other sources as the chart above is channel agnostic.
In other words email marketing is extremely vital in engaging with moms and potentially impacting their buying decision. The words “help you shop”  and ”plan to shop” are the key phrases here kids. Anytime you use and hear the words “help” and “plan” that tells you that whatever topic you’re discussing carries with it an inherent value either in the positive or negative.
Go back again and look at the chart above from Ryan Partnership see how email scores compared to social media and shopping apps. In each instance, moms come in under the national average.
Yet for email, the opposite is true.
Finnerty, in speaking about the results of the survey from an overall perspective says that the biggest surprise that came out of the findings was how high email ranked. “Email is still a very strong tool for changing shopper behavior and satisfying shopper needs,” she said. “While it seems like an old-school tool compared to things like shopping apps and mobile payments, marketers have had years to perfect it so it achieves objectives.”

She very well could have been speaking about the mom demographic only.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

responsive email design

Great examples of responsive email design in this Econsultancy article.
It covers tons of (B2C) categories: Dominos, Expedia, Joy the store, Mulberry, Playstation.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

shazam! two email content tips

Free! and Act Now! are tired subject lines and asterisks aren't enough to get noticed, but we still need to grab subscribers' attention with our email messages.  To be creative you also need to be original.  Try thinking about what is interesting to you rather than what will sell your product or service.  Content needs to engage them.

Two tips:
  1. Oftentimes, User-generated Content (UGC) is both compelling and genuine.  So be sure to give those customers credit.  Thank them, salute them, send them lots of public messages.  Perhaps you're most impressed they used the word "solemn" to describe a flavor, how they rhymed their comment, or the fact that they purchased 3 gifts in one day.  With their blessing, talk about this. Before you know it, someone will forward your email or make a comment on social media and you've generated energy around your actions... with ancillary benefit to your products/services. 
  2. You can't deny the wow. Gas pumps are dirtier than public bathroom toilet seats. Did you know hot dogs choke more children than hard candy? It's more affordable to build your own dog house. The data points obviously need to be relevant to your audience, but you'll add the most value if you, the email sender, are a necessary expert.  Explain something poorly understood.  You need them to read that email. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

say no to "no-reply"

Customers consider no-reply email addresses arrogant.
Consider cutting this practice.
You can learn more about your email list and show much better customer service because:

  1. you will receive their auto-reply messages.  this bumps up your open rate and tells you things like which employees have left a company (good for B2B) and holistic seasonal or day-of-week customer trends (good for B2C)
  2. customers can reply to you (shocker) to ask a question or otherwise engage with you
  3. cuts down on spam complaints

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

latest mobile email metrics

Mobile phones and tablets accounted for a combined total of 41.1% of US email opens in H2 2012, up from 27.4% in H2 2011
Although read rates are high, conversion rates are lower on mobile devices compared to desktops and laptops. People are primarily using mobile devices to sort through their inbox, then they return to the message later on a larger machine to convert.

Monday, July 22, 2013

far from mobile-optimized

Relay Foods.
I appreciate the attempt to jump into a graphics-centered email, but this one flops.
The header bar takes up too much of the preview window on a computer screen, then the (yummy) image sucks up everything else above the fold.  The copy tells us nothing action-oriented that will compel us to continue reading the message.  And there's not even a text link in the first two screens of my phone.  Bummer.

Friday, July 19, 2013

email for customer acquisition

Custora’s “E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot” reports that the email channel grew from 0.88% of customers acquired in 2009 to 6.84% in 2013.
Between 2011 and 2012, the acquisition numbers doubled from 2.64% to 5.34%, according to the report.  Email is "trickier" than direct mail when it comes to customer engagement: the customer must open the email and then another mechanism (the website) must lead them to purchase.  The addition of mobile device consumption of email has also affected conversion rates.  But the report indicates open rates continue to "exceed 35%."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

works for mobile

Carol's Daughter is really nailing the mobile-enabled emails.
Simple message, simple graphics, single call-to-action button that's large enough for a chubby finger to hit on a phone or tablet.
7/17/2013 example:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

5 ways to segment your email marketing list

Industry or role: level in the company if it's B2B, category if it's B2C
Geography: regional promotional opportunities
General interests: based on user interaction, e.g. downloads or purchases
Behavior: use analytics of users' browse, click, forward, etc
Brand Advocates: nurture best customer relationships

Original piece at Business2Community.com
Thanks, Karen Frascese.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

volvo viral

There's a lot of data to suggest that marketing email read rates, click rates and conversion are higher when companies use video.  Here's a great one from Volvo that earned more than 6M views in the first week.

scoop on video + email study by the Relevancy Group from DazeInfo and Warc

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

for the little guys too

Constant Contact's survey of small business customers indicates it's not only large businesses that benefit from email marketing programs.
57% of respondents said that are trying to expand their email subscriber lists "at all times." 
When pushed to describe why it was important for them to increase their email lists:
• 44% indicated the importance of encouraging repeat business
• 39% said that email marketing helps customer relationship building
• 12% reported that email marketing improves customers for referrals

92% small businesses capture opt-in email addresses is through sign-up forms on the company website, 64% through direct requests, 46% via Facebook sign-ups, and 35% use sign-up sheets at point-of-sale.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

three email stats for today

  1. Emails that include social sharing buttons have a click-through rate 115% higher than those do not.
  2. 63% of Americans will close or delete an email not optimized for mobile
  3. Subscribers read 14% of the messages promising percentage-based savings in the subject line, while reading 12% of those promising dollar based savings in the subject line.


Addtional wiz-bang facts available at Business2Community...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

new gmail: potential implications for marketers

Gmail is currently rolling out a new sorting format for messages.  It will now sort messages by social, primary, updates and "promotions," the last carrying the greatest implications for marketers.  Marketing messages can now land in the Promotions tab rather than the standard inbox, which could affect open rates.  Apparently, plain text messages will continue to land in the Primary inbox, which is an option.  As usual: keep them relevant and strong because there's always a great deal of competition for attention.
Email Marketing Alert: New Gmail Inbox On The Way! image new gmail app 700x147

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

mobile adoption + email marketing

Sundeep Grapur has some great tips re: catering marketing emails to be read on mobile devices.
My favorite three:
  1. Design for the mobile browser in terms of font and images
  2. We preen emails from our smartphone: grabe their attention so they don't delete the message.  Oftentimes, people go back to an email later from a desktop or laptop to really dig into the content.
  3. Your primary call-to-action should be a button and not a link.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

email metrics from top ten wholesale

Good reminders:
Ignore open rate and subcribe rate.
Worry a lot about spam and unsubs.
Love clicks, conversions and sharing.

thanks toptenwholesale

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Business2Community Email Engagement

Stages of Engagement
Recommendations to drive engagement include animated GIFS & consistency.  Check out the article to read more.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

over mailchimp and constant contact?

Check out Emma.
List segmentation & surveys are easy. It's possible search for specific responses, e.g. opens or clicks, and send messages to just those people.
The design flexibility and user interface are closer to Drupal than WordPress (read: user friendly).
$30 for the first 1,000 subscribers with unlimited sends, up to $125 per month for 10,000 subscribers with unlimited sends.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

it's not just david's bridal

eBags has also experimented with email subject lines and topics.  sales and deals aren't always the best way to drive conversion.  their tests show that creative content performs great:

AB Testing: Why what works might not be what you think
When eBags began its email operation, it tended towards using the emails to come up with offers. ‘Buy now to get 15% off’, the subject lines would scream.
But then, eBags’ marketers got more creative. And they began to use AB Testing, where half the list is sent one subject line and the other half another, to test which subject lines were most likely to intrigue their audiences.
They found sales didn’t work as well as you’d think. “Maybe shoppers are sick of that sort of stuff,” Cobb said.
He gave a few examples of the subject lines that did brilliantly:
• “The only bag you’ll ever need”
• “The art of travelling light”
• “Pack like a neat freak even if you aren’t one”
These subject lines were short, creative, and intriguing. Cobbs reckons with the rise of smartphones, short subject lines are the only ones likely to be fully read anyway.

check out smartcompany's complete article.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

mobile email tips

3 of 4 people use their smartphone for email.
The iPhone platform dominates in terms of open rates.
Some tips from GetResponse:

Explore thee complete GetRespons infographic at VentureBeat.com

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

need 2 optimize

41% of emails are opened on mobile devices but only 25% of companies optimize emails for mobile, according to Adestra study -
Strategy for mobile email optimisation

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

tactics for increasing performance

excellent list of
email opportunities per jeanne jennings at clickz
[check out the article to read how & why]

1. Lists
2. Landing page elements (which could spur another list of 15 or more)
3. Completely new creative (multiple elements)
4. Preview pane view
5. Customization (targeted content)
6. Offer/offer copy/placement
7. Call-to-action copy/placement
8. General wireframe/layout
9. General copy
10. Personalization (data merge)
11. Subject line
12. From line
13. Design (fonts/colors/images)
14. Time of the send
15. Day of the send

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


my fave reminders re: rules

  • Make unsubscribing easy and honor opt-out requests immediately.
  • Accept that securing an opt-in to another channel doesn’t constitute permission to reach a consumer via email as well.
  • Don’t share email addresses with other brands within your company.
  • Don’t buy email lists or barter for email addresses.
  • When renting out an email list, the list owner should never share the list with the renter.

Monday, March 25, 2013

bonobos: FB -> email

Bonobos. Dodocase. Warby Parker. A generation of e-commerce companies is growing up using a vertically integrated strategy where they take more ownership of the design, production, marketing and branding of their products. But how do you know very early on if you have a hit?
With a purely web-based or mobile product, startups can watch how well they retain users after a week or a month. With e-commerce companies, repeat purchases is an obvious metric, but there are also ways to track the virality of an e-commerce product.
A YC-backed startup called Curebit has built a business around tracking word-of-mouth referrals for companies like Bonobos. Based on that, the company says it’s able to not only drive sales but predict hits. What they do is create referral campaigns for e-commerce companies — like those landing pages that say you’ll get 25 percent off or $25 off your next purchase if you send a friend by e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.
Curebit will optimize the landing pages, copy, art direction and then track how many people convert to making a purchase after they’ve seen the page. On that strategy, the 12-person startup has grown to about 3,000 clients and a break-even run rate. Their customers include Bonobos, Restaurant.com and Jawbone.
“We still have a lot of cash in the bank,” said the company’s CEO Allan Grant.
Since creating landing pages for referrals isn’t technically that difficult, the base version of Curebit is free. The startup makes money off custom services like testing hundreds of variants for the highest-performing campaigns. For that, they’ll charge $10,000 for the first $100,000 in extra sales generated by the campaigns, then they’ll take a 10 percent after that.
“Just having a basic feature set is not enough,” Grant said. “We engineer virality the way that social gaming companies measure and optimize their K-factor, viral loops and every step of the funnel.”
Here what’s the funnel might look like for a client –
Curebit drove 25 percent of Bonobos’ new customers last year, which helped double the New York-based company’s customer base in 2012. Over time, Bonobos had to change its referral strategy. It was centered on Facebook sharing at first, but Curebit found that e-mail converted better for the company. That’s unusual since Facebook is a stronger channel in 93 percent of Curebit’s cases, Grant says.
He says the average lift in sales from referrals on e-mail, Facebook or Twitter is about 7 percent. But after watching lots of companies on the platform, the rate you really want to have is around 15 percent.
“If somebody’s lift is over 15 percent, then that company is going to explode really fast,” he said.
One example is Diamond Candles, which sells giant votive candles that have a ring hidden inside of them. Those rings are worth anywhere from $10 to $5,000 and the candles, for whatever reason, seem to be a great gift for women of all age groups.
“From their early days, we could tell they had some magic element,” he said. “We can’t always tell why somebody is going to explode, though.”
He did offer some common-sense advice, though: companies that break out either have a) a “fantastic product” or b) a “fantastic experience.” For example, Zappos (which is not a Curebit client) sells shoes that other retailers have as well, but they focus on giving customers a great experience. Bonobos, on the other hand, has a great product in pants that fit well.
Curebit isn’t looking at raising a Series A round at the moment. “We want to continue to grow a profitable business and if we were to do one, we wouldn’t start looking for another three to six months.”
The company last announced funding in January of last year with a $1.2 million round involving 25 investors, including 500 Startups, Karl Jacob, Auren Hoffman, Dharmesh Shah, Gordon Tucker, Alex Lloyd of Accelerator Ventures and others. They’ll be focusing on growing the customer base and on new areas like mobile referrals in the next few months.

Read about Curebit at TechCrunch

Friday, March 22, 2013

shifting email habits of consumers

Good scoop for retailers: 
  • 43% read emails most often on a mobile device
  • 84% sign up to receive emails because they want discounts
  • 74.2 percent will redeem a discount by showing their mobile device to a cashier
  • Unsubscribing is dropping; instead consumers are selecting to receive messages less frequently

View your own complete BlueHornet report on consumer perceptions of email.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

experian report: email's up

Travel, publishers and consumer products are sending more email, driving overall email volume up 5% in Q4 2012 compared to the same quarter the previous year.
Media and entertainment plus B2B segments drop, likely replaced by social media communications.
Interestingly, open, click and transaction rates are highest on WEEKENDS.

Read more at MarketingProfs.com
Get the original Experian Marketing Services report.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

love unsubs

Why Email Marketing Doesn’t End at “Unsubscribe”

       Lisa Wiese argues
"The most valuable tool in your email marketing campaign is the unsubscribe button."

     "...In fact, feedback from your unsubscribes can lead to a refined and more effective email strategy. It’s very difficult to improve on anything without constructive criticism.
     ...A 'two click' unsubscribe process that asks subscribers why they’re unsubscribing is a valuable way to find out if the issues discussed above are reasons they want out. In an Unsubscribe Email Strategies Report, only 56% of the responders required recipients to fill out this type of evaluation as part of their unsubscribe process. If you’re not learning why people are opting out, you’re missing an opportunity that’s knocking at your door. The solutions to fixing or bettering your email campaign are found in your readers; make sure you’re listening."

     She highlights the important reasons people unsubscribe and articulates what we can learn from each, fore example: buying cycle/sales funnel, mobile optimization, content issues, and frequency. 

                              Read her original Bus2Communitiy piece in its entirety.

Monday, March 11, 2013

prioritizing your marketing budget

Frank Reed's piece in Marketing Pilgrim has some great points:

  • Adoption rates of email and SEM are high.
  • Response rates of SEM & email are great.
  • Don't let the pressure of social media redistribute your budget irrationally.

Remember what people are doing on FB and Twitter: socializing, communicating, sharing photos. On search engines and in email, they are shopping and solving problems.

Friday, March 1, 2013

in the words of The Week... boring but important

My first impression was, "Is this really the best you can do, Consumer Reports?"  Upon reflection, it's not too bad.  I know exactly what they want me to do: re-activate.  And I know what to press: Go.  And when I look at the Go button, I see my discount.
Now for the weaker points:
  1. I don't give a darn about the letter.
  2. Seriously, a photo of a laptop with your website is my inspiration?
  3. I have no idea what the right nav area says.
  4. Who's signing the letter? Don't pretend you've personalized it for me, because I know you didn't.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Matthew Johnson tells us
Why Email Marketing is (Still) Awesome

•  It prompts direct sales
•  It builds relationships through engagement
•  It supports other sales channels
•  It is driven by data
check out his Bus2Comm blog here

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

time of day matters

eBags determined receipt time - not just day of the week - can improve response rates.
simple idea: email the person the same time of day they had time to opt in to hear from you.
check out this eConsultancy writeup

Friday, February 15, 2013

marketers investing more in email during 2013

The 2013 eConsultancy marketing budget report indicates that marketers are now using email for a variety of reasons, other than straightforward monetary objectives; such as engagement, brand awareness and acquirement. Online channels are being integrated with email to build relationships with customers as well as increase ROI.
One quarter of respondents report that email contributes more than half of its digital revenue.
Also see a bizcommunity article about this.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

iPad dominating email space

iPads are becoming the preferred place to read and send emails.  And there are 67.5million iPad users in the U.S., 65% of whom check those iPads for email at least 3 times a day.  This will affect the format and delivery of marketing messages, prioritizing usability.
read complete eMarketer article

Thursday, February 7, 2013

signs point --> 2 email (at least in the UK)

Brand marketers ‘bullish’ about email marketing budgets, with 89% deeming it important
New research from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has found that 89 percent of senior marketers called emails "important" or "very important" to their organisation, with 56 per cent “confident that expenditure on email marketing will increase this year”.
According to the senior B2B and B2C brand marketers surveyed for the DMA Email Marketing Council's 2013 National Client Email Report, email delivered an average ROI of £21.48 for every £1 spent last year.
It was also found that over half of brands surveyed reported an increase in open, click and conversion rates in 2012: up five per cent from 2011.
Dela Quist, chair of the DMA Email Marketing Council’s Email Benchmarking Hub and chief executive at Alchemy Worx, said: “The report characterises 2012 as the year where email has defied market trends and carried the load in terms of delivering revenue. This is equally true for our clients, who closed 2012 up on budgets and targets for email but down in other channels. The result of these successes, as the report reveals, is that marketers will be investing even more effort in email in 2013.”
The research discovered that rigger email campaigns generated 21 percent of email revenue.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

one way to do the super bowl

extra points, paper culture.
single message, single call to action, mobile-friendly, graphically compelling.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The future of email marketing and three ways it must evolve

Mark Munier's eConsultancy post is insightful and accurate.  Read it here:

Email has been around for a while now, and it’s done us all proud. The ubiquitous method of communication is so pervasive as a communication method that not having one is even more unusual than not having a telly (brave souls).
It’s difficult to talk about a new communication channel without comparing it to email, and for email to remain relevant it needs to evolve to give consumers what they now expect from digital communication channels.
1. Become geographically and time aware
The trouble with email is that it is dumb to all the technology that is available to it. As email marketers you are used to understanding when, how, on what and where people are checking their emails – but the clients themselves aren’t using this information to produce a richer email consumption experience.
Even so, people are going to want to be able to check their email and this tech nirvana would be brought to an abrupt end when all your emails whizz past your eyes while you are trying to look hip.
BUT imagine a world where your email client knows where you are (on the tube) and where you are going (downtown so you’ll be on the tube for 20 minutes), so it navigates to emails which it knows will take you 20 minutes to digest – maybe the latest from the Financial Times?
Geographically aware email is not that far away. Apple’s Passbook (Android options do exist) has been missed by so many bricks and mortar retailers that it’s frankly scary.
Passbook allows you to tag your prospect or client so that they receive notifications when they are near your store, so you get more footfall to your store from people who have already engaged with you online – something HMV would have crawled over broken CDs for.
An awesome fellow @pure360’er, Kav Webb, did a blog on practically how you can do this. 
2. Replace notifications 
It is bizarre what you can do to trigger a tweet. There are some great examples on iftt.com, but the trouble with Twitter is that you easily miss tweets – especially if you follow more than a few hundred people.
To the contrary, email never goes away until you address it, bar a few smart innovations from outlook.com, so as we have more and more devices we need to keep track or we will start to see more emails from our actual belongings. 
Notifications on your smart phone are pretty intrusive – the fact that the iPhone is advertised as having a ‘do not disturb’ button gives an indication of the backlash against constant interruptions.
So expect to see emails from devices and applications a lot more – an email from your boiler asking if you want to turn the heating up as it’s getting a bit chilly outside, for instance – naturally you’ll reply in human language if you want to.
3. No more annoying emails
You can’t get away with sending unsolicited emails anymore. Back in the bad old days of email, marketing spam filters weren’t very sophisticated and as long as you weren’t pushing Viagra marketers could email a lot of people quite easily.
However, after the efforts of the larger ISPs, spam filters are now very smart, meaning that you really shouldn’t receive any email that you don’t want. This decline has predominately already happened but will continue to get tighter as people become less satisfied with unwarranted marketing messages.
The emails that annoy me are the “thanks” emails or “ok”, these little digital fist bumps don’t belong on email – these belong on an Instant Messaging platform.
Soon enough there will be a common protocol for IM so it won’t matter what client or service you are using, you will simply be able to chat with people who you want to.


winter escape email from greenbrier resort
message clarity: 1 (out of 5)
graphical inspiration: 3
offer clarity: 1
benefits: 2
mobile friendliness: 1

Monday, January 28, 2013

great graphic, great copy

Carol's Daughter is impactful: direct, clear, colorful but brand consistent, 
and it works perfectly on a mobile device.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

new email marketing tool

LaunchBit provides a scorecard for your email newsletters.  A simple score so you know if an email performed well or poorly.  The argument: too munch data is confusing, just give me the bottom line. TechCrunch writes about Launchbit here.

Monday, January 21, 2013


David Moth shows us six great examples.
Teleflora and Nike's social loyalty programs have leader boards. Brilliant.
Earn more storage space on Dropbox. Fantastic.
read his full article on examples of gamification in ecommerce

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

FEEDBACK could be email buzz in 2013

Email triggers are both positive and negative. For example, we no longer simply look at clicks, we also need to pay attention to people who never engage with our messages at all.

Key “feedback” to observe & act upon?
  • traffic sources
  • frequency
  • message content

Sal Tripi explains

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

email innovation

Three neat technology companies doing stuff with email

  1. Mailbox
  2. Alto
  3. Inky

Scoop @MIT's Technology Review

Monday, January 7, 2013

why mobile is key for 2013

"The nature of mobile makes it uniquely attractive to marketers: Commerce has always struggled with two basic challenges - increasing consumer traffic and influencing shopping decisions just as the consumer's about to buy.  With location targeting, shoppers can be enticed into stores for items they're in the market for. With in-store mobile marketing, an indecisive consumer can be nudged toward a specific brand or product."

Business Insider also supports this with:
  • Mobile commerce is growing: 29% of U.S. mobile users already have used their smartphones to make a purchase.
  • Mobile transactions help drive this growth
  • Tablet usage (which counts in mobile transactions) is exploding.

      read the whole article