The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

My Prediction on RSS Adoption Was Dead Wrong

This time last year I predicted that basic batch and blasters would start to look at RSS as an alternative to email because of cost and deliverability.  Boy was I dead wrong.  Now that I look back at my words, what the hell was I smoking?   Most batch and blasters aren't sophisticated enough to even figure out what RSS stands for let alone how to implement it.  In my opinion RSS didn't make the slightest ding into email's market share and penetration in 2007.  All the RSS proponents that declared the death of email in 2007, where are they now?  They're either jobless or banished to work in the coat closet since they cut their email marketing budgets in 2007 when email returned 48X for every dollar invested.  Ha! Ha!

Don't get me wrong, RSS is a power tool for content syndication... but it's not replacing email.  Not for the rest of 2007 and not in 2008.

What's my prediction for 2008?  I have another few more weeks to figure it out.

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Incorporate eLoop into your SEM Campaigns

Last year, advertisers spent nearly $10 billion on search engine marketing, more than 60 percent more than 2005. The value of SEM to increase the visibility of your Web site and company, and as an advertising tool is clear, but it’s also an effective tool to generate database leads.

Incorporating eLoop features into your SEM campaign can maximize your marketing efforts and increase awareness of your company. The goal is to create a landing page that represents your overall brand and that conveys a clear, concise message about your company. The landing page, more importantly, captures contact information for future communication. Using eLoop and the landing page feature also allows you to automatically follow up with leads to peak the recipients’ interest and increase the chance they will opt-in to receiving future messages.

For detailed instructions on how to create a landing page, log into your account, mouse over the Help tab and use the “eLoop 4.0 Knowledge Base.”

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Don't Make These Mistakes Again

We are trained as children (and even sometimes as adults) to learn from our mistakes. Making a mistake is human, but failing to recognize the mistake and learn how to avoid it in the future can be disastrous. This is especially true for e-mail marketers. Repeating common mistakes can lead to deliverability issues and cause the intended reader to ignore the message or send it directly to the junk mail folder—a worse fate.

 Mistakes come in all shapes and sizes, but here are a few that we see too often.

  • Failing to close the loop. Email marketing is a cyclical process that ends with evaluation of metrics to determine what works and what doesn’t. Every audience is different. Using the data available in the “Reporting” section of eLoop will help determine the features to which your audiences respond best.

  • Links that link nowhere. Using links in a message is just one of the standard elements of our business, but not testing the links can be disastrous. Nothing can frustrate a recipient more than clicking for more information only to be routed to a page that doesn’t work. Test your links.

  • Ignoring the advanced features. These days, anyone can send an HTML message, but do you want to be just anyone? Incorporating the advanced features that eLoop offers can expand your readership and, most importantly, improve your campaigns. The features are there for a reason. Take a few minutes to play around with them and learn how to use them to your benefit.

  • Customizing your opt-out form. If you haven’t already customized your opt-out form, drop what you’re doing and log into your eLoop account now. An effective tool to limit your list attrition (the fancy phrase for recipients opting out of receiving any communication from you) is to give them some options. Maybe the reader wants to receive some correspondence, such as a newsletter, but doesn’t want others. Let them choose and you may find that they’ll stick around instead of opting out all together.

Don’t wait until New Year’s to make a resolution to avoid these mistakes. Resolve to do better today.

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Three Email Pitfalls You Can't Afford

For all the marketing rules you follow, breaking a few can wreak havoc on the results of your campaign. Review these pitfalls you can't afford to make (or repeat).

  1. Ignoring the “reply-to” address -- Most ESPs offer a Web mail program and email address to collect responses to a message. The goal is to keep your inbox clean (and not inundated with out of the office replies) after sending a message. It also serves as another layer of protection against spammers. The problem is that most people forget the “reply to” address isn’t coming to their inbox and don’t check the Web mail account.  While you instruct your recipients to contact you at a specific address, it doesn’t mean they won’t just hit the “reply” button.
  2. Don’t slack on testing – We can’t say it enough. Always, always, always test the message.  Even if you tested last week or last month, test it again.

  3. The trap of complacency – Whether you use the same old HTML template or ignore updating your list, complacency can leave you behind the curve with stale campaigns.   

Do you have a mistake that you want to share? Send your worst email marketing mistakes to Gold Lasso or share them on our Dot Email forum. 

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Judge the Success of Your Campaign

Analyzing the results of an email campaign is an essential step of the marketing process. (We like to say that it closes the “loop” in the eLoop system.) Without looking at the number of successful transmissions, open rates, conversion rates, click-through rates, and other available metrics, it’s impossible to know what works and what doesn’t. 

The mark of a successful campaign is the number of recipients that completed the action the message requested of them. The point of the message is to persuade them to buy a product or service, register for an event, or download an article. Linking the action requested to the number of people that completed gives the marketer a tangible result to measure.  

The best place to start when evaluating a campaign is to look at a summary of metrics provided by the email service provider (ESP).  These often include the metrics listed above. But, don’t rely only on these to give you a clear picture of the results because they can be misleading.  Open rates, for example, don’t always translate into transactions.  If the reader uses a preview pane, it will count as an “open” even though they may just delete the message.  

One suggestion to analyze what readers respond to is to use the split campaigns feature available in eLoop. This feature allows marketers to split their audience and create different messages with unique subject lines, images, and content, but the same call to action.  The results can help guide the development of future messages based on which message created the most significant results. 

Another tip is to be wary of industry averages for metrics.  The data may not come from a representative sample of industries and may only be a snapshot of one ESP’s client base.  With that being said, here are some different statistics on email metrics from The EmailStatCenter (www.emailstatecenter.com).  Please keep in mind that these stats are assuming a clean opt-in list.

Email marketing consultants consider an open rate of about 20% and a click-through rate of 4% to 5% to be a highly effective email campaign according to Internet Retailer (2006).

Nearly one-fifth of respondents reported that they do not know how their email marketing performs. (Internet Retailer, 2006)

18.7% don't know their open rates. (Internet Retailer, 2006)

16.7% don't know their click-through rates. (Internet Retailer, 2006)

23.3% don't know their conversion rates. (Internet Retailer, 2006)

29.6% don't know if their conversion rate has changed in the past year. (Internet Retailer, 2006)

Utilizing a professional company and/or their tools to test your image rendering across multiple email clients often helps to increase response up to as much as 87%. (Email Experience Council - Email Rendering Report, 2007)

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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!