Email Marketing News Digest
It’s the first email marketing digest of 2014, and we have plenty of news about the latest in the email and mobile industry! From mobile email to gmail tabs, CASL and some great email marketing statistics, there’s plenty of food for thought to whet any marketer’s appetite.
With the meteoric rise of mobile, is it even a surprise that mobile email opens are trumping those on the desktop? Mary Meeker’s 2013 State of the Internet report highlights the dominance of both mobile and tablets in everyday life. ReturnPath’s data showed that more than half of worldwide email opens took place on a mobile in Dec 2013. While email open rates on Christmas Day were low, open rates on mobile hit 62% – the highest percentage of opens in the month for mobile.
The debate on email versus social is officially over – and here’s why. Chris Penn, VP of SHIFT Communication blogs about how Twitter and Facebook social display ads are making email the heart of their retargeting campaigns, offering users the ability to upload email lists. With email being the equivalent of a digital home, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if more social media platforms begin to offer this feature.
Salesforce compiled an impressive list of email marketing statistics in 2013. In this new year, we’ve got some updated statistics and email marketing best practices takeaways from Paul Jorgensen – a perfect resource for any email marketer looking to make a business case.
Here’s an update by Dela Quist from Alchemy Worx on another hot topic in 2013 – Gmail Tabs. In this article, Dela Quist examines the issue of Gmail tabs hurting businesses… While daily deals sites like Groupon may be affected, there’s no rush to panic outside of the daily deals market and business model.
Even the world’s largest organisations can run afoul of privacy laws as proven in recent times. Google recently found itself on the wrong side of the law, or more specifically Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The Act specifies that targeted advertising must not be based on sensitive personal data such as health information and Google was found in breach in a particular incident. The CASL and concerns over compliance have long been hot button topics in the email industry as well and this recent discretion is sure to stir up some debate on the issue!
Growing concerns about adjusting to a mobile-first world? Find out more about The State of Mobile Adoption in this eBook.
What’s keeping you up at night?
No conference on digital messaging would be complete without a discussion on deliverability – especially in high volume seasons. Taking to the stage at Interact 2013 to address this specific subject were email veterans, Greg Kraios, Founder and CEO at 250ok and Matthew Vernhout, Chief Privacy Officer and Manager of Deliverability for Inbox Marketer.
Greg and Matthew set the tone for the session right off the bat by opening the floor up to attendees for debate, allowing for a rapid exchange of ideas and discussions. They highlighted 6 key issues of particular concern to email marketers.
#1 Privacy & Anti-Spam Legislation (status of CASL, expectations)
The email experts kicked off the deliverability discussion with the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation. An example of the prohibitions under the new law would be:
“sending of commercial electronic messages without the recipient’s consent (permission), including messages to email addresses and social networking accounts, and text messages sent to a cell phone”
US marketers were worried about how the legislation would affect them. Since the panel, the government has announced that the anti-spam laws will go into effect on Jul 1 2014. Under the law, prior consents will remain valid – a huge relief to marketers. For more details on what the CASL changes mean for marketers, check out this article by Marketing Magazine. As per Matthew’s quote in the article, “From a marketer point of view, it’s got big scary numbers, but if you’re following good practices and you’re following the opt-in process and you have functional unsubscribes, then compliance really isn’t going to be that big of a challenge.”
#2 Holiday Volumes (ISP expectations, client expectations, rate limits, response metrics)
During the holidays, both marketers and spammers increase email volumes. Olga Gavrylyako from Google agreed that Google saw much higher volumes of email, spam and phishing during the holidays. Greg stated the need to set expectations on how timely email would be on holidays like Black Friday. DMARC email authentication was also important for businesses – a company suffered a drop in customer engagement when its email template was hijacked and phishing occurred.
An issue that caused much debate in the email industry last year were incorrect email entries during point-of-sale. Many major brands were listed on Spamhaus for spelling typos in their email lists, so that is something marketers should watch out for.
#3 List Management Tips (dealing with bounces, pre-deployment tests, bounces, data collection, data hygiene)
Customer churn is 20-30% a year for email lists. Marketing is moving towards quality in terms of quantity in information collected. It is not the size of your email lists that matters, but how you use it. For example, marketing email pales in comparison with one-to-one email in creating customer engagement.
#4 Handling Traffic Changes (warming up new IPs, changing IP configs, rate limits, traffic shaping)
Matthew commended Adaptive Delivery® – the automated deliverability technology built into the Message Systems Momentum platform – in aiding IP warm-up, citing smoother delivery rates as well. When it comes to a new IP, businesses should send 10,000 messages a day according to Microsoft. Before sending email, it is also wise to sign up for feedback loops.
#5 Tabs & Junk Filters (expectations, challenges, tactics)
Educate the coding team so emails do not look like spam. Greg made the point that tabs have a positive impact on customers because emails are no longer competing with social messages. However, this appears to differ between businesses. An attendee saw a 20% dip in performance and subsequent drop in conversion rates using tabs.
#6 Transactional vs Commercial Emails (effective management of resources, data collection and use, pitfalls and hurdles)
In summary, it is a best practice to segment transactional and marketing emails.
The key takeaway of the discussion on deliverability was to collect proper email opt-ins. During the highly interactive session, interesting questions were raised by Dela Quist from Alchemy Worx: Should engagement indicate consenting to having an email in the inbox rather than open and click rates? And do you need to open an email to be influenced by it? While the jury appeared to still be out on those issues, the open debate inspired by Craig and Matthew’s session sparked much food for thought for the day and in the following Interact sessions as well.
Transactional Email News Digest
Kristina Knight interviewed our very own Tom Mairs, Director of Client Solutions Engineering here at Message Systems, in Biz Report earlier this month. In a two-part interview (second installment here) Tom and Kristina discuss messaging strategies for the holiday shopping season, and why smart brands look for ways to leverage transactional messaging to improve convenience. According to Tom,
“The holiday shopping season is the most critical time to have a direct and relevant message for customers. People have more to do and less time to do it in, so if you can help out your customers with genuinely valuable tag-along offers, you will be their hero.”
There’s been a lot of angst in the email community over the emergence of Gmail Tabs, the new feature in the leading webmail service that automatically routes incoming messages into one of three inbox subcategories: Primary, Social and Promotional. Writing in ClickZ, Sundeep Kapur, digital evangelist at NCR provides a run down on how the new tabs are working for him personally, and what the new interface means for marketers.
Tomasz Tunguz, a Venture Capitalist at Redpoint points out that transactional emails are often left in the cold after launch, due to a reliance on the engineering team for further optimization. With engineering having more pressing priorities, and the extensive test cycles needed for changes, transactional emails inevitably take the back seat – although it is often equal or larger in volume than product marketing mail and presents rich branding opportunities.
Tom Mairs, our Director of Client Solutions Engineering teaches you how to unlock the power of transactional email for branding and upsell opportunities in this free ebook!