***This is a guest post, brought to you by our partner, Ongage.

You Can Now Use Ongage with Your SparkPost Subaccounts!

With the number of worldwide email users forecast to rise to 2.9 billion users by 2019, email marketing professionals are busy! We need solutions that make our jobs easier and make us more effective.

When SparkPost, added subaccounts, professional email developers rejoiced. You can now separate out your clients, business units, or mail streams – with different API keys, sending domains, and other assets – so that each can have their own data and reports.

When SparkPost first integrated with Ongage, it was a perfect match. One could finally set up triggers to send relevant, timely emails to subscribers (without needing a developer on-staff).

To make your job easier, as an extension of our partnership, you can now use Ongage with your SparkPost subaccounts!

How The New Ongage Integration Features Make Your Job Easier

1. Automation

In the never-ending quest to reduce email costs, SMTP Relay Services, like SparkPost, offer a cost-effective solution with a RESTful API and powerful SMTP injection. For those needing a robust front-end for managing, analyzing, and reporting on email marketing KPIs, the integration with Ongage now gives you the ability to configure each of your SparkPost subaccounts to have a different sending domain, different IP, subscription management, reply to, etc. You no longer have to manually set up these changes. Everything is automated and streamlined for you.

2. Differentiate email strategies among clients

Whether you service different clients or different business units within the same company, your email marketing strategy cannot and should not be the same for each subaccount. By separating them out, you can truly personalize the email strategy you deliver to each one in order to improve reputation and deliverability.

3. Report on separate streams

Offering a service that is data-driven means more to the email marketing pros than simply having data about email campaigns. You need a way to share relevant data with your customers (internally and externally) to showcase your success and identify opportunities for optimizations. With this new integration, you can separate your reports per subaccount to share only relevant data to each client.

4. Maintain privacy and compliance

Now you can ensure your clients that their data is segregated and will remain private. By giving them access to their subaccount, you give them power to examine real-time data on their own email marketing operation.

5. Manage the entire operation in a single dashboard

Though each subaccount is a separate entity, there is still a benefit to you in having an overall picture of the health of your email operations. This is one way you can differentiate yourself from competitors: provide insights and numbers that prove your point. More importantly, having a single dashboard from which to manage all of your subaccounts saves you time and empowers you to provide aggregated insights.

Sparkpost + Ongage = ♥

More time and power for you.
Better strategy, privacy, and compliance for your clients.
What’s not to love?

Ready to take your email marketing operations to the next level with SparkPost and Ongage? Try it now!

What does it mean to be a SparkPost Partner?

At SparkPost, we love our partners, and we are always open and willing to explore new partner relationships. Most often, our new partners are looking to provide our messaging infrastructure to their customers. Other partners prefer to refer their customers to SparkPost (with SparkPost paying the partner a commission, of course). And sometimes partners simply want to integrate their technology with SparkPost. In every case, we are always happy to hear from potential new partners!

Why SparkPost?

SparkPost is the world’s fastest-growing email delivery service. Our customers — including Pinterest, Twitter, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Zillow, and Comcast — send over 3 trillion messages a year, over 25% of the world’s non-spam email. The SparkPost service for sending API-driven transactional and marketing email (through partners) provides the industry-leading performance, deliverability, flexibility, and analytics our customers and partners need.

Partnering with SparkPost allows you to effectively re-brand our services, while building your business on top of the world’s most performant deliverability service – us.

SparkPost’s Infrastructure is Scalable

SparkPost is hosted on AWS, rather than building and scaling our own data center. SparkPost’s VP of Engineering, Chris McFadden, elaborates in more detail:

“Our #1 goal is to be the leader in cloud email infrastructure. We have no desire to be experts in data centers, much the same way our customers do not want to be experts in running email infrastructure at scale. When building out a data center, by definition, you can only solve the problems you’re facing at that point in time. It can be very difficult to make the adjustments you need as your business and technical needs change rapidly over subsequent years.”

By leveraging AWS, SparkPost offers unrivaled scalability, security and reliability. As a result, our partners are able to build and scale their own businesses without worry.

Current SparkPost Partners

Here at SparkPost, think of us as the infrastructure behind email. Since our inception, we’ve focused on providing the best email deliverability and infrastructure in the industry, and this is where we plan to stay. Unlike some other cloud email delivery providers, we do not offer email marketing campaign (aka “front-end”) capabilities. This is where our partners come in.

Our partner list is growing fast! Our Business Development team is dedicated to making all of our partners successful. We’re especially focusing on supporting our email marketing campaign partners, rather than competing with them.

Some current SparkPost partners include Iterable, Ongage, Cordial.io, and Blueshift. In addition, we have integrations and formalized partnerships with PaaS platforms like Heroku, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

A note on Iterable and SparkPost’s partnership, below:

“We have worked with many of the cloud email platforms on the market, and SparkPost is comprehensive and leading-edge,” said Justin Zhu, founder and CEO of Iterable. “Its performance is unmatched, it scales easily and provides the largest number of data points to power our customers’ growth marketing and user engagement campaigns.”

How to Become a SparkPost Partner

We’ve made becoming a SparkPost partner extremely easy, and we have a Business Development team dedicated to your success. So, let us know if you want to hear more about partnership opportunities. Once you provide your information and specific needs, someone from our team will reach out. It’s as simple as that!

-Beverly

Other questions on partnership opportunities? Leave us a comment or reach out on Twitter!

Email Integration and Partnerships

We’ve talked a lot lately about the cool apps and integrations you can build using SparkPost. In return, some of you have showed us the cool things that you’ve built as well. And we think they’re awesome, by the way!

You're Awesome

However, we haven’t talked about our own integrations lately — the ones we hope make your job easier. Among these are Heroku, Microsoft Power BI, 250ok, and as of last week, Azure.

We’re constantly listening to you to find out what other problems we can solve for you, and our partnership program is a big part of that. So I sat down with our Senior Vice President of Business Development Joal Barbehenn last week to understand more about this essential part of SparkPost. Without further ado, grab your coffee, settle in, and let me explain.

Let me sum up.

What Do Your Partnerships and Integrations Have to Do With Me?

Firstly, Joal and I talked about our kick-ass engineering team. They love nothing more than solving your email problems and finding ways to make your life easier when it comes to programmatically sending emails through your application. That’s what they do best! Because of this, we choose to focus most of our time on our platform. We’re constantly making improvements and rolling out new features that you, the community, have asked for. This is our strong suit here at SparkPost: our email infrastructure. From deliverability to webhooks to inbound domains and our straightforward RESTful API, we’ve got that part down.

We also talked about the fact that we aren’t a front-end solution. This is where our partnerships and integrations come in — other folks who specialize in front-end logistics can provide our community with really great front-end technology to pair with our solid sending. This lets us focus on our core business, while still serving the multilayered needs of today’s sophisticated emailer (aka you) by offering full-featured campaign management and more through our partners.

A perfect example of this is 250ok. Our partnership with 250ok means that our Enterprise customers not only benefit from our email expertise, but gain insights into their email performance and brand reputation. They also have access to many other tools that maximize the value of their email programs.

As Joal says, “Through partnerships, we provide tools and integrations that help our customers achieve better results with email. We’re always looking for ways to make our technology more useful and easier to use.”

The Best is Yet to Come

We currently have several great integrations. Nonetheless, we’re always looking for the next one that will enable our service to be even more consumable, easy to use, and full-featured. Be sure to check out sparkpost.com/partners to see which integrations you could benefit from.

We want YOU wonderwoman

Have you created an integration? Leave us a note in the #lookwhatibuilt channel in the SparkPost Community Slack. We’d love to hear about it!

– Mary Thengvall

Email sign-ups 250ok syndicated post

*This post first appeared on 250OK’s blog here.

Welcome to How The Top 500 Internet Retailers Collect Email Sign-ups (2016), an analysis of how retailers promote their programs, leverage mobile optimization, use social sign-ups, capture personal data, and more. In addition, we have shared some year-over-year trend insights compared to How The Top 500 Internet Retailers Collect Email Sign-ups (2015). Let’s dig in.

Sign-up Motivation

First, it’s important to consider why consumers sign up for promotional programs from internet retailers.

According to the 2016 Consumer Adoption & Usage Study by Adestra — a survey of 1,251 consumers age 14-67 who live in the United States — most (85%) reported they sign up for discounts or promotions.

Adestra-Graph-3

According to Adestra’s survey, the most popular types of promotions consumers want are percentage-off offers (35%), free shipping (20%), free trials (14%), and dollar-off promotions (14%).

Incentives-Graph-2

Our analysis revealed that only 38.2% of retailers incentivized consumers to sign up. However, it’s worth noting that compared to last year’s analysis, nearly 10% more retailers offered incentives. The top three incentives made available to consumers were percentage-off offers (22.3%), dollar-off promotions (7.6%), sweepstakes (4.4%), and free shipping (3.9%).

Sweepstakes

Examples: Sweeptsakes as sign-up incentives

Opt-in Placement

We analyzed the location of email sign-up forms or links on retailer websites. The most common placement position is still the footer (83%), with the header (26.2%) and mid-page (2.4%) less prominent. Pop-up placement came in at 32.4%. We discovered that nearly half of retailers (48.4%) used two or more sign-up placements.

Opt-In-Placement-Graph-3

Surprisingly, on 5.2% of the websites we reviewed, we failed to find an email sign-up. And for those email sign-ups we did locate, the sign-up process was broken in 1.1% of those cases.

Full-Screen-PopUp

Examples: Welcome mats

Of those retailers using pop-ups, welcome mats (82%) were the most common. Others used timed or triggered pop-ups (14.3%), while the rest used a scrolling pop-up (3.7%).

PopUp-Madness-AlibrisWholePage-1-768x541

Examples: Welcome mate and scrolling pop-up served simultaneously

Pop-up madness? In our analysis, we were simultaneously served a welcome mat and scrolling pop-up only once.

SumoMe performed an analysis of 300 million pop-ups generated by their customers that showed strong conversion rates when compared to traditional email sign-up positions. However, we are curious to see how consumer engagement with these disruptive pop-ups, especially in the mobile environment, evolves over the next twelve months, and how retailers react to those trends.

Mobile-friendly Experience

Given that mobile usage at the top 100 digital properties in December 2015, in aggregate, surpassed the desktop audience, we expected a mobile-friendly experience on all websites.  Surprisingly, 8% of websites were still not optimized for mobile.

Mobile-2

Examples: Websites not optimized for mobile email sign-up as viewed on an iPhone 6

Personal Data Collection

One of 2016’s hottest topics among the Top 500 Internet Retailers is personalization. Personal data collected from consumers can be used to customize their brand experience in a variety of ways. For example, a 2015 Experian Marketing Services study revealed a cross-industry average increase of 29.3% in open rates when using personalization in the subject lines.

Personalization-adidas-2-768x535

Example: Birth date, age, and gender data collection at email sign-up

Our analysis found that only 39.8% of retailers asked for a name during a promotional email sign-up.

Personalization-2

Other types of data collection included location (18.4%), birthday (12.8%), and gender (10.3%). Some retailers (21%) asked for event-specific details, and a smaller group (8.8%) requested that subscribers share their main interests (e.g., books, technology, fashion).

Using Social Sign-up

Social sign-up, or social login, according to Wikipedia, “is a form of single sign-on using existing login information from a social networking or e-commerce service.” There are multiple benefits regularly associated with the use of social sign-up, including a more simple user experience for subscribers, and, for retailers, improved list hygiene and access to additional personal data. Taylor Nelson, Growth Specialist at social sign on provider LoginRadius, said, “On average, our customers have seen 40-60% of an increase in conversion rates with some reaching upwards of 130%.”

Social-Sign-Up

We discovered nearly 34% of retailers allowed subscribers to use one or more third-party accounts to sign-up for emails. Nine different account types showed up in our study with Facebook (49%), Google (22.6%), Amazon (8.65%), and Twitter (8.65%) leading the way.

Facebook-3

Facebook allows marketers to request access to over 40 types of permissions. Our analysis revealed that the most common permissions requested by retailers were for access to the public profile (100%), which can include name, photo, age, gender, and more, and the subscriber’s email address (97%).

The 3% of retailers that failed to ask for the email address associated with a consumer’s Facebook account requested an email address be manually added by the user. It’s our perspective that not pulling an address from Facebook increases the likelihood that a user accidently or intentionally enters the wrong email address. Our assumption is that these retailers wanted to give the subscriber the opportunity to confirm their primary email address. Evidently, almost all retailers did not think the risk was worth the reward.

Social-thehonestcompany-1-768x543

Example: Social sign-up option using Facebook for email sign-up

Drew-Profile-1-768x586

Example: Facebook permission approval screen resulting from a social sign-up

Other Facebook permissions requested included access to a consumer’s birthday (15.7%), friend list (9.8%), location (3.9%), and likes (3.9%). Less than 1% of retailers allowing for a Facebook sign-up requested access to a subscriber’s education or personal description.

Single Opt-in vs. Double Opt-in

This year’s analysis revealed that approximately 9% of retailers used a double opt-in, or confirmed opt-in, process with subscribers. Compared to 2015, we observed a 3% growth in double opt-in usage versus last year.

Welcome Emails

A survey by BlueHornet found that 74.4% of subscribers expect to see the first email immediately. For many marketers, welcome emails are frequently the best performing messages sent.

In a follow-up study, we will go into greater detail about the welcome emails and email series used by the Top 500 Internet Retailers, but we felt it was important to mention here that 96% of retailers that we successfully registered with delivered the first message within 82 hours. Half of the welcome emails triggered immediately (50.6%), with the majority of welcome emails (61.5%) arriving within one hour.

The pre-welcome-email incentive? Instead of the first incentive arriving via email, a relatively low number of retailers have begun to reward email sign-ups with an immediate incentive at the point of registration.

Immediate-Incentive

Examples: Immediate incentive for email sign-up at point of subscription

Considering the reported consumer desire for an immediate response to email sign-ups, we expect to see an increase in this type of reward in next year’s analysis.

Messaging Techniques

We found a small number of retailers using loss aversion techniques in the email sign-up messaging. This approach appears to be an emerging trend among retailers. We will dig a bit deeper on this topic in next year’s analysis.

Persuasive

Examples: Loss aversion messaging on email sign-up forms

View the How The Top 500 Internet Retailers Collect Email Sign-ups (2016) infographic below:

Top-500-Internet-Retailers-Email-Sign-Up_2016_BORDER

Iterable SparkPost Partnership Announcement

Why We’re Partnering with Iterable to Deliver Growth Marketing

I’m certainly not the first to say that the digitization of information has proven to be the most powerful development of our age. It’s revolutionized our lives. It’s changed the way we do business. And it’s advancing faster than many of us realize.

One really significant example of this impact of data is the increasing prominence of “growth marketing.” Growth marketing is one of those ideas that’s come at just the right time, when business needs and technology capabilities align to make an idea really take off. It’s all about using the exponential increase in data in our marketing tools to shape how our customers and prospects interact with our businesses—both to increase the value to our business and to improve our customers’ experience.

Marketers are helping increase profit margins by using data science to understand customers at increasingly intimate levels—who they are, what they want, and what they might do next. With that intel, companies are engaging customers with messages that are scientifically targeted to motivate customer movement through the funnel—and increase their own competitiveness.

While this sort of data-driven capability traditionally has required complex systems and a team of data scientists to really execute, a new generation of tools is making the core methods of growth marketing accessible to the rest of us. That’s a remarkable change, and it’s one of the reasons our team at SparkPost is really excited about our new partnership with Iterable, whose next-generation Growth Marketing Platform is gaining industry recognition in its own right.

In his announcement about working with Iterable, SparkPost’s CEO, Phillip Merrick, said, “We are happy to announce this best-of-breed offering to our customers. This combination of SparkPost’s high-performing cloud email service with the front-end growth marketing capabilities of Iterable provides customers with the ability to rapidly improve customer engagement through faster iterations of data-driven marketing campaigns.”

Phillip’s right. We’re really excited about this. The prebuilt, out-of-the-box email and data integration between our services let our joint customers take advantage of SparkPost’s strengths—like our email performance and rich analytics—and Iterable’s flexibility and ease of use to make a data-driven, growth marketing strategy reality. To put it another way: this combination makes it easy for email marketers to hit the ground running and be successful with growth marketing. Quickly.

Some other partnership advantages we are proud to be delivering to our customers include:

  • Less drain on development
  • Powerful multi-channel tools
  • The ability to rapidly improve customer engagement
  • Increased efficiency of data-driven marketing campaigns

I also want to say that not only is this a powerful combined toolset, but it just might be a lot fun to use! I personally was really impressed when I saw the way our tools worked together to use Iterable to define triggered emails as part of a growth campaign, for example.

By the way, SparkPost and Iterable recently shared some advice for turbo-charging growth marketing in a recent webinar together—it’s definitely worth checking out. And if you’d like to learn more about the partnership, you can read the entire press release here.

Sending email shouldn’t be that complicated, right? Let’s talk about a recipient on your list. In this case, we’ll call her “Jane.” Jane sees a piece of content you create and decides she wants to receive your newsletter. She signs up and even confirms her subscription (confirmed opt-in, score!). All of your future newsletters should land in her inbox, no questions asked. Seems simple, right?

I hate to break it to you, but that’s not how it works. There are many moving pieces to the email journey, and hitting “send” is the easy part.

Malicious senders in the form of spammers, phishers, spoofers and [enter other bad-guy types here]—including overly aggressive marketers—have turned the email journey to the inbox into a match of American Gladiator. Walls, flying tennis ball artillery, you name it.

the email journey to the inbox - maze image

To give you a better idea, I’ve outlined a high-level view of what happens when you send mail. While the particulars will vary based on the networks involved, it goes a little something like this:

1. Outbound spam filters (the “artillery”) The email passes through a spam filter before leaving the message transfer agent (MTA). Many email service providers (ESPs) have implemented some form of outbound filtering to protect against malware and phishing attacks that often originate from compromised accounts. Some providers even backup this type of machine policing with human review teams.

2. Blacklists (the “walls”) Before the receiving mail system will even think about accepting a message, it is checked against a number of internal and external IP-based blacklists (a.k.a. a DNS-based Blackhole List) to determine if the sending source is worthy of delivering mail to the mailbox provider. Blacklists like Spamhaus, Barracuda, and SpamCop exist to reduce the deluge of spam.

3. Internal content filters (just when you thought you made it!) Next, the email passes through a content filter on the receiving mail system that is especially designed to smoke out any bad links or attachments, in real time. If any of this content is deemed malicious, your message likely will be rejected entirely.

4. Commercial content filters (yep, more filters) At this point, the email passes through commercial content filters to see if it contains anything left unidentified by earlier gates in the system. You might be surprised at how many of these commercial filters are being used by major mailbox providers. In most cases, failing this step results in a message being filed as spam, rather than rejected outright.

5. Black-box filters (almost there…) Finally, the email is checked against various forms of other filters, especially at providers that offer mailbox-level filtering, to determine if the message should be placed in the inbox or spam folder. And if you’re sending to Gmail, there are also tab placement options besides only hitting the inbox.

And if all of this wasn’t enough, the logic supporting every point in the above list is constantly evolving.

Email deliverability is the term coined for measuring the success of a message reaching its intended recipient. Deliverability, as you can now imagine, is often perceived as a mystical (and sometimes unobtainable) thing because of the complexity involved. You might feel the same way when your mail is placed in Jane’s spam folder or rejected entirely.

The reality is that every serious sender needs the strategy and the tools to successfully deliver mail. Senders need visibility and the actionable data to continuously improve their deliverability.

If you’re curious and want to dive into details about the email journey your mails are taking, 250ok and SparkPost have partnered to provide SparkPost customers with some great tools for analyzing your own inbox performance.

 

About the Author: 

greg kraios bio

Greg Kraios is a hardcore email nerd and the Founder/CEO of 250ok, the preferred choice for email analytics tools. Before 250ok, Greg spent several years at Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget) serving as their ISP Relations Manager, as well as providing deliverability consulting services to a variety senders including Angie’s List, Aprimo and PopularMedia (acquired by StrongView).

 

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Announcing an Exciting New Partnership with Boomtrain

Publishers and retailers have a big challenge ahead of them. Users demand individual attention through 1:1 personalized user experiences in an increasingly noisy, crowded digital space. Scaling effective marketing efforts, converting traffic, and driving consistent engagement and loyalty isn’t easy.

That’s why SparkPost and Boomtrain have teamed up to offer those users a best-of-breed experience by delivering 1:1 personalized emails. Boomtrain’s machine intelligence supercharges efforts to connect with the right customers, at the right time, using the content most likely to engage each individual.

SparkPost’s industry leading email platform automates the assembly and delivery of individually tailored messages designed to arrive in the recipient’s inbox at optimal engagement periods. Reaching the inbox 98% of the time ensures that personalized messages will be delivered on-time and efficiently at scale.

This integration also provides users a seamless experience to surface scalable recommendations and insights on an individual level. By coupling SparkPost with Boomtrain, the ability to reach each user across channels such as email, on-site, in-app, SMS, and push has never been easier.

According to Neej Gore, SVP of Business Operations at Boomtrain, “SparkPost’s leading infrastructure, combined with Boomtrain’s AI-powered marketing automation, delivers the new standard for marketers. Inevitably, consumers benefit through more timely conversations tailored to their individual preferences.”

Boomtrain-blog-screenshot

Features that SparkPost users can harness through the integration:

  • Auto-event generation based on visitors viewing a specific URL
  • Dynamic 1:1 personalized messaging using smart tags
  • Robust drag-and-drop editor for fully responsive email templates with native support for dynamic content tags
  • Dynamic content for on-site engagement

In addition, Boomtrain customers typically see the following results:

  • 2.4x increase in onsite recirculation and email engagement
  • 2.8x increase in return frequency and onsite page views
  • 4.0x increase in content engagement

To learn more about Boomtrain, please visit their websiteFor SparkPost customers wanting a more in-depth demo of the Boomtrain solution, please contact our partner team for an introduction.

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250ok partnership

You’re probably familiar with the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Likewise, it takes key partners to service the multilayered needs of today’s sophisticated marketer. Email-at-scale is complex and it can be expensive when you don’t have the right tools. More importantly, it can be disappointing when that email doesn’t arrive to the inbox. To ensure our customers have maximum visibility into how their emails are performing, we’re announcing a partnership and integration with 250ok to improve access to deliverability tools and rendering technology.

Deliverability tools are a special class of tool that help companies measure their deliverability to the inbox. These tools ensure that emails landing in the inbox render consistently across devices and they protect a brand’s reputation and measure engagement through the analysis and synthesis of multiple data sources both public and private. We’re excited to work with 250ok; they have built a best-of-breed platform that addresses the concerns of today’s data-driven marketers.

Customers using SparkPost Elite will now have access to 250ok tools, services, and reporting. From forensic and aggregate DMARC reporting to the 250ok spamtrap network, SparkPost Elite customers can now use the world’s most powerful sending technology with the market’s premiere deliverability tools provider to maximize their inbox placement and understand engagement trends. Additionally, we think they’re a pretty cool set of folks to work with, and we share a lot of the same characteristics. We’re all obsessed with good UI/UX, have a mutual respect for awesome-APIs, work at a rapid clip and care deeply for our customers’ success.

250ok partnershipAccording to Tim Moore, 250ok VP of Customer Solutions, “By combining 250ok’s analytics and reputation offering with SparkPost Elite’s platform and services, customers will have a new layer of contextual and actionable visibility allowing them to unleash the full potential of the email channel.”

We’re sure that our customers will be as excited as we are to have this amazing set of tools at their disposal. If you’re using SparkPost Elite and want to know more about 250ok, reach out to your Technical Account Manager. Or, just give me, and my colleagues at 250ok, a shout. We’ll make sure you have what you need to be successful.

For more details, check out the full press release.