Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Keeping Your Email List Clean

So you think you have a targeted mailing list, a great offer and a compelling call to action?

All the elements of successful email marketing depend on one factor -- having valid email addresses on your list. If you have already started building your mailing list, make sure you have valid email addresses.

Too many people have been victims of email spamming and they have found ways to protect themselves from getting annoying, irrelevant emails. In case you do not know, there are actually throw away freebie e-mail accounts on the Internet. These are e-mail accounts your prospects can only receive e-mail at but cannot send out e-mail from. What’s more: your prospects don't even have to sign up for them! Emails that go to these fake email accounts are automatically deleted every couple of hours.

Why do your prospects use these false e-mail addresses?

Well, they are just avoiding being bombarded with future emails from you. As an honest online marketer you definitely do not want your prospects to sign up for your permission-based email lists using a bogus email address!

Fake email addresses can cause problems in your database, that's why it is important to keep your email mailing list clean, because when you send an email to these fake email addresses, these emails bounce and return, wasting your bandwidth and your time. So clean up your database and retain the value of your mailing list by keeping it clean and free of fake, invalid email addresses.

So how do you keep your mailing list clean and up-to-date? Here are a few things you should do:

1. Check if you have bad, undeliverable email addresses before you send your emails.

2. Try using email validation software so that you can exclude the bad email addresses from your list.

3. Delete those who have un-subscribed from your list.

4. Before sending out emails, search for people who un-subscribed from your previous emails and delete them from your database.

5. Make sure your list is updated, always provide an option for subscribers to change their email address.

Now, some of you might be contemplating about buying email lists?

Unless it's from a reputable list company, avoid buying or renting lists. Most email addresses in their lists are probably collected by website email extractors, what's more, you don't know these people in the list and most likely they won't welcome an email from you. Try using the double opt-in subscription method, this will give you the assurance that you have a valid email address and that the prospect really does want to receive mail from you.

In marketing with email list building, you should make it a point to regularly and consistently check your business email lists for invalid addresses. Your goal is to have a clean, accurate opt-in email list, so be sure to clean your list.

E-mail is an effective and relatively cheap marketing tool to attract repeat customers, but make sure your lists are clean, and you get your money's worth for your email list campaign.


How Many Ways Can You Mess Up An Email Program?

Sounds like a negative topic, but I'm really upbeat about this. If it weren't for marketing people making the same mistakes, half the agencies and service organizations wouldn't have jobs. While I'm enthusiastic about the email and CRM space, it's a bit numbing to watch organizations do the same thing over and over again. That's why my theme is five ways you can mess up your email program -- so you can learn from others' mistakes.

1. Continuing to rotate email vendors:

For years it's been a trend to go through annual reviews of your email platform partners. While I agree with this in principle, and actually wrote about it a few years ago, it is a colossal drain of time and energy. Most companies that go through this exercise and submit RFPs haven't really thought about what they need, have shallow requirements and even less insight into the vendor options available.

While you may save 25% in negotiating pricing, you will spend that going through the review and transition process in most cases. I firmly believe there is only a 20% variance in productivity gaps between the top 10 to 15 email platforms on the market. This means if you are in high production mode and send a lot of email, you will have more risk than others with a less optimal user interface (UI), or campaign management workflow or reporting layer. But if you operate under less production pressure, the variance between the platforms will not pay off because you think the UI is better.

Best advice is to commit to a partnership with your delivery partner and stay the course until you decide to make a corporate move to integrate transactional messaging or consolidate all your business units, or some anomaly blows your traditional volume and campaign needs out of whack. Otherwise commit and focus on the basics rather than spending a lot of energy making vendors jump through hoops; you won't learn as much as you think.

2. Benchmarking from the industry:

I've also written a lot about this. But I find that external benchmarks are virtually useless as performance or even forecasting tools. They are not contextual to your industry, to your approach, to the relationships you've developed with your clients and how you've built these through email over time. Don't waste energy trying to get your numbers to match industry stats or putting undue pressure on your teams to meet these. It's like comparing grading scales of schools in separate states; they just don't match and shouldn't be used for funding.

3. Mismanaging acquisition:

The best way to screw up an email program is to be irresponsible with the acquisition and building of a database. Gathering names and email addresses is not difficult, it's just a net/sum game. But so many companies don't realize the cost of acquisition when they have a poor game plan for retention through digital channels. You'll end up adding to the overburdened email staffs' issues by adding erroneous records to a database that gradually bring down performance, and create unrealistic expectations for return on investment.

Many companies would benefit from a 30% reduction of their database today. Don't let the allure of acquisition put a burden on retention principles. We ran into this problem with a client last year where they greatly overestimated the value of their database to find out that 20% were dormant at best. Talk about putting your team behind the eight-ball.

4. Not understanding social networking theory:

Forward to a Friend was a great idea years ago, but has always been a shallow strategy. It is critical that you understand the principles of networking theory and the innate nature of how people build their networks, tribes, and communities; how people use tools to enable these networks; and how digital has greatly changed the game. You will seek an alternate view where you place less value on individual attributes and more value on relationships and ties, and the dynamics of the networks each build. This is something you'd better know, or you'll never master direct marketing.

5. Continuing to churn the resource pool:

There are a lot of new people in email marketing, with very few who have a long tenure. Problem is, it's such an isolated channel in most organizations that the email people tend to recycle through the organization and stay for a limited time. I am a firm believer that a marketing organization doesn't need to have thought leaders in a channel per se, but employees do need to have domain experience to some degree. You won't ever retain that at any strategic or tactical level if you don't retain the channel expertise. Combine this issue with issue #1 (churning vendors) and you are reinventing your program every few years and not evolving it as you should.

The channel is strong, the vendors in the space are much more mature than they used to be, and there are a lot of voices in the space sharing thought leadership openly -- but the channel will continue to grow at a nominal rate if we continue to make these same mistakes over and over again.


Basic "Truth in Advertising" Doctrine

Senders should not falsify the subje subject line to mislead readers and deflect them from the content of the email message.

Key requirements :
  • Apply the basic 'truth in advertising' doctrine
  • Pick a subject which highlights your business relationship with the recipient
  • Avoid phrases like "Free offer" or subject line content that may be susceptible to incoming mailfiltering.

It is acceptable for marketers to:
  • Employ effective teaser copy within the subject line but not intentionally
  • contain fraudulent information
  • Insert merge fields, e.g. a person's first name, into a subject line as a further method of
  • personalisation

It is NOT acceptable for marketers to:
  • Use RE: or FW: in the subject line



Monday, June 29, 2009

IMM: Businesses Not Optimising Internet As Marketing Tool

KUALA LUMPUR - The current state of infrastructure is not helping businesses to optimise the Internet as a marketing tool, according to the Institute of Marketing Malaysia (IMM).

"The policies are there but the infrastructure has got to support it. Even though we have broadband, it is expensive, slow and not available all over," said IMM president Sharifah Mohd Ismail.

According to Sharifah, Malaysians currently are not yet on the right level in using the Internet as a marketing tool for business but are definitely into it.

"We are still more comfortable with one-to-one communication. It is definitely an uphill task to change their perspective but the learning process has got to be done," she told reporters after attending a seminar on Internet marketing here today.

At the seminar, eMarketing Strategy president Ruth Stevens said the best way of utilising the Internet as a marketing tool is "having a great website, strong search engine marketing programme and using email".

"These things need to be applied strategically to support business objectives," said Stevens.

"A lot of the people are doing Internet marketing without strategic focus. It is better to create a backup on how to use the Internet to achieve their marketing plan," she said.

According to Stevens, new social media tools such as Facebook can be exploited for marketing but they are still at an experimental stage.

"They are immature as marketing vehicles. So, I would say it is better to spend time and effort on the more proven solid Internet vehicles such as a great website," she said.

The seminar, titled "The Best Internet Marketing Techniques Today", attracted more than 120 participants comprising professionals, entrepreneurs, managers and executives from various industries.


Expert predicts need for firms to improve email marketing best practice

The growth of email marketing as a channel is set to encourage firms to up their game in terms of best practice, it has been claimed.

David Kearney, chief executive of marketing firm Boomerang, has suggested that as more and more growing businesses turn to the channel, a "preponderance" of both good and bad messages will reach consumer inboxes.

Because of this, he has predicted that companies will need to improve the way they use the channel, by making communications more relevant and timely to the needs of the recipient.

He explained: "It is incumbent upon the leaders in email marketing to set the tone as we enter this period of expansion.

"Best practices in email marketing will become ever more crucial as businesses work harder and harder for their messages to be heard above the din of millions upon millions of email marketing messages."

Recent figures from Constant Contact revealed that 97 per cent of firms regularly use email marketing to keep in touch with their clients.


Internet Marketing Strategy That Works!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Expert predicts need for firms to improve email marketing best practice

The growth of email marketing as a channel is set to encourage firms to up their game in terms of best practice, it has been claimed.

David Kearney, chief executive of marketing firm Boomerang, has suggested that as more and more growing businesses turn to the channel, a "preponderance" of both good and bad messages will reach consumer inboxes.

Because of this, he has predicted that companies will need to improve the way they use the channel, by making communications more relevant and timely to the needs of the recipient.

He explained: "It is incumbent upon the leaders in email marketing to set the tone as we enter this period of expansion.

"Best practices in email marketing will become ever more crucial as businesses work harder and harder for their messages to be heard above the din of millions upon millions of email marketing messages."

Recent figures from Constant Contact revealed that 97 per cent of firms regularly use email marketing to keep in touch with their clients.


Tell the Recipient Who You Are

Email communication mail communications must st state your company details, ate physical address, a genuine reply email address and subject line. Do not falsify domain name names or use a non non-responsive Internet Protocol (IP) address.

Key requirements :
  • Header information includes the domain, IP address, and any other routing information that enables a user to determine the originator of the email
  • Information is required to be valid for at least 30 days after the message is sent
  • Email content must include the sender’s company or trading name - the addition of the sender's website and phone number will further increase the credibility of the communication
  • It is good practice to refer to the origin of the relationship when first emailing a new contact.

It is acceptable for marketers to:
  • Use either an individual's email address, or a company's or company department's email address as the displayed "sender address"

It is NOT acceptable for marketers to:

  • Hide or falsify the sender's email address, website address, physical address or phone number



Four Ways To Find Email Marketing Gems And Avoid Fool's Gold

Four Key Criteria for Evaluating any New Email Marketing Solution

Relevance - For years touted as the wholly grail of email marketing, and too many communications remain one too many today. Relevance can be achieved by enhancing the data gathered about an email subscriber at subscription, leveraging click-stream tracking data from Web analytics solutions, enriching profile information with third party data and on and on and on. The bottom line is, the main advantage email has over other marketing channels is its ability to leverage data to drive dynamic offers, content and experiences. If you have not optimized your email programs to be truly relevant, stop sifting now and stay focused here. Enhancing relevance will provide the best return on your email marketing investment.

Deliverability - According to Goodmail and Pivotal Veracity's new report, "Email Delivery Benchmarks," 20% of legitimate marketing email was routed to spam or blocked in the first quarter of 2009. The challenge of email delivery has not gone away, and email marketers that take their eye off this ball will regret it as their reputation and email success metrics are impacted negatively. Delivery into the recipient inbox and the customer experience with that message are critical to program success.

What tools has your organization invested in to ensure that email is delivered into the inbox? What quality control processes do you have in place to catch issues before they become real business-impacting problems? Do not get distracted by the "eye candy" so often included in the "Bag-of-Solutions." Delivery is not sexy, but it is key to program success.

Triggered communication - Automation is the ultimate goal for many of the email marketers I meet. I've mentioned before that relevance is the main advantage email has over other direct marketing channels. Adding automation to these relevant communications creates efficiencies within an organization and enhances the overall recipient experience.

Taking a closer look at triggered messaging opportunities typically allows the email marketer to access automated communications from a number of disparate business systems, e.g. ecommerce, CRM, etc. The more of these messages email marketing controls, the greater your overall impact on the business. Trust me when I say it's worth sifting through your organization to find automation opportunities.

Social media integration - When it comes to email technology vendors and service provides serving up "shiny new gems" for marketers, we have no equal. Remember the fuss over rich media in email (oops, forgot about deliverability)? Or the commotion over RSS (oops, forgot that consumers need to adopt the technology)? Social media is NOT another one of these distractions.

The development of the social Web is already changing how people behave online. The social inbox will soon be a reality, and the one place for consumers to email, IM, share and collaborate in real time with peers, friends and brands. So far, email has been the most preferred way to share content online. It will remain at the forefront of social behavior on the Web as long as email marketers invest in programs and technology that encourage recipients to become brand advocates. This is not an area to ignore or address after your competition has gained a significant lead.

My kids loved sifting through the bags of dirt and finding fake gems. That's the beauty of being a kid, you just are immediately enamored with almost any new experience. Unfortunately, as email marketers, we need to look seriously at the investment opportunities in front of us and assign resources accordingly.

Before you and your teams get focused on a shiny new toy, ask yourself how it helps take you forward in relevance, delivery, automation or social marketing. If you cannot point to a big gain in one of these categories, keep sifting until you find something that does.


Immediacy highlighted as key aspect of email marketing

Email marketing allows growing businesses to give quick responses to their clients, an expert has claimed.

According to Ranen Goren, vice-president of cross-media products at XMPie, the channel's "immediacy" means consumers can be contacted straight after they have carried out certain online actions, such as accessing a certain part of a company's website.

Writing for DMNews.com, he outlined that email marketing is also cost-effective when compared to other promotional platforms, while it works well in conjunction with other formats.

He explained that while firms could rely on email for "first and second campaign waves", they can then move on to the likes of direct mail to encourage a reaction from those who did not respond initially.

"It allows response channels, incorporated through web-based response URLs, to gather relevant recipient information," he added.

"So when a marketer invests in a printed piece, it can be effectively targeted to become of greater value to the recipient."

Recent figures from Constant Contact revealed that 97 per cent of firms regularly use email marketing to reach consumers.


Right data 'improves ability of firms to bond with email marketing'

Growing businesses can forge a stronger bond with clients through email marketing, according to an expert.

Tink Taylor, client services director at dotMailer, also claimed that capturing data from consumers gives firms the best chance to both contact them and improve the relevance of their messages.

He went on to explain in a column for the Internet Advertising Bureau that companies should acquire an email address from a consumer even if they have already done business with them.

"Retailers need to start seeing the buying process as a cyclical progression," he wrote.

"A sale should be seen as the beginning of the relationship between brand and customer, not the end, but without acquiring their email address from the start the relationship is dead in the water."

iPost recently announced the launch of its new Not Just Another Marketing Blog website, which will provide tips to firms that regularly use email promotions.


Option To Unsubscribe

All ema email marketing messages il must include an option for the recipient to unsubscribe from receiving future messages and must include a genuine reply email address. All requests to unsubscribe must be actioned within 5 working days.

Key requirements :
  • Commercial email messages must include a mechanism for recipients to unsubscribe from the list or from a specific type of communication
  • The unsubscribe function must not be obscure but presented in a clear and conspicuous manner
  • The unsubscribe facility must be functional and requests to unsubscribe be actioned within 5 working days
  • If multiple communications are being sent to individuals, also offer the opportunity to unsubscribe from individual communications
  • Always action unsubscribe requests prior to sending further emails
  • It is recommended that marketers send an "unsubscribe confirmation" message
It is acceptable for marketers to:
  • gain an understanding as to why a customer has chosen to unsubscribe
It is NOT acceptable for marketers to:
  • have poor compliance systems in place which do not allow the marketer to accurately and immediately (with 5 working days) unsubscribe a customer from their database
  • ignore a customer's action to unsubscribe and thereby resend emails to that same email address
  • resubscribe recipients who have previously opted out - this is acceptable ONLY when written or emailed permission by that person has been received. (This must be maintained on file in case of a subsequent complaint).


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Email marketing 'the best way to reach potential buyers'

An expert has claimed that growing businesses risk putting themselves at a disadvantage if they cut their IT budgets.

Michael Dean, head of marketing at the National Computing Centre (NCC), has claimed that spending on technology can be key for firms to ensure they are on top of the latest trends, which may include web-based direct marketing strategies.

Because of this, he warned that all kinds of companies may suffer by cutting their costs in the area.

"IT offers organisations of all sizes the opportunity to reduce costs and improve performance," he explained.

"The danger in a recession is that organisations don't invest in IT and when the upturn comes they are less competitive than others."

Recent figures from O2 found that seven out of ten firms now use smartphones as part of their day-to-day operations, while around half of companies are also upping their level of investment in technology generally.


Email Marketing: Optimize the New Subscriber Experience

Response rates are almost always higher for new subscribers to an email list. According to the "Email Marketing Benchmark Guide" by MarketingSherpa, subscribers click through at a 25 percent higher rate in their first month than in their second, and 67 percent higher in the first month than after the first year.

It is important to take advantage of this phenomenon by carefully designing and optimizing the new subscriber experience. Here are a few things your company can do to implement or improve your email marketing right away.

Welcome Message

Welcome messages are important because they reassure prospects that your company has a pulse, and they also reduce spam complaints by reminding new subscribers that they've been added to your list.

Welcome messages are also critical for response rates. They are an important tool for prospects to interact with your company while they are researching the problem that led them to your products and services. Many of your email recipients are presumably in a buying mode. They might even have other browser windows open to your competitors when your welcome message arrives in their inboxes.

In that sense, welcome messages do a lot more than just tell new subscribers that they've been added to a list. To improve response, the welcome email should also contain the following:
  • A personal message from the CEO, founder, or owner;
  • A coupon or other incentive to buy;
  • Links to your most popular entry-level products;
  • A good testimonial or two.
Most importantly, welcome messages must serve as two-way communication tools. Replies to welcome messages should be encouraged, and you should respond to inquiries immediately. People are impressed when someone responds quickly and personally.

Real-time Subscriptions

New subscriber information is sometimes stored initially offline and then uploaded to the master list in batches, which means new subscribers may not be added at the moment of opt in. (This can take place because integrations between websites and email service providers often don't work properly.)

Uploading subscriber information in batches is risky because it can cause new subscribers to miss one or more broadcasts that should be arriving in their inboxes while their interest in you and your products is still high. By the time they hear from you, they may have already bought from a competitor, solved their problem another way, or lost interest.

If you rely on batch uploads to keep your list current, be sure to upload the newest subscribers before every email broadcast. And, get your integration fixed as soon as possible.

Introductory Follow-up Series

Even if your usual email-marketing format is a newsletter, you might want to send a timed auto-responder series to new subscribers after your welcome message. For example, you can send a message to subscribers the day after they sign up, and another message shortly thereafter. Waiting for your regularly scheduled newsletter may be too long.

Moreover, because these kinds of messages contain static content, unlike a newsletter, they can be continuously improved through testing. It is better to send your best prospects something that has been tested and proven rather than something (a newsletter) that was just created. If your second message is performing worse than your third message, you know that something is probably wrong with the second one, because performance usually declines over time. Work on improving this message first.

Remember, however, that it's usually okay to also send new subscribers your regular newsletter during the introductory period. New subscribers generally have a higher interest level in the beginning, and therefore a higher tolerance for frequent communication.

Segmentation and Personalization

You might personalize your initial email messages to new subscribers based on the product page they signed up on or data they submit. If they registered on a page about blue widgets, make sure blue widgets are mentioned in the welcome message.

Over time, it becomes more important to base email segmentation and personalization on subsequent behaviors, such as what messages recipients are opening and links they are clicking.


Internet Marketing: Is Regulation Coming?

The impetus to regulate online marketing may be gathering steam. On June 18 a House of Representatives subcommittee held a hearing to take a closer look at how advertisers gather and use information on consumers' Web-surfing habits.

Up to now the government has had a hands-off policy toward online marketing, giving companies relatively free rein in how they use tools that track what people do online and then use that data to deliver tailored marketing messages. Although regulation is likely to be far off, it would surely rewrite how Google (GOOG), Yahoo! (YHOO), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook, and a wide range of other Internet companies grapple for share in the $25.7 billion online ad market.

The hearing, which brought together representatives of Web companies and online privacy advocates, may mark "the beginning of the end of self-regulation for online advertising," says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center

Advocates of regulation say Internet companies need to be more up-front about their use of so-called behavioral targeting, which includes placing "cookies" and other software designed to discern a computer user's tastes and preferences - information that marketers can use to better deliver online ads. Representative Rick Boucher (D-Va.), who chairs the House subcommittee on communications, technology, and the Internet, has stated publicly since February that he plans to draft legislation on targeting practices this year. He says sites should maintain plain-language privacy policies, visitors should be able to opt out of data collection, and any third-party companies working with publishers must obtain permission from Web users before acquiring or using their information.

Behavioral Targeting Spreads

Privacy advocates say behavioral targeting is becoming more prevalent with increased use of ad-supported Web sites and services and that it's getting easier to disguise the practice as technologies become increasingly sophisticated. "The current model is going to collapse because the amount of information being collected is out of control," says EPIC's Rotenberg.

A study released by Pace University on June 17 illustrates how pervasive behavioral-targeting tools can be on a single Web site. Associate professor Catherine Dwyer discovered that the shopping site for Levi Strauss automatically plants "beacons," or tracking files, from nine different companies onto a visitor's computer when it arrives at the home page. These third parties included so-called behavioral ad networks, including Right Media, Tribal Fusion, and Specific Media, which apprise a site of a visitor's behavior on other sites. To Dwyer's surprise, Levi Strauss had informed users in its online privacy policy that it was using only a single partner, Microsoft-owned Avenue A. Levi Strauss says Microsoft lines up these other partners and changes them frequently and that it therefore didn't deem it necessary to list these other companies in its privacy policy.

Dwyer says such a lack of transparency not only compromises user privacy but also hurts the brand. "Does Levi's want to have this kind of relationship with their customers?" Dwyer asks.

She adds that this project was a case study of one company and therefore doesn't necessarily indicate broader trends. But generally, she chose Levi's partly in the interest of "selecting a product most people could relate to," and because fashion is among the industries, such as autos and finance, that are known to rely on behavioral targeting to stay current with consumer tastes.

Big Internet companies say they are giving users more control over their privacy than ever before. During the congressional hearing, Google Deputy General Counsel Nicole Wong demonstrated a tool introduced in March that lets surfers see which categories advertisers are pitching them based on search history, and opt in or out of any specific category, such as "auto financing" and "interior design." Yahoo's privacy head, Anne Toth, told the subcommittee that her company recently reduced the period of time it retains user data to 90 days instead of 13 months.

Both companies also highlighted a new anti-tracking technology - opt-out "buttons" that remove cookies from a user's computer without depositing new cookies.
Industry Plans New Self-Regulation

Yahoo says it does not oppose government regulation but expresses concern that any law created might not be able to adapt with changes in technology. "Self-regulation is ideal for our industry because technology moves very rapidly, and by using self-regulation we can respond in kind," says Toth.

So far, government attempts to set up guidelines have fallen short, while the industry's self-policing efforts are unwieldy. In February the Federal Trade Commission's new guidelines on behavioral targeting were faulted for not providing specific durations for how long records should be kept and failing to spell out definitions of terms like "sensitive data."

Some time this summer, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), a trade organization for online publishers, plans to unveil a set of self-imposed guidelines for the industry that were created in conjunction with the Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Assn., and other trade groups. Drafting and enforcing self-regulatory principles is difficult because it requires being compatible with many different business models, according to Mike Zaneis, vice-president for public policy at the IAB.

Washington may step into the role of regulator. "The issue ultimately depends upon the interest of the Democratic leadership in Congress and the White House to move the issue of online marketing forward," says Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.

Silicon Valley's White House Influence

The stakes are high. According to a report released by the IAB in early June, the online ad business contributes $300 billion in "economic activity" to the U.S. and employs 1.2 million workers. At the same time, the advertising industry is sagging and increasingly turning to the Web because of tools that let it increase the efficiency of each ad dollar by tailoring pitches to individuals. "Targeting the message is fundamental to what online advertising is all about," says the IAB's Zaneis. "There clearly will be negative impacts if you cut off the flow of data and make advertising less relevant and less profitable."

The Obama Administration has been quiet on the issue of online privacy. While the President has made stronger regulation of the financial and other sectors a top priority, some wonder whether Silicon Valley's influence in the Oval Office might put the kibosh on any legislation that has the potential to constrain online advertising.

"Google has played a significant role in the Obama Administration," says EPIC's Rotenberg. But, he adds: "That doesn't mean they're above the law. I don't get the sense that [the White House] is afraid to legislate if they think it's important."


Email Marketing tips from experts

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

8 Steps To Email Marketing Success

The nature of email marketing has changed enormously over the past few years. No longer just a tool to drive short term sales, email is a highly-valued tool to develop and maintain long-term customer relationships through an ever-growing variety of devices and formats from fixed line PCs and mobile laptops to iPhones and Blackberrys.

With these technological developments, businesses developing their email marketing might want to consider these eight key points:

1) List Hygiene - It is important to work closely with providers of acquisition data to determine their opt-in policies and quality of their list, to prevent potential blacklisting. Retaining information on the age of the list, and when it was last emailed are also crucial both to prevent lists from becoming cluttered with invalid email addresses that would increase bouncebacks as well as to reduce the risk of being blacklisted by ISPs.

2) Blacklisting - Maintaining a good reputation is vital to mitigating the risk of being blacklisted. Clear customer expectations of what they will receive and how often should be set on all registration pages. The unsubscribe process should be clear, easy and fail-safe. Both of these practices will significantly reduce complaint rates and the risk of being reported as spam. Good, strong ISP Relations are also a key element to reduce potential blacklisting.

3) Subject line length - Research has shown that most consumers base their decision to open an email on the first 45 or so characters of its subject line. Word choice and word order are also key factors. "Shorter is better", although very targeted or niche audience emails can be exceptions to this rule. This is not just because time-poor consumers want subject lines that match their attention spans but because some email service providers display only the first 38 to 47 characters of a subject line in a recipient’s in-box, (mobile devices display even less of the subject line). Testing, re-writing and re-testing are crucial as this factor has been shown to be the strongest determinant of email performance.

4) Content - Eye-tracking studies show that 60% of readers make it to the bottom of those emails with images. Images are therefore key but they must be relevant. Also remember they must be visible on devices which have different screen sizes – iPhones, Blackberrys etc. Refrain from too many pictures, as image intensive emails are often large files and as a result can often be blocked by corporate email systems.

5) Email Strategy - Match your email tactics to the relevant lifestyle stage of customers. Analysis of email behaviour is vital to retain clients, for example, shopping trolley abandonment emails are a very effective tool for recovering lost sales opportunities. After initial contact campaigns, testing and segmentation based on email activity is vital to build long term, profitable email relationships.

6) Communication - Emails have evolved from a simple sales tool to a sophisticated relationship management device. A good email relationship can help convey key company information through to building corporate branding. It is important to successfully manage campaigns in terms of frequency and type of communication. Companies who utilise email marketing in this way can reap long term benefits from such strategies.

7) Relevancy - 'Irrelevancy is the new spam'. No matter how strong a client relationship, research has shown it only takes a very few badly targeted and badly personalised emails for a customer to start ignoring future communications. It is imperative to use well developed data analysis tools to segment and tailor emails. This will ensure highly targeted messages are sent to those who want to receive them in the first place.

A recent Epsilon survey revealed an overwhelming customer preference for personalised direct marketing. Two-thirds of respondents that receive email marketing communications want to receive personalised content from companies. Specifically, consumers want content and offers based on their personal online behaviour such as website and browsing activity, past purchases or in the case of pharmaceutical goods, tailored content based on their condition history.

8) Deliverability - Email delivery rates directly impact the ROI of email marketing campaigns and are fast-becoming a standard metric alongside click-through and open rates, the latter of which has become increasingly difficult to track accurately. The first hurdle is to ensure your email is accepted for delivery by your ISP. Ensure that your email service provider enjoys a good 'reputation' with the ISP. This is based primarily on the history of the sender IP address and the rate of legitimate vs bounce backed emails generated. More than 75% of email filtering and blocking at this level occurs on this basis. Further filtering takes place at the recipient mail server, when emails are diverted to junk or spam boxes. There are 100,000s of rules for checking the message header and body for known spam patterns both at ISP level and at the individual’s mailbox settings. Content filtering is based on keywords, number of domains and images in the email. To maximise email deliverability ensure your email strategies have to be optimised across email content, design through to dynamic pre-testing of campaigns.


Send only relevant offers to consenting recipients

Unconditional best practice demands that mar marketing communication via email only be keting und undertaken ertaken to a person/address with whom you have a relevant prior business or perso personal nal relationship relationship, or from whom you have obtained btained express or inferred consent.

Key requirements:
  • A relevant business or personal relationship
  • Express consent - express permission directly from the recipient
  • Inferred consent - relevant prior business or personal relationship exists
NB : The UEM Act 2007 also provides for deemed consent, i.e. where an email address is conspicuously published without a "do not email" proviso. Sending unsolicited email messages to such an address is not regarded as best practice email marketing.
  • Permission is not transferable - email addresses submitted by referees do not become permission addresses for your future use unless authorised by the addressee
  • Best practice requires the development of an audit trail detailing how and when a recipient opted in/out - it is advisable to create or maintain a 'source' field in your database to quickly supply proof of permission if required

It is acceptable for marketers to email:
  • customers who have supplied their email address but not been previously emailed - Principles 2 and 5 must be applied. All emails will require an opt out facility.
  • prospects who have entered a competition with the understanding (specified in the competition Terms & Conditions of entry) that they will be contacted by email. This should be considered as a temporary contract between the competition’s commencement and completion, unless it is clearly specified at the point of acquisition that ongoing offers/promotions will be sent
  • customers to update the status of an order - this is regarded as a transactional email communication
  • customers regarding invoices or receipts - this is also regarded as a transactional email communication
  • to acknowledge receipt of communications

It is NOT acceptable for marketers to email:

  • a list of recipients whose email addresses have been harvested (see Principle 6)
  • persons who have not given permission
  • offers which are not relevant to the recipient
  • a third party's database unless permission has been received from each person listed in that database

Third Party Lists:
  • The Marketing Association's Code of Practice for Direct Marketing in New Zealand makes specific reference to third party lists in Principle 4.
  • "4(b). 5 Third party lists: Marketers using third party lists must ensure the list complies with the requirements of the Privacy Act 1993."
  • If you intend to make personal data available to third parties for inclusion on their lists, you must notify individuals of your intent at the time of collecting the data, and obtain their positive consent through opt-in.

Friend Friend-get get-Friend Marketing:
  • This covers the practice of asking receivers of an online communication to forward it to other people.The Marketing Association’s Code of Practice for Direct Marketing in New Zealand makes specific reference to list referral in Principle 4:
  • "4(b).4 Marketing list referrals: Marketers must not allow individuals to sign others up to receivemarketing offers without their permission."
  • Before carrying out friend-get-friend marketing, you must notify the person who provides another person's email address that their name will be advised to the person they have referred to you.
If you are provided with an individual's email address through the referral of another person, you are permitted to send the referred individual one email, which should:
  1. include the name of the person who provided that person's email address to you
  2. invite that person to subscribe to a specified list or lists
  3. ensure that personal data is neither used nor retained unless the recipient opts in to receiving further emails
Individuals should NOT be encouraged to forward an email to an entire address book. When briefing a friend-get-friend marketing concept to an agency or preparing for this type of strategy, you should only encourage the recipient to invite one or a few friends to subscribe, making invitations more targeted and relevant.

NB : It should be noted that this advice is based on verbal discussions with the Anti-spam Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs. The legislation has not yet been tested in law.



Guiding Principles for Responsible Email Marketers

The Marketing Association's eMarketing Network has designed 6 Guiding Principles for eMail Marketing to safeguard people from receiving unwanted, erroneously labelled, or intentionally deceptive email. Each of the Principles complements the next and should be viewed as a collective entity. They are:


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

E-Mail Marketing Best Practices

E-mail marketing has grown over time to become one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing Grow Your Business-Fast! Sign up for a FREE trial of Infusionsoft and double your sales in 12 months. used today. The ability to send large quantities of e-mail at almost no cost during the early days of e-mail marketing led to over saturation, deceitful practices and a bad reputation.

Because this industry is still very much in its infancy, government and regulatory organizations struggle to develop and enforce guidelines such as CAN-SPAM. Although these guidelines have been designed to protect the consumer, businesses that adhere to them will find it easier to reach their audience.

The ability to consistently deliver e-mail is one of the main issues e-mail marketers struggle with. Those who take the time to comply with CAN-SPAM and individual ISP guidelines find themselves alone more and more in the inbox.

Following the Rules

Producing consistent, predictable results at the push of a button is the dream of every marketer, but can only be accomplished by following some simple rules. Although an important step forward, the CAN-SPAM Act only provides a legal platform for e-mail marketing. There are many individual Internet service providers, as well as for-profit and non-profit institutions, that protect their customers fiercely. Cooperating with them, along with following their guidelines, will make the biggest difference.

Most of these guidelines are reasonable; some are even common sense and not included in any documentation. Others can be overly technical and tedious. Following these guidelines allows the list Click here to get the Free Email Design No-No's Guide from Lyris -- includes the top 10 things you need to know. owners to deliver their messages and in turn reach their maximum ROI potential.

If you are marketing through e-mail, following are some of the best practices to ensure maximum results:
  • Subject Lines - Do not use deceptive subject lines. The subject line should pertain to the e-mail and be informative enough to encourage the reader to open it. The subject line shouldn't be too long, in all caps, or contain many exclamation marks or dollar signs. You should also steer away from using words such as "free," "guaranteed" or "approved" within your subject lines.
  • From Lines - From lines should clearly identify where the e-mail is coming from. It should be your company name, your name, or the advertiser's name. It should not be a marketing message or a sales pitch.
  • Creative - It is important to know what kind of e-mail message works best for your list. Most consumers respond better to HTML e-mails. Complicated e-mails can fail to render properly to some users, while overused creative may be blocked by the individual's Internet service provider. Text, although not blocked as often and completely supported by all the users of the Internet, is just not as appealing.
  • Opt-Out Method - An e-mail address or another Internet-based response mechanism, such as an opt-out link, must clearly be provided in order to allow a recipient to request that you not send any future e-mail messages to that address. This feature must remain active up to 30 days after the e-mail has been sent. These requests must be honored, and you must stop sending all e-mails to any address requesting removal within 10 business days of the request.
  • Sender Name and Mailing Address - The sender's name and a valid physical mailing address must be included with any and all mailings.
  • Advertisements - If you are mailing any type of advertisement, it must clearly be stated within the e-mail that it is an advertisement.
  • Suppression List - If any e-mail advertisement has been sent in the past, then there must be a suppression list of recipients requesting to never receive that advertisement again. This list must be compared to your list of e-mails to ensure that those individuals are removed and do not receive this advertisement again.
  • Sending Frequency - You should be consistent in the frequency with which you send your e-mails. You should determine a schedule and stick to it, whether it is once a day, once a week or once a month. The more consistent you are in your mailings, the more familiar your clients will become with receiving them.
  • Technical Compliance - There are already many technologies that exist to separate spam from legitimate e-mail. It is important to make sure your e-mail is being delivered with the proper configuration. This can include proper DNS topology and up-to-date e-mail software that implements common standards like Domain Keys.
  • Growing Your List - One of the most common fatal flaws in e-mail marketing is failing to properly collect data from consumers. This will inevitably lead to a high number of complaints that make reaching your audience nearly impossible, regardless of technical compliance. Effective branding and e-mail verification can ensure your data is clean and easy to maintain.
By following these guidelines and keeping the interests of the customers paramount, e-mail marketers can enjoy the benefits of responsible e-mail marketing.


Marketing Seminar slated for July 6 - Geneseo

The 2009 Marketing Seminar series will continue on Monday, July 6 at 6:30 p.m., at Glory Days, 109 East Orange Street, Geneseo. Featured speaker will be Clark Neighbors, Bump Investor Services of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Clark Neighbors, the owner of Bump Investor Services, joined the firm in the fall of 1996. Clark grew up on a farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University. He spent the next 5 years as a grain merchandiser for Cargill Inc. in Indiana and Illinois. Clark spent the following 8 years as a commodity broker in Illinois working with country elevators. Clark specializes in risk management for producers and hedging for Midwest elevator and commercial firms. Clark currently provides livestock and grain commentary for WMT Radio in Cedar Rapids.

This is the second of four seminars; a buffet supper is included. Cost of the seminar is $65 for the series of four or $18 individually. Please make reservations by contacting the Henry County Farm Bureau (309 937-2411) or the Extension (309 853-1533) or email kbhcfb@theinter.com.

This program is brought to you by the Henry County Farm Bureau Marketing Committee, University of Illinois Henry-Stark Extension Service, BankORION, Central Bank Illinois and Gold Star FS, 1st Farm Credit Services, and State Bank of Toulon-Kewanee Bank.


Common Mistakes in Email Marketing

There are some common mistakes that people make when they enter the world of email marketing. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a newbie, it does not seem to make a difference. We all make mistakes.

One of the things that you need to remember more than anything else is to keep up to date on any new information in the marketing world. The rules and regulations seem to change more often than you change your underwear. By keeping up on the latest and greatest it can keep you out of a whole load of trouble.

The biggest problem that new people have is not knowing where to start with their marketing campaign. If you purchase a bad list or go about making your own list the wrong way then you can get nailed for spamming. This is one of the biggest problems on the internet. When you send and solicit emails to people that do not want them you open yourself up to fines and all sorts of legal action even. Try to avoid this at all costs.

Another mistake is not following up on your emails after someone has responded to you. This can cost you money. One of the most important things that you can do is to let your potential customer know that there is someone interested in their query or opinion. There is a product called an auto responder that will follow up on your emails for you automatically if you cannot spare the time to do it yourself.

You should also have a program that you can do mass email campaigns with. This will allow you to reach thousands of potential customers at once as opposed to trying to email one at a time. That is way too time consuming.

Try to get creative with your marketing. You need to try and stay one step ahead of the other guy. This is a very competitive market and constant research is a big key in being productive with your marketing.

Don't forget that your list is your best friend. This is what is going to make you money and help to give your continuity in business. Having repeat customers will ensure that you are assured of a steady income. Do not overwhelm your reader either. Keep it short and sweet and to the point. Grab and keep their interest and deliver what you promised.


Monday, June 22, 2009

StreamSend Delivers "Smart Email Marketing Guidelines for 2009"

StreamSend, a leading email marketing solutions provider, today released guidelines for businesses looking to build and maximize email marketing programs in 2009. These client-tested best practices have helped thousands of organizations cement email as an indispensable marketing strategy.

"To make the best of a tough economy, more marketers are looking for cost effective methods to reach prospects and customers," says Dan Forootan, president and CEO of StreamSend. "As email activity and competition grows, the need to plan, create and maintain smart campaigns becomes even more important. To see the most benefit from their email marketing programs this year, we advise
our clients to consider the following principles."

1. Pay attention to email volume. Email marketing is a valuable marketing tool in a down economy. The challenge for marketers is to resist the temptation to overuse the medium. Forrester Research cites that 77% of consumers are annoyed with the volume of email they receive today. Don't annoy your customers. Too much email can lead to consumer fatigue and erode email effectiveness. Conversely, don't email so infrequently that they don't know who you are. Strive to maintain a regular and ongoing relationship with your subscribers.

2. Respect your customers and their relationships with you. As worldwide email volume continues to grow, seek out highly relevant ways to communicate with your customers and to stand out from the crowd. Remember that not all customers are the same, or have the same interests.

Some methods for improving relationships
through email include:
  • Sendrelevant, valuable and timely information and offers.
  • Pay attention to messages viewed on mobile devices.
  • Segment lists to best match your customers' needs.
  • Leverage triggered (automated) emails to enhance personalized, customized customer communications.
  • Use transactional emails (welcome letters, receipts, confirmations, etc.) as an additional mechanism to build customer rapport.
3. Complement your email campaigns. Remember to provide consistent messaging across all your communications channels. Email should be one element of your marketing mix. Reinforcing messages across multiple channels will boost overall campaign effectiveness.

4. Remember email design and delivery basics. No matter what, don't forget the nuts and bolts of smart and effective email marketing - everything from using permission-based (opt-in) lists and good list hygiene to using clear, valuable subject lines and solid design and messages. Test your messages before you send, and maintain good relationships with the ISPs.

5. Keep Improving. Even if something worked in the past, it isn't guaranteed to continue delivering the same results. Measure the success of your campaigns. Take advantage of reporting and data analysis beyond the inbox. Test and innovate to make sure your email campaigns continue to grow positive results.

To sign up for a free 30-day trial or to learn more about StreamSend Email Marketing Service, visit www.streamsend.com.

The StreamSend Email Marketing Service is the most comprehensive and cost-effective permission-based e-mail marketing suite available, used by marketers, entrepreneurs, online retailers and resellers around the world. StreamSend offers a number of industry-leading, standard pricing plans and also has a strong email marketing reseller and affiliate programs. StreamSend is the flagship product of web hosting and design company EZ Publishing, founded in 1998.


'Not difficult' for firms to boost their reputation via email marketing

Growing businesses can easily improve their reputation with consumers through email marketing, according to an expert.

DMNews.com's digital reporter Dianna Dilworth has claimed that having a good reputation is key for firms as it can impact on the deliverability of messages they send out.

However, in a column for the website she added that there are several ways for firms to boost their consumer ratings.

"The first step is to sign up for feedback loops and hear what consumers are saying about your emails. Use this information to clean up your lists," she wrote on the site.

"Also, most marketers with good reputations are working with email authentication tools such as DomainKeys, SPF and Sender ID, which can help an ISP identify who a marketer is and authenticate who they are."

Recent figures from e-Dialog found that 63 per cent of people feel email marketing is the channel most likely to inspire them to make an impulse purchase via the internet.ADNFCR-898-ID-19229221-ADNFCR


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Use email marketing 'to establish a relationship with consumers'

Growing businesses should use email marketing to get to know their customers better, it has been claimed.

David Fowler, vice president of email marketing strategy at Alterian, claimed that firms should not presume they know what consumers want and instead ask them for details via the platform.

In a column for DMNews.com, he added that companies may benefit from re-establishing their links with subscribers on a regular basis in order to ensure they are receiving information they want.

"Communicate with them in the way they prefer, and not the other way around," he explained.

"Again, if your customers set their preferences from inception, you'll have crystal clear indicators of how they want you to interact."

Recent research by e-Dialog found that 63 per cent of people feel email marketing is the channel most likely to inspire them to make an impulse purchase via the web.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Study highlights potential of email marketing for small firms

New research has revealed how growing businesses could benefit from choosing to use email marketing to promote their products and services.

The Global Consumer Study by Epsilon revealed a number of key findings about the use of the platform in the UK, including that 70 per cent of consumers regard email as their primary mode of communication.

It was also revealed that 73 per cent of people are likely to click through to a website after reading a call to action featured in email marketing, while 46 per cent of those who receive permission-based messages buy products online.

Ian Hitt, managing director of Epsilon, said the findings "will help marketers better understand consumer email behaviour and enable them to maximise the value of their campaigns".

He added: "By understanding consumer psychology highly-targeted creative emails can cut through from other marketing messages and directly engage with recipients."

Recent figures from e-Dialog found that 63 per cent of people claim email marketing is likely to encourage them to make an impulse online purchase.ADNFCR-898-ID-19209359-ADNFCR


Email marketing 'an extremely valuable promotional tool'

Growing businesses could benefit greatly from using email marketing to reach their clients, it has been claimed.

According to Lisa Wehr, chief executive officer and founder of Oneupweb, the platform has become an "extremely valuable marketing tool" for contacting a number of consumers quickly.

Writing for Practical eCommerce, she claimed the "possibilities are endless" for firms using the channel, but added there is one way in which it particularly excels.

"Email marketing can be used to reach a vast, broad audience, but it works best when communications are targeted to cater to a specific potential consumer," she wrote.

"Focusing on your target audience increases the likelihood of a purchase and eliminates wasted impressions."

Recent research from e-Dialog found that 63 per cent of people feel email marketing is the channel most likely to inspire them to make an impulse online purchase.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Email marketing: What to do and the rewards that can be reaped

As with perhaps all advertising campaigns, email marketing has a number of dos and do nots. Many experts have shared their views on what constitutes a sound email marketing strategy and it appears that some companies are taking on fresh approaches to their messaging efforts.

Cynthia Edwards, writing for Email Insider, suggested that retailers can learn a lot from what top non-profit organisations have done with their email marketing. Based on Charity Navigator's monthly list of "most frequently reviewed" charities, Ms Edwards chose some popular non-profits to follow and found that four of these were putting together email addresses and personal data on their websites. They would then follow up by sending out personalised welcome messages and motivational emails, she revealed.

Ms Edwards pointed to World Vision as one notable example of a non-profit firm getting a lot out of email marketing. Companies can learn from World Vision in making sure that their welcome emails introduce the business fully and tell the receivers about the range of services on offer, she added.

One company seeing genuine benefits from email marketing is Paramount Restaurant Group. It has seen online bookings increase by 150 per cent in the first three months of the year across its six restaurant brands after implementing an ongoing email voucher campaign.

"Paramount Restaurants has managed to grow its audience and sales by using email that's appropriate for its market - the results achieved can be built upon in the future," commented Anne Collet, marketing manager of Pure, the email marketing company that helped Paramount Restaurant Group with its campaign.

The company also saw its websites' traffic increase by 307 per cent across all brands in January this year, while a voucher campaign in the same month for Caffe Uno experienced a 30 per cent open rate, with a further 45 per cent click-through rate.

It seems the advertising format is to prove popular in the future as well, with an Eloqua survey, conducted at the Technology for Marketing & Advertising conference in London, revealing that email marketing is set to be the biggest growth channel for business-to-business marketers this year. The platform came out ahead of both direct mail and real-time lead generation.

The same survey showed that 61 per cent of marketers have not changed their marketing strategies during the recession, perhaps hinting that some firms need to reassess how they use email in their advertising campaigns.


Friday, June 12, 2009

The Quickest Way To Increase Affiliate Earnings

If you are making money as an affiliate marketer you're probably hooked on the concept of getting paid to sell other people's products. In this article we want to give you a strategy you can implement to increase your affiliate earnings whenever you need to quickly make more money.

The marketing method I am referring to is email marketing. This has been around since the beginning of Internet marketing and continues to be a fantastic way to make money whenever you need it. For this to happen you need to keep in mind three things.

1. You need a list of names and email addresses to market to. The old adage that the man who rules the list rules the money applies to increasing affiliate earnings through email marketing.

The more names and email addresses you can access on any given mailing the more potential sales you can make to it. Selling products via email marketing to a qualified list is a great way to get paid and it's also an asset that can continue to pay you in the future.

2. You need to develop relationships with these people so they know who you are. This is an important point that most successful Internet marketers understand. People still like to buy from people and are more comfortable doing it online when they trust someone.

Therefore it’s important that you get beyond the names and email addresses on your list and get to know them as friends. This is something that takes a little bit of time but can pay you back with increased earnings many times over.

3. You need to provide value in between the times when you are actually trying to sell something. Value means different things to different people.

For example, when you come across a useful piece of information, blast it out to your list. Don't expect anything back in return for doing this mailing either. All you're doing is providing value by sharing something that you found interesting and might help your subscribers.

If you spend the majority of your time being useful and helpful you will find your affiliate earnings increase whenever you do offer a product for sale. People remember all of the good things you've done for them when you didn't ask for money, and some of them will be more than happy to spend some money purchasing your product now.

In summary these are three steps to implement that I have found to be the quickest way to increase affiliate earnings. This is an ongoing process that takes a little bit of time initially but can really pay off down the road.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

6 easy Ttps to boost website traffic

In this day and age, Internet marketing is one of the leading ways for companies to build, create, and manage brands online and offline. Some ways require a plethora of time while some others don't.

Even though I don't really write on the subject of SEO, I’ve been reading about it to learn the best ways to increase the traffic on my dating and relationship blog. As a result of this research, I’ve discovered that some of the best ways to boost traffic don’t cost a thing or only cost a few dollars - at most.

The best way to get started on boosting your website traffic is by developing a time efficient and cost effective marketing strategy. Research social media, SEO (link building and optimizing web content specifically), search engine marketing, email marketing, and sponsorships to see what sites offer what and which search engine tactics will provide the best results for you.

I find search engine optimization, article marketing, podcasts, online interviews, email marketing, and social media marketing the most effective ways for me to build my businesses.

Before laying the foundation to your online marketing strategy, consider following these free tips:

1.Research different online forums, blogs, and message boards. You can interact with people that are interested in your products/services. Ask questions, give advice, and comment on different posts. Often times, you will be able to leave a signature with your contact information, email address, and URL. The more places you can get your website listed, the better your SEO rankings will be positioned.

2.Newsletter advertising or sponsorships are great ways to expand your brand. Nevertheless, a more effective way for you to build a brand and get more traffic is to publish your own newsletter. You can provide subscribers with a list of your products or services. However, you must also provide your readers with valuable information.

To generate a small stream of revenue, you can sell advertising space or take on sponsors. If you don’t have an email list because you are just starting out, you can find another company that offers non-competing products or services and barter.

3.Exchange links with other sites and get listed in any relevant directories. The benefits are great because there is no cost to either one of you.

4.When writing copy for your website, use certain keywords and keyword phrases. Optimized web content helps websites rank higher on say Google and Yahoo when targeted keyword search terms are used. Keyword density should be about three to four percent. You can check the keyword density with http://www.keyworddensity.com. This tool is great because if your keywords are at a higher percentage than three to four percent, it might be considered Spam by the search engines.

5.Get listed on Google's local business listing page.

6.I can't emphasize this enough; offer to write articles for industry magazines and websites. Most publications offer signature files with your contact information rather than monetary compensation (although there are some publications that do offer to pay by word). If you are not successful at pitching magazines, write and publish articles on free article content directories. If people are interested in what you are writing about and they read your article, they will go to your website to find out more about you. www.ezinearticles.com is a great site to start researching because they list authors according to expertise.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Quick pointers for better email marketing

In the July 2009 issue of Catalogue e-business, DotMailer's business development director, Tink Taylor, takes an in-depth look at his company's Hitting the Mark 2009 benchmark report on marketing email. In the meantime, here are his top five email marketing tips for retailers in the recession:

1) Include "forward to a friend" and "add to social networks" links. Half of the marketers surveyed in the benchmark study failed to include any kind of viral link in their emails. Yet viral and word-of-mouth marketing is an inexpensive way to spread your marketing messages, drive traffic, collect contact information, and ultimately boost sales.

2) Personalise your greeting. Seventy percent of the emails reviewed failed to open with a personalised greeting-even though such personalisation has been proven to significantly improve both open and click-through rates.

3) Check renderability before sending. Nineteen percent of recipients will delete an email unread if it fails to display properly-and only 20 percent of the emails reviewed rendered correctly in every type of email account.

4) Make sure your template has a good balance of text to images. As well as helping your campaign to pass spam filters, this ensures that an email is readable when an email server switches off the images.

5) Present a clear call to action. The key to the success of an email campaign is to help recipients answer three questions: Who is the email from? What's in it for them? What should they do next? Provide clear guidance on what you expect a recipient to do once he has read your email-click through to a product page, forward to a friend, contact someone in your sales department, request a catalogue.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Effective email marketing 'can be achieved in a number of ways'

Companies can creative successful email marketing campaigns in several ways, according to an expert.

However, Henry Hyder-Smith, managing director of Adestra, has claimed that one fundamental issue that growing businesses should never be without is a plan of action.

In a column for MyCustomer.com, he explained that such items can be as detailed as firms want, but added they should cover basics on how relevant messages will be sent at the right time.

"Companies should also be looking at integration of different databases and touch points across the company to create a single customer view," he added.

"Finally, an overall strategy needs to be in place to ensure that the right communications plan is in place."

A recent study by MailerMailer claimed that news, party and newsletter are among the most popular subject line terms used in email marketing.

Other common phrases include free, night and sale, as well as com, update, holiday and week.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

5 Strategies for Maximizing Search and Email Marketing

In today's challenging economic environment, marketers and advertisers are looking at different ways to maximize the return on their marketing and advertising spend. Due to the emphasis on ROI, more companies will be using a direct response channel like email marketing and search marketing to drive measurable results in 2009 and beyond. In each channel there are key strategies and tactics that need to be employed for maximizing marketing investment, and a marketer can compound his or her success by leveraging each channel’s insight to drive success within the other.

Here are five key strategies for driving ROI in SEM (search and email marketing).

1. Use search marketing as a test bed for both channels. With the excess advertising inventory available to advertisers, there is an industry-wide movement to be more efficient with media allocation. A comprehensive search strategy begins by understanding customer targets and creating the most defined keyword matrix which customers use when "finding." With the abundance of data available, and the immediacy of the paid search market, a healthy testing process should be the first key step to understanding the optimal mix and creative strategy. Note that having access to media allocation, after the testing is completed, is also necessary to ensure that budget is available to execute campaigns.

Considering how quickly a paid search campaign can be implemented and measured, this becomes an excellent source for testing, both in terms of media performance as well as in measuring customer response.

2. When using push messaging, be ready to capture the pull insights. Push marketing, as seen in display media campaigns, is the means wherein marketers promote the brand or product and influence consumers' desire. Through effective marketing in push media an advertiser influences interest and leads consumers to active search, whether for information, navigation or transaction. While consumers or conversions are not yet tracked with the concept of time and media consumption very efficiently, (Microsoft’s Atlas Institute: The Long Road to Conversion) it is paramount to ensure that all media are viewed and measured in aggregate with the imperatives of each channel taken into consideration. Although optimization should be performed on individual tactics to maximize effectiveness, it's the aggregate level intelligence that drives holistic marketing insights. To inform the most efficient and effective search marketing strategy road map and tactical plan, the selection and optimization of keywords and positioning is crucial to not only success in the paid channel, but also to informing broader marketing insights. When specific language structures are performing on a search engine results page, this knowledge can be applied to drive results in other channels. Email is particularly well-suited due to its linguistic foundation, and the real-time nature of search offers an amazing laboratory to test language and calls to action.

3. Invest in the landing page to maximize marketing spend. Increasingly, with the volume of competition in PPC (pay per click), the QS (quality score) is becoming more and more central in gaining the ROI from a campaign due to its function in maintaining relevant messaging to the end user. The consequence of not factoring in the elements of the QS requires marketers to pay more to rank in the key positions on the SERP.
Optimizing landing page content is an important area on which to focus attention to improve QS and ensure campaigns are producing ROI. Many organizations today do not employ this in their tactical mix and send all visitors to a generic landing page or their home page. There is plenty of research in the market that illustrates that value of optimizing your landing page experience, and one recent example can be found at Marketing Experiments. Example: Marketing Experiments, Optimizing Offer Pages: Steps that Increased Conversion by 148%.

4. Integrate messaging strategies based on both SEM and email data. Using the search keyword and query strings, organizations can optimize and tailor the landing page or home page content to match the visitors’ interests and preferences to increase performance. With the diligent application of analytics and testing, a marketer can measure and optimize against performance data to produce dynamic results.

Once a data set is created from the campaign data, a search marketer can build segmentation models and drive specific treatment strategies for the individual segments. Customizing content based on the search query string, serving relevant landing pages and ensuring a seamless click stream to conversion then ensures the PPC effort is well set for performance.

With the economy pressuring every marketing effort, and with customers and businesses watching their purse strings, it is more important than ever to have a robust plan in place with retention as the goal. Paid search is one of the key DR channels a marketer can use for results, and another vital channel is email.
Email marketing is one of the most effective DR channels. Email marketing has evolved from a mass marketing to targeted marketing in the last few years and more and more organizations are using enriched insights on customer to drive email communications and marketing offers.

5. Use email insights to inform SEM execution. At the heart of a successful email marketing strategy is developing deep customer insight. A key need is to understand and consolidate all available data (online and offline) to determine the customer's true interests and then to be able to seamlessly use those advanced insights in email marketing. Search marketing data is especially valuable in driving marketing offers as keyword searches provide valuable insight about the customer.

A data strategy is required that combines offline data with online Web analytics data to provide a complete holistic view of the customer. A key aspect is to gather the search marketing data using Web analytic tools. A holistic view of customer is created using the offline data sources and online transactional and understand how to match and merge the data sources. Organizations should deploy a Web analytics platform to streamline their ability to gather online data.

With a consolidated data in place, analytics can be used for segmentation and predictability. Marketers want to leverage the analytics to drive targeted email communication and marketing offers. Emails allow for measuring clicks allowing for ease of ROI measurement. Another opportunity would be to optimize the click call to action landing pages using the derived insights and analytics. It is important that marketers continually test, optimize and refine all aspects of their strategy to maximize their marketing ROI.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

10 Small Business Email Marketing Mistakes

Marketing on the Internet: Measuring response

The usual test of marketing is the number of sales that result. Measure and analyse customer response to your site.

Monitor the number of website visitors who convert to customers:
  • It is relatively easy to create a large volume of traffic, but it is better to create a smaller number of relevant visitors that has a high conversion-to-sale ratio.
Track visitors to your site:
  • Examine which keywords visitors use to find your site and amend your site accordingly.
  • Use hit analysis software and make sure your ISP maintains an access log with full visitor details. Use these records to identify which of your pages are most popular, when and where visitors come from and which sites they visited before yours.
If you are pursuing exports, analyse the location of visitors to your site:
  • Once you know where significant numbers of foreign visitors come from, you can adjust your site to cater for them.
It is not always possible to tell where visitors are from, especially those using global services such as AOL.