We’re looking at more email best practices this week. Whether it’s dealing with email frequency, apology emails or a new measure of engagement, experts share their tips and insights on optimizing the email experience.

Send more email, make more money?

 We’ve previously covered the debate on email frequency. While extra emails might drive more sales, here are 2 considerations to reduce the negative impact from upping email frequency.

Segment your lists and send more to those that are more likely to respond. Here’s a diagram that might be useful for guiding sending frequency.

Email Frequency Guide

The other consideration when deciding whether or not to up your sending frequency is your sender score and IP reputation. Here’s some research from Return Path on inbox placement rates.

Inbox Placement Rates & Sender Scores

Clearly, if you have a poor sender score, increasing your email frequency shouldn’t be the first thing to come to mind for better ROI from email. Work on improving your sender score instead.

3 Ts of an Apology Email: Target, Truth, and Template

Every email marketer has made a mistake some time or another. Be it a small typo hidden away in copy or a glaring typo in the subject line, here are some email best practices for dealing with errors.

  1. Segment and target the people who have received the error email or engaged with it in some way instead of sending an apology email out to the entire list.
  2. Be truthful about what went wrong or try conversational and playful language when you apologize, depending on the context.
  3. Create a flexible template to use in case an apology has to be sent out. Having the same email template with a differing subject line might confuse readers  into labeling it as spam if they think that they received a duplicate email.

A More Efficient Way To Create Email Strategy

President of Return Path, George Bilbrey, makes the case for analyzing head-to-head engagement – where marketers look at a user’s behaviour in relation to the presence of other mail that are competing for attention. These tests allow marketers an insight into subscriber preferences when it comes to product positioning, tone and more.

7 Don’ts for Email Marketers

Experts share their tips on email best practices in a time where new technology and changing customer behaviour challenge conventional marketing tactics.

  • Don’t forget about cross-channel communication: Help customers share data across multiple devices.
  • Don’t drop the data: Email isn’t the only channel that matters. Look at data across various customer touchpoints.
  • Don’t write a book: With smaller screen size in an attention economy, it’s best to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short and Simple)
  • Don’t overlook transactional messages: Order and shipping confirmations are sent during the peak period of engagement for a customer. Capitalize on upsell opportunities.
  • Don’t forget to test for usability on mobile: Make sure customers can click through orders to get essential information such as order tracking.
  • Don’t put prices in pictures: Don’t put essential information in images. If an email picture doesn’t load by default on mobile, potential customers might skip the mail entirely.
  • Don’t say the word “blast” with regard to email marketing.

[Infographic] Make Your Emails Impossible to Ignore

Email Best Practices

Learn how to optimize your transactional messages for upsell opportunities when you download a copy of the Transactional Messaging Best Practices eBook!

Transactional Messaging Best Practices

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

In this week’s news, consumer dependence on email is seen through mobile behavior as determined by two separate studies. We also take a look at the missing link in big data strategy and  email marketing best practices that every marketer should take note of before launching a campaign. Oh, and DMARC continues to be in the spotlight! Now that the preview’s over let’s dive in!

Why (And How) Marketers Should Follow DMARC

The DMARC standard now protects almost two-thirds of the world’s 3.3 billion consumer mailboxes worldwide, and was responsible for blocking 325 million unauthenticated messages in November and December 2012 alone. Message Systems Chief Revenue Officer Ralph Lentz dives into the reasons why it’s going to be the industry standard going forward.

Big Data’s Big Omission

Customer identity management is crucial to big data strategy. Customer identity and relationship management is built upon the foundation from three pieces of data: email addresses, postal addresses, and phone numbers. While cookies are important, they are not the be-all and end-all in big data. The crux?

When it comes to big data strategy, email is a necessary component.

85% of Smartphone Users Would Rather Give up Water Than Mobile Apps

Give up mobile apps? Not a chance. 82% of respondents in a mobile app survey say there are critical apps they can’t go without — not even for one day. Those include email (57%), Facebook (41%) and alarm clock apps (31%).

apigee_infographic

7 Don’ts for Email Marketers

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But you can teach email marketers to optimize their campaigns according to these best practice guidelines:

  • Don’t forget the channel changers. Help your customers send information to another device, set reminders, or use email content while in your store. Cross-channel messaging anyone?
  • Don’t drop the data. Collect device usage data and develop a plan to associate opens, clicks, and conversions to specific mobile devices.
  • Don’t write a book: You can’t expect subscribers to consume massive amounts of text on their mobile devices.
  • Don’t overlook transactional messages: Order and shipping confirmations are sent during a peak engagement period of the customer life cycle. These are highly personal. Consumers are excited over their purchases and open these emails.
  • Don’t short the shortcuts: Test your messages to confirm that mobile subscribers can easily click through to track their orders, call customer service, or get directions to your nearest store.
  • Don’t put prices in pictures: Putting essential information such as pricing, deadlines, and calls-to-action inside images is a big mistake in the mobile age.
  • Don’t say the word ‘blast’ in regard to email marketing.

68% of people use their smartphone for email, 26% for shopping

Want to see how smartphone usage in the US and UK differs? The Nielsen Mobile Consumer Survey has the answer.

In US, the percentage of people who use their phones for:

  • Text – 86%
  • Mobile web – 82%
  • Email – 75%
  • Social networking – 63%

In UK, the percentage of people who use their phones for:

  • Text – 92%
  • Mobile web – 66%
  • Email – 75%
  • Social networking – 63%

As you can see the biggest gap lies in the use of mobile web, where common use is higher by 16% in the US. Text messaging in UK is higher than in the US by 6%.

nielsen-devices-we-use     nielsen-apps-we-use

What do you use your smartphone for? Let us know in the comments below! And if your business is embarking upon a mobile-centric drive to attract new customers, we’d encourage you to have a look at our white paper on mobile messaging – it brings up points of consideration to make your mobile marketing strategy a success.

The New Communications Standard

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

End of the week and wasn’t it a long time coming? Time to kick back and wind down before the weekend. And we have the perfect way to do it with news to keep you entertained and in the know about what’s trending in the email world.

Six email predictions for the new year

As the year comes to a close, marketers across all industries and verticals are starting to speculate on what’s in and what’s out in 2013. BtoB magazine speaks to our very own Carrie Scott, Director of Product & Direct Marketing, and John Pinson, Senior Content Marketing Manager, on what their predictions are for email in the new year. Here’s what on the In list in a nut shell:

Cross-channel communication through social media with a focus on LinkedIn
• Continued emphasis on investment in email
• Control over data centers through on-premise technology solutions
Customer engagement based on their terms
Consolidated messaging across channels
• Communications centered around mobile

5 meaningful numbers that don’t lie

Numbers are both the bane and boon of businesses measuring their ROI on marketing efforts. Here are 5 numbers that govern whether your email sees the light of day or is relegated to the delete bin:

Time of Day – What works in the West, might not work in the East. Target to have everyone receive an email at the same time in their time zone.
Open Rate – Split test all elements that could impact open rate.
Click Rate – Ensure a clear CTA or Call To Action
Click to Open Ratio (Different from click rate!) – A low ratio could mean that your subject line is misleading & not aligned to the content people expect to get from the email
Conversion Rate – Aim for a clear CTA to get a conversion rate of between 20-35%

5 Charts That Could Change Your Email Marketing

Our friends in Eloqua have released 5 charts to help you optimize your email marketing efforts. Here’s one in particular that we’d like to highlight:

eloqua-email

Email Drives more Traffic than Social – This validates our Marketing Channel and Engagement Benchmark Survey which finds that email is still the top choice of a marketing channel at 90% where social comes in at 70%. Our recommendation is to leverage the reach of both channels by having them work in tandem to generate conversations – and ultimately, conversions.

Why is mobile important for B2B marketing?

We all know how mobile, and smartphones in particular, have radically transformed the landscape of marketing and how it’s THE way to get potential customers to convert. What’s key to using it effectively is understanding the ways in which your target audience use mobiles in their daily lives and this article highlight the four key pillars to a mobile strategy.

Don’t be a Petraeus: A Tutorial on Anonymous Email Accounts

Whether it’s exchanging love letters with a significant other, or preparing for your next top secret mission if you’re James Bond, there’s always a time when you’d like to communicate in privacy without feeling like Big Brother is watching. The Petraeus scandal and lawsuits filed citing violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act have both sparked off debate on privacy issues in a business world powered by electronic communications. Here’s a starter’s guide to ensuring the security of your email communications.

Find out why mobile is so important in the world of email with The New Communications Standard white paper!

The New Communications Standard

As the holiday season rolls around, retailers are scrambling to get their marketing act together and roll out the red carpet online to welcome season shoppers. Instead of acquiring new customers, econsultancy suggests 21 tips to retain customers instead. Here are some key statistics about customer retention all retailers should know:

– Customer attraction is 5 times more expensive than customer retention
– The average cost to a company when losing a customer is $243
– An existing customer is 60-70% more likely to buy from you than a new one (5-20%)

In view of these numbers, appealing to the current customer is far more rewarding than chasing after new prospects. While social media remains the sexy new toy of the digital marketer, it’s important to get the fundamentals right. Here’s a summary of some of the article’s salient points:

– Keep the customer informed at each stage of the delivery through email and mobile alerts. Basic, but often overlooked, this action builds trust. Without trust, your customers are going to skip off to your competitors’ Xmas sale.
– Did Tim buy an iPhone last month? Well, maybe he needs a screen protector and cover too! Take advantage of data that is already available to you and engage in behavior-based cross selling through email marketing.
– Everybody has a birthday. Everybody loves a discount. Use event triggered automated messaging to send customers personalized emails with offers to celebrate their special day.
– Here’s a no-brainer: Easy password or account retrieval. I can’t even remember the number of times I’ve given up on following through with a request for more information or a purchase, because I simply couldn’t recall my password. What with the mandatory inclusion of caps, special characters, numbers and the like, my password is more like a code I have to break than a gateway to my account. Being able to retrieve it quickly is simply a necessity.

The one similar thread underlining these points is putting into place a consolidated console that is able to:

(A) Handle multiple messaging streams from different operational lines at high volumes.
(B) Ensure low latency with transactional messaging.
(C) Trigger automated messages based on customer preferences and previous buying behavior

So before marketers even begin their (hopefully) highly personalized and targeted email blasts, perhaps it might be more prudent to ensure their current systems are able to deliver on the age old foundations of email marketing: reliability and speed.

Learn more about how you can use email alerts to drive engagement and conversion in the Transactional Messaging Best Practices eBook!

Transactional Messaging Best Practices

In the first whitepaper in the Message Convergence series, Preparing for Message Convergence, David Daniels and I put forth the rationale for Message Convergence. We spoke of the new communication norms — individualized, cross-channel, real time, interactive, increasingly mobile and customer controlled — and how they’re altering the ways companies and customers engage with each other. We also proposed five principles for implementing Message Convergence, with advice on topics ranging from organizational structure and metrics, to systems readiness and practices at customer touch points. (more…)