The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Trend: Opt In vs Opt Out Lists: Is the gap closing?

Not so fast. There is a better way…

It has long been accepted as an industry standard that list purchasing is a big no-no. However, as we know, there is always an exception to the rule. I came across a recent ClickZ study that looked into one company’s journey with a purchased list of email addresses. The results were unexpected, to say the least. The company sent the same message at the same time to two separate lists, one organic and one purchased. For all comparisons but one, the opt-in subscribers yielded better results. But when it came to the click-to-open rate, the data from 2010 to 2011 was quite surprising. There was only a 6% gap between opt-in and opt-out click-to-open rates in 2011. So what does this mean? Well, it looks like consumer habits are changing to reflect the shift in marketing to the email inbox. It’s possible that customers are becoming more trusting of senders, even if they don’t recognize them. I’d venture to guess that consumers have more confidence in the purity of messages that appear in their inbox, mostly due to recent SPAM laws and email filtering/importance ranking. Yes, these are intriguing results, but remember, this was only one study of one campaign sent by one company. 
 
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Trend: Advanced Solutions are Lead Choice among Email Marketers

 

Impressive increase in ROI is attributed to advanced email features. 
 
A recent study from Marketing Sherpa asked a thousand email marketers about the services they use to build their email campaigns. Over 40% of those polled said they take advantage of an “advanced web based system” that’s customizable and includes advanced reporting features and unique IP addresses. This is not surprising; marketers are finally realizing the potential of a sophisticated email marketing campaign and are unlocking emails ROI by using advanced features.
 
I love reading studies like this, especially since email is often seen as the “cheap” way to market online. It would be easy to be insulted by the connotation; however, the meaning of “cheap” as it applies to email marketing has changed drastically. It is not cheap because it has the lowest initial cost compared to other mediums; it is cheap because it has the highest ROI, attributed directly to marketers making use of their ESP’s advanced features. It would appear that marketers are finally catching on to this shift and are altering their budgets accordingly. They have finally seen the value that a sophisticated and customizable email solution brings to their marketing program and are reaping the rewards it produces. 
 
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We Told You So: 5 Past predictions you STILL can’t afford to ignore

For this episode of Trends and Takeaways well be looking back at five past predictions that are now more relevant to the marketing world than ever. So take heed ladies and gentlemen, the following are KEY INSIGHTS into what your marketing campaign should already include.


1. Selling B-to-B? Video Will Lead The Way: “According to Forbes Insights, the research division of Forbes magazine, “video is becoming a critical information source for senior executives,” with more than 80% of executives watching more video online than a year ago”

(Hit) With marketers constantly struggling to produce relevant content, video has emerged as a medium with serious potential for driving traffic and increasing sales. It can be implemented as a client testimonial, product demo or even pertinent industry news. Zappos is an excellent example of this. They’ve seen videos have a sales impact of 6 to 30% and are planning to increase their video demos from the current 8,000 to 50,000. The key here is that they are creating simple approachable content. Their videos augment their current marketing campaign instead of clutter it. 


2. The Bridge between Offline and Online Experiences: “QR codes were popularized more than five years ago in Japan and are now used globally as physical world hyperlinks. Like updated versions of traditional bar codes, QR codes are images that can be scanned to relay information. A code scanned by a smartphone instantly links a user to mobile content, fostering greater customer engagement.”

(Hit) I see this becoming even more popular in the future, if for nothing else than its uncanny ability to link the mobile experience with everyday life. The most impressive aspect is the sense of exclusivity it creates. In its early stages, QR codes allowed consumer’s access to special content only available through that specific channel. It created urgency and excitement which increased the chance that the message would be received accurately. Obviously the fad has stuck, with total scans increasing 810% from 2010 to 2011.

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Trend: Marketers Deluged By Data: Strategy Change Is Imminent.

So we’ve heard it a million times, “less is more”. However, we as marketers don’t always subscribe to that mantra. Frankly, if we did, we’d be selling ourselves short. But what happens when the influx of customer information becomes so great that we require an additional system in place to make sense of it? This is one of the challenges we are facing today. A recent study by IBM estimated that 90% of real time data that constantly flows from platforms like Facebook and Twitter is going unused. Marketers have no concrete system in place for gathering it. I can’t help but be reminded of the I Love Lucy episode in the chocolate factory. Lucy and Ethel alternate wrapping and eating chocolates, but before they know it, the production line is moving so fast they can’t keep up. Chocolates are streaming out at such a rapid rate that most fall to the floor untouched. At some point, our conveyor belt of informational goodies went on overdrive and the marketers of the world are now trying their best to keep up. But unfortunately, much is getting lost as the pace of data dispersal has greatly increased.

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Trend: Chrome use is growing. Marketers will need to choose rendering sides.

Google Chrome is set to pass Firefox and reach second place (behind IE) by December of this year.

Chrome is rising in the browser ranks at a steady rate, according to the trackings of StatCounter. Currently poised at a remarkable 23.6%, up from 15.6% at the beginning of the year, it’s giving Firefox and IE a run for their money.

Takeaway: What does this mean for marketers?

If you haven’t already been doing so, it’s time to start paying attention to Chrome. We’re not dealing with another fad here. The facts clearly state that out of the top three web browsers, Chrome is the only one gaining momentum. Usage of IE and Firefox is steadily declining, as each is giving up market share at a fairly rapid rate.
Knowing this and assuming Chrome is here to stay, we, as marketers need to take notice of how our message is being received. As with any other digital channel, ensuring proper message rendering within a web browser can prove to be a pesky process of trial and error. Nevertheless, it is one we cannot overlook.
 

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The Email Monetization Playbook
Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!

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Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!